- Let’s start this rundown off right with some heartening, touching news: Our uber-conservative governor, Doug Ducey, shocked us all by clearing the way for same-sex couples to adopt and foster children in Arizona. (AZ Central)
- Somebody pinch me. More Arizona goodness: A Scottsdale venture capitalist is doing his part to ensure that women in the United States have access to affordable birth control. How terrific! (Tucson Sentinel)
- Delaying pregnancy could reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. (Live Science)
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 90 percent of teenagers who are sexually active used some form of birth control the last time they were intimate. Ninety percent! Ahhh-mazing. (Tech Times)
- Dear Religious Right: My president is not here for your “conversion therapy” shenanigans. (NYT)
- Will California pass a bill to force “crisis pregnancy centers” to start giving abortion options? If so, I’ll go ahead and wager my entire bank account that these lying liars will close every single location. Sorry, but the truth is they’d much rather deceive women than help them. (RH Reality Check)
- Joining Utah, South Dakota, and Missouri, North Carolina is on track to become the fourth state in the nation to enact a three-day waiting period for abortion. Congratulations on sucking, all of you. (The News & Observer)
- Kansas has banned the safest and most convenient procedure for women undergoing second-trimester abortions. (NYT)
- The whirlwind of Republican idiocy continues in Alabama, where conservatives are now trying to prevent abortion clinics from being located within 2,000 feet of a public school. Because someone terminating a pregnancy could somehow affect anonymous, oblivious school children? Does Alabama ban guns (including concealed carry) within 2,000 feet of public schools? Nope!!! (Montgomery Advertiser)
- Younger Republicans are less pig-headed about birth control than their older peers, but still fairly pig-headed. (HuffPo)
- Women who develop gestational diabetes early in their pregnancies are more likely to give birth to children who will later be diagnosed with autism. (Reuters)
- After abandoning earlier plans to push through a 20-week federal abortion ban because President Obama threatened to veto the hell out of it, Republicans in the House pushed through some bullhooey banning federal funding of abortion yesterday. (Reuters)
- Unfortunately, many states already have laws in place banning abortion at 20 weeks, and more are sure to follow. (NPR)
- Weird scenario … You find out you’re pregnant and give birth to a 10-lb. kid an hour later. Ahh! Talk about an American Horror Story! (USA Today)
- A new health and wellness center specifically for members of the LGBTQ community has opened in Tucson. The very first of its kind in Arizona! (Tucson Weekly)
- Are “hookup apps” the cause of rising STD rates among gay men? (HuffPo)
- Hormonal birth control may be increasing women’s risk for a rare brain tumor. (Luckily that risk is small.) (Medical Daily)
- Black women are making themselves heard on the topic of abortion access. (Think Progress)
- And with black women being four times more likely to die during childbirth than white women, it’s high time our voices are elevated. (Think Progress)
- With his birthday just passing, it’s important to remember that Martin Luther King Jr. was a champion of birth control. (HuffPo)
- An Arizona abortion provider speaks about the changing political landscape and how it’s affected her practice and its patients. (WaPo)
- Oh gawd. Someone decided to give men a platform (’cause they don’t have enough of those already) to speak out about their “abortion regrets.” In particular, not engaging aggressively enough in reproductive coercion to force the women they got pregnant to continue their unwanted pregnancies. I could seriously vomit reading this tripe. (RH Reality Check)
- Good news and bad news. Let’s start with the good: If you’re a fetus in Alabama, you have a legal right to a state-paid attorney to “protect your rights”! Even though you can’t, like … communicate your wishes to the attorney, or think coherent thoughts even. It doesn’t matter! You get a lawyer on the state’s dime! Now the bad news: If you’ve had the misfortune of being born already, you don’t have the right to an attorney paid for by the state. Sorry. Your protection ends once you leave the womb, pal. (Jezebel)
2014 was a pretty not-so-stellar year in reproductive rights, if we’re being honest.
- The Supreme Court ruled against the best interest of women not once, but twice this year via the monumental Hobby Lobby and clinic buffer zone decisions.
- Sex ed in our schools continues to be completely atrocious.
- TRAP laws caused the closure of clinics in numerous states and continue to threaten our access to safe, legal abortion in 24 of the 50 states.
- Our shero, Wendy Davis, lost the gubernatorial race in Texas by an enormous margin.
- Various jackasses have filed more than 100 legal challenges to the contraception benefit in the Affordable Care Act. #HandsOffMyFreeBirthControl
- Beginning in January, anti-abortion politicians will have a lot more seats in the legislature than they did last year. Thanks a mil, old white dudes who ruined the 2014 midterm elections for the liberals, progressives, and pro-choice among us.
- The killings of unarmed black men and boys (and women) served as a horrific reminder that racism and police brutality are indeed reproductive justice issues.
- Despite Gardasil’s proven efficacy, HPV vaccination rates are still “unacceptably low” in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But hold your chin up. All did not suck!
- Same-sex marriage was legalized in our state!!!
- Some of Arizona’s pro-choicey-est legislators got to keep their seats!
- On the technology front, 2014 brought us an app that allows you to photograph that gnarly rash on your privates and get a diagnosis from a real live doctor!
- The FDA gave us greater access to the morning-after pill.
- Conservatives in Arizona lost their bid to put unreasonable restrictions on the use of the abortion pill.
- President Obama wrapped the protective arm of the law around transgender workers.
- Male birth control continues to make strides and could be here by 2017!
While we’re never sure what new, exciting, or horrible fates await us at the dawn of a new year, rest assured that we’ll be here covering the news that matters most with regard to reproductive and sexual health, politics, gender issues, and reproductive justice well into 2015 and beyond.
- Hobby Lobby continues to be terrible — this time they’re discriminating against a transgender employee who simply wants to use the restroom that corresponds with her gender identity. (Slate)
- President Obama is decidedly not down with discrimination and is signing an executive order to protect LGBTQ workers — and there will be no religious exemptions for those who think their god gives them a right to discriminate. (NYT)
- Bill Moyers had Planned Parenthood’s fearless leader, Cecile Richards, on his show for an enlightening discussion about the right wing’s crusade against reproductive rights. Definitely worth a watch! (Bill Moyers)
- Only in modern-day America would a nurse, who is anti-contraception and refuses to dispense contraceptives, sue over not being hired to do a job in which dispensing contraception is an integral part. (Wonkette)
- A group of protesters (anti-abortion, of course) interrupted a church service to demand that the worshippers there “repent” for supporting reproductive rights. So yeah, now churches aren’t even safe from these clowns. Ironic coming from people who claim to “serve God,” dontcha think? (Think Progress)
- More states are recognizing that new mothers on Medicaid who wish to prevent pregnancy aren’t being served well under current rules — and they’re finding new ways to help them. (NPR)
- Do women perceive other women differently when they’re taking the birth control pill? (Salon)
Perhaps the news site Vox.com said it best when summing up the relevance of the 2014 election. The day news broke of the Supreme Court’s decision to grant Hobby Lobby an exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, Editor-in-Chief Ezra Klein pointed out that “Supreme Court Justices die unexpectedly and retire strategically, and … the timing of even a single vacancy can end up reshaping American law for decades to come.” Klein went on: “If Republicans take control of the Senate in 2014 then they’ll have substantial veto power over any efforts President Obama might make to fill a vacancy that could reshape the Court.”
This fall’s gubernatorial race will be crucial in securing Arizonans’ reproductive rights.
A decision from the Supreme Court that arrived the prior week, striking down a Massachusetts “buffer zone” law that protected women from intimidation when they sought services at reproductive health clinics, adds even more weight to Klein’s argument.
Much is at stake both in the national election and the state election here in Arizona. Although a major change in the makeup of the legislature is unlikely, the governor’s race makes the 2014 election a critical event. Whatever comes out of the legislature, how Arizona’s next governor uses his or her veto power can mean the difference between Arizona’s continuing notoriety in the War on Women — after already enacting requirements for ultrasounds, waiting periods, and state-directed counseling for abortion patients — or health care policy that upholds reproductive rights.
When Janet Napolitano held the governor’s office from 2003 to 2009, she set a record for the number of vetoes in a single session (58) and in a single term (115), and many of her vetoes kept a conservative legislature from dismantling reproductive health. Continue reading
- I’ve spoken about my experiences as a clinic escort and the importance of buffer zones around abortion clinics many times on this blog. We at Planned Parenthood are staunch supporters of buffer zones and believe they’re crucial in protecting our patients from potential harm and harassment. So, imagine our collective dismay yesterday when the Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision calling the 35-foot clinic buffer zone in Massachusetts “unconstitutional” on the basis that it violates the First Amendment of those who wish to “counsel” clinic patients. Pretty infuriating to say the least. (Mother Jones)
- Will SCOTUS also throw women under the bus in the upcoming Hobby Lobby decision? (RH Reality Check)
- Four years ago, Aaron Gouveia and his wife had to make the heartbreaking decision to abort their non-viable, very much wanted child. His story describes how the presence of anti-abortion protesters made the saddest day of their lives exponentially worse. (Time)
- President Obama is the first Commander in Chief to help advance transgender rights! (Associated Press)
- Women who volunteer in the Peace Corps are now able to receive insurance coverage for abortion (albeit in limited circumstances: rape, incest, or life endangerment). Better to have baby steps than no steps, I guess. (RH Reality Check)
- Check out this fascinating piece on the history of sex-ed films shown in schools over the years. (Truth-out)
- The headline might sound sensational, but it’s the truth — Abortion Clinics Are Closing Because Their Doors Aren’t Big Enough. (Vice)
- The Vatican is aware their teachings on contraception aren’t followed or even highly regarded by most Catholics, but apparently, it’s easier to keep the doctrine stale and irrelevant than to evolve because they’re not likely to make any changes. (Toronto Star)
June is often known as a big month for weddings. Last June, that was more true than ever as a political battle over the right to marry was in front of the Supreme Court.
In the spring and early summer of 2013 and the days and weeks leading up to the decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry, it was clear that no matter what that case decided about same-sex marriage, the public had decided in favor of marriage equality. Hollingsworth v. Perry challenged Proposition 8, a California same-sex marriage ban that was passed by voter initiative in 2008. The plaintiffs in the case charged that Proposition 8 violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause.
Arizona was the first state to defeat a ballot initiative against marriage equality, but it still doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage today.
Interest built as the case made its way through the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court. The attorneys challenging the ban were themselves a sign of the change taking place in the United States, as former rivals in the Bush v. Gore trial — the Supreme Court trial over the disputed 2000 presidential election — joined forces to challenge Proposition 8. David Boies, a Democrat who had represented Al Gore, joined Theodore Olson, a Republican who had represented George W. Bush.
Before agreeing to serve as counsel for the plaintiffs, Olson had been approached by backers of Proposition 8 to serve as their counsel. Olson declined on the grounds that the law was contrary to both his legal and personal views. However, a high-profile Republican had made the case that the tide was turning, and polling before the Hollingsworth decision provided proof in numbers. Support for marriage equality was growing across all major demographic sectors, and 14 percent of those polled by the Pew Research Center had switched from opposing to supporting marriage equality. A CBS News poll showed that a 53-percent majority now supported same-sex marriage. Alex Lundry, a data scientist who had worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, called it “the most significant, fastest shift in public opinion that we’ve seen in modern American politics.” At the same time, celebrities ranging from hip-hop artist Jay-Z to Baltimore Raven Brendon Ayanbadejo joined the fray as allies. Continue reading