Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We Did It!

After months of hard work, Planned Parenthood and our supporters can celebrate. We enjoyed overwhelmingly success last Tuesday night. A huge THANK YOU is owed to all of our volunteers who helped us 1.) elect Barack Obama, who will be a pro-choice, pro-women's health president 2.) win several of our endorsed seats in the Michigan House of Representatives, 3 of which we spent much time in canvassing and phone banking, and 3.) pass Proposal 2, which will loosen restrictions on stem cell research, which will in turn lead to more cures for devastating medical conditions.

Our victories show that the people of Michigan, as well as the rest of the country, understand that WOMEN'S HEALTH MATTERS! People realize that access to affordable birth control, emergency contraception, and comprehensive sexuality education are important preventative-based health care measures that protect women and families. People realize that upholding a women's right to choose is essential to the freedom and dignity of all human beings. And finally, people realize that when anti-choice politicians choose to attack reproductive health care, it shows a lack of common-sense and compassion.

So CONGRATULATIONS everyone! We did it.

However, don't rest too easy. The fight to ensure access to quality reproductive health care for all individuals will continue.

Would you like to join us? Email me at to get involved.

Check out this article written about us in The Detroit News to see what a great group we are to get involved with!:

Friday, October 31, 2008

It's Time to Get Out The Vote!!

Do you want to feel like you've done everything possible to help to elect a pro-choice president and pro-choice state house representatives? I'm sure you do, so please join Planned Parenthood in our Get Out The Vote efforts as we contact our supporters to make sure they get to the polls on Nov. 4th!

What shift can you commit to?

Saturday, November 1st., 11:00-2:00 p.m., 2:00-5:00 p.m., 5:00-8:00 p.m.

Planned Parenthood ( Ann Arbor West Office) Phones only. 2370 W. Stadium Blvd.Ann Arbor , MI 48103. Contact:

Planned Parenthood (2nd Ann Arbor location) - Phones only. 3100 Professional DriveAnn Arbor , MI 48104Contact:

America Votes. phones and canvass. 333 W. 7th Street #200, Royal Oak , MI 48067. Contact:

Kalamazoo , MI - phones. Contact:

Sunday, November 2, 2:00pm-5:00pm, 5:00pm-8:00pm

Planned Parenthood ( Ann Arbor West Office) - Phones only. 2370 W. Stadium Blvd.Ann Arbor , MI 48103. Contact:

Planned Parenthood (2nd Ann Arbor location) - Phones only. 3100 Professional Drive, Ann Arbor , MI 48104. Contact:

America Votes. phones and canvass. 333 W. 7th Street #200Royal Oak , MI 48067. Contact:

Kalamazoo , MI - phones. Contact:

Monday, November 3, 5:00pm-8:00pm

Planned Parenthood ( Ann Arbor West Office) - Phones only. 2370 W. Stadium Blvd.Ann Arbor , MI 48103. Contact:

Planned Parenthood (2nd Ann Arbor location) - Phones only. 3100 Professional Drive, Ann Arbor , MI 48104. Contact:

Kalamazoo , MI - phones. Contact:

* America Votes 11:00am-2:00pm, 2:00pm-5:00pm, 5:00pm-8:00pm phones and canvass
333 W. 7th Street #200Royal Oak , MI 48067Contact:

Tuesday, November 4 ELECTION DAY! 11:00am-2:00pm, 2:00pm-5:00pm, 5:00pm-8:00pm

America Votes phones and canvass. 333 W. 7th Street #200Royal Oak , MI 48067. Contact:

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Our Journey to GOTPCV Weekend

We here at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan have been working hard to reach out to undecided women voters around the state. We've had lots of phone banks, lots of canvassing, lots of volunteers, lots and lots of fun, and, most importantly, some great results.

Over the last month, we've reached out to over 20,000 women to talk to them about John McCain's dangerous record on the issues we care about. When we started these efforts, Michigan was a serious swing state. Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain were here several times a week and Michiganders felt very special being in the spotlight. Then Sen. McCain felt like his resources would be better spent somewhere else and his campaign here dispersed. All of a sudden, we weren't in the spotlight like we had been. But we here at Planned Parenthood knew that the women of Michigan couldn't be taken for granted or ignored just because McCain was gone. There were still some important misconceptions about his choice record that needed to be cleared up, some excellent pro-choice Michigan House candidates to elect, and like always, we are here for women with solid information through thick and thin.

Because of the women we decided to reach out to and because we started early, we are sometimes the first organization or campaign to reach out to them and many of them truly have not made up their minds yet. I cannot express how many times women have told us on the phone or at their door how important the information we're providing is. Many didn't know about McCain's 125 votes against health care or hadn't necessarily thought about this election in terms of reproductive rights- and it's awesome to hear their voice or see their face as the weight of what we're saying registers. Not only are we getting a 2 to 1 support rate for Sen. Obama, but we're getting thanked over and over again for the important work we're doing from the very women voters we're reaching out to. Last night a phone banker in Lansing really felt special when a woman we called told her, "I really appreciate the call. I used Planned Parenthood for birth control and health care when I was younger. I can't afford to donate right now, but you always have my vote and my support."

As of last night, our persuasion work here in Michigan is done. We're moving on to GOTV, or, as I've decided to call it, GOTPCV- Getting Out The Pro-Choice Vote! It doesn't really have quite the same ring to it, but it is more accurate in our case. We wouldn't be working so hard for candidates like Sen. Obama or our local pro-choice picks if they weren't really great on our issues. And many of our supporters wouldn't be so excited about voting for them if they weren't 100% pro-choice. Just the other night, I had a woman tell me on the phone, "I'm voting for Sen. Obama, because he's pro-choice!" Another woman told me that she was voting for our house candidate because she trusted our opinion and we called and asked her to.

The whole adventure of this election has been fun. I feel good knowing that I’m making a difference for the sake of the woman here in Michigan and across the country. And I’m reminded of how appreciated it is every day by our volunteers and the women to whom we’re reaching out to support our cause.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Calling for Choice

Today I want to tell you all about something amazing. Something revolutionary. Something absolutely incredible.

...Something that has changed phone banking forever!

The Predictive Dialer!

Just think about this scenario: you go to volunteer with a campaign. They have you make phone calls to get out the vote for their candidate. They hand you a piece of paper with names and numbers of supporters and you sit down to dial. No one answers the first call. The second person's number is busy. You then get an answering machine. Finally, after 15 calls, you get to speak to a person. After a three hour shift you've hardly talked to anyone. And your dialing finger hurts.

Now, just think about this scenario: you love Planned Parenthood and all we stand for and you want to help us elect pro-choice candidates up and down the ballot. So, you sign up to attend one of our Calling for Choice phone banks. You come in, we give you some snacks, train you on totally cool technology called Predictive Dialing, and then you sit down at a computer. You log in and the phone next to you rings. You pick it up and the calls actually come to you! You never dial a number, you never get not-homes, you never get a busy signal, and in an hour you can reach up to 100 people! You feel effective, you're not tired of hearing the ringing of the phone in your ear all night, and your dialing finger is well rested. And, you've gotten to chat with the other dozens of PP phone bankers through the computer system's chat room while you were between calls.

You leave happy and knowing you made a difference. More women are voting for Sen. Obama and local pro-choice candidates because of your work!

I always make a guarantee to our volunteers that they'll have fun at our phone banks- and I will make that same guarantee to you!

If you haven't volunteered with us yet, we've got 8 days to ensure a win on November 4th and we could use your help.

Join us for phone banking to Get Out the Pro-Choice Vote!!

If you're interested, let me know:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Knocking for Choice

Knocking doors during an election is proven to be the most effective way of conversing with voters and persuading them to vote your way. Being engaged by someone who cares enough to come to your door is a pretty unique experience.

That face to face election work is really empowering for the door knocker too- not only do you get great exercise on a beautiful fall day, but you really understand how much of a difference you're making when you're out there- literally meeting people where they're at and talking to them about something you're passionate about. And often times, at someone's door, they'll even tell you to "keep up the good work" or that they're impressed to see you out there in your free time working to make Michigan better.

This election has really been an interesting ride since it began nearly 2 years ago! So many things have happened that we could have never predicted that it's hard to believe that we're actually close to this thing being over. With just 12 days until the election, we have to pull out all the stops and make sure that we elect Sen Obama and local pro-choice candidates.

Our field program here at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan works exactly toward that. We're working, by knocking doors and through phone banks, to help persuade undecided women here in Michigan to vote with their pro-choice values in mind.

The choice is clear: we have a presidential candidate (John McCain) who doesn't think Roe v Wade was a good decision, and hasn't supported sex ed funding, contraceptive coverage by insurance companies, and has voted against women's health care 125 times in his career. And then, we have a candidate (Barack Obama) who has been a consistant ally of Planned Parenthood and women and is unabashedly pro-choice.

Join us in to win this historic and critical election! We know who to pick when we vote on Nov. 4th, but we need your help to educate women who may not yet know the vast differences between these candidates.

If you're interested in knocking doors or making calls with us, let me know (

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Take Our Daughters to the Polls!

Planned Parenthood is a sponsor of a very cool national project called Take our Daughters to the Polls. Not only do we need candidates to run on pro-women, pro-family, and pro-choice platforms, but we need to empower women to take part in the political process and start a culture of voting early in life. Check this out:

... and take your daughters with you to vote on November 4th!

The Final Weeks

Well, you can tell we've been busy over here working to get pro-choice candidates elected, becuase we haven't had time to blog!

Let me tell you, we are having great fun working on this election! Knocking doors and making calls to let the women of Michigan know what's at stake in this election feels so good!

A lot of women aren't aware of the stark differences between John McCain and Barack Obama in regards to women's health care and reproductive rights, and as Planned Parenthood, a trusted provider of health care for over 25% of American women, we have a really important role in helping to educate them. Women thank us all the time on the phones and at the doors for letting them know this important information about the candidates.

If you're interested in helping us win pro-choice victories up and down the ballot, let us know! The numbers are looking good, but we have to be vigilant to ensure that we take the gold on Nov. 4th. Email me if you're interested in getting involved and I'll direct you to the Planned Parenthood organizer closest to you. (

Let's win this thing!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Viral Email Inspires Donations to Planned Parenthood

A viral email of unknown origins has been making the rounds over the past couple of weeks. In it, it states that if you are upset that such an extremist as Sarah Palin has been picked as McCain's running mate, then take action: donate to Planned Parenthood Federation of America! The email lets you know that Planned Parenthood's website has the option of letting you send a thank you note to a person of your choosing, so it asks you to send the cards directly to Palin to let her know that her extremist stances on reproductive health care are prompting others to give money to an organization that supports reproductive justice!

It is important to note that this email did NOT originate with Planned Parenthood. But we are very happy that so many people understand the importance of our services and do not want to see them be taken away by McCain and Palin, who are out-of-touch with the health care needs of American women and families.

To date, Planned Parenthood has received over 30,000 donations, which have totaled over $800,000!!! Amazing. Thank you to everyone who has contributed. We greatly appreciate your efforts.

Make sure to educate everyone you know on McCain and Palin's extreme positions on women's health. And make sure to tell everyone to vote on Nov. 4th so we can celebrate having a pro-choice president: Barack Obama!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Want to make a difference this election?

Hey all you pro-choice/Planned Parenthood supporters!

This past week for us at the office was super busy with prepping for the Michigan March for Choice. It was a huge success and over 200 people came out that day to get a training on lobbying/advocacy, lobby their local representatives, and rally on the Capitol steps. We had some amazing press from the local news outlets and are looking forward to next year when we all can celebrate the nomination of a pro-choice President! (cheers and applause please!)

Check out these links for the news media we received on Wednesday!

We will be rolling out our volunteer engagement calendar in the next week to call on all of you to help in areas across Michigan. We encourage you to volunteer - even just for a few hours - we have a lot of work to do. Who is with us??????

Also, make sure to check out our Facebook Page,

Our Twitter Page,

Our Myspace Page

Have a wonderful weekend all!

Above are fabulous volunteers from Project TRUST in Battle Creek, John (Field Manager), Megan (Field Organizer), Amber (Field Organizer), Dessa (Senior Field Organizer) and Felix (Project TRUST Mascot)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Press Release from the PP Action Fund About McCain's Health Care Plan

Taken from the PP Action Fund Press Release sent Wednesday September 17, 2008

More than 17 million American women are uninsured. Only one out of every four women says she is very confident that she can afford health care for herself and her family. The numbers don’t lie — this country has a health care crisis.

At Planned Parenthood, we hear from women every day who tell us that they have nowhere else to turn and, too often, “basic care” is reduced to emergency room care. When women aren’t able to get the exams and vaccines they need to prevent cancer, there is more cancer. When women aren’t able to afford their contraception, there is more unintended pregnancy. When women can’t get screenings for sexually transmitted infections, their health and future fertility are jeopardized.

For eight years, more and more of these services have fallen beyond the reach of millions of women. George Bush has looked the other way, patching the problem with ineffective tax cuts to the wealthy. Now, John McCain has offered a health care plan that would do much of the same.

A new study by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the Center for American Progress Action Fund analyzed John McCain’s health care plan, and found that it would be worse for women and could potentially cause millions of women to lose their employer-sponsored health care coverage.

McCain’s plan offers health care tax credits to families with the supposed goal of giving them greater freedom of choice in choosing health plans. In reality, his plan might help insurance companies build their profits, but it isn’t going to help families.

The tax credits are too small to really offset the costs of comprehensive health insurance — for those already uninsured or underinsured, basic care would remain out of reach. But this plan would also destabilize the system of employer-based health coverage that 59 million women count on to cover their families. The Tax Policy Center estimates that his approach would cause 20 million people to lose their employer-sponsored coverage over 10 years.

For the 59 million women whose health is at stake, those just aren’t good odds.

But not only would the plan undermine current health care policies, it would also undermine the laws that protect women’s health in states across the country by allowing insurance companies to cherry pick their state of residence and to sell policies without regard to state insurance rules.

Thirty-one states currently require comprehensive drug benefits to include contraception. Twenty-one states require coverage of maternity care. Twenty-nine states require coverage for cervical cancer screenings. These are protections that every state should provide, but under McCain’s plan, almost no woman could count on having them.

The next president will inherit this health care crisis, and America needs solutions. Senator McCain’s plan isn’t even a good start.

Monday, September 15, 2008

McCain Has No Shame

John McCain really stooped low this time. His newest ad is completely deceiving and distorts the facts; it claims that Barack Obama supported "comprehensive sex education" for kindergartners, and that Obama wanted to "teach kids about sex before teaching them how to read." Here's the truth: as a state senator in Illinois, Obama supported a bill that would teach young children how to avoid and prevent sexual abuse (a bill supported by many national medical associations). This is an absolutely necessary thing--who doesn't want children to know how to protect themselves??! But McCain is all about dirty politics and doesn't seem to mind that he is outright lying.

Well, Planned Parenthood minds. And we aren't going to stand for it.

Watch our new ad that calls McCain out for his shameless lies:

Now show this to all your friends so everyone knows that McCain is just another politician who will say anything to get elected!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Shift in the Issues

Unfortunately, the GOP is up to its old tricks again. Conservatives have managed to take a nation at war, having no guaranteed healthcare, living with a poor educational system and an even weaker economy and shift the attention to pigs and lipstick. I think this is absolutely absurd.

My sincere hope is that Americans are not fooled by this Republican magic-trick. Now you see the real issues, now you don’t! They have not given us any real answers to the problems we face, other than ‘figure it out yourself’. As polls report that women are now shifting from Obama to McCain, I find it necessary to remind you. The McCain/Palin ticket does not stand for women’s rights. The GOP might have never had a woman on its ticket if it wasn’t responding to the pro-woman sentiment resounding in our nation. If you are pro-woman, pro-choice or pro-human rights, you must also be pro-Obama.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Our New Detroit Health Center!

I am excited to announce that our Midtown Detroit health center (on Cass and Canfield) is open and we are working from it!

Soon we'll have volunteer nights here and will be set up to do more substantial community outreach because we have a more adequate and workable space from which to do it.

Detroit: Here we come!

I love being in this neighborhood!

Cass Health Center

Monday, September 8, 2008

Register for the Michigan March for Choice!

Want to have fun A LOT of fun while making a difference at the same time? Then you better attend the Michigan March for Choice on September 24th. There will be an advocacy training, lobbying, exciting speakers, and a rally. Come participate to make your voice heard and learn more about how you can influence the upcoming election!

Register here:

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Resounding Silence

As the Republican National Convention comes to a close, I am thinking about all of the issues that were discussed. I am thinking about the McCain campaign’s references to peace and yet they support the war in Iraq. I am thinking about the references made to the poor “working their way up” and yet poor people were harassed with physical violence while protesting outside the convention center. I am thinking about the opposition to government spending, yet there is no problem with spending billions and billions on the war. I guess spending is only a problem when the money is being used to provide healthcare to America’s disadvantaged children.

In thinking about all the issues, I noticed that there was resounding silence when it came to the issue of women’s rights. I wondered why. Could it be that the speech writers knew this was important to the women of America and they would rather avoid the topic? Why didn’t they come right out and say what their policies would do to American women; how women’s right to make private medical decisions could be taken away; how thousands of women, men, girls and boys would continue to be infected with preventable sexually transmitted diseases because the government refuses to support comprehensive sexuality education?

Those of us who have dedicated our lives to the fight for human rights saw through all of the meaningless rhetoric and we want change. Avoiding women’s rights issues will not make them go away. Ignore them, and you are ignoring millions of American women, women who will not sit silently and let their rights be obliterated. Women matter and oh yes, we vote!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pit Bulls with Lipstick?

Last night while my fellow colleagues and I were watching the Republican National Convention - text messaging back and forth about what we thought - we heard some very hurtful attempts to dis-credit all of the hard work us community organizers do. The comment that Palin made “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities” .... Actual responsibilities!!!! Are you kidding me?

Us "community organizers for Planned Parenthood in Michigan" work around the clock to ensure that our under-represented, under-paid, under-served communities have a voice in the legislature and we work to create common-sense public policies and laws towards preventative health care and family planning. Our work helps to improve the quality of life for the women, teens and men we serve.

From working on affordable birth control, to expanding access to family planning services in Michigan,to contraceptive equity legislation, to ensuring Emergency Contraceptive access and availability and fighting for comprehensive, age-appropriate medically accurate sexuality education in the schools is by no means a job with no responsibility.

So much for her comment on her being a pit bull with lipstick... us organizers are a force to be reckoned with... we are foot soldiers in this social movement for change!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Make Your Voice Heard: Tell HHS NO to Bush Regulations

The Bush Administration is making a last ditch effort to limit reproductive health care access for American women before their term in office is up.

Here's How:

New rules have been submitted to Health and Human Services (HHS) by the Administration that would change language around reproductive health care access- leaving the door wide open to interpretation in regards to what services women can access. The rules are vague enough that doctors could refuse birth control prescriptions because they equate birth control with abortion!

Bush's HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt wrote that redefining abortion wasn't his "intent" behind the new regulation. Regardless of intent, the regulation certainly could functionally allow the defining of contraceptives as abortion.

Funding for basic family planning services are also at stake with these new rules. Title X, which is our Nation's national family planning program, helps low income women afford reproductive health care services like birth control. This money cannot be used for abortion services. So, what if the case, under these new rules, could be made that birth control is abortion? That would eliminate low income women's access to critical preventative health care.

Before this ruling was official, Planned Parenthood worked with other groups like and gathered over 325,000 petition signatures against this bogus rule-change in the making and delivered them to the White House.

Now that the rule is official, there is a 30 day comment period in which WE have to let them know that limiting our access to reproductive health care services is NOT OK.

Make your voice heard- send an email to HHS Secretary Leavitt today!

Friday, August 29, 2008


In case you haven't heard John McCain who is:

AGAINST comprehensive sex education
AGAINST international family planning funding
AGAINST Roe v. Wade
AGAINST funding to prevent unintended pregnancies and teen pregnancies
AGAINST funding for public education on emergency contraception
AGAINST requiring health care plans to cover birth control
AGAINST restoring Medicaid funding that could be used for family planning services for low-income women

has selected his running mate for the Presidency. Anti - Choice Republican from Alaska, Sarah Palin. Enough is enough.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund recently polled 1,205 women in 16 likely battleground states, finding that:

Despite his extreme voting record, 51 percent of women voters in battleground states have no idea what John McCain's positions are on women's reproductive health issues. Forty-nine percent of women currently backing McCain express pro-choice views, and 46percent of women supporting McCain over Obama want to see Roe v. Wade upheld.

In a match-up with Barack Obama, 36 percent of pro-choice McCain supporters say they are less likely to vote for McCain when told that he opposes Roe v. Wade.

For more information on how you can help Planned Parenthood this election please visit

See below for the press release from the PP National Office.

For Immediate Release Contact: Diane Quest, 202-973-4851
August 29, 2008


“Senator McCain's choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a running mate makes clear that John McCain is completely out of touch on the issues that matter to American women. The last thing women need is a president — and vice president — who are prepared to turn back the clock on women's rights and repeal the protections of Roe v. Wade.

“The 2008 presidential election is about going forward, not backwards. It is about change, not about more of the same. But in choosing Governor Palin, Senator McCain has once again demonstrated that a McCain-Palin administration would be four more years of the same.

“According to an article in the Alaska Journal (3/16/08), when Palin was running for lieutenant governor in 2002, she sent an e-mail to the Alaska Right to Life board saying she was as “pro-life as any candidate can be.” She is also on the record stating that she is opposed to abortion even in the case of rape or incest.

“Women deserve a president who understands all their health care needs. There should be no question now that Barack Obama does and John McCain does not. John McCain may have a woman on the ticket, but he does not have the interests of women at heart. This selection may satisfy the right wing of the Republican Party, but it will further alienate mainstream women voters.”

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Oakland Press Covered Our Rally!

Here's an article about the rally we had on Tuesday. The reporter left too soon and therefore only accounted for a dozen attendees- he should have stuck around to see the other dozen! But it's great that he was there and covered us.

As usual, McCain's positions on our issues are so vague they are not compelling at all.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

McCain is a McStake

Yesterday we celebrated Women's Equality Day (commemorating 88 years of American women's right to vote) by protesting outside of Sen. McCain's Midwestern Headquarters in Farmington Hills.

It was the perfect way to celebrate how far we've come in this movement for equality, and to let it be known that we do not intend to be taken back to a time when our voices weren't heard, when our concerns were ignored, and when we were not treated with respect and fairness.

This election is critical in standing up for women's rights. Here are some things to know about McCain:

He is...
AGAINST comprehensive sex education
AGAINST international family planning funding
AGAINST Roe v. Wade
AGAINST funding to prevent unintended pregnancies and teen pregnancies
AGAINST funding for public education on emergency contraception
AGAINST requiring health care plans to cover birth control
AGAINST restoring Medicaid funding that could be used for family planning services for low-income women

And as if that wasn't bad enough, McCain doesn't support Pay Equity Legislation that would require that employers pay women the same that they pay men for the same job.

I don't know what century he's living in, but we were there in force yesterday to show him that we're not interested in having him lead us in this current one.

It comes down to being fair and principled in your approach to health care and families- and if that's something you're into, you shouldn't be into McCain.

We waved signs and let hundreds of people driving down Northwestern Highway know that McCain is a McStake... big time!

McCain Rally front

McCain Rally youth

Dessa at McCain Rally

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bush Administration Rule Change Severely Threatens Women's Health

Below is the letter Planned Parenthood Federation of America President, Cecile Richards, sent out last night. You may have heard that this was coming up, like I did, but it's still unfathomable that the Bush Administration would betray women like this as they leave office.

Here's the gist: The president's rule within the Department of Health and Human Servies (HHS) lets health care providers define abortion, which could threaten access to birth control and broader reproductive health care, and allow federal funding for so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" that refuse to inform patients of or provide patients with a full range of reproductive health care options.

With abortion being left undefined, it means that "the regulation creates all sorts of space for ideology and political views to insinuate themselves into medical practices, emergency rooms and clinics all across the country and when that happens women will suffer.”

Please take action and encourage your friends to as well- we've got 30 days of public review to show them that this IS NOT OK.

Not under our watch,

From Cecile:

At 2:00 this afternoon, the Bush administration launched an attack on women's health care and reproductive rights that has put Planned Parenthood and the people it serves in the fight of their lives.

We need your help today — and over the next few weeks — to fight back. Thank you in advance for standing with us during this critical time.

For the past month, we have been aware that the Bush administration was planning to release a rule that would limit the rights of patients to receive complete and accurate birth control and other reproductive health information and services. With your help, we did all we could to stop the president from going through with the threat to release the new rule. But Bush was intent on delivering this "gift" to his extreme anti-choice supporters before he left office. Today was their lucky day.

You can bet that anti-choice activists are thrilled that President Bush made good on his promise to them. This rule will allow them to receive federal funds for so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" — anti-choice facilities whose purpose is to deceive and dissuade women from accessing birth control and abortion information and services.

A woman’s ability to manage her own health care is at risk of being compromised by politics and ideology. The new regulation complicates rather than clarifies the law. It lets health care providers define abortion, which could threaten broader reproductive health care, including contraception. This is just one more instance of the Bush administration putting politics in the exam room.

We've got a fight on our hands — and it's a big one. We have 30 days to dispute the rule with everything we've got. That includes you. It is during crises like the one happening today when your support for Planned Parenthood and the people it serves is most needed. We're launching a massive campaign immediately.

When more and more families are uninsured and have difficulty accessing health care at all, implementing a rule that will limit access to health services is utterly perplexing. The Bush administration's outrageous actions never cease to amaze me, but this one is beyond belief. It will hurt the women who most need help at a time when they are most vulnerable. It's unconscionable, and it is wrong. And, once again, it's our job to stop it.

Thank you, thank you, for your help today and during the next few weeks.


Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Abortion Provider Inverviewd on NPR

Earlier today, I was listening to National Public Radio, via WDET in Detroit, while I was getting some work done. Just as I was about to turn it off and concentrate on some tedious numbers stuff, I heard the next segment advertised. Susan Wicklund was to be interviewed about her recent memoir This Common Secret: My Story as an Abortion Doctor.

Of course, I couldn't turn off the radio then. So I decided to eat my lunch a little earlier than planned and get back to the numbers after the interview.

The interview was really interesting. Dr. Wicklund is a very mild mannered woman, who's caring nature is evident each time she speaks about her patients. Hearing the story about her abortion as a young woman and how that experience made her want to provide safe abortions for women of the next generation was really inspiring.

Hearing how she has been targeted by anti-choice extremists by way of stalking, protests at her home, protests at her daughter's school, and death threats, and how she continued to do the work she believed in because of the energy she got from her patients was also inspiring.

No doctor performing legal and safe procedures should have to go through what Dr. Wicklund did. But her struggles have inspired me to keep working and fighting for what I believe in even when it's hard.

You can hear the interview I heard by clicking here:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

PPAM Seeks Voter Registration Interns: Could That Be You?

I am happy to announce that Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan is looking for 10 Voter Registration Interns across the state to help us register 2,000 new voters in the next couple of months.

In this historic and important election, we want to make sure no stone is left unturned in finding eligible voters who can exercise their right (and duty) to vote for the first time on Nov. 4th, 2008.

If you're interested in applying, check out the announcement on our website (, and get in touch!

The deadline to apply is August 22nd, and spots are filling up fast, so don't delay!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Successful Primary

So this is a little late, but still very important!

Planned Parenthood's endorsed candidates had a successful day on the primary on August 5th. Congratulations to these three candidates who won their Democratic primary for state House Representative!

Sarah Roberts in House District 24
Lisa Brown in House District 39
Katie Segal in House District 62

These candidates are certain to make women's health a priority in the state of Michigan. If you live in their districts, make sure to vote for them! If you don't live in these districts, make sure you vote for pro-choice candidates all the way down the ballot in November! Find out candidates' positions on choice by viewing our voter guide at:

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Until the Violence Stops: Detroit

UTVS Detroit is a two-week long festival, happening at the end of February 2009. The event is a part of V-Day, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending violence against women and girls. The organization is considered radical, in that it does not seek to decrease violence. It seeks to eradicate it – everywhere. V-Day does work domestically and globally, reaching countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mexico.

UTVS Detroit gives individuals and organizations in Michigan the opportunity to speak out on the issue of gender-based violence and to take action. The kick-off event for the festival was a 2-day expo held at the Gibraltar Trade Center in Mount Clemens, Michigan on August 2nd and 3rd. Vendors performed massages and yoga. They sold oils, perfumes, books and jewelry. There was also an activist corner where Planned Parenthood provided an opportunity for people to volunteer and show support for our Prevention First campaign.

Highlights of the expo included the Red Tent, which is a safe space for women to enter and reflect on their experiences. The V-Day documentary “Until the Violence Stops” was broadcast throughout the day for free. Finally, there was a display using 73 pairs of empty women’s shoes to show how many women would die in the state of Michigan due to gender-based violence this year.

At Planned Parenthood, we care about women’s health, physical and emotional. It is great to work with other community partners like V-Day organizers who have similar ideals. The president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America delivered a message of solidarity at V-Day’s V to the Tenth celebration in New Orleans. It assured women that Planned Parenthood takes the issue of violence against women seriously, and that we intend to be a partner in the movement that will one day end it.

For information on Planned Parenthood’s involvement with V to the Tenth, see

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Today's Primary! Don't forget to Vote!

Just a reminder that today is our Primary. If you want to see what your ballot's going to look like so you can study before you head to the polls today, check out this website:

It will also tell you where your polling location is as well as the hours that it's open.

Happy Voting!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

One Million Strong at Warped Tour

Thanks to the ladies of, Planned Parenthood’s One Million Strong campaign was represented at the Detroit Warped Tour. The One Million Strong Campaign is a Planned Parenthood Action Fund-sponsored effort, combining national, state, and local action funds to identify, energize, and mobilize one million pro-choice voters in the coming election.

Think Girl is a non-profit organization based in metro-Detroit, dedicated to informing and empowering women through their website and community programs. The Vans Warped Tour is the longest running tour/music festival in the United States. This year’s 13th annual festival was held at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan.

Thank you Think Girl, for giving over 25,000 Detroiters the opportunity to become One Million Strong!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Progressive Voices Silenced by Tragedy in Tennessee

If you haven't heard the news yet, it's disturbing and unbelievable- in the truest sense of the word. On Sunday morning, over 200 people were worshiping at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville when a gunman came in and fired. In the next few minutes, before he was tackled by congregation members, he shot and killed 2 people and wounded 7 others. The children's' choir was performing when he began his deranged act.

The man clearly has mental illness if he is willing to go shoot innocent strangers. But if you read the reports of what happened, you'll see that he targeted the members of that church becuase of their liberal views and specifically because they promoted women's and LGBT rights.

As a 4th generation Unitarian Universalist myself, I am proud of our denomination's history of working for social justice for all people and I feel lucky that my work at Planned Parenthood and my spiritual life are so easily congruent. The congregations I grew up in always stood up for the marginalized, always wanted a better world for everyone, and never placed judgments on people based on their gender, sexual orientation, race, creed ... or decision to terminate an unplanned pregnancy.

What's so mind-boggling to me is that this spirituality of love and acceptance was so threatening and angering to the gunman in Knoxville that he not only wanted those liberal values to be silenced, but that he thought he had the right to kill the people who shared and promoted those values.

When you work daily in a movement that some consider controversial, you are aware of the history of violence that came before. As a fighter for reproductive justice, I'm aware of the violence clinic workers and doctors have had to endure to do their jobs. I am aware of the clinic bombings (even right here in Michigan) and the murdering of abortion doctors back in the 1990s. It's so bizarre to think that someone disagrees with our message of Choice so much that they would want to literally destroy us and our work- like it's unbelievable that a man in Tennessee hates liberal ideals so much that he kills members of a congregation, in front of their own children, during a church service.

My heart is with the congregation of UUs in Knoxville. My heart is with our movement too, as we work towards social justice for all people. I have faith that our movement for women's rights and LGBT rights will come to fruition despite hateful acts of violence.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Parting Gift from the Bush Administration

For the past 8 years, the Bush administration has spent plenty of time promoting an anti-choice agenda. Thankfully, their time is almost up. However, the Bush administration couldn't leave without delivering a severe blow to the health of women and families, now could it?! That just wouldn't be their style.

The Bush administration is circulating a draft of proposed regulations that would apply to those who receive U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funds. These regulations would threaten women's access to basic health information and services and also undermine states’ ability to enforce laws related to health care access and information.

The proposed regulations include a definition of abortion which is extraordinarily broad, seeking to expand the existing legal protections for providers/entities refusing to participate in abortion services to regular forms of birth control. The proposed regulation defines abortion as “any of the various procedures—including prescription, dispensing, and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action—that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation.” The definition could be interpreted to sweep in birth control, including emergency contraception, intra-uterine devices (IUDs), and other forms of hormonal contraceptives.

Some of the consequences of this might include:

*Planned Parenthood would be forced to hire doctors and nurses who refuse to prescribe birth control pills or even counsel patients on all their options. Countless teenagers, low-income women and those without health insurance could be denied help in family planning and preventing pregnancies.

*Health insurance providers could stop covering the cost of contraceptives for many American women even in states that require them to do so.

*Sexual assault survivors could be prevented from learning about emergency contraception, a form of birth control that can prevent pregnancy.

*Hospitals wanting to continue to receive federal funds would be required to certify that they do not discriminate against hiring health providers who would refuse to prescribe or tell patients about birth control.

Ridiculous, right? So how can you help? Contact your federal Senator and Representative and urge them to speak out against this outrageous attack on women's health.

Before you tear your hair out in frustration, remember: 176 days until we elect a pro-choice president!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Are You Serious?

I met a woman at the Detroit City Fest who was staffing a table for a local non-profit organization. I asked her to sign a statement of support for our One Million Strong campaign. After she read the materials, she took the form and studied it for five more minutes. Finally, she brought it back with her name printed, but crossed out. She said that she could not sign because was not pro-choice.

She talked to many people about being an Obama supporter, to which I wanted to reply “you know he’s pro-choice, right?” I didn’t though. I know how to respectfully agree to disagree. But that’s not the end.

She came over and started talking to me about how she teaches Sunday school at her church, and that they only teach abstinence because they don’t want teens to become sexually active. She then said, in a whispered voice, “it’s not working though….they’re still doing it”. I could not have said it better myself. If you know that abstinence-only isn’t working, aren’t you being irresponsible when you don’t provide information that can help teens make healthy decisions?

We are in a crisis people! One in four teen girls has a sexually transmitted infection. One in two African-American teen girls has a sexually transmitted infection. If you read this blog regularly, you might be tired of hearing this statistic. I’m sorry, as long as teens are suffering because of bogus politics, we will continue to shout it from the roof tops. When teens stop being infected at these alarming rates, I will stop making a fuss about it. Until then, abstinence only MUST GO!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

McCain: 8 Seconds of Silence

If you weren't aware of how out of touch John McCain is, this should sum it up:

If you still need more reasons to not vote for him, check this out:

Monday, July 14, 2008

See you in a week!

Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan is off to Washington D.C. for a national Planned Parenthood conference. We will be learning strategic and effective ways to ensure that Michigan becomes a state that fully supports pro-choice policies! And when we get back, it will be time to kick the electoral activism into full gear, so be ready to get out and knock some doors, make some phone calls, and host a house party or two to make sure we elect pro-choice legislators on the state and federal level this fall!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thanks Detroit NOW

The Detroit Planned Parenthood Young Leaders (PPYL) group was recently featured in the summer 2008 issue of the Detroit NOW newsletter (front page, no less). As another group dedicated to ensuring the reproductive rights of women, it’s great to be recognized by the Detroit Chapter of the National Organization for Women.

NOW issues numerous action alerts, notifying its members of important national issues. One specific issue that Planned Parenthood and NOW have in common is our fight to restore affordable birth control to low-income and college women. For more information, see the NOW action alert at

Once again, sincere thanks to Detroit NOW. If you are interested in joining the Detroit PPYL group, please contact us at

Out of Touch

Yesterday John McCain was interviewed on his campaign bus and according to the Press Release by the PP Action Fund he left a long pause in his conversation that leaves women wondering whether he cares about their health care. It goes a little something like this...

Reporter:..."it was unfair that insurance companies cover Viagra but not birth control. Do you have an opinion on that?"

(strange, uncomfortable, 8 second pause).....

McCain responded: "I don't know enough about it to give you an informed answer."

McCain went on to say, "it's something that I had not thought much about, and I did hear about her response, but I hadn't though much. But I will get, I will get back to you today on it."

Oh really John McCain!!! As stated by Cecile Richards in the press release, "When Sen. John McCain was asked to vote on insurance coverage of affordable birthcontrol, he HAD AN ANSWER... NO. By voting against insurance coverage of birth control, Sen. McCain is denying women affordable access to basic health care."

Just a little food for thought over the weekend!

"Living is the art of loving. Loving is the art of caring. Caring is the art of sharing. Sharing is the art of living.
If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else."
Booker T. Washington

Monday, July 7, 2008

What's At Stake in November

In preparation for a training, my fellow organizers and I have been brainstorming all of the reproductive rights issues that are at stake in the upcoming election. As we all know, on the federal level, there is a HUGE difference between Obama (strong women's health advocate) and McCain (Mr. Mc-AntiChoice). There are important issues on the state level as well.

On the federal level:

Title X funding: the nation's family planning program. Title X funds go to safety-net family planning providers that serve low-income women and families. Title X is already severely underfunded and desperately needs an increase in the coming years.

Title V: funding for abstinence-only education programs. The government has already wasted $1.5 billion on Title V, which has been proven ineffective by many, many studies. It is time to put Title V to rest!

Supreme Court justices: the Supreme Court has an immense amount of power, and the president gets to decide who's on it. President Bush has already done enough damage by appointing justices who are dedicated to stripping away women's reproductive rights. We need to make sure McCain doesn't get a chance to continue this trend.

On the state level:

Prevention First: the Michigan legislature has introduced a series of bills that focus on making women's health a priority. These bills are a part of Planned Parenthood's Prevention First! Campaign, and they will ensure:

*access to affordable birth control
*comprehensive, medically-accurate sex education
*timely access to and education about emergency contraception
*insurance coverage of annual pap smear screenings

We need to make sure that Michigan elects pro-choice legislators so that these bills can become a reality. This is vitally important to the health of our communities.

So now that you know what's at stake, make sure your vote in November supports women's health! And don't forget to tell all your friends to do the same!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Do People Care?

As a field organizer, it’s my job to make my community aware of issues and legislation that will affect women’s health in Michigan. One of the ways I accomplish this is through crowd canvassing at large events like festivals. I usually ask people if they would like to support women’s health, to which some reply yes. Many say no. How could this be? How could people actually say no to making women’s health a priority? One of my rationalizations is that people are too busy to stop, but that they really do care about women’s health. Thing is, if you don’t stop to sign or stand up to speak out, no one will ever know.

While some people are too busy to learn about the laws being passed in our country, many others are super-busy passing laws and lobbying for legislation that could negatively impact the very same people who didn’t care to speak out. There are those who would pass laws that never affect themselves personally, but affect poor, uninsured or under-insured people. These are the people who hope you are always too busy to stop, too busy to learn what’s going on in your community, too busy to stand up and call for change. Understand this: while they are hoping you are too busy to stop and make a difference, they are never too busy to stop trying to exert their control over women’s bodies by eliminating women’s choices. They are tireless when it comes to working against good sex ed in schools and making accessible and affordable health care for women a thing of the past.

I titled this blog “Do People Care?” because I really want to know if they do. I’m sure they do. I’m hoping they do. If you are reading this and you care about women’s health, post a comment saying “I Do!”

Thank you, I do too.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thanks Northville!

The Northville Board of Education recently approved a human sexuality component to be added to their health education curriculum. I think this is big news and I am excited to see a community come together to create an environment where teens can get medically-accurate, age-appropriate sexuality education.

The Northville Board of Education’s decision is in response to a statistic that says 79 percent of Northville parents want to see this education in schools. Parents will have to opt-in to the course, instead of opting out, a decision that may have a negative impact on the number of students participating (just ask any teacher who has ever sent a note home).

Overall, I believe this decision is a move in the right direction. The parents of Northville have had their say. Now, let’s watch the wonderful things that can happen when we trust our teens enough to give them access to vital, relevant and accurate information.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

People for PPYL

I recently co-hosted events for Planned Parenthood’s first Detroit and Oakland County Young Leaders groups. We had a great time talking about Planned Parenthood’s mission and goals and planning our upcoming fun-filled, action-packed events. If you are an activist and would like to participate with one of our groups in your area, give us a holler!

Contact Detroit PPYL at
Contact Oakland County PPYL at

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Please Don't Let Epidemic Become "Old News"

As many of you know, back in March a shocking study from the Center for Disease Control came out, showing that nearly 1 in 4 teen-aged women in our country, and 50% of African American teen women, have a sexually transmitted disease. Most of the cases found were of Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer, as well as Chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and Herpes.

To me, this seems everyone should be up in arms trying to do something to turn the tide on the epidemic facing our young women.

When most people think of epidemic, I think they probably think of Polio. So, I did a little comparative research. What I found was that back in the early 1900s Polio was not only striking fear in the hearts of Americans as the disease seemed to pop up unexplainedly and spread quickly, but it was also killing a lot of people. In 1907 there were 2,500 cases of Polio in New York City and in 1916 6,000 people in Brooklyn alone died of the disease.

Then I looked up the number of women who die of Cervical Cancer in our country today. Already in 2008 3,800 women have died and 11,000 others have been diagnosed. HPV causes 70% of all cervical cancer and our young women are getting HPV at alarming rates. I fear that becuase there is a delay in the serious threat that HPV poses, many people aren't adequately alarmed at the rates at which our teens are contracting this disease.

Across the country HPV education and awareness bills have popped up and have passed to varying degrees. But becuase HPV is sexually transmitted and we tend to have a hang up around teens and sex (the main misconception being that if we teach sex ed, teens will be more promiscuous, as if packing an umbrella causes rain, or as if many aren't having sex already (remember the 1 in 4 STI rate?)), many of the bills get watered down and have no teeth, meaning the young women who need the information about staying safe most, probably aren't getting it.

Just like a lot of adults aren't getting what a serious problem a 1 in 4 STD rate among teen women is.

Let's not judge and waste time talking about how back in our day young women weren't so ________ (insert you're own personal adjective here). Let's get to work educating young women about how to be healthy and safe, so that they can avoid sexually transmitted infections and turn back the epidemic of their generation.

Here are a few resources for teens, adults, and parents of teens about staying safe and talking to teens about avoiding STIs:

Monday, June 23, 2008

Seriously?...The Affordable Birth Control Crisis Really Hasn't Been Fixed Yet?

Yet again, Congress has rejected the chance to fix the affordable birth control crisis.

Since January of 2007, women all across the country have watched as birth control prices have soared 900% in many university clinics and safety-net family planning providers, all because of a MISTAKE Congress made. See, Congress inadvertently reversed a rule in the Deficit Reduction Act which allowed these clinics and providers to receive birth control at a discount price so they could turn around and sell it to their clients at an affordable price.

Recently, the Senate passed the War Supplemental bill, which contained a provision to fix this crazy mess. Unfortunately, on June 18th, the House stripped this provision from the bill.

So. Frustrating.

Birth control should be affordable. This is a simple, common-sense concept, right? After all, an overwhelming majority of women will use birth control at some point in their lives, and preventing unintended pregnancies is the best way to 1.) ensure happy, healthy families and 2.) reduce the need for abortion.

Planned Parenthood will continue to push for some sort of legislative fix. Here's what you can do to help:

Contact your Representative (find yours at ) and ask him/her to reach out to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and urge that 1.) a vote be taken on the House floor for the Prevention Through Affordable Access Act and 2) affordable birth control is indeed restored this session.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Great Place to Work

Each day, I’m amazed that I get to live out my feminist ideals through my job. Sometimes it seems unfair that other people are stuck in jobs that they only feel lukewarm about, while I have the time of my life working for a cause I believe in. Thank you Planned Parenthood - for being at the forefront when it comes to women’s healthcare and reproductive rights. Thank you for the work you do to make contraception affordable and sex education accessible. Thank you for being a great place to work!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Don't Underestimate the Power of Educating Others!

As you all know, Planned Parenthood is holding a week of house parties in order to educate others about John McCain's extreme anti-choice positions on reproductive health care. The week kicked off on Saturday, June 14th, which is when I hosted my very own party.

While everyone I invited was supportive of Planned Parenthood and our mission, almost everyone there did not know the extent of McCain's anti-choice beliefs and actions. I heard quite a few comments like "wow, I didn't know that" and "really? he voted against all these things [comprehensive, medically accurate sex education, funding to reduce unintended and teen pregnancy, contraceptive equity, etc.]?"

This is exciting to me, because while I already know that these people are going to vote for the pro-choice candidate, they now have the knowledge to enlighten other people on how dangerous McCain would be for women's health. Since McCain has done an excellent job of convincing people he's a moderate and thus pro-choice, this is vitally important. I like to call it a ripple effect: I educate a few people, who educate a few more, who educate a few more...and we all go to the polls in November to elect a pro-choice president!

So please, take the time to inform others of McCain's extremist stance. Even if everyone you know is already voting pro-choice, they might have a few friends who are on the fence...and just need that litte push to realize how scary it would be to have McCain in office. Please visit to get all the information you need to know on McCain's reproductive health care record.

My dog Nori shows her support by wearing a One Million Strong sticker at my party.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy Father's Day

As Father’s Day approaches, I am reminded of the many men who support the women’s rights and reproductive justice movements. Although, these movements are largely viewed as female, many men put themselves on the line everyday to make true equality between men and women a reality. I want to offer a sincere thanks to the men who work to sustain the rights of all people, especially those who work for the rights of women. You show every day that you understand “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. (Martin Luther King Jr.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Getting out McCain's Real Record on Women's Health

As we mentioned last week, in regards to Reproductive Justice and women's rights, the two Presidential candidates could not be more different. Whereas I focused on how great Sen. Obama is on the issues we at Planned Parenthood care about last time, today I'm going to explain JUST HOW BAD JOHN MCCAIN IS!

Here are a few examples of how he's awful (or should I say "How awful he is"):

-McCain opposed spending $100 million to prevent unintended and teen pregnancies. -McCain opposed legislation requiring that abstinence-only programs be medically accurate and scientifically based.
-McCain opposed Title X, the nation's family planning program.
-McCain opposed requiring insurance coverage of prescription birth control.
-McCain opposes comprehensive sex education.
-McCain is unsure where he stands on government funding for contraception.
-McCain opposed repealing the "global gag rule."
-McCain supports overturning Roe v. Wade.
-McCain says Roe v. Wade was a "bad decision."

And drum roll please for the very worst thing he could have February 2007, the AP quoted McCain stating, 'I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned."

This guy's real bad....

...but you can help us get the word out about him... Across the country Planned Parenthood Supporters are holding House Parties, not just becuase they're fun, but becuase lots of people don't understand how bad McCain is. His moderate persona is going to carry him far -unless we do something to shatter it.

I'm having a house party, you should have a house party too! Like I said, it's fun, it's easy, and it can make a real difference!

Let me explain...

A "House" Party doesn't really have to be at a house- it can be at a restaurant, a park, wherever. It can be over drinks, or as a potluck, or as a brownie-bake-off.

Basically, it just means that you get some friends together, have fun, and spend a few minutes talking about John McCain and how bad he'd be for women, and our health, if he becomes president. We'll get you all the info on him you'll need, and you'll also get a box of hosting goodies in the mail too- like a PP t-shirt, a lapel pin, buttons, stickers, a note from our PPFA president, etc.

Everything's really easy to set up through Party2Win: check out Michigan's home page to get started!

*FYI, you don't have to actually have your house party in the next week, but make sure to sign up through the above website by June 20th to get the box of prizes and materials for your party (and so that Michigan gets credit for all it's great activists!)

... they've been chipping away at our rights, let's chip away at John McAnti-Choice's chance at becoming President.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Climbing Steep Hills

This week I spoke over lunch to a local service club. PP was asked to come and talk about the Prevention First Campaign/our agenda for 2008, what services PP provides in the local areas, and low cost health care options for women, men, and teens. I arrived at the restaurant and was greeted warmly by a huge Planned Parenthood supporter. She briefed me on the climate of the group and told me that some people were concerned that "Planned Parenthood" was coming to speak and not a lot of people may show up. I stood up to room of mostly men and began talking about my job as an organizer of Planned Parenthood, the 2008 Legislative and Policy Agenda, the Prevention First Campaign etc. I addressed the teen pregnancy issue in the county and how important comprehensive sex education was. I looked around - blank faces. When it was time for questions, I was pleasantly surprised by an older gentlemen - in his late 70's - he said, "...there has never been a time in my life where I did not completely agree that it is a woman's choose" he looked around the room and said, "I know a lot of you (speaking to his colleagues) may not agree with this but it is important to talk about".

After I was finished most of the participants came up to me and thanked me for coming. I know that they went home that night with a lot to think about. For many years, they may have had mis-conceptions and unknowns about "Planned Parenthood", my hope is that they tell just one person about the comprehensive services PP provides, the teen peer education groups for high school students in several communities, the breast and cervical cancer prevention programs for older woman, the advocacy work that the organizers who work at PPAM do everyday and the hundreds of volunteers who are "foot soldiers" in our mission.

Lesson Learned: "To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first." Shakespeare

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Pro-Choice Democratic Nominee

No doubt by now, nearly everyone has heard that Sen. Barack Obama has surpassed the number of delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination for President. Last night the final two races (North Dakota and Montana) showed how close this race between Sen. Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton has been. Each of them won a state last night, but Sen. Obama's previous lead in delegates, and a wave of super-delegate support yesterday, pushed him over the top.

This has been a very long and unprecedented primary in many ways, but what I think is so cool about it is that from the beginning of this process in January all the way through last night, all of the candidates who even had a chance of winning on the Democratic side were 100% pro-choice and pro-women's health care! I don't think the pro-choice community could be any happier with either Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama- they have both been champions of our issues for a long time.

A quick story: Last summer at the annual conference for Planned Parenthood staff who work on policy and organizing, both Senators Clinton and Obama came to speak, as did Elizabeth Edwards on behalf of her husband, John Edwards, who had another engagement to attend at that time. Each spoke for nearly an hour about their commitment to Reproductive Justice and what they would do as President to ensure that women retained the right to affordable reproductive health care, family planning services, accurate information, and abortion, not to mention how they would handle the inevitable Supreme Court nominations they would have to make. The room of 700 Planned Parenthood staff was ecstatic- after 8 years of an extreme anti-choice administration any of the three would have been a welcome change... and not just becuase they were better than President Bush on our issues, but becuase they are all excellent on our issues!

One person who is NOT excellent on our issues is the Republican nominee, John McCain. In fact, he's horrible on just about everything we care about here at Planned Parenthood. We are a non-partisan organization, but it's not hard to figure out who we'll be supporting in November, when one nominee has introduced bills on our behalf and truly cares about the well-being of women, men, and teens in America, and one has made it clear that Roe v. Wade should be over-turned and Supreme Court Justices should be like current Justice and anti-choice extremist Samuel Alito.

I am excited that a Senator with a 100% pro-choice rating has a true shot at becoming the next President of the United States!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Planned Parenthood at Pride

Yesterday, Karisha (another Field Organizer) and I tabled at Motor City Pride in Ferndale. This is an event that celebrates the lives of Michigan's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transexual citizens. It is a huge street festival that is organized by Triangle Foundation (

What an amazing event! Thousands of people showed up to have a good time and pay tribute to Michigan's diversity. Many, many people approached the Planned Parenthood table to get information and express support for our organization. Some people may not initially see how Planned Parenthood and the LGBT community connect, but there are actually plenty of ways that the two support each other.

*Planned Parenthood believes in non-judgmental health care, regardless of race, gender, socio-economic background, able-bodiedness, sexual orientation, etc. Every individual deserves access to quality, affordable service.

*Planned Parenthood advocates for safe sex and healthy relationships. Clearly, this is important for everyone across the sexual identity spectrum. PP has information for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, on how to protect against STI's and sexual assault, understand the dynamics of a healthy relationship, and develop good communication skills.

*Planned Parenthood believes in comprehensive sexuality education, which should include information on and sensitivity to LGBT issues.

*Planned Parenthood is a progressive organization and we support progressive causes!

These are a few of the reasons why Planned Parenthood and the LGBT community are linked, and why we should continue to work together in the future.

I am so looking forward to attending the Pride festival in Lansing on June 27-29th. I hope to see you there! Visit for more information.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

SB776 Passes the Michigan House Last Night

The first thing I saw this morning when I got online was that last night the house passed SB776, which the anti-choicers who created it call the "Partial Birth Abortion Ban" ... the rest of us, who understand that this type of bill is purely political in nature and that no doctor would use this language to describe the procedure that this bill seeks to redundantly outlaw (the Federal government already banned this procedure), are outraged that not only did this waste-of-time bill get so much play, but that there's no health exception for the pregnant woman!

There are SO MANY wonderful things the legislature could be doing right now. There are so many ways to protect the lives of women and children that the supposed "Right to Life" folks don't ever make a move on that it's utterly frustrating to know that SB776 has been being pushed for months- all that time and money spent on a redundant, insulting bill rather than on really taking care of people and really making life for Michiganders better.

I don't want to be cynical in this important election year, but it's hard not to be when political pandering to bullying special interest groups like "Right to Life" is so prevalent. How out of touch with mainstream Americans are these people if they can't vote for a rape and incest amendment, or a clarification that this ban wouldn't outlaw birth control, or for an addition that would make an exception to this ban in the interest of protecting the pregnant woman's health!?! All of those were proposed last night, and none of them could get enough votes.

It's a shame that legislators worked late into the night yesterday to pass a redundant bill banning abortion procedures that are already banned and don't feel so compelled to work late to keep our drinking water clean, end our foreclosure problem, or work on balancing our budget before the deadline. Using women's health as a political chess game is unacceptable and shameful.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Support and Inspiration Up North

Yesterday, Megan (my fellow organizer) and I drove up to Traverse City to chat with our VOX students at Northwestern Michigan College and with some local feminist activists who wanted to know more about how they can advocate on behalf of Planned Parenthood.

Not only was it invigorating to go up to Traverse on a beautiful and sunny late spring day, but hanging out and coming up with ideas with other young women (who are pumped to spend their summer as activists for choice) was so inspiring that Megan and I both found ourselves giddy with excitement! For me, one of the best feelings in the world is when I'm talking to someone who shares my values and we start getting crazy-creative because we're both so inspired to work on the things that matter to us so deeply. It's that exact feeling that makes me love working as an organizer with Planned Parenthood.

I feel so unbelievably lucky that my job requires me to go out and talk to amazing and passionate people who want to make the world more equitable for women, and a better place for everyone!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Get Involved!!

This is a call to action. For all of you who think reproductive justice is important, but never have done anything about it, it is now your time to step up and make a difference. And there are so many ways to do so! For your convenience, I have listed them below:

Join a Planned Parenthood Legislative Action Team. If you live in Muskegon, Northville, West Bloomfield, Commerce Township, or Ann Arbor, contact to receive more information on how to make an impact on public policy.

Become a member of a Teen Advisory Board. If you are a teenager and live in Muskegon, Northville, West Bloomfield, Commerce Township, or Ann Arbor, contact to get involved with a project that will allow you to get your voice heard on important issues that affect you.

Join a Planned Parenthood Young Leaders group. This group is for those who are post-college through pre-retirement and are looking to have a fun time while learning about Planned Parenthood. PPYL groups host social events, such as house parties, happy hours, potlucks, and anything else you can think of! Please email for more information.

Sign up for our One Million Strong Campaign! To learn more, please visit

Join the Planned Parenthood Action Network to receive email updates on legislative issues affecting reproductive health care. The Action Network also makes it really simple to contact your legislators to let them know how you feel on these issues. Please visit and click on "act now."

Become a Vox member at the college you attend. Vox (Voices for Planned Parenthood) members organize events on their campus to raise awareness about reproductive rights. Please email for more information.

Donate! If you are able, you can donate money to Planned Parenthood to support our work. It is a huge support. Please visit and click on "donate."

Volunteer in any way you can. Your time and effort are always appreciated. Please email for more information.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Building on the Michigan Policy Summit

Last Saturday Planned Parenthood staff, volunteers, supporters, and students were able to attend and participate in the 2nd Annual Michigan Policy Summit ( It was a terrific event! About 600 progressives from all around Michigan joined together to network and mingle, learn about and get involved in efforts around health care, clean energy and education, and hear two great keynote speeches from Jim Hightower and Amy Goodman.

Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan had a display and activism table at the Summit’s Organizational Showcase, where 55 organizations highlighted their work on a myriad of issues, ranging from ending torture and homelessness, to supporting LGBT and women’s rights, to registering underrepresented folks to vote, and preserving our great lakes. And there were several other pro-choice groups at the Summit, including the Michigan Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, MARAL, NOW and MI List.

Meeting so many other activists and organizers was exhilarating! It’s exciting to know that all the hard work we do here at Planned Parenthood is being matched by dozens of other organizations, also working on issues we care about, even if they are outside the realm of what we do here. There’s so much common ground between the work we do and that of our peers, that having the opportunity to get together and talk about it, which is what we did at the Summit, is invaluable. There are so many ways that we can work together to make Michigan the state we dream about. That’s the point of this Summit. The other point is that we don’t have to just do it once a year at an annual event. Now, after the Summit, is the time to get working. Let’s build on the new relationships we started on Saturday and continue to build on those relationships we’ve been nurturing for years. Working together is the only way we can get our goals accomplished...and besides, it's way more fun!


PS Planned Parenthood signed up over 100 new Million Strong Campaign supporters at the Michigan Policy Summit last weekend. To learn more about this campaign and to sign up yourself, visit our website:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Teens Know What Teens Need

Planned Parenthood is holding a Comprehensive Sex Education Lobby Day this Thursday, May 15th. We are calling the event Y.E.L.L.: Youth Educating Legislators in Lansing. Michigan teens from across the state will be part of a press conference, learn tips for lobbying effectively, and meet with legislators to talk about the importance of teen pregnancy prevention.

The cool thing here is that these teens want to get involved because it is their generation that is currently feeling the effects of abstinence-only education.

Nevermind the study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recently came out showing that 1 in 4 teenage girls has a sexually transmitted infection...

Nevermind the congressional hearing held last month that examined the detrimental effects of abstinence-only education on teenagers and their health and safety...

These teens that will be lobbying on Thursday will be speaking from their own experiences: they have seen the effects of abstinence-only education on themselves, their friends, and their classmates. What could be a more valid reason to listen to them when they say that comprehensive sex education is what teens need?

Let's hope our legislators feel the same way...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

African-Americans and STDs

I just read an article titled “African Americans and STDs: A silent epidemic”, written by U. S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio. The article states that “…a study was released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that revealed alarming statistics about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States. The report estimated that one in four young women between the ages of 14 and 19 in the United States, or 3.2 million teenage girls are infected with at least one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases including human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, herpes simplex virus, and trichomoniasis. Even more devastating, was the statistic that found that 48 percent of young African-American women are infected with an STD compared to 20 percent of young white women.”

I continue to be alarmed by the disparities in health that exist within communities of color. The article attributed higher rates of sexually transmitted infections to “…conditions in the community and access to healthcare” and went on to say that “a woman in an African- American community with a single partner is much more likely to be exposed to infection than a woman in a white community.” Some contributing factors are “men having multiple partners, multiple concurrent partners or men getting exposed to infections while in prison. “ The article also mentioned that there were a “small number of African-American women who are infected by bisexual men.”

This information is devastating because it suggests that even though an African-American woman may have only one sexual partner, she is still at greater risk for contracting an STI. In a culture that equates sexually transmitted infection with your worth as a human being, it becomes increasingly problematic for people to understand that they are at risk, even if they consider themselves to be a good girl (or boy). If I only had one sexual partner and I am not promiscuous, I must be safe, right? Wrong.

As if we have not been sounding the alarm for years, this article serves as yet another wake-up call for women, men and especially those who identify with a community of color. We have got to educate our communities about these health risks and methods for prevention and treatment. I’m sure we all have suggestions for the best way to proliferate this education. One way jumps out at me. Comprehensive sex ed, anyone?

“African Americans and STDs: A silent epidemic” can be found at

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wow, Michigan is in bad shape...

Before I write this, I'd like to point out that I am not necessarily the most eloquent of writers. With that said, onward.

The Guttmacher Institute has put out some interesting statistics on contraceptives.

Now, some things in this struck me. A few of them are below:

1) In Michigan, 1,204,060 women are in need of contraceptive services and supplies. Of these, 582,140 women need publicly supported contraceptive services because they have incomes below 250% of the federal poverty level (406,230) or are sexually active teenagers (175,910).

These figures are just amazing to me - over 1.2 million women need contraceptive services and supplies, just in Michigan alone!!!

2) Every public dollar spent on family planning services saves the federal and state governments three dollars in Medicaid costs for prenatal and newborn care.

I would like to think this is a great argument in favor of family planning services, yet there are still people in Michigan that believe abstinence is the only way...

3) Michigan ranks 48TH in laws and policies - whether their laws and policies are likely to facilitate access to contraceptive services and information.

While I'm not surprised by this, it just makes me sad. If we want fewer unintended pregnancies, then why would we make it harder for women to have access to contraceptives and family planning?

And the another bit of information that is in this fact sheet:

About half of unintended pregnancies occur among couples who were using a contraceptive method in the month the woman became pregnant; either the method did not work properly or the couple did not use it consistently or correctly. Because the likelihood of pregnancy in the absence of contraception is high, the other half of unintended pregnancies occur among the one in 10 sexually active, fertile women who were not using any birth control method even though they were not trying to become pregnant.

So, does anyone want to tell me why we shouldn't teach people the proper way to use contraceptives or that they are important? Otherwise, we can continue to deal with the medical, social, economic, and personal tolls of unintended pregnancies in Michigan.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Today marks the 35th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion for women in the U.S. Today also marks the day that our state Senate passed the fourth attempt at banning abortion procedures in Michigan. The Senate bill mimics a federal law that is already in place--just in case federal prosecutors get too busy to make their own prosecutions.

While our elected officials should be worried about more important things, like the economy and state budget, they are busy fretting over an abortion procedure that is not even used in Michigan. Need proof? The Michigan Department of Community Health tracks abortions by procedure here. None of the nine "other procedures" was reported to be a dilation and extraction.

On January 7 of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court issued orders denying the appeals of the third unsuccessful attempt by the state of Michigan since 1996 to ban certain abortion procedures. You read that right--the third time the court struck down an unconstitutional state law since 1996.

Our elected officials seem to be obsessed with abortion. This most recent bill was introduced in the midst of last fall's heated budget crisis. The Legislature remains ready to drop everything for the opportunity to chip away at our rights. Let's remember this when the November election rolls around.