Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Save Title X!!!

From Planned Parenthood Action:
"They're back. Four years after we stopped Congress our opponents are at it again. They are attacking women and men's access to basic and essential care by pushing a bill that would eliminate federal funding for Title X, the grant program dedicated to funding family planning. That means cuts to federal funding for birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other essential care that Planned Parenthood health centers provide every day."
This is actually a huge deal. Title X was established by Richard Nixon in 1970 because he understood the importance of everyone, regardless of income or social status, having access to family planning services. These services include cancer screenings, birth control, STI testing and treatment, and other preventative care.*

Even the Wikipedia definition sounds important:
"Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services."
Why on earth would you get rid of that?!  But believe it or not, there are already states who refuse Title X funding for reasons that I cannot comprehend, and their people suffer for it by having to pay exorbitant fees for these fundamental services. If it was eliminated altogether it would be a disaster. Doesn't Congress understand that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? What do they think this will do to the national average of teen pregnancies and STI rates?  Please, lend your voice to cause and help stop this madness. Sign the petition, Tell your friends.  Let everyone know that Congress needs to leave Title X alone!

*Title X does not include funding for abortion services.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Happy Pride Month!

I adore Pride Month.  I live off of Lark street, and rainbow decorations adorn almost every shop or stoop.  The First Presbyterian Church at the corner of Willett and State streets decks out in rainbow bunting, and everything just seems a little more bright and cheery.  Maybe that's just me being happy by witnessing first-hand the effects of living in a progressive neighborhood.  Acceptance and love are far more pleasant than judgment and hate.  But let's not dwell on that point.  I don't want to spend time writing about people who don't deserve a moment's thought because they are rotten on the inside.  I'd rather talk about the fact that this Saturday, I get to march in the Pride parade!

Every year, UHPP marches under their banner in support of equality and gay rights, and it's one of my favorite events of the year.  There is nothing quite like rounding the corner from Lark and State, and having everyone cheer for you.  I imagine that's sort of the point of the day;  people showing their love and appreciation for those who may be beaten down by so many.  There is so much acceptance and happiness in the air, and it's one hell of a drug (and I'm not simply referring to the guys in spandex doing yoga on the float in front of us).

Here is the extra good news;  if you would like to march with us, you can!  You'll get a T-shirt so we all match, and you can bring a partner, friend, pet...whomever.  I always march with my dog and he seems equal parts excited and confused by the occasion, but he's a good boy.  I suppose the preceding sentence could also apply to my husband. I kid!  But if you really are interested in supporting equality and UHPP, join us by emailing our HR and Volunteer Associate Amy Wolff at or 518-434-5678 x.144.  We'd love to have you.  Not convinced yet?  Then take a look at some photos from years past.

My dog, my with it

The Troy Valley Cat!
I wasn't kidding about the yoga spandex bros. Poor Jack, bahaha
With Mayor Kathy Sheehan in the park post-march

Monday, April 6, 2015

"Sorry Babe, You're a Feminist!"

In the past, the term "feminism" has been so thoroughly dragged through the mud that it now has horribly negative connotations.  I grew up hearing the term "feminazi" used in my own home.  I was too young to know any better back then, and I thought that anything that came from the mouths of my parents was the gospel truth.  However, I now realize how much damage that this smear campaign has caused over the years.

The term "feminazi" alone is so jacked up that I can't even deal with it. To compare women fighting for equality to a group of people who exterminated millions of people is just wrong. The opposition was convinced that women were looking for special treatment somehow.  That we wanted more than what was afforded to men-- and what would that be, exactly? What the hell were they afraid of?!

Basically, yeah.
This was the temperature of the equality movement of the 70's and 80's when I was growing up.  It was such an effective technique of inflicting negative spin, that feminists are afraid to consider themselves feminists, even today.

So for that reason alone, I'm not really angry at the folks that don't want to use the word, despite good intentions.  It's not their fault that ignorant jerks throughout the years have ruined it for us.  But that simple fact does not change what we are.  We are activists, continuing to fight the good fight, and it's time to take it back.  Maybe you'll go so far as to attend a rally or speak with your legislators.  Maybe it's signing an online petition or putting a sticker on your car.  Whatever it is, own your stance and your passion.  Don't let the opposition bully you into fearing who you really are.

If you're with me, then I think you'll appreciate this hilarious little ditty from comedian Katie Goodman.  Check it out. Tell your friends. Spread the word, and remember; there is nothing wrong with being a feminist.  It's the people who are so terrified of women achieving equality that they need to equate us with war criminals who have a problem.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Join UHPP for an inspiring movie night.

VESSEL: A fearless sea captain sails a ship through loopholes in international law, providing abortions on the high seas, and leaving in her wake a network of emboldened activists who trust women to handle abortion on their own terms.

Thursday, April 30th at 6:30 pm at The Arts Center in Troy. Tickets: $20 per person ($10 for students). For more information visit our event page at Eventbrite.

Vessel begins with a young doctor who lived by the sea, and an unlikely idea. Rebecca Gomperts, horrified by the realities created by anti-abortion law around the world, felt compelled to challenge this. Her method: to provide abortions on a ship in offshore waters.

Her project, Women on Waves, begins as flawed spectacle, a media frenzy, faced with governmental, religious, and military blockades. But with each setback comes a more refined mission, until Rebecca has the revelation that she can use new technologies to bypass law – and train women to give themselves safe abortions using WHO-sanctioned protocols with pills.

We witness the creation of an underground network of emboldened, informed activists, working at the cutting edge of global reproductive rights, who trust women to handle abortion themselves. Vessel is Rebecca’s story: one of a woman who heard and answered a calling, and transformed a wildly improbable idea into a global movement.

Check out the trailer!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Male Politician Epic Fails at Female Anatomy

I couldn't make this junk up if I tried.  Jezebel nailed it, so I'm just going to leave this here:

Our friend Vito [Barbieri, Rep. Idaho] asked Dr. Julie Madsen, who was testifying against [a bill that would ban doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine], if women could simply swallow a camera in order for doctors to perform remote gynecological exams. Madsen I assume chocked back cries of utter disdain and horror before explaining that “swallowed pills do not end up in the vagina.” (read more)

Seriously....what?  I mean, I know it's "lady parts" but I thought this stuff was common knowledge by now.  These are people we elect to office.  These are the people who are deciding which laws will legislate our lives and well-being, and he doesn't know how a freaking vagina works.  This guy has a wife and three kids, and somehow missed this.

I will leave you with the foundation shaking implications of this. Really take a moment to let this sink in.

I would like conclude by also pointing out that the official website for the Idaho legislature chose papyrus as its font.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

[Bustle] 6 Anti-Abortion Politicians To Watch Out For As The Fight Heats Up In 2015

As feared, the are many new challenges the pro-choice movement (along with many other proponents of a number of civil rights causes) will be facing with the new Republican-led Congress.  This post from Bustle highlights who we need to watch out for.  The fact that there are women on this list is extremely disappointing.
In its first three days, Congress introduced five anti-abortion measures. Five. It seems that limiting women’s access to safe abortion is on par with the Keystone XL pipeline, another harmful Republican favorite. The House re-introduced a bill that would restrict abortion limits to 20 weeks, which already passed the Republican-led chamber in 2013. Representatives will vote on the bill on Jan. 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, to commemorate their embarrassing backpedaling on human rights. Meanwhile, the Senate took aim at Planned Parenthood funding and created a legislative obstacle course for abortion providers, particularly outside of urban areas. Ah, what a start!
Find out who is on the list. And a side note to Millennials: Please go vote.  We needed your voice in the last elections and you didn't turn up. You are an intelligent and impassioned group of people calling for social change, but you need to make your voice heard at the polls or it's all for naught.  I was astonished by the election results, considering the current conservative platform is growing increasingly unfavorable among Millennial and Gen-Y voters who desire social reform. Please-- we can't let this continue. Vote, vote, vote!