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)

Russell Pearce Misses the Point: Starting a Dialogue on Sex Education

The following guest post comes to us via Kelley Dupps, political engagement coordinator for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona.

teacher and studentsMuch has been made of the repugnant remarks made by former Republican lawmaker Russell Pearce regarding poor women and birth control. Mr. Pearce — assuming he was head of welfare — made comments on his radio show September 6 saying he would force women to have birth control implants or undergo surgical sterilization to access funds. So many regimes have used this rhetoric, and some have enacted policies like these to control the reproductive lives of women. It seems the definition of insanity that we’re having this conversation again.

Let’s be clear about one thing: Politicians have no place in the health care choices of Americans. All health care decisions should be made between the patient, the doctor, and the patient’s family — and politics should play no part in that.

Let’s also remember, birth control prevents abortion. In fact, birth control allows young people to finish high school — which is especially important here in Arizona since we have a high teen pregnancy rate and subsequent increased high school dropout rates.

But really what it comes down to is education. Government cannot force birth control on its citizens. Governments cannot legislate to impose morality or healthy decision making or regulate hormones. What governments can do is educate their youth on abstinence and contraceptive behaviors to help keep them safe from unintended pregnancy and STDs. Schools can teach medically accurate information on anatomy and biology and facilitate conversations on the importance of healthy relationships. Finally, communities can help advocate against bullying and raise awareness about dating violence and ways to address it.

Since sexuality education is not a mandatory subject in Arizona schools, it’s important to understand that accuracy and truth matter. School boards, local schools, and communities can take action today by simply asking teachers, principals, and administrators: “What is my kid learning when it comes to sex ed?” Facebook and Twitter allow public platforms for town-hall-like discussion to take place directly with officials. Have you ever wondered what your child is learning — if anything — about sex? Maybe it’s time to find out.

To learn more about starting the conversation on comprehensive sex education, please download our flier.

A Conversation With Faye Wattleton: Part 3, Family Planning and Race

Faye Wattleton (left) with Maxine Waters and Jesse Jackson, 1992

Faye Wattleton was president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America from 1978 to 1992. She was generous enough to speak to me on January 7, 2013, and throughout the month of February we’ll be sharing her experiences and perspectives in observance of Black History Month. This third installment covers questions of racism, especially as aimed at Planned Parenthood and its founder, Margaret Sanger.

Faye Wattleton is clear that women’s autonomy is at the core of the reproductive rights debate. Her philosophy regarding the struggle for reproductive rights, as she said during our interview, “gradually evolved to the conclusion that this is still really about the fundamental right and values that women are held to. That our reproduction is still a proxy for the larger question of our full status as human beings and as citizens.” The question is whether the government will seize the power to make decisions about women’s bodies.


“Racism has a very deep vein in this country and our culture.”


Ms. Wattleton, as the first African American president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, was often asked how she could work for an organization founded by Margaret Sanger, a woman who allegedly saw birth control as a tool to eradicate the Negro race, to use the language of Sanger’s time. For example, when Ms. Wattleton debated Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, on the Phil Donahue Show in 1991, he accused her of being a traitor to her race by working for Planned Parenthood: “Margaret Sanger … wanted to eliminate the black community,” Terry said to Ms. Wattleton. “You have been bought.”

Ms. Wattleton responded, “I do not need you to tell me what my choices are about my life and my body because I am a black person. I can make that choice for myself, just as every black woman can make that choice for herself.” Reflecting further on Margaret Sanger during our conversation, Ms. Wattleton added, “I could never understand why Margaret Sanger was hauled out. Maybe she was racist. George Washington had slaves. What am I supposed to do? Give up my American citizenship for that?” Continue reading