How You Can Help
December 07, 2014
The Women's Equality Treaty (officially known as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, or CEDAW) has been languishing in the Senate for over 30 years due to a well-funded and coordinated opposition that feels threatened by international law.
This law has been used by over 180 other countries to address female illiteracy, discrimination, female genital mutilation, sex trafficking and income inequality.
But opponents are portraying it as a threat to the "traditional family" and deliberately distorting the truth about it and several other treaties. They are threatening to run against Senators who support international cooperation, leading many to keep silent on their support for ratification.
Our Senate is better than this. Our citizens deserve better. It's time our Senators went on the record about the U.S. standing up for women's equality and ratifying CEDAW.
Opponents of international cooperation are threatening any Senator who supports working with other countries to solve global problems. Help us fight this "war on international law" and recommit American leadership to engaging and shaping global norms that reflect our shared values.
Around the world, women and girls are targeted for rape and sexual violence as a tactic of war, to tear apart and terrorize families and communities. But women and girls are taking a stand for what they need to recover and survive. We can take a stand. And the United States must take the lead. Stand with CHANGE, Global Fund for Women, and tens of thousands of women and girls. Send President Obama a strong message: act now for women and girls raped in conflict and crisis. Join us at GenderHealth.org http://www.genderhealth.org/
Ask the California legislature to immediately pass SB 1135, a proposed law that would prohibit sterilization of prisoners for birth control or without their consent.June 19 , 2014, MoveOn.org
Ask the California legislature to immediately pass SB 1135, a proposed law that would prohibit sterilization of prisoners for birth control or without their consent.
The State of California cares for its prisoners so badly that in 2005, a judge mandated federal oversight of their prison healthcare system after it was documented that one person dies in California prisons every day from extreme medical malpractice or neglect. But as horrific as these crimes of neglect are, it shocks the conscience anew to hear that the medical care that was provided to prisoners included forced sterilization as recently as 2010.
Eugenics is a word that sounds to too many of us like it belongs only in the history books, but the eugenics programs started in California in the 1920s were found still alive and kicking in its prisons until very recently. While mainstream, and mostly white, women's rights advocates celebrated and defended legal abortion, too little attention has been paid to genocidal medical violence practiced against members of society deemed 'unfit' parents due to poverty, mental health, or non-white ethnicity.
As Loretta Ross, an African American victim of forced sterilization at the age of 23, wrote recently, "After my sterilization, I felt empty, lost, and butchered. I was in shock and felt powerless." There is no justification for an atrocity like this and the State of California must immediately act to ensure that state power is never again abused to deprive people of their right to parent and make their own decisions about their family size.
Repeal the MFG rule. Stop punishing families.
California has a long history of supporting a woman's personal decisions regarding her reproductive choices. We trust women to make decisions about what's best for their families. But there is a state policy - the Maximum Family Grant rule (MFG) - that actually limits women's ability to make reproductive decisions.Tell California's lawmakers and Gov. Brown today: it's time to repeal the MFG rule.
The MFG rule is part of CalWORKs, California's program to help families in poverty. But this rule punishes poor women for their reproductive decisions by withholding aid for a newborn child. It also punishes poor children by denying them financial support and drives families deeper into poverty.
The MFG rule limits reproductive freedom by telling women how many children they should have. The government shouldn't be intruding in families' private lives like this.
For the past 20 years, this failed state policy has made life harder for families. It's time to stop punishing children and start supporting families who are trying hard to make ends meet. It is time to tell the government out of women's decisions about when to have children. It's time to repeal the MFG rule. Take action today.
Meat production is one of the planet's largest causes of environmental degradation and most significant threats to wildlife.
And the problem is rapidly getting worse: Production of beef, poultry, pork and other meat products tripled between 1980 and 2010 and will likely double again by 2020. This increasing meat consumption in a world of more than 7 billion people is already taking a staggering toll on wildlife, habitat, water resources, air quality and the climate. Meanwhile, Americans eat more meat per capita than almost any other country in the world.
By signing the pledge below to reduce meat consumption by one-third or more, we can start to take extinction off our plates. Join the Center for Biological Diversity's Earth-friendly Diet Campaign today.
We, the undersigned, pledge to take extinction off our plates by reducing the amount of meat we consume and/or telling our friends to join the Earth-friendly Diet campaign.
By cutting just one-third of the meat from our diets, we can each save as much as 340,667 gallons of water, more than 4,000 square feet of land, and the greenhouse gas equivalent of driving 2,700 fewer miles a year.
By meating less, we give the world and wildlife a break.
The UK government is supporting a series of initiatives which are helping corporations take over Africa's food. Under the guise of tackling hunger, initiatives like the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, will help corporations take control over Africa's land, seeds and markets - at the expense of small farmers. Click on the link in the headline to join this campaign to oppose this twenty-first century corporate scramble for Africa.
Protect the health of Tennessee families, babies, and mothers by vetoing SB 1391, the Pregnancy Criminalization LawApril 24 , 2014, RH Reality Check
Background: SB 1391, the Pregnancy Criminalization Law, is bad medicine for Tennessee families. The law was promoted by prosecutors against the recommendations of medical professionals, and permits the arrest and incarceration of any woman who can't guarantee a healthy newborn. Pregnancy criminalization substitutes the suspicion of law enforcement for the medical judgment of doctors and is far out of step with the most effective standards for either addiction treatment or neonatal care.
Babies thrive best when their mothers get prenatal care and can bond with them every day from birth through their second birthday. Mothers recover best in treatment for addiction when they can stay with their babies and families.
Pregnancy criminalization scares pregnant mothers away from prenatal care and drug treatment, and then mandates separating them from their babies just when they need each other the most. Women who fear arrest and separation from children they already have, likely because they can't afford private treatment for their addiction, may feel as though abortion is the only way to keep their current families together.
Only two of Tennessee's 177 addiction treatment facilities provide prenatal care on site and allow older children to stay with their mothers, and only 19 provide any addiction care for pregnant women. SB 1391 does nothing to expand services so that low-income parents can access the required treatment, though it costs less than a third as much as jailing them, and it's out of step with Tennessee's Safe Harbor Act, passed last year to lessen the threat of punishment and encourage women to seek treatment. By requiring "completion" of a treatment program, this law even rules out the most successful forms of treatment for narcotic addiction that use ongoing medication. Pregnancy criminalization on these terms could cost families months or even years of irreplaceable time together, while the state pays outrageous bills for unnecessary incarceration and foster care.
Criminalizing pregnancy outcomes is bad medicine for families whose health and pregnancies are already at higher risk from poverty. SB 1391 is bad medicine for a state economy that's better off when parents have access to the resources and family health services they need to care for their own children.
Sign on and thank Sec. Sebelius for fighting for women's health
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius has been one of the most powerful voices for women's health and rights in decades. Thanks to her hard work, millions of women now have access to no-co pay preventive care, free contraception, and insurance coverage that can't be denied due to pregnancy or domestic violence.
A Fox News Host Crossed the Line When She Said Birth Control Benefits Shouldn't Be Covered Because It's "Not Our Responsibility" to "Subsidize" Workers' Sex Lives.March 22 , 2014, Planned Parenthood Act
Send a message to Fox: Saying that paying for birth control is subsidizing sex lives is the same as saying paying a wage is subsidizing your employees' home lives. And by your logic, paying for maternity leave is subsidizing sex lives too. Is that what you're going after next? Birth control is health care, plain and simple.
Attacks on women’s health are happening all across the countryFebruary 24 , 2014
* Louisiana just tried to close ALL the state's abortion clinics
* At least ten states require ultrasounds for women seeking abortion care, even when doctors say there's no need
* The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill last month that could end insurance coverage for abortion
* The Supreme Court will soon decide whether bosses can undermine the Affordable Care Act and endanger women's health by denying their employees insurance coverage for birth control without co-pays
* And last year, states enacted the second-highest number of abortion restrictions… ever!
They are relentless, reckless and morally reprehensible.
The good news is that there's a way to fight back: the Women's Health Protection Act.
The Women's Health Protection Act would allow women to make personal health care decisions unhindered by medically unnecessary restrictions designed to make it harder to access abortion care.
So please join Daily Kos and the National Partnership for Women & Families to encourage your Senators to become co-sponsors of the Women's Health Protection Act. Please sign and send the petition to your Senators by clicking on the link in the headline and following the instructions.
President Obama has asked the Senate to confirm a judicial nominee who tried to channel funds to anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers and make a parental consent law even more extreme.
Michael Boggs showed us his true personal agenda as a state lawmaker. Judges hold an incredible responsibility when they take the bench. Americans need to trust them to take an objective view of the law and not use their position to advance their personal agenda. We can't trust Michael Boggs.
Speak out now and call on your senators to oppose a nominee who can't be trusted with our rights.
It's up to the Senate to stand up to the president and refuse to rubberstamp a nominee who can't be counted on to uphold our values. All 100 senators need to hear from you - their constituents - that you want them to oppose Boggs' nomination.
We're extremely disappointed that pro-choice President Obama has put forward a nominee who can't be counted on to rule fairly. We agree with the president on a lot of things, but not this pick.
Boggs has a history of taking anti-choice action as a state legislator. But that's not all. He's drawing widespread opposition from our allies in the civil rights community for having supported keeping the Confederate battle symbol on the state flag,1 and he's voted against marriage equality.2
Michael Boggs' record paints a picture of someone who isn't willing to relate to anyone who's different than him.
We desperately need more judges on the courts to handle the mountain of challenges to anti-choice laws. President Obama is trying to fix this problem by putting forward more nominees, but we can't award a lifetime appointment to someone like Boggs who's more concerned with advancing his own personal agenda than upholding the law.
Champions of reproductive rights in Congress have announced the Women's Health Protection Act—historic legislation that aims to end the relentless attacks on women's essential reproductive health by extremist politicians. We need you to take action today. Tell Congress that it MUST support this Act.
HR 7 is a sweeping anti-abortion measure proposed by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ). This bill is designed to alter the private and public health insurance market to make abortion coverage nearly impossible to access. Among its provisions, this bill would deny federal assistance to women and families accessing plans in the health insurance marketplace that include abortion coverage, forcing them to give up this coverage or risk their economic security and threatening this coverage in the private market. HR 7 would also make permanent the Hyde Amendment, withholding coverage of abortion care for women who are enrolled in most federal health plans, including low-income women, federal workers, and US servicewomen. Additionally, this bill would raise taxes on small businesses that offer abortion coverage in their employee health plan and ban medical-expense deductions for abortion, with exceptions that might trigger IRS investigations of sexual assault survivors.
Terminator seeds could mean a few huge corporation totally control the global food supplyDecember 18, 2013, SumOf+Us
Under pressure from big commercial farms, the Brazilian parliament is about to hold a vote that will allow companies like Monsanto, Bayer, and others to start selling so-called ‘suicide seeds' to farmers. The genetically modified seeds can only be used once, forcing small farmers into buying seeds from Monsanto or others -- literally forever.
The use of these seeds is de facto prohibited under a UN treaty on biodiversity which over 193 countries have signed -- including Brazil. But if Brazil overturns its own ban then this will have huge consequences. Poor, small farmers could be locked into a cycle of endless debt and dependency. While the rest of the world could be handing control of the global food supply to a handful of companies. The stakes couldn't be higher.
The parliamentary proposal has already been approved by some key committees and is now hurtling its way to a vote of the full parliament, which could be as as soon as in just a few weeks time -- meaning we don't have long to act.
When Laxmi she was just 15 years old, she refused to engage in an arranged marriage with a much older man. Angered, the man and a friend purchased acid from a local retailer and attacked Laxmi in a crowded marketplace, burning her on nearly 50% of her entire body. Eight years after her attack, Laxmi learned that nearly 20 acid attacks against women are performed every month because of disagreements that arise because of dowries and arranged marriage disputes. Laxmi took action immediately and started a petition to regulate the sale of acid in the open market. Just a week later, she won.
Recognizing the epidemic of acid attacks, the Indian government announced that it would implement strict guidelines for shopkeepers which would make it illegal to sell or distribute acid without a valid license. Also, buyers would be required to produce a valid ID and proof of address before purchasing the product.
Wendy Davis is running for governor in Texas and women who don't like having their bodies policed are supporting her. But Republicans have pushed through a Voter ID law where Texans must show a photo ID with their up-to-date legal name instead of IDs like a birth certificate. That's not a problem for single or married men, but it leaves a third of Texas women scrambling in a state with just 81 DMVs in its 254 counties.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham just introduced a bill that would ban abortion at 20 weeks, nationwide. This is just the latest attempt by anti-women's health politicians to turn back the clock on women's rights, even if it means endangering women's lives and ignoring the Constitution.
Politicians like Sen. Graham have no right to stand between a woman and her doctor, and Congress should not have a say in any family's deeply personal medical decisions. But the House passed a similar bill earlier this year, and similar legislation just went into effect in Texas — so we need to speak out and shut this bill down now.
Sign the Bill of Reproductive Rights2013, Draw The Line
Please visit the CNN Heroes website and vote for Kakenya Ntaiya, as the CNN Hero of the Year.
If Kakenya gets enough online votes between now and November 17, her Center in Kenya will receive $250,000 that will help hundreds of Maasai girls get an education, avoid female genital mutilation and child marriage and learn important skills to be self-sufficient.
Your vote can help hundreds more Maasai girls achieve their full potential and, like Kakenya, help improve Kenya's political, education, economic, and health systems. You can vote for Kakenya every day between now and November 17th.
Nestlé is draining developing countries' groundwater to make its Pure Life bottled water, destroying countries' natural resources before forcing its people to buy their own water back. Now Nestlé is moving into Pakistan and sucking up the local water supply, rendering entire areas uninhabitable in order to sell mineral-enriched water to the upper class as a status symbol, while the poor watch wells run dry and their children fall ill. Tell Nestlé to stop stealing Pakistan's water and making its villages uninhabitable.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham just introduced a bill that would ban abortion at 20 weeks, nationwide. This is just the latest attempt by anti-women's health politicians to turn back the clock on women's rights, even if it means endangering women's lives and ignoring the Constitution. Politicians like Sen. Graham have no right to stand between a woman and her doctor, and Congress should not have a say in any family's deeply personal medical decisions. But the House passed a similar bill earlier this year, and similar legislation just went into effect in Texas — so we need to speak out and shut this bill down now. Tell your senators: Say NO to Lindsey Graham's dangerous, unconstitutional abortion ban.
There is a good chance that California Governor Brown signed SB 4 last month without having all the pertinent information. SB 4 started out looking like a decent bill, but at the last minute changes were make to allow expanded fracking for oil production in the state.
Perhaps, because of the last minute changes in the bill, Brown did not realize that the bill was for oil, not gas, or that California's CEQA environmental quality review would be suspended for fracking, or he may not know how bad fracking is for the climate.
At a recent San Francisco event to ink a climate agreement with Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, Brown described climate change as "the world's greatest existential challenge." Governor Brown must have been misinformed by oil industry lobbyists, his aides or both.
Fracking in California is for oil, not gas. With methane leakage from gas drilling, gas is just as bad for the climate as coal -- but this (false) tradeoff doesn't even apply in our state, since drillers are after oil. Oil companies are already fracking California, including drilling test wells and buying land leases to drill on the Monterey Shale. They aren't waiting for an environmental review.
Environmental groups like NRDC and California League of Conservation Voters supported the bill until its language was changed at the last minute, then abandoned the bill hours before the vote, but not in time to adequately inform legislators of their change of heart. The LA Times ultimately disowned the bill as passed.
There's hope that Governor Brown, when turning his full attention and intellect to designing a responsible environmental policy for California, will see that it is completely inconsistent with being a climate leader to let Big Oil turn vast sections of California into toxic sacrifice zones so that it can get rich dumping carbon pollution into our atmosphere.
16 year old Liz was was ambushed by six men who took turns raping her and their only punishment was that had them mow their station lawn.
Her story sent shock waves through Kenya and put politicians and the police under pressure, but women's groups in Kenya know that nothing will change unless the government is put under the global spotlight.
Rape is illegal everywhere, but too often these laws are just not enforced. Click on the link in the headline to get justice for Liz and send a message that the war on our women and girls is over:
To Kenya's Inspector General of Police:
Laura is a two-time breast cancer survivor who was denied coverage by insurance companies for years due to her pre-existing condition. But with Obamacare she can finally get covered.
Now millions of Americans now can enroll in more affordable health coverage, for the first time ever. Yet opponents of the law are still spreading misinformation.
Top Five Things They Don't Want You To KnowSeptember 17, 2013, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
The big story of Obamacare is the steady, historic progress that doesn't grab headlines: preventive care without co-pays, an end to being told that pregnancy or domestic abuse is a "pre-existing condition," or that women's care should automatically cost up to 150% more than men's.
The real story of the new health law is better care for millions of Americans, and and in just a few weeks, nearly 12 million currently uninsured women aged 19-44 will be able to sign up for new, more affordable health insurance plans, all of which cover maternity care, ER care, doctors visits, and also cover birth control and well-woman exams without a co-pay.
But opponents of the law are still trying to stop lifesaving benefits like these from going into effect. They know that this is their last chance to spread misinformation and stop Obamacare. Because once families start getting the coverage they need, once they can go to the doctor without fear of being turned away or the worry that a diagnosis will mean bankruptcy -- they're not going to let anyone take that away.
Gynotician: a politician who feels more qualified that women and their doctors to make women's health care decisions
In the first quarter of 2013, 694 provisions that relate to reproductive health were introduced, nearly half to restrict or limit access to abortion. A number of other measures which could make it harder for women to get birth control, cut women off from cancer screenings, or prohibit sex education programs that help prevent teen pregnancy.
These restrictions will significantly impact millions of women.
Decisions about women's health should be made by a woman, her faith, and her family in consultation with her doctors. Unfortunately, more politicians seem to want to be playing the role of doctor—acting as "Gynoticians."
Can Drop in California's Teen Birth Rate Be Sustained Now That Youth Education Programs Have Been Cut?June 05 , 2013, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte
Between 2007 and 2011, the teen birth rate among ages 15-19 fell by 28% in California. That didn't happen by accident. Targeted teen-pregnancy prevention efforts, including PPMM's nationally recognized education programs, have been an important part of turning the problem around. But those education programs are now victims of the state budget ax.
A donation of $30 can help provide crucial sex education services for 10 students in our local middle schools and high schools.
U.S.: California: Support Medi-Cal ExpansionApril 22, 2013, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), California has the chance to expand Medi-Cal coverage for low-income individuals throughout the state. Two bills, ABX1 1 and SBX1 1 would do just that.
These bills will expand coverage to many individuals who are newly eligible under the Affordable Care Act, and also will reach uninsured women of childbearing age, and extend coverage for pregnant women to include full scope Medi-Cal benefits.
Also they will enable people to determine their eligibility for Medi-Cal online.
Please call Governor Brown today at 916.445.2841 and support these two Medi-Cal expansion bills to ensure that low income women and families in California have access to health care and live the promise of health care reform.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) has just introduced an amendment to eliminate all U.S. aid to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has long been a target of the extreme Right because of its work to expand access to voluntary family planning in the poorest parts of the world. Working in 150 countries around the world, the UNFPA helps increase the availability of safe, effective, and affordable contraceptives; supports work to eliminate harmful practices like female genital cutting; prevents and treats maternal injuries and illnesses; and is quick to respond with lifesaving reproductive health supplies and personnel in the case of natural and man-made disasters.
Because its work is universally seen as important, it receives voluntary contributions from 180 nations, including all the countries in sub-Saharan Africa. U.S. support is critically important to ensuring the sustained success of UNFPA's projects around the world.
Stop the Sequester. It's a Terrible Way to Govern and it Will Do Real Harm to People - Especially Women - at Home and Around the World.March 12, 2013, Population Connection
Our aid to international family planning programs is facing devastating cuts due to the sequester. A 5.3% cut to our international family planning programs would mean:
*1.68 million women denied access to contraceptive services & supplies,
*485,000 additional unintended pregnancies,
*226,000 additional abortions (of which 162,000 will be unsafe),
*1,292 maternal deaths, and
*6,460 children losing their mothers.
Instead of this kind of mindless slashing of funds, we need to increase our investment in family planning programs overseas. It will bring huge returns in terms of improved global health, expanded economic empowerment of women, increased educational opportunities for girls, protection of resources and greater political stability.
A group of House Republicans recently introduced a bill to repeal the birth control benefit. Two weeks ago, a group of 11 politicians chose to stand with companies that have sued for the right to deny employees birth control coverage. These businesses think that bosses should get to control the health care choices of their employees. These are part of an orchestrated attack on women's access to birth control, despite the fact that 70% of Americans support insurance companies covering birth control without co-pays.
No company, no boss, should get to control the health care choices of their employees. No woman should have to ask her boss for permission to use birth control. Women should be able to make their own decisions about their health and their bodies.
While you stand with the companies who want to take this coverage away, I stand with the 70% of Americans who agree with the law, and who believe insurance companies should cover this basic benefit. When women have the power to protect their health, to plan their families, to make their own medical decisions, we all benefit.
Guaranteeing access to affordable birth control means fewer unintended pregnancies, healthier families, and women more in control of their futures. So let's show these members of Congress we won't back down when it comes to protecting birth control access. Add your name today.
Every day, Melinda Gates and Susan Oregede and millions of other women dare to challenge the status quo for women.
Even if it isn't easy, Susan Oregede dares to stand up before community leaders in Uganda, and say that a woman should be able to choose how many children she has.
Nafis Sadik, formerly head of the UNFPA, spoke up even though she was told not to challenge society on women's rights issues like abortion.
Jill Sheffield, founder of Women Deliver, gets criticism for advocating for maternal health. But she does it anyway.
"Millions of people-men and women-stand by the conviction that empowered women are a source of progress, and they want to take action," said Melinda Gates on Womens Day March 8th.
You can show your support for these women and other daring women like them:
* Share stories by Melinda Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, Mary Robinson, and other "Women Who Dare" with at least five friends
What you do will help mount pressure for clean energy and climate protection. Spread the word to friends and networks.
• If you are in California: Utilities are launching a massive disinformation campaign to mislead the public, press, and decision-makers, in the hopes of halting the trend towards rooftop solar. First in their sights: programs that allow Californians to offset their energy bills with rooftop solar, and new innovative proposals to bring those programs to renters. California has a long way to go before everyone can use clean energy but if utilities succeed in ending new rooftop solar programs, we're never going to get there.
Tell your representatives in Sacramento: Don't buy the utility lies! We need more, not less rooftop solar in California.
• Tell President Obama to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline and act to protect the climate. Send letters, e-mails, and phone calls to the White House. Sierra Club has been leading the charge against what may be "the death knell of climate protection" and a huge boon to dirty fuels and Big Oil. Sierra Club has supported large, vocal demonstrations in Washington D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and other cities to voice opposition. Club leaders have engaged in civil disobedience for the first time in Club history.
Will you call the White House today and demand immediate climate action?
• President Obama may be considering Ernest Moniz, proponent of the dangerous process of hydrofracking, as his new Energy Secretary. Sierra Club has already expressed its concern. Better candidates are available. We're counting on you to help change Obama's mind about this nomination.
Can you tell President Obama to find a better choice for Secretary of Energy?
At the start of 2013, a Shell Oil rig, carrying over 150,000 gallons of petroleum products, broke free from its tugboat and ran aground near Kodiak Island, Alaska.
Last year, Shell showed it was completely unprepared for the reality of the stormy waters of the Arctic Ocean when it prepared to drill for oil in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas -- home to 20% of the world's polar bear population. Shell's ships caught fire, the spill clean-up equipment was destroyed during testing, and at the last minute, Shell admitted it wouldn't be able to comply with its clean air permits.
Click to tell President Obama to immediately cancel Shell's drilling permits before it's too late.
The Polar Bear Seas are far too important and fragile to leave in the hands of Big Oil. They are home to walrus, endangered ice seals, hundreds of species of migratory birds, and bowhead and beluga whales. Shell's incompetence could lead to an irreversible disaster.
It has been one year since Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius overruled the expertise of FDA scientists and blocked increased access to emergency contraception. Don't you want leadership that listens to science and doesn't cave to political pressure? It's not too late for Secretary Sebelius to do the right thing. Tell her to revisit the scientific evidence and end restrictions now.
In days, Nigeria's Parliament could approve a $5 billion fine against giant oil polluter Shell for a spill that devastated the lives of millions of people, and pass a law to hold all oil companies to account for polluting and plundering. This is a watershed moment, but unless we all speak out, oil giants will crush it.
Finally, Big Oil is having to pay for the wasteland and violence that they've created. President Jonathan supports the Shell fine, and progressive Senators are pushing for strong regulations, but oil companies are slick, and without huge international support MPs could buckle under the pressure.
Politicians are deciding their positions right now -- sign the urgent petition for the Nigerian Parliament to fine Shell and support the bill, and then forward this page to everyone -- when we hit a million signers we'll bring our unprecedented global call to the steps of Nigeria's Parliament.
Draw the line - Sign the bill - Spread the wordOctober 13, 2012, Center for Reproductive Rights
One powerful woman is threatening the future of millions of others. But if we all weigh in right now we can rescue the people-powered bank that's an inspiration to the world.
The Grameen Bank has enabled millions of women to lift themselves out of poverty by giving them tiny loans to buy animals or equipment to start earning money. But Bangladesh's jealous Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has fired its Nobel Prize winning founder Muhammad Yunus and now wants to seize control of the bank, all to silence a political rival. This takeover could break the bank and destroy millions of people's hope.
Hasina is already facing a series of scandals at home -- if we can add a giant global backlash to her list of worries, we can force her to back down. When 1 million of us come together, Avaaz will kick off a media firestorm in Bangladesh and around the world, shaming her into ending this vengeful attack.
U.S.: California: Governor Brown signed the Access to Birth Control Bill AB 2348!September 21 , 2012, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte
California has a large unmet need for publicly funded family planning services, in some counties as high as 50%. Thousands of women struggle each month to access birth control and AB 2348 will help! AB 2348 will allow registered nurses to dispense birth control under a standardized procedure. Health organizations like Planned Parenthood, the California Family Health Council, American Nurses Association - California, and California Primary Care Association all support AB 2348 because it's common sense legislation. Ensuring women have timely access to birth control prevents unintended pregnancies and creates better health outcomes.
Opponents of abortion are once again backing a "human life" amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
This amendment would give a fertilized human egg "a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed" and is really an absolute ban on abortion, many forms of contraception and fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization -- and the abolition of a woman's right to choose whether or when to have children.
In El Salvador, for example, where a fertilized egg has the same legal rights as a person, it is not uncommon to see police officers patrolling hospital corridors, "investigating" premature endings to pregnancies. Emergency rooms become courtrooms of blind persecution, and women who suffer miscarriages and stillbirths are presumed guilty by judge and family alike, tossed into prison, and disowned.
U.S.: Weakening California's Environmental Act for Fracking
August 15, 2012, Center for Biological Diversity
The Center for Biological Diversity has learned of sneak-attack plan on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), possibly by gutting and amending an unrelated bill to include language that would hamstring or eliminate CEQA review as we know it.
If successful, this would have severe repercussions for cities and counties seeking to limit fracking in their jurisdiction, and for residents seeking to prevent, or even just obtain information about, fracking in their communities.
Legislators could release the bill next week or the week after and move immediately for a vote, before the public can find out.
Time is extremely short, and we need to move fast to make our voices heard by the legislative leadership.
Please encourage your members and supporters to call their state senators and assembly members today to urge them to defend the California Environmental Quality Act against the fracking industry and others who want to gut our landmark environmental law.
We also need to generate calls, emails, and office visits to Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg at (916-651-4006) and Speaker of the Assembly John Perez at (916-319-2046). Please encourage our legislative leadership to stand up for CEQA
August 09 , 2012, Center for Biological Diversity
If the Southern Nevada Water Authority has its way, a pipeline would take more than 37 billion gallons of water a year from Great Basin aquifers and transport it over 300 miles to Las Vegas sprawl to fuel unsustainable growth in the driest desert in North America.
Water tables would drop up to 200 feet, and 137,000 acres of prime Great Basin shrub land would dry up along with more than 3,600 acres of wetlands. More than 70 springs and 140 miles of perennial streams would be reduced to a trickle, in some cases disappearing completely. 14 desert fishes, such as Moapa dace and least chubs, and 25 species of rare Great Basin springsnails would almost certainly go extinct. Imperiled greater sage grouse, pronghorns and elk would also face widespread suffering. Click on the link to tell Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to stand up to Las Vegas interests, stop this irresponsible water grab and protect the fragile life of the Great Basin.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, beginning today, all newly-issued insurance plans must now cover with no co-pay:
*All FDA approved birth control and birth control counseling
*Annual well-woman visits
*Screening for gestational diabetes
*Domestic and interpersonal violence and screening
*Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling
*Testing for HPV (human papillomavirus)
*Counseling for sexually transmitted infections
*Counseling and screening for HIV
U.S.: The Assault on Contraception and Reproductive Health Resumes in the House Appropriations CommitteeJuly 18, 2012, Population Institute
In another attack on low-income women, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Education, and Related Agencies approved a funding bil - the Labor-HHS FY2013 appropriations billl - that would
* Eliminate funding for Title X, which supports family planning clinics serving low-income women. Provide only $20 million for evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs, $89 million below the President's request.
* Put in $20 million for "abstinence only" education programs that have been shown to be ineffective in lowering teen pregnancy rates.
* Prohibit any funding to Planned Parenthood or any of its affiliates, unless the organizations certify that they will not perform abortions or provide any funds to any other entity that does.
* Permit employers to deny health insurance coverage of any medical services (like birth control), if they object on grounds of religious beliefs or moral convictions.
Just two weeks after the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA), House leaders have pledged to vote on a bill to repeal the law on Wednesday, July 11th.
There is a lot on the line with this vote, especially for women. Under the ACA women can't be denied coverage for "pre-existing conditions" like previous pregnancies or C-sections, and they can't be charged higher insurance premiums than men. Heathcare plans are also required to include well-woman visits, maternity care, and coverage of contraceptives without co-pays. The law offers a significant step forward in the effort to finally make universal access to affordable birth control a reality.
Its repeal would be a devastating blow for women. Urge your representative to vote against this legislation on Wednesday. Please take a moment to tell the House to stand firm against this right-wing assault on women's health and contraception!
by Melinda Gates
Over 1 billion people currently use birth control. For the most part, they do it without hesitation. They do it because they want the power to plan their own lives—and to raise healthy, happy families when they are ready to do so. There is no controversy around this routine fact of everyday life.
If you agree there is no controversy in contraceptives, you are encouraged to go to No-Controversy.com and take the pledge:
"I believe that every girl and woman deserves the opportunity to determine her own future."
Of the more than 200 million women around the world who don't want to get pregnant and don't have access to contraceptives, over 100,000 will die in childbirth. For some reason the uncontroversial idea of deciding when to have a child has somehow become shrouded in controversy. And the victims of this paralysis are the poorest people in the world.
On July 11 the Gates Foundation, the UK government, and other partners will host the London Summit on Family Planning. The goal is to mobilize global policy, funding, and delivery commitments to an additional 120 million women in the world's poorest countries to provide them access to contraceptive information, services, and supplies by 2020.
Baaba Maal is a Senegalese musician pleaing for help for the 18 million people are on the brink of disaster in Africa's drought-struck Sahel region.
"Our urgent appeals for help are being met with deafening silence. Only a targeted and overwhelming demand for action can stop this catastrophe from turning deadly."
"The UN says $1.5 billion in aid is needed immediately, but governments have pledged less than half the required sum. The countries who can make all the difference are the US, Japan, France and Germany, but they're stalling -- that's why I started a petition on Avaaz's Community Petitions website to appeal to the world for help."
In days, world leaders will gather in Brussels to discuss the Sahel -- if they decide right there and then to pledge their fair share, we can avert disaster. Sign this urgent petition (click on the link) now and Oxfam will deliver it in a coordinated stunt when we reach 1 million signatures.
Title X supports family planning clinics serving low-income households. Every year more than 5 million women and men obtain family planning and related services through Title X funded clinics. In 2008, according to the Guttmacher Institute, Title X clinics helped to prevent 973,000 unintended pregnancies, 432,600 unintended births and 406,200 abortions.
Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the part of the budget for FY2013 that includes Title X. Funding for the program was reduced slightly from last year's funding level of $296.8 million to $293.9 million.
However the House Appropriations Committee version of the bill is coming up. Last year the Subcommittee voted to eliminate all funding for Title X, defunded Planned Parenthood, and slashed funding for teen pregnancy prevention initiatives, while boosting support for failed "abstinence only" education programs.
While the House version was mostly blocked by the Senate last year, but this year's legislative battle could turn out differently. It's time to halt the assault on contraception and reproductive health. http to tell your Representative to support increased funding for Title X.
The End Polluter Welfare Act would end fossil fuel subsidies, and save over $10 billion a year and more than $110 billion over 10 years. The bill would specifically end tax breaks for fossil fuel companies, plus eliminate special financing, end taxpayer funded R&D, and set fair royalties policies.
Senator Bernie Sanders said that the Act "ends all the tax breaks, the special financing arrangements, and the federal research and development funding."
A fact sheet by 350.org lists the money that would be saved by eliminating fossil fuel subsidies:
$14 billion saved by eliminating the intangible drilling deduction $12 billion saved by repealing a 2004 law that allows fossil fuel corporations to take deductions aimed at helping American manufacturers by claiming they are manufacturers $6.8 billion saved by closing the loophole that allows corporations like BP to deduct money they spend cleaning up their own oil spills and paying damages $2.4 billion saved by stopping fossil fuel companies from investing through Master Limited Partnerships, an option not available to clean energy businesses $3.7 billion saved by shutting the federal Office of Fossil Energy $10.6 billion saved by recouping lost royalties for offshore drilling in public waters
Fossil fuels are subsidized at almost six times the rate of renewable energy.
The Yale Project on Climate Change's November 2011 survey found that 70% of Americans opposed federal subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, including 67% of registered Republicans.
Tell your elected representatives in Congress that it is time to halt the assault on contraceptives and reproductive rights. Tell them that you: 1) support the President's Budget request for international family planning assistance; 2) want full funding for UNFPA; and 3) oppose a legislative re-imposition of the global gag rule.
The natural gas industry thinks it's fair to frack up our federal lands and tell us about it later -- 30 days after the drilling has taken place! The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the largest manager of oil and gas resources in the country, just released a set a rules for fracking on our federal lands with plenty of room for improvement. Right now, the natural gas industry is lobbying to weaken safeguards, and we need you to tell BLM they can do better.
The improvements are common sense -- people should know what chemicals are used in fracking before drilling takes place, diesel fuel (a known carcinogen) should be banned from use in fracking, open pits of toxic chemicals are not safe, and fracking should not take place on our most sensitive lands.
Twenty percent of the world's oxygen comes from the magnificent Amazon rainforest, and it plays a key role in mitigating global climate change. While there Brazil has achieved a 78% decline in deforestation rates between 2004 and 2011, due to a world-acclaimed forestry law, strong enforcement and satellite monitoring this dangerous new bill would open up an area the size of France and Britain together to clear-cutting and gives loggers amnesty for all past deforestation crimes. This would set a bad precedent for other countries.
Brazil rapidly developing, battling to lift tens of millions out of poverty. Despite evidence that growth does not require deforestation, a powerful agriculture lobby pressuring President Dilma . Activists are being murdered, intimidated and silenced. Ex-Environmental Ministers and people across Brazil have sent a clear message to Dilma that they want to save the Amazon. We can bring the global force of people power to get a win for our planet!
Two Bills - HB 2625 and HB 2800 - Before Gov. Jan Brewer Would Directly Restrict Arizonans' Ability to Make Private and Personal Medical Decisions. Brewer Should Veto Both.April 27, 2012, Arizona Daily Star
HB 2625 would allow organizations to declare themselves "a religiously affiliated employer" and refuse to include contraception in their health-insurance plans. The "religiously affiliated" distinction is a step back from the original version, which allowed any employer to declare a religious objection. However it still allows employers to impose their personal religious beliefs on another.
HB 2800, would strip any public funding from any organization that provides abortion services, even though it is already illegal for agencies to use public money to pay for those services. Health-care organizations such as Planned Parenthood would be prohibited from receiving taxpayer money to provide any type of family planning services.
HB 2625 would allow employers to refuse to cover "any prescribed drug or device" used as a contraceptive, as well as "consultations, examinations, procedures and medical services provided on an outpatient basis and related to prescription contraceptive methods to prevent unintended pregnancies."
There is no exemption for surgical procedures - such as a vasectomy - that are intended specifically to prevent a man from inseminating a woman and causing a pregnancy. So it's not only women's bodies that Arizona Republican lawmakers want to control - they want to interfere with men's private medical decisions, too.
While HB 2800 names abortion services as the determining factor in taking away medical agencies' public funding, the result would directly affect men as well. Planned Parenthood, for example, provides testing for HIV, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases as well as urinary-tract infections.
Taxpayer dollars do not fund abortion services. This bill would deprive Arizonans of needed medical care, because organizations like Planned Parenthood also provide cancer screenings, pregnancy testing and family-planning services.
These bills affect all Arizonans who want to make medical decisions with the guidance of their doctors rather than Republicans in the Legislature.
Just as a woman has myriad reasons to decide to prevent a pregnancy, so does a man. And he has just as much right to make his own personal health-care decisions as a woman does.
Brewer should protect all Arizonans' ability to make their own private and personal health-care decisions and veto both bills.
Without swift, national action to protect the ocean's vast diversity of life from acidifying waters corals, shellfish, salmon and a whole host of beautiful creatures will be lost.
We need your help to ask President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to get working on a bold plan to curb ocean acidification.
Carbon dioxide pollution is also being absorbed by the ocean, causing its chemistry to change and become more acidic. This spells trouble for marine animals that are now having difficulty building shells, growing and sometimes even surviving in increasingly corrosive waters.
The Honduran Congress is about to vote on a proposal that would send women to jail if they use the morning-after pill -- even for rape victims. But the President of the Honduran Congress can stop this. He's concerned about his international image and his future in politics, so our massive outcry can shame him and stop this attack on women. http to sign the petition:/?cl=1718679404&v=13635 . The vote could happen any day.
Some Congress members agree that this law -- which would also jail doctors or anyone who sells the pill -- is excessive, but they are bowing to the powerful religious lobby that wrongly claims the morning-after pill constitutes an abortion.
Avaaz will work with local women's groups to personally deliver our outcry.
The emergency contraceptive pill delays ovulation and prevents pregnancy - like ordinary birth control pills. But if this new bill passes, Honduras will be the only state in the world to punish the use or sale of emergency contraception with a jail term.
Emergency contraception is vital for women everywhere, but especially where sexual violence against women is rampant, unplanned pregnancy rates are high and access to regular birth control is limited.
For more information see: Honduras, most sweeping ban on emergency contraception anywhere (RH Reality Check): http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/02/14/honduran-supreme-court-upholds-complete-ban-on-emergency-contraception-0
Despite overwhelming local opposition, foreign mining giants Anglo American and Rio Tinto are pressing forward with plans to build a gargantuan, open-pit gold and copper mine above Alaska's Bristol Bay -- threatening the world's greatest sockeye salmon runs and the very last 284 beluga whales of Cook Inlet.
Today, nearly 100 Population Connection activists are on the Hill urging congressional support for international family planning.
They are asking Congress to:
*Increase U.S. investment in international family planning to one billion dollars.
*Pass the Global Democracy Promotion Act (HR 4879/S 311) to prevent a future president from re-instating the Global Gag Rule.
*Support the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Please take just a minute to add your voice to theirs by sending a quick email to your representative and senators. https to take action. Tell them that family planning is critical to building a safe, stable and healthy world.
The Center for Biological Diversity will mark this year's Earth Day by distributing 100,000 free Endangered Species Condoms around the country. The Center collaborated with artist Roger Peet to create a special edition of the colorful condom packages featuring a suite of species — from the dwarf seahorse to the polar bear — threatened by the world's growing human population.
Last Friday, the Obama administration issued an official policy that will fulfill the promise of ensuring that women, regardless of where they work, will receive insurance coverage for birth control with no co-pays, no additional hurdles — and no interference from their employers. And that's not all: under these rules, college and university students will be eligible for birth control coverage with no co-pays as well.
But we're not at the finish line yet. The Department of Health and Human Services will accept public comments on these new rules for the next 90 days.
You don't need me to tell you that the Obama administration is going to be hearing from a lot of anti-birth control, anti-women's health voices in the coming weeks. From state lawmakers to members of Congress, from presidential candidates to Rush Limbaugh, they've proven that they'll say and do anything to deny women access to affordable birth control.
Doonesbury Takes on Ultrasound Laws - Sign Our Petition Letting Editors Know That Censorship in UnacceptableMarch 12, 2012, Center for Reproductive Rights
The much-loved political cartoon "Doonesbury" is running an entire week of comic strips focusing on mandatory ultrasound laws beginning on March 12. More than 60 newspapers have refused to run "Doonesbury" cartoons even though they are simply trying to humanize the struggles of women under Texas's demeaning law.
Cecile Richards was a guest on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. They discussed the most unbelievable statements and legislation of late.
She says: "Thanks for holding legislators and the media accountable for their hateful actions and statements over the last few months. Thanks for pointing out — with much-needed humor — just how ridiculous some of these attacks have been. And, in doing so, thanks for standing with women everywhere. If you agree, join me in thanking Jon Stewart for holding Rush Limbaugh, legislators, and the media accountable. Sign our thank you card!"
.. http to see the video
Perhaps as early as today, the Senate will vote on a proposal to allow any employer to deny insurance coverage for any service--for any reason whatsoever. Introduced by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), the amendment would erase critical protections in the Affordable Care Act and completely undermine a fundamental principle of the health care law—that everyone in this country deserves a basic standard of health insurance coverage.
Senator Blunt and his allies on the Right continue to cynically hide behind arguments about religious liberty while their attacks on the contraceptive requirement are based on nothing more than contempt for women's health care needs. Every American woman and couple has the fundamental right to make their own decision about whether and when to have children. And that every American woman deserves coverage of preventive health services regardless of where they work.
Recently President Obama changed the policy in what would seem to be a good-faith negotiation with a rational opponent.. Under the amended rule, religiously affiliated employers will not have to offer contraceptive coverage to their employees, but their health insurance companies will be required to provide the coverage directly to women at no charge. Women will still get access to the care they need, and institutions with religious objections will not have to provide it.
Unfortunately, birth control opponents have, once again, proved themselves to be anything but rational.
There are a couple of new fronts in the War on Women. Breast exams for poor women? Why, that's an opportunity to attack Planned Parenthood. Birth control coverage without co-pays? That's their chance to brand the Obama administration as an enemy of religious freedom.
The fight over contraceptive coverage continues, and we can't afford to relax yet. Opponents frame their objections to the requirement as coming from concerns over religious liberty, rather than as overt opposition to birth control. But in doing so, they have made statements that are offensive, dismissive, and grotesquely out of touch with the real needs and day to day lives of women.
One pundit dismissed women's need for birth control as "beside the point." Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R/NE-1) said that birth control was "unrelated to the basic needs of health care." And the Bishop of Phoenix said that the decision is an attempt to turn Catholics into "second-class citizens."
Women's health is not beside the point: it is the central point. Every American woman should have the same access to affordable contraceptives. The current rule will save the average American woman some $600 in out-of-pocket health care costs. For families living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to pay for day care or get their car fixed, this could make all the difference.
In a respectfully balanced compromise: explicitly religious employers are exempt from the new requirement. Some 335,000 churches are exempt, but the White House is still receiving a ceaseless barrage of criticism from opponents of family planning. Opponents of birth control have introduced legislation in Congress to rescind the policy.
The Obama administration and our allies in Congress need to know that you see though this ploy. Please take a moment, go to https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#!/petition/stand-strong-support-new-no-cost-birth-control-policy/HM8jg7Y4 to sign a White House petition in support of the coverage requirement and to send an email to your members of Congress. Tell them not to back down in the fight to protect women's access to health care.
Do you trust women to make their own medical decisions? Join the Trust Women Week National Online March today. I hope you'll pick up a virtual sign and march with me today! Click on the link in the arrows or the headline to take action.
The last year has seen unprecedented attacks on women's access to care and on the fundamental right of every woman to make her own medical decisions — not just in Washington, but in states around the country. Just last year, 36 states enacted a record 135 provisions limiting access to reproductive health care, including 92 measures restricting abortion.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund has joined 70 other organizations in the National Online March for Trust Women Week to show just how many of us are willing to stand up for women's health.
Despite the setbacks, 2011 also proved that we can achieve tremendous victories when we stand together and speak with one voice. Not only did we secure no-cost birth control for women, but we're seeing some of the effects of the Affordable Care Act take hold.
39 years ago the courts recognized the right of women to make personal, private medical decisions, to control their bodies, their reproductive health, and their lives.
Planned Parenthood has set up a website - www.SinceRoe.com - to show the world exactly what Roe has meant in the past and still means today. We've got a lot to fight for, and a lot to lose. Please, take a look and share it far and wide. Even better, add your own comment about how Roe v. Wade has made a difference in your life.
Change comes from what we do; not what we think. The world has more problems than we can solve. Supporting those who offer good solutions may be all that most of us can do. But when the phone rings almost daily with people requesting donations, I always decline. To ensure that what little I have to donate goes to the best possible use, I pool my contributions and carefully target them for maximum affect.
Let us help the 215 million women who lack access to family planning, like Georgette, a mother in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who, before she finally found access to contraception, had already been pregnant 20 times, and lost 7 of her babies to starvation because nursing was cut short by another pregnancy. With the help of the Pathfinder-trained community health worker, Georgette chose a contraceptive method and is now happy and healthy.
Click here to donate.
$25 can provide 4 doctors with infection prevention training manuals.
$50 can give a woman in Peru a year of contraception and counseling.
$100 can train a community health worker in India to provide basic family planning services.
$250 can train 10 midwives to recognize the signs of high risk pregnancies, enabling them to refer a woman to a health facility.
Center for Biological Diversity Overpopulation Public Service Ad in Times Square on a 520-square-foot Screen for One MonthSeptember 08, 2011, Center for Biological Diversity
The Center for Biological Diversity launched a new national campaign, 7 Billion and Counting, to highlight the devastating effects of the world's exploding human population on wildlife around the globe. The PSA in Times Square will reach a million people every day over the next month. Check out the powerful ad by clicking on the headline link above -- now running hourly in one of the most crowded places on the planet.
The 7 Billion and Counting campaign is timed to raise public awareness of the world hitting its 7 billionth human being at the end of October and the impacts of that benchmark on global biodiversity and endangered plant and animal species.
Book Signing Set for Redlands Author; Jane Roberts Says Her Grass-roots Fundraising Has Been 'an Incredible Adventure'November 03, 2005, Press Enterprise (US)
Jane Roberts was mad that the Bush administration had refused to release the funds Congress had approved for UNFPA and she set out to raise the $34 million - she would ask 34 million Americans to send $1 each to UNFPA. Lois Abraham came up with a similar idea, the U.N. agency put the two in contact and they joined forces. Together they gave birth to 34 Million Friends of the Women of the World. By May 1, 2003, the organization had raised $ 1 million and a recent tally puts the total at nearly $ 2.75 million. UNFPA has been using the money for family-planning supplies and the prevention and repair of obstetric fistula. Ted Turner's U.N. Foundation has donated grant funds and support. A first-hand account of her experiences, published by Ladybug Press is titled "34 Million Friends of the Women of the World." After co-founding the organization, Roberts began speaking around the world about the fundraising effort. Roberts and Abraham were nominated, along with 998 other women, for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. They did not win, but their nomination brought attention to their efforts. For years she believed herself to be the lay person best informed and most passionate about women's reproductive issues and problems. "I am living in a dream world, doing what I want to do most in the latter years of my life."
We can all agree about the importance of providing voluntary family planning to women. Please take a moment to learn about an amazing organization, Peruvian Amazon Conservation, which supplies women who live along a section of the Amazon with an exceptional contraceptive service.
PAC (www.peruvianamazon.org) is based in a small village where there are no roads'all travel is along the waterways. It was a real eye-opener for me when I visited there a few years ago. The people are universally poor - too poor to afford any medical care in most cases. Although Peru has a family planning program, people would have to go to Iquitos (the nearest city) to participate; this is a journey that few of the people in this area can afford. Although population density seems low, all people live along rivers, and they are making significant changes to the rain forest by cutting down trees and "development". PAC provides basic medical care, health and environmental education as well as family planning.
The PAC family planning program is based on depo-medroxyprogesterone (Depo Provera, or DMPA). Women come to the clinic for their shots every three months. All women receive their shots during the same week so they can "carpool". (Actually, people arrive at the clinic by dugout canoe.) If a woman wants to start contraception at a time different from the shot week, she is given enough birth control pills to last until the next time shots are given.
It has been difficult and expensive to get a reliable supply of DMPA. People from my hometown, Durango, Colorado, gave over a thousand dollars last year to help pay for the medication and to support PAC. (Please note that PAC is not a slick organization with paid staff. You need to mail them a check rather than making a donation by internet). PAC is a nonprofit 501c3 tax-exempt organization, so all donations are tax deductible. The contact information is:
Peruvian Amazon Conservation 1759 Dyson Drive NE Atlanta, GA 30307 Phone: 404-378-9800 www.peruvianamazon.org
The organization is run out of the home of Eleanor Smithwick, the founder and executive director. She is often in Peru, so her husband, Ron, will answer the phone if she is not at home. Note that none of the contributions go to support Eleanor or the other USA staff.
Letter and Article Writing
LTE: for Contraception Methods, Long-term Options Work BetterNovember 27 , 2013
Bonnie Tillery, a population issues coordinator for the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club wrote this LTE which she is willing to share with anyone who wants to send it to their local paper.
For contraception methods,long-term options work better
There has been a lot of negative press about the Affordable Care Act, but here is some positive news.
The act mandates that insurance companies provide all forms of female contraception without a co-pay as part of preventive health care. This should bring down the incidence of unplanned pregnancy dramatically, as was shown in a 2007 study at Washington University in St. Louis.
According to an Oct. 23 article in The American Prospect, researchers "provided 10,000 St. Louis women with free contraception, with the goal of decreasing unintended pregnancy.... Few women ended up choosing the pill. Most went with a long-acting contraceptive method, like an IUD or an implant and the results were striking. Women who opted for a shorter-term contraceptive like the pill were 20 times more likely to have an unintended pregnancy."
Currently, about one-half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned - the largest number among countries in the developed world. By reducing dependence on the birth control pill, which is not as effective as other long-term contraceptives, the incidence of unplanned pregnancy should be greatly diminished.
U.S.: How You Can Help Improve News Media Coverage of PopulationMay 11, 2011, Population Media Center
While it seems the volume of news media coverage of population issues has increased significantly in the last few years, still a lot of inaccurate and biased coverage of population issues, both by the media and by institutions that favor continued population growth.
With food and energy crises, political instability, continuing loss of the biodiversity, and a growing volume of material coming from population activists, awareness has been raised among journalists that we may have overgrown the capacity of the planet to sustain our numbers and lifestyles.
An example of this problem is when the US Census Bureau characterized the US population 9% growth rate in the last decade as, "The percentage growth this last decade...is thus the second lowest of the past century," and failed to mention that the total population growth 1990's and the 2000's (60 million) was bigger than the Baby Boom of 1945 to 1965 (54 million), as reported by researcher Mark Powell of Vermonters for Sustainable Population.
Newspapers picked up on the slow growth idea and published inaccurate stories.
Population Media Center is managing a project called the Population News Strategy that seeks to educate the public about population issues both in the United States and abroad, in order to help the public understand the importance of slowing down and eventually halting both domestic and international population growth.
How you can help:
If you see a news-story which explicitly covers a population issue - accurately or inaccurately - and the email of the reporter is available, please send the hyperlink of the story to: email@example.com . Stories where the reporter's email is not available may be interesting, but will not help us build our database.
If you see a blogger covering population issues, please send the blog url to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you personally know and can easily contact a credible and well-credentialed researcher, writer, advocate, politician, scientist, activist, etc., who is interested in sustainable population issues who you think deserves consideration for being placed on-air, please contact Joe Bish at: email@example.com . In your message please identify the individual and provide back-ground information on them if possible (e.g. bio or url to website).
If you have something to say about population and wish to contribute an Op-Ed to be considered for syndicated publishing, please do not hesitate to send drafts for consideration to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note these general Op-Ed guidelines: Columns should be provocative: identify a problem and identify a specific culprit (e.g. Congress, a specific person, a corporation). Aim for no more than six hundred words. Please indicate if the piece has been run in another publication before you sent it to us.
Appreciate your Lawmakers Who Support Family Planning and Women's ChoiceJanuary 2011, WOA!! website
This letter was received by one of the activists in our local population group. She had written a letter of concern to her congress person. The next step would be for several activists to send letters of appreciation and support to this lawmaker.
Dear Ms. xxx:
Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns about family planning and a woman's right to choose. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts on this issue.
As you know, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade allowed for legal abortions in the United States. In the thirty-six years following this decision, the question over the legality and morality of abortion rights has continued. The Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Carhart on April 18, 2007, upheld a law banning so-called partial birth abortions and reignited this emotional debate.
I am committed to reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in the United States. Additionally, I am especially concerned about the increasing rate of teenage pregnancies, particularly in the Central Valley where our teens are becoming pregnant at a much higher rate than the rest of the county. However, I believe that education, a streamlined adoption process, and an improved health care system are better means of achieving this goal than prohibiting abortion by law. In my opinion, intervention into such a personal decision is an inappropriate role for government. I have consistently supported a woman's right to choose throughout my career in public service, and will keep your views in mind as debate on this issue continues in the 112th Congress.
To keep informed of the work I do here in Congress, please visit my website at www.xxx.house.gov and sign up for my newsletter. If I may be of any further assistance on this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.
The availability, use, and funding of family planning worldwide has seen a revolution in the last 50 years, dramatically reducing fertility levels and slowing population growth in developing countries. But contraceptive use is still low and need for it high in some of the world's poorest and most populous places.
In the 1970s and 1980s family planning was in the spotlight, but recently not so much recently as as issues such as HIV/AIDS and poverty alleviation. Perhaps its success has led to its recent loss of visibility.
Recently key informants - developing-country program managers, senior staff members of nongovernmental and donor organizations, and prominent researchers - were surveyed in a study supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute of Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins University. One key informant in the study said: "When you hesitate to say the words 'family planning,' something is happening. When you say 'reproductive health' and have to be careful, something is happening."
There is a declining sense of urgency about population growth and its consequences; competing health and development priorities; rising political conservatism (especially in the United States); and a lack of international and local leadership. Poverty reduction was cited as the primary focus of current development efforts.
The agenda of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) meeting in Cairo in 1994 emphasized the welfare of individual women, the achievement of their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and gender equity. This redefinition of the social problem of population growth in terms of reproductive health, particularly for women, has caused popular consciousness about the problem to ebb, since reproductive health does not carry the same political vitality as a developmental disaster or disease epidemic.
"When reproductive health becomes too big, family planning gets lost. The trouble is that it's no longer a focused program. It's difficult for donors to see, to manage and implement." In 1995, family planning received 55% of total worldwide population-assistance expenditures, while basic research and reproductive health received 18% each and HIV/STIs received 9%. In 2003, HIV/STIs received 47% of total worldwide population-assistance expenditures, while reproductive health received 25%, basic research 15%, and family planning 13%. Compared to the magnitude of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, preventing unintended pregnancies is now perceived internationally as much less compelling and less urgent.
While there was general agreement that collaboration between family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs was appropriate, there seemed to be distinct lack of collaboration between the fields. Young people who used to be attracted to the family planning field when it was seen as a critical social need are reportedly going into fields that are perceived to be more urgent today, such as HIV/AIDS, safe motherhood, and poverty alleviation, while some older, experienced leaders who formerly worked in family planning have moved on. That and lack of funding for advanced training means that leadership in family planning is aging or lacking.
Strong opposition from abortion opponents is also a disincentive to work in the family planning field. Some respondents felt that the international family planning movement was in it's demise, but others felt that the movement would continue with the locus of action shifiting to the developing world in those countries that have major contraceptive needs, a rapidly growing population, and a policy commitment to slowing growth. Others felt that women's motivation to control fertility is so strong (and the social norm of family planning so well established) that contraceptive use will continue to rise no matter what happens to family planning programs.
Some felt the message of family planning could be recast (1) addressing an unfinished agenda of unmet contraceptive need, unwanted fertility, stalled fertility decline, and shortages of contraceptive supplies; (2) highlighting family planning's benefits for reducing abortion and improving women's status and health; and (3) demonstrating family planning's relevance in reducing social inequity. Many saw the risks of increased poverty, poor health, and higher mortality as a result of high fertility and population growth rates.
U.S.: Izaak Walton League: Outdoors Journalists Key to New Education Campaign Linking Impact of Population Growth on Conservation Resources2005, Izaak Walton League
Human population growth has potentially explosive consequences for natural resources and the Izaak Walton League has released a pair of publications intended to inspire, engage, and assist outdoor journalists to reacquaint themselves with this issue. The first is a collection of essays by five prominent journalists on the effects of population growth on outdoor recreation. The second gives background information and tips on writing stories about population growth and getting them published. Chuck Clayton, national president, said that outdoor recreation enthusiasts will understand more fully the consequences of human population growth on their pursuits when a broader spectrum of journalists start addressing the issue as a matter of course. Jim Baird, director of the League's Sustainability Education Project said "Every major threat to outdoor recreation-from climate change to hunting access, from habitat loss to dying fisheries - is, at its base, an issue about how people can continue to thrive while maintaining a livable world." Outdoor journalists should embrace this topic more aggressively." In 1970 the League's members enacted a policy on carrying capacity - an evaluation of how human needs and numbers affect wildlife, their habitat and all forms of recreation that depend on the outdoors. Follow the headline link to read the two publications.