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It was just earlier this year that the emergency contraceptive Plan-B One Step became available for sale without a prescription. Commonly referred to as ‘The Morning After Pill’, Plan-B serves as a very important tool in empowering young people in their own sexual discourse. And as someone who has used Plan-B myself, it allows the user to feel comfortable and assured in themselves.
Imagine my surprise, however, when two weeks ago I read that Norlevo, the European equivalent of Plan-B, has been found ineffective in women over 176 lbs. To say that I was upset is an understatement. The American Plan-B pill is chemically identical to Norvelo meaning that the pill I, myself, have used may not have been effective. I may have just gotten extremely lucky. Which isn’t something you particularly want to count on when dealing with unplanned pregnancies. [...]
ThinkProgress recently published a fantastic yet depressing report on the Supreme Court’s gradual and subtle weakening of Roe v. Wade which has effectively nullified the right to an abortion in the United States. For many young people, reports like these may be one of the first instances where court cases that occurred after Roe v. Wade become visible.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey has serious implications for young people in the United States, specifically legal minors and those who may need financial assistance. In Casey, the Supreme Court ruled that a state could impose 24-hour waiting periods and parental consent requirements without violating Roe v. Wade’s abortion guarantee. But for many young people, requirements like these effectively violate their right to the entire offering of reproductive choices. [...]
Have you heard the news?
Pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates are at an all-time low for women ages 15-19.
This recent statistic most likely surprises a lot of people. People often have the perception that teenage pregnancy is an “epidemic” among millennials, because we are clearly the most irresponsible and self-centered generation.
Recently, I have had several conversations about pregnancy rates in the US. Because of the work I do in reproductive justice, I’m asked about “all of these girls who get pregnant in their teens” (a cringey way of asking about teen pregnancy regardless). I often ask, “What do you mean? Teenage pregnancy is at an all-time low compared to the nineties.” [...]
UT Austin SURE Walk
Students on college campuses around the country are preparing for finals which means lots of caffeine, minimal amounts of sleep, and long nights at the school library. Drowning in finals myself, I sometimes don’t leave the 24-hour school library until late at night. Walking back to my car in pitch darkness and half awake, I walk past a myriad of other sleep-deprived students who all have to walk almost a mile or more back to their apartments.
What seems like a typical college finals night for many university students might be a dangerous venture back home. The University of Texas, spans over five blocks each way with over 50,000 students in attendance. With such a huge campus, it’s easy for students to end up walking a huge distance, often times alone. Just this past summer, while attending summer school, everyone in my accounting class received a text message alert reporting a kidnapping in the West Campus area. West Campus, a huge Austin property where a majority of UT students live, became a dangerous environment for students. [...]
I was perusing the internet as I’m wont to do and I discovered an article that made me scream. I wasn’t sure if the scream was in excitement or terror. The article? It was about a university in North Carolina, Elon, which is going to have a class on masturbation. A class that students can take to learn about masturbation.
Although it hasn’t been confirmed yet if this class at Elon will actually happen, I think it has the potential to be revolutionary. Finally, a sex-ed class that will focus on anatomy and pleasure, not how to prevent pregnancy. I’m not the only one who got shoddy sex-ed in high school. The fact that it was almost always penis centered (how to put on a condom!), always about preventing pregnancy (because everyone is straight!) and nothing at all about bodies and masturbation. [...]
While everyone is busy jotting down the latest electronics on their Christmas Wish List, there’s something even better than the newest iPhone, tablet, or clothes from Urban Outfitters that I want for Christmas this year: comprehensive sex education.
Now, you may think that teaching teens medically accurate, age appropriate sex education is a given in the 21st century. I mean, why would teachers lie to teens about safe sex and withhold life-saving information on how to become healthy adults and form healthy relationships? This Is America! We live in a country where no one would tell teens that “condoms cause cancer,” “birth control pills cause abortions,” “sex is worse for girls because they are much easier to infect and easier to damage,” “condoms have holes in them and a failure rate of 14 percent,” or “If you take birth control, your mother hates you” (just in case you don’t know, these are all lies…right mom?). [...]
Yesterday was World AIDS Day, and there were a great deal of new coverage documenting it—reports of how we’ve progressed since AIDS became a full-fledged epidemic in the 80s, how we’re still at risk, and how young people are still incredibly at risk.
Forty percent of all global HIV transmissions are spread by those between the ages of 15 to 24, according the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and while some parts of the world are seeing decreases in the number of HIV infections every year, others are actually seeing an increase. [...]
“Free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds!”
“Think you are pregnant? Need to make a decision?”
These quotes are from crisis pregnancy centers, also known as “CPCs.” They sound like a knock-off of Planned Parenthood, but they’re almost the exact opposite.
And young people are leading the fight against them.
Crisis pregnancy centers are anti-choice organizations posing as comprehensive medical clinics. CPCs generally only offer free over-the-counter pregnancy tests, limited ultrasound (to determine gestational age), and “options counseling.” This “counseling” consists of volunteers telling “clients” misleading information about abortion, including that it causes mental-health problems , suicide, breast cancer and infertility. They also provide literature claiming contraceptives and condoms do not work and promoting abstinence-only until marriage. CPCs are also always religious. [...]
This has been an exhausting and draining week for many UT-Austin students, myself being one. National headlines covered the Texas University’s Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) student organization that hosted a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Game.” This game involved volunteers wearing pins with “illegal” on them and if students “caught” them and brought them back to a YCT member, they would receive a $25 gift card. Their goal was to create a dialogue about immigration…right. [...]
Paternalism is officially defined as “the policy or practice on the part of people in positions of authority of restricting the freedom and responsibilities of those subordinate to them in the subordinates’ supposed best interest.” In theory paternalism is benevolent in the extreme and treated as a respectable moral necessity. But in practice the idea of paternalism is extremely dangerous to autonomy and the reproductive justice movement.
When I had sex for the first time one of my best friends, a man, reacted quite contrary to what I’d expected from him. [...]