Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • With all of the shenanigans that have transpired in North Carolina over the years (their racially discriminatory voting debacles especially), it’s nice to be able to highlight the state for doing something positive for a change. North Carolina has managed to close its black-white maternal death gap. This is amazing and so important. (Vox)
  • I’m sure we all remember (and would like to forget) the Jan Brewer era? Well, friendly reminder: Arizona Already Tried What the GOP Wants to Do to Medicaid. It Was a Disaster. (Slate)
  • Our nomination for sentence of the week: “Whatever maternity care his mother got when she was pregnant with him helped him grow into the healthy, thriving, intolerable jerkoff he is today.” HA! (XX Factor)
  • Christian crisis pregnancy centers in Illinois are suing the state because they want to keep lying to vulnerable pregnant women about their options. Let’s hope they catch the ‘L’ they deserve. (Chicago Tribune)
  • The majority of women who have abortions are already mothers. They share their stories about why they chose to terminate their pregnancies. (Elle)
  • Parents are doing a mediocre job teaching teens about love, sex, and the misogyny that permeates our culture. Eighty-seven percent of teenage girls have experienced harassment, abuse, or assault. This is not OK. (NBC News)
  • Due to the fact that we have a thin-skinned narcissist with the restraint and civility of a toddler in the White House, there are obviously A LOT of concerns about national politics. However, we can’t lose sight of the fact that local politics have a much greater effect on most of our daily lives — especially for women. NARAL President Kaylie Hanson Long details why. (Think Progress)
  • Literally ALL the medical groups hate Trumpcare. Have they no compassion for the rich people who would be further enriched by GOP tax cuts?!? (NBC News)
  • Wow — a majority of GOP voters largely support Obamacare’s birth control mandate. Surprising! (The Hill)
  • While conservative politicians are doing everything within their power to ensure women have less access to birth control to prevent unintended pregnancy and less access to abortion to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, the foster care system is bursting at the seams with child victims of the opioid crisis. I personally have spent a great deal of time looking for SOME kind of evidence that the “pro-life” politicians who seek to restrict women’s rights are also advocating somehow for these children. Unfortunately I’m at a loss. Their privileged, traditional, nuclear families aren’t fostering them. They aren’t publicly advocating for them vocally. They aren’t trying to bring about meaningful change to the foster care system. Oddly, it seems like the “pro-life” advocacy only applies to CURRENT, not former, residents of a womb. Sad. (Mother Jones)
  • Well, this is heart-wrenching and tragic: In developing nations, 214 million women want to prevent pregnancy but have no contraception. How will poverty ever be eradicated if women have no control over their fertility, limited ability to prioritize their existing children and give them better opportunities, and no meaningful path toward economic independence? (XX Factor)

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • mobile appRussell Pearce, one of the worst Republican leaders in Arizona, engineered his own downfall by advocating for poor women to be forcibly sterilized. Isn’t it strange how these people actively fight against “government-sponsored” co-pay-free birth control and abortion one minute and then try to force it upon those they deem “undesirable” the next? (AZ Central)
  • Vice went undercover in several crisis pregnancy centers and further confirmed that they’re a lying bunch of sorry liars who thrive on cruelly tricking women in incredibly vulnerable situations. (Vice)
  • Add Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to the ever expanding list of lying, anti-choice liars on a never-ending mission to deceive us. This imbecile had the gall to accuse the federal government of “suing nuns to force them to pay for abortion-inducing drugs.” Um, what? No sir. The “nuns” in question, Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic nonprofit, are suing the government to challenge the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit. The government is not suing them. The case is over their refusal to provide insurance coverage for birth control to their employees. Birth control! Which does not “induce abortions”! (RH Reality Check)
  • A dilemma far too many women face: being too poor for a baby and too poor for an abortion. And before the anti-abortion crowd chimes in with “she shouldn’t be having sex then,” let’s shut down that BS with the fact that this woman in particular is married. I don’t think that would stop Russell Pearce from putting her on the forced-sterilization list, but I do think the anti-abortion “abstinence before marriage crowd” should face the fact that these situations don’t just happen with us unmarried sinful sex enthusiasts. (xoJane)
  • If you’re on Twitter and not following Dr. Leah Torres, ob/gyn and pro-choice superstar, you should rectify that. She drops knowledge! (Bustle)
  • Planned Parenthood has an app for your mobile phone now and obviously some people aren’t thrilled with that. (Seattle Times)
  • One woman’s cost for helping her pregnant daughter obtain “the abortion pill”? Forty-five dollars for the medication and 9 to 18 months in jail. (NY Times)
  • CVS effed up big time by illegally charging more than 11,000 women who should have been receiving co-pay-free birth control under the ACA for their contraception. (Salon)

Meet Our Candidates: Aaron Marquez for State Senator, LD 27

The Arizona primary election will be held on August 26, 2014, and early voting began on July 31. Reproductive health care access has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive justice. To acquaint you with our endorsed candidates, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates.”  Make your voice heard in 2014!

Aaron Marquez is running for the Arizona State Senate in Legislative District 27, a district that encompasses part of Central Phoenix as well as the communities of Guadalupe, South Mountain, and Laveen. Mr. Marquez has focused his campaign on the idea of building bridges — in the form of strengthening education and the economy — for a stronger Arizona.

Mr. Marquez faces primary opposition from current House Rep. Catherine Miranda, who has a voting record in the legislature that clearly shows she does not support women’s health issues or the ability for Arizonans to make their own health care decisions.

Mr. Marquez was kind enough to take the time for this telephone interview, transcribed below, on July 23, 2014.


“I just want to make sure that the Arizona my daughter grows up in is an Arizona that always respects women.”


Tell us a little about your background.

I was raised in Arizona. I had a single mom and an older sister who were both very influential in raising me. I went through K-12 public schools in Arizona.

I started at the University of Arizona, but something important happened that first semester of college, for me and for the country — 9/11 happened. I realized I wanted to find a way to serve the country. I tried to get into the Army at that point but ended up being medically disqualified due to childhood asthma.

I looked for other options to serve and discovered the AmeriCorps program. I ended up moving to Boston as an AmeriCorps volunteer to work in inner city schools. I did that for two years, running tutoring programs and learning programs for middle and high school students.

Then I took a third year off of school — my folks thought I was never going back to college — to work for the Kerry campaign in 2004. I realized, after two years of giving community service full time, that political service and governance is how you effect the most change for the most amount of people. If good people don’t run for public office, then you have people who poorly represent our country and our state and — in my particular race — in District 27. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

Emily Letts

Emily Letts

  • Arizona (which has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the United States) doesn’t require its students to take sex ed, and thus over 75 percent of students in Tucson aren’t taking it. This is not good! (AZ Daily Star)
  • Arizona religious zealot and crackpot Pastor Steven Anderson says birth control has turned women into “whores” and stated, “Not only does birth control do damage to women, it hurts their body if they’re using the pills. And it also affects their character, causing them to be an idle, tattler, gossip, turning aside after Satan.” Whoa, man! Obviously this concerns me, so I perused the little info packet that’s included with my birth control pills and these do not seem to appear in the side effects. Hmm. Someone must not be telling the truth. WONDER WHO? (Raw Story)
  • As you may have heard, Emily Letts set off a firestorm when she allowed her abortion procedure to be videotaped. As expected, the portion of the population that believes women should be forced to give birth under any and every circumstance is infuriated that she doesn’t seem completely ashamed by her choice and chose to share it rather than hide it. (NBC News)
  • How much did the Affordable Care Act save women on the cost of birth control in 2013? $483 million! Yay, thanks President Obama! #HighFive (Think Progress)
  • Between 2008 and 2011, the national abortion rate declined by 13 percent. (San Diego Free Press)
  • NARAL is kicking ass and taking names in the fight against “crisis pregnancy centers” lying to women via Yahoo and Google ads. (The Hill)
  • Senate Republicans are going after more abortion legislation. Act surprised, y’all. (Politico)
  • Astute, profoundly reasonable thinker, Sarah Palin, opines that having a grandkid could change Hillary Clinton’s views on abortion. Yeah … I guess we’ll just ignore the fact that Hillary GAVE BIRTH TO HER OWN BABY 34 years ago and is still pro-choice. (CBS News)
  • As I’ve mentioned before, having babies can sometimes make women even more strident in their pro-choice views. Here’s one woman’s story: (RH Reality Check)

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • pillArizona’s abortion restrictions are making national news for their colossal suckiness. (Rolling Stone)
  • Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is an anti-choice zealot and, unsurprisingly, so is his wife. It seems she has strong ties with a “crisis pregnancy center” that counsels women (and tells them big lies) to dissuade them from having abortions. What does this mean for us? It means buffer zones at abortion clinics could be a thing of the past if Scalia has anything to say about it. WHICH SADLY HE DOES. (Salon)
  • Criminalizing pregnant women for having the misfortune of being addicts. That’s the agenda in Tennessee. (RH Reality Check)
  • Abortion opponents cannot grasp the fact that pro-choice advocate Chelsea Clinton is choosing to have a child. The air is really thick with stupid these days, isn’t it? (Think Progress)
  • Nearly 70 percent of Americans believe all health insurance plans should cover birth control. Maybe because something like 97 percent of women use or have used some form of contraception in their lifetimes? That could be why. (Time)
  • Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan thinks people can walk into “a 7-Eleven or any shop on any street in America” and pick up birth control like it’s a pack of Juicy Fruit Gum. Look, I know the guy’s celibate and all, but lack of sex doesn’t excuse this kind of ignorance. (NY Times)
  • Rand Paul said something reasonable and non-extreme about abortion and conservatives are pissed. (HuffPo)
  • Need some tips to make sex and birth control less awkward subjects in your life? Here ya go! (Care2)

Book Club: Generation Roe

Like many in her generation, Sarah Erdreich thought the freedoms that Roe v. Wade guaranteed were secure. A child of the post-Roe era, she learned that the landmark decision had legalized abortion, striking down many of the state and federal restrictions that had previously forced countless women to risk their lives and health in the hands of underground abortion providers — providers whose work was not accountable to any professional medical standards.

What Erdreich learned was true, but it wasn’t the entire truth. Legalizing abortion was one thing. Guaranteeing access to it was another. After college, graduate school, and a series of abandoned career starts, Erdreich ended up in Washington, D.C., working for the hotline for the National Abortion Federation. Her job changed her perspective, opening her eyes to the extent that restrictions and barriers still diverted many people from the legal procedure of abortion. It was that experience that inspired her to write Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement (Seven Stories Press, 2013).


Generation Roe is worthwhile reading for those who want to build on the legacy of Roe v. Wade.


Generation Roe assesses where we are today, 40 years after Roe, with a sobering look at the continuing threats to reproductive freedom. In the decade that Roe was decided, 77 percent of all U.S. counties lacked an abortion provider. Today, that figure has jumped to 87 percent, while the number of women of childbearing age in those counties has increased from 27 to 35 percent. That’s one of many indicators Erdreich uses to capture the contradictions of the post-Roe era. Those like her who grew up after 1973 have never known what it’s like to live without the availability of legal abortion. But that availability has been curtailed by everything short of overturning Roe, from legal means, such as statutes mandating medically inaccurate pre-abortion counseling — plus waiting periods of 24 hours or more — to illegal means, such as threatening abortion providers and their patients.

Unfortunately, while so much significance can be pegged on Roe v. Wade, and while those few syllables can serve as a sort of shorthand for reproductive freedom, there isn’t a counterpart that succinctly captures its myriad curtailments. As a result, many of those curtailments are left out of the conversation. It takes a news hound to follow what’s happening in the 50 states on the abortion front and to have a thorough sense of where that leaves people who seek abortion services. “I absolutely think most people are not aware of what the realities are in terms of barriers to access,” says law student Kyle Marie Stock, one of the many people Erdreich interviewed for her book. Continue reading