Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It's Trivia Time!

Last year's UHPP team before annihilation
Tonight is the 3rd Annual PPYL Trivia Tournament!  If you read my post about the tournament from last year, you'll see that I talked a lot of smack about loving Jeopardy and junk.  Well, it so happens that we got our asses handed to us big time, so the UHPP team is excited for a rematch!

The event will again be held at Brown's Brewing in Troy, from 6pm-9pm.  Registration is preferred, and you can do so on the Eventbrite page.  Returning as host is Beau Comeaux, who absolutely killed it last year.  I'm not just saying this because I'm biased-- but seriously-- this event is so much fun.
I should also mention that we will have awesome prizes to raffle off, in addition to the winning team's receipt of the coveted Golden Speculum award. We don't want anyone to end up with bookends, so come and challenge last year's champions!  The funds raised will help support UHPP and our patients during its landmark 80th year.

Cost: $25 or $10 with valid student ID. 21+ only. PPYL is a group of 40-ish and younger local professionals committed to the mission and activities of UHPP, who have expressed interest in meeting and networking with like-minded individuals in an informal atmosphere.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Your Boss Can Now Decide If You Can Have Access to Birth Control.

From Planned Parenthood Action:

BREAKING: The Supreme Court just issued a ruling that will take birth control out of the hands of women who need it. Their decision gives employers the power to deny women the new birth control benefits of the Affordable Care Act — allowing bosses to force their personal beliefs on employees.

This isn't over. We’re not going to let a handful of extreme bosses and politicians turn back the clock — we’re moving forward, not backward, and we're not done fighting for women's access to birth control.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Note to Texas Republicans from Jon Stewart

In response to the fact that the Texas GOP has endorsed "Gay Reparative Therapy," a fact that makes me want to vomit, Jon Stewart, as usual, excels with his snarky truth-bombs.  See for yourself.

From the Comedy Central official Tumblr page:

Game, set, match.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Editorial Debunks Abortion Myths Perpetuated by Hollywood

This editorial, excerpted after the jump, examines abortion in pop culture-- particularly film-- and how it is inaccurately portrayed.  Interestingly enough, aside from the references to the film Juno, I never actually consciously noticed it myself.  As I was reading this post, however, it became glaringly obvious how negatively abortion is portrayed in Hollywood.  Don't get me wrong-- abortion is not an easy thing for a woman to have to do, and the hope is that sex will eventually become so universally safe, that cases will drop dramatically-- a trend that is actually happening nationwide.  I'm not saying that it should be glorified, but why perpetuate these awful lies?  Are they trying to scare women away from getting the help that they need?

The film industry not only presents a universally negative projection of abortion and the people who choose to have them; it's downright unrealistic.  This terrific editorial by Elizabeth Plank debunks the eight biggest lies Hollywood tries to sell to viewers about abortion, and talks about a new film who may help dispel all of these awful myths.

The 8 Biggest Lies About Abortion, Debunked by the Year's Most Important Rom-Com
by Elizabeth Plank  
Coming out of the theater following the widely acclaimed film Juno, I remember being furious. I left feeling betrayed by a so-called progressive film that depicted such backward views about women's reproductive realities. More than that, I felt sickened by the fact that I had wasted $11 on a movie that inaccurately portrayed abortion as something scary or gross and perpetuated the myth that only women bear responsibility when it comes to children. Because I knew that seeing an abortion in a negative light in a movie makes viewers less likely to support abortion access, it worried me. 
Frustrated, I embarked on a mission to find media that realistically depicted these life events — but I couldn't find any. That is, until Obvious Child, perhaps the first "abortion comedy" ever successfully made. It makes all the other films that "sorta" explore pregnancy, reproductive choices and women's sexuality look like total malarkey

1. Abortion is a very painful procedure.
Going through an abortion is not easy, but one of the myths about the procedure is that it is incredibly painful. The abortion scene from Blue Valentine unfortunately reinforces that idea; however, the scene in Obvious Child shows the lie behind this perception. 
It goes without saying that every woman's experience and level of discomfort is different, but Slate's character Donna shows an experience much more reflective of the one most women face. She receives local anesthesia, is visibly relaxed from the meds but is clearly emotionally affected with tears in each eye. According to Planned Parenthood, for many women, the "pain is similar to menstrual cramps," while for others it can be "more uncomfortable." 
The bottom line is that the common perception that abortion is somehow gruesome and physically harrowing is not the experience of the majority of women. 
"The abortion experience is different for every person," Lizz Winstead, a comedian and cofounder of Lady Parts Justice told PolicyMic. "One thing I always hope for all women who choose to end a pregnancy is that they do not feel shame about it. This film gives women permission to make a choice with no apologies, and they did a brilliant job of it."

 Click here to read on as Ms. Plank deconstructs seven more myths perpetuated by Hollywood.

(Note from me-- I'm surprised that the article doesn't mention the Cider House Rules, a terrific movie that realistically shows that abortion can be a safe and even life-saving process. It does take place in the 1940's when abortion was obviously illegal and much more taboo, and it does a good job of showing what it was like to need to sneak around and find a way to have the illegal procedure, and the potential complications of failing in this attempt. I very much recommend checking it out.)

Monday, May 19, 2014

National Journal: "Why Abortion-Rights Activists Should Fear the Supreme Court"

A rather unsettling article appeared in the National Journal yesterday, and I won't sully it with excess commentary.  I just would like to take a moment to remind everyone of how fortunate we are to live in New York, but the ripple effect of an unfavorable ruling from the Supreme Court could be disastrous, even for us.  Therefore, without further ado, I recommend you all read this.

Why Abortion-Rights Activists Should Fear the Supreme Court
A high-court ruling is seen as a likely last-ditch effort to stop sweeping antiabortion legislation passed in Texas and other states. But counting on a win is a very risky gamble for the law’s opponents.

By Sophie Novack and Sam Baker
May 18, 2014

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The abortion-rights movement is on the verge of a massive gamble.

The movement is trying to roll back a wave of state laws that have successfully curtailed access to abortion, and their best hope for doing so—perhaps their only hope for doing so—is likely a ruling from the Supreme Court. Advocates could soon get their wish: A Texas antiabortion law appears headed to the high court as soon as its next session, and a ruling against it could put other states' abortion restrictions on the shakiest of legal ground.

But it's also a move that could backfire: The advocates have no guarantee the Court will rule in their favor. The panel is divided and exceedingly difficult to forecast, and it could issue an unfavorable ruling that would not only sanction the Texas law—but also pave the legal way for new antiabortion laws nationwide.

"I think it is a huge risk," said Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. "My concern is that at least four, if not five, justices don't have the same level of empathy for the burdens women face that we see on the ground."

Monday, May 5, 2014

Let's Talk About Sex!

This Wednesday, May 7 at 7pm, Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood is hosting a film screening of Let's Talk About Sex. I have had the pleasure of seeing this film, and it really is illuminating. Of course, I personally find the subject matter fascinating, having always had an interest in how sexuality is approached in different cultures, and my continued bafflement of how it is regarded in many aspects of American life.  Countless studies have shown that a more direct approach in our dealings with teenagers and sex means that they (duh) have a much better understanding of the subject matter and will be better prepared.  Sounds pretty simple, but so many people simply can't deal with the concept. This film examines the contrast between the rather puritanical approach utilized by many American families, and the more practical method utilized by Europeans.  Which culture has fewer teen pregnancies and instances of STIs? I guess you'll have to check it out.  After the film, which is about an hour long, there will be a panel of experts to engage the audience in a discussion.  Please visit the Facebook event page and/or Eventbrite to find out more and RSVP.

From the Times Union:
"Let's Talk About Sex (The Movie)" is about more than just sex. The film focuses on sex and sexuality in today's society and how those attitudes affect teenagers. Director James Houston talks to teens and families about the subjects, and examines how other nations deal with protecting adolescent sexual health. The movie won the Youth Award at Spain's Mostra de Ciencia e Cinema Festival and was an official selection of the Provincetown International Film Festival. Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood will sponsor a free screening of the film this week. A panel discussion will follow, featuring College of Saint Rose Visiting Professor Ellen Cole, University at Albany Sexuality Educator/Counselor Carol Stenger and Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood President Chelly Hegan. 7 p.m. Wednesday. Free (donations accepted). Spectrum 8 Theatres, 290 Delaware Ave., Albany. 449-8995.
(Note from me: the Times Union write-up did not mention the inclusion of Dyrleif Bjarnadottir on the panel, a member of the UHPP Board of Directors, mother, and European who has been living in the US for quite some time, and has some interesting observations to share about the subject.)

Check out the trailer!