Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Obama Nominates Judge Sonia Sotomayor

Create by: Jillian

President Obama has nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. As usual, the press jumped all over the abortion divide, questioning Sotomayor's position and the future of Roe v. Wade.

At this point in time, we really don't know too much about Judge Sonia Sotomayor's position on choice because she hasn't had the opportunity to directly rule on it's merits. What we do know is that President Obama has selected a nominee with a distinguished record of professional accomplishments as a judge, prosecutor, and community leader and that Judge Sotomayor receives strong support from her peers and other legal scholars. She has also been confirmed twice for federal judgeships.

For now, we are looking forward to the Senate giving Judge Sonia Sotomayor a fair hearing that includes questions about the right to privacy as defined in Roe v. Wade.

For more information or to request that the Senate ask about Roe v. Wade visit NARAL Pro-Choice America's website.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Latina Teen Birth Rates Double National Average

Created by: Jillian

In the Latina community, the teen birth rate is about double that of the National average. Whereas, in 2007, the birth rate among non-Hispanic whites ages 15 to 19 was 27.2 per 1,000, and 64.3 per 1,000 for non-Hispanic black teens in the same age range, the teen birth rate among Hispanic teens ages 15 to 19 was 81.7 per 1,000.

A new survey finds that 84 percent of Latino teens and 91 percent of Latino parents believe that graduating from college or university or having a promising career is the most important goal for a teen's future, and yet, 69% of Latina teen moms drop out of school.

Not surprisingly, the survey highlighted unsafe sex practices as a major reason for teen pregnancy, once again reinforcing that our country's youth deserve comprehensive, medically accurate and age appropriate sex education.

The issue of high teen birth rate in the Latina community is not happening in isolation.
"Despite a rich culture and the growing influence of Hispanics in America, the Latino community disproportionately suffers from troubling social indicators. Consider that fewer than six in 10 Latino adults in the United States have a high school diploma. Latino teens are more likely to drop out than their non-Hispanic counterparts, and of all the children living in poverty, 30 percent are Latino."

Connecticut's racial and ethnic reproductive health disparities are shockingly large. Our state has the highest poverty gap in the country and our teen pregnancy rates reflect what is outlined above. It is time we step up and provide all youth with the information they need to protect themselves and prosper!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Abortion Divide--Will It Ever End?

Created by: Jillian

I avoided posting on the "Notre Dame graduation issue" of having President Obama speak and receive an honorary degree because I thought it was inappropriate. I mean, when all is said and done, this is a graduation day we're talking about--a time for students and parents to celebrate the accomplishment of receiving a college degree...not to be caught in the middle of an ugly debate over abortion.

But after this past weekend I am once again so pleased to have a President who confronts issues face on and is open to discussing them, even ones as controversial as abortion that I can't help but post. In his commencement address, President Obama said the following:

“Maybe we won’t agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this heart-wrenching decision for any woman is not made casually. It has both moral and spiritual dimension. So let us work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions. Let’s reduce unintended pregnancies. Let’s make adoption more available. Let’s provide care and support for women who do carry their children to term.”

I know I am partial to the pro-choice side, because lets face it, I'm pro-choice, but I am really sick and tired of pro-lifers/anti-choicers thinking that carrying around horrific photos of dead babies is somehow going to settle the debate. It's offensive, completely inappropriate, and isn't going to solve anything.

Abortion isn't going away anytime soon--our country's history proves that. The underlying reason that women seek abortions is because of unintended pregnancies and so if we are ever going to lessen the number of abortions in this country we need to do something to reduce unintended pregnancy.

I hope that the anti-choice movement is willing to listen to President Obama's call for civility and common ground. Do you think we will ever get there?

It's time to put the posters and bullhorns away and have a conversation!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Anti-Choice Legislators at it Again

Created by: Jillian

Last night, four anti-choice law-makers introduced an amendment on the death penalty bill that would change the age of minors counseling prior to an abortion and create a parental notice provision for minors to have an abortion.

First of all, the hypocrisy of these four legislators, REP. ROWE, 123rd Dist., REP. CANDELORA, 86th Dist., REP. CAMILLO, 151st Dist., and REP. HAMZY, 78th Dist. who all voted to continue having the death penalty in Connecticut is enough to drive me mad. According to Rowe,

"What is more vulnerable than an unborn human life? We can't debate it here, and yet, we can debate whether the state ought to take the lives of the worst of the worst among us. ... The 40 unborn that are taken every day in this state deserve something, and they are getting nothing from this legislature.''

So apparently to these four gentlemen, only certain "life" matters. Makes me sick.

Besides all that, the amendment that was introduced would do nothing to prevent unintended pregnancy, thereby reducing the need for abortion. If our country's history has taught us anything, it is that restricting access to abortion does nothing to prevent abortion.

I think most of us hope that young women will seek the advice and counsel of those who care for her most, but when a young woman cannot, I certainly do not want legislation in place that will restrict her access to abortion, putting her life and health in danger.

We know that these four anti-choice legislators will most likely introduce this amendment on legislation throughout the rest of the legislative session which ends on June 3rd.

Please contact your legislators and tell them to oppose any and all amendments to change the age of minors counseling prior to abortion and to create a parental notice provision for minors to have an abortion. Let's focus our state's efforts on preventing unintended pregnancies in the first place!

Parental Involvement Fact Sheet

Friday, May 8, 2009

President Obama Releases 2010 Budget Proposal

Create by: Jillian

President Obama released details of the first budget proposal of his presidency on Thursday. Right off the bat, the president recommends eliminating funding for abstinence-only programs! Woohoo...finally!

He also recommends increases for family-planning programs, including a provision that would allow Connecticut to expand the medicaid family planning services we are currently able to provide. There is also a recommended increase to overseas contraceptive services.

The President's budget proposal does a great deal to address prevention, including a new investment--$173 million for evidence based sex education programs to prevent teen pregnancy! This is very exciting, especially when state's are struggling to provide municipalities with funding and schools are feeling the burden of one too many unfunded mandates.

So what's not to like...well, although the President's budget does propose removing the ban on publicly funded abortions in Washington DC, his budget doesn't do anything to address the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment, first passed in 1976, bans federal funding for abortion in the Medicaid program except under extremely limited circumstances. For the millions of women who rely on medicaid and other federal programs for health services, the President's proposed budget has done them a great disservice.

Although I don't believe that women's reproductive health and choices should in any way be dictated by political rhetoric and policy, I do believe that President Obama understands the importance of working on issues incrementally and how divisive an issue abortion is.

Do you think the President should have proposed a budget that overturns the Hyde Amendment? Do you think he left it out on purpose and if so, is that ok?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Women's Health Insurance Fairness Act

Created by: Jillian

Senator John Kerry has introduced the Women's Health Insurance Fairness Act, which would prevent insurers in the individual market from charging more, denying or limiting coverage based on gender or pregnancy and would require maternity coverage.

Way to go Senator Kerry!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Living Example--Bristol Palin?

Created by: Jillian

Bristol Palin will serve as the Candie's Foundation Teen Ambassador to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. In a statement, she said that she feels she could be a living example of the consequences of teen pregnancy. Interesting...daughter of a Governor who is finishing her high school education with the help of her wealthy family as an example of the consequences of teen pregnancy.

Statistics say that 3 out of 10 girls in the United States will get pregnant and less than half of those women will earn their high school diploma. Hmmm...that's odd. How can Bristol be a living example of the consequences of teen pregnancy when her experience is defying all odds?

In her latest interview, Bristol finally got on the Palin "abstinence" band wagon. Regardless of what she did--she's telling young people that abstinence is the way to go!

Wow. Teen Ambassador--really? Can't we just be done with this family?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sex Education via Text Message

Created by: Jillian

The Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina has received a $5,000 grant to provide sex education advice and referrals via text message. Currently in North Carolina, students receive abstinence-only sex education in schools and the rate of teen pregnancy has been on the rise.

The text message program work as a sort of a hotline. Youth can text their questions regarding any topic having to do with sex, STDs, or pregnancy prevention and they will be provided with encouraging advice and referrals.

What an innovative way to reach youth--utilizing an extremely popular communication technology! I like it!