Friday, June 5, 2009

What is GYT?????



National Campaign with the Kaiser Family Foundation, Planned Parenthood and Partners Triggers Youth Conversation, Helps Drive STD Testing

STD Testing Doubles at Many Planned Parenthood Clinics During April

New York, NY, June 1, 2009 – In recognition of National STD Awareness Month (April), MTV, leading pop-culture personalities, the Kaiser Family Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its nationwide network of Planned Parenthood® health centers, and other partners banded together for an aggressive public information campaign to promote testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among young Americans under age 25. Today, the partners announced several results which suggest that many young people across the country heard the call to GYT (“Get Yourself Tested”). In many Planned Parenthood health centers, for example, youth testing rates increased more than 50 percent during the month of April 2009 over the previous year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four teen girls in the U.S. have at least one common STD. Other estimates find that as many as one in two sexually-active young people will contract an STD by age 25 – and most won’t know it.[1] In response to these facts, the GYT campaign, an extension of MTV and Kaiser’s Emmy and Peabody-winning “It’s Your (Sex) Life,” informs young people about STDs and promotes testing and treatment as needed. Since the launch of GYT on April 1, 2009, the call-to-action has been embraced by young people across the United States, as the campaign unfolded on-air, online, on mobile devices and in health centers.

Some positive results from the month of April include:

Planned Parenthood Health Systems in North Carolina and South Carolina experienced a more than 100 percent increase in clients (both male and female); in the St. Louis Region, Planned Parenthood reported a 100 percent increase in less-likely-to-test males, as well as a 61 percent increase in female clients.
At campaign launch, “GYT” was one of the most-searched terms on Google, most-discussed videos on YouTube and also generated significant attention on Twitter. GYT-related videos have now been streamed over 400,000 times. Thousands continue to track and engage with the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.
Testing for gonorrhea among men and women increased in multiple markets. In fact, Planned Parenthood of Georgia experienced a 64 percent increase in the number of men tested for gonorrhea, while at a Planned Parenthood in South Central New York, the number of women tested for gonorrhea rose nearly 70 percent.
At Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa, the number of men tested for HIV more than doubled. The Planned Parenthood of South Texas and the Greater Memphis Region also experienced marked increases in male HIV tests, with a nearly 40 percent increase in the region. Planned Parenthood in Southwest and Central Florida, Indiana, Northern New York, and Southeastern Pennsylvania, to name a few, showed significant increases in the number of women tested for HIV. In fact, Planned Parenthood of Indiana, 45 percent more women were tested for HIV this April over last year., the campaign’s Web hub, provided information to nearly 300,000 unique visitors during April, serving as a resource for facts about STDs; talking tips on how to discuss STD testing with partners and healthcare providers; and connecting young people to nearby testing centers and other resources. Tens of thousands of young people accessed local testing resources through GYT’s online and mobile tools.
During just two days of $5 testing, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains conducted 2,754 chlamydia and gonorrhea tests, compared to the usual average of 156. Additionally, the Planned Parenthood Association of Bucks County experienced an over 60 percent increase in women tested for chlamydia, and at Planned Parenthood of Illinois, 51 percent more men were tested for both gonorrhea and chlamydia.
An all-star collective of pop culture personalities carried the GYT message far and wide, from Soulja Boy tweeting “WTF is GYT” to nearly 200,000 fans on Twitter to Perez Hilton’s GYT video generating over 1,000 comments. Flo Rida, The All-American Rejects, Asher Roth, N.E.R.D., Santigold, Joanna Garcia, Kid Sister, Chester French and Joy Bryant also promoted GYT via their social marketing networks, spreading the word and urging young people to GYT.
GYT Community Kits were distributed to over 1,500 clinics, youth organizations, public health departments and other groups across the country to provide programming materials and resources for local efforts to encourage STD testing.

“The results speak for themselves. Young people around the nation heard the GYT message in April and went out to get tested,” said Stephen Friedman, GM of MTV. “GYT will continue to live as part of It’s Your (Sex) Life, and as young people continue to carry the GYT banner forward so that eventually every sexually active person under the age of 25 gets tested for STDs.”

"We’re very encouraged by the early results of GYT, especially the marked increase in testing at the local clinics and health centers that participated in the effort,” said Tina Hoff, Vice President and Director, Entertainment Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation.

“Through more than 450 public outreach and education events across the country, Planned Parenthood GYT’s critical health care message reached more than 20,000 people,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “Combine that with the viral nature of the campaign and the early numbers our health centers are reporting and we know we’ve found an innovative tool to reach teens and young people in a way that they will listen, learn, and, then, make healthy choices.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the approximately 19 million new STDs (also referred to as sexually transmitted infections or STIs) that occur every year in the U.S., about half are among those 15 – 24 years of age. Since STDs often have no symptoms, most of those who are infected don’t know it. Lack of information, misconceptions and social stigma keep many people from getting tested. Others may mistakenly believe they have been tested as part of general health care. Testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea, two of the most commonly reported STDs, is easier than ever before with many clinics now offering urine-based tests. Rapid HIV tests can provide results in as little as 20 minutes with a swab inside the mouth. Diagnosis and treatment of STDs is critical to safe guarding personal health, fostering sexual responsibility and addressing the wider STD epidemic.

The GYT: “Get Yourself Tested,” campaign was launched to normalize and promote routine testing for STDs among Americans under age 25, with an emphasis on screening for two of the most common STDs, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, and also for HIV, the most serious STD. From “OMG” to “LOL,” acronyms saturate young people’s everyday vernacular, acting as common methods of communication. Playing off mobile and Web slang, GYT is an easy way for young people to talk about sexual health and getting tested for STDs. GYT aims to help young people internalize the risk of STDs--as individuals and as a generation--seeking to eliminate taboos and stigmas surrounding STDs and STD testing. GYT will continue throughout 2009 as an extension of MTV and Kaiser’s Emmy and Peabody-winning “It’s Your (Sex) Life” partnership to promote responsible decision making about sex.

Since 1997, the Kaiser Family Foundation and MTV have partnered on an extensive, Emmy and Peabody Award-winning public information campaign on HIV/AIDS, other STDs and related sexual health issues. The partnership includes targeted public service advertisements (PSAs), entertainment and other special programming, news segments, and free resources, including an informational guide developed especially for the campaign, and an extensive website

For more information on GYT, please visit

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sex Education Disguised as F U N! By: Julie, PPWNM Communications Director

A huge thank you to Julie in the West and Northern Michigan Affiliate for letting me share this article she wrote with you all. Enjoy!!!!!

Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan held its 2nd annual Teen Pregnancy Prevention Carnival on May 27, 2009. The event was held at the lovely Riverside Park in Grand Rapids, MI, with about 50 people attending.

Members of PPWNM’s Something to Say teen advocacy program were responsible for planning and implementing the carnival, along with PPWNM education staff members Carly A., Poppy H., Julie M., Staci R., and Sara W. Something to Say teens recruited friends and classmates to attend. Invitations signed by parents/guardians were required for entry.

The two-hour carnival titled “Real Talk from the ‘Hood” featured games, prizes, raffles, a picnic dinner, freshly made popcorn and cotton candy, henna tattoos, music, and most importantly — education disguised as fun!

Teens reflected on the importance of comprehensive sex education, both in writing and on videotape: “Sex education is important to me because I’ve seen many of my peers make life-altering decisions without proper knowledge of the consequences,” said a young Kentwood man. A teen girl from Grand Rapids told us, “It’s important to me because sex can cause so many harms, and younger and younger teens are starting to do it. They really need to be educated about it.”

Carnival games included STI Duck Pond, Four Cornerstones Darts, Body Parts Match Game, Comprehensive Sex Ed Match Game, and Dizzy Bat Condom Wrap. The last game required teens to hold a baseball bat top-side-to-ground, place their foreheads on the bottom end of the bat, spin around 10 times, run across the grass and properly dress a penis model with a condom — it’s much harder than it may sound! The activity is meant to simulate what it might feel like to attempt to practice safe sex, even under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Teens could also visit the advocacy table staffed by our Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan field organizer Megan Z.; and the Ask Me Anything booth, staffed by Cherry St. Health Center NPs Karen G. and Amy K. Amy and Karen said teens were most interested in learning about annual exams, various methods of birth control on display, and proper condom usage.

Friday, May 15, 2009

It's not too late to sign up for the Michigan Policy Summit happening tomorrow Saturday May 16th at Cobo Hall. We are expecting over a thousand progressives from Michigan to join together under one roof and talk about the issues affecting Michigan residents!!!

Please consider registering

Planned Parenthood staff and supporters will be there to talk more about the issues facing our organization.

We hope to see you all tomorrow.

Stay tuned for a de-brief of the event next week!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Change is happening and the clock is ticking.

On Saturday, May 16 progressive activists from across Michigan will gather for the third annual Michigan Policy Summit. Be a part of the change by signing up today.

At the Michigan Policy Summit, activists, policy experts and community leaders will join to share ideas, plans and campaigns to bring President Obama’s progressive change to Michigan and outline solutions to Michigan’s economy, jobs, health, labor organizing and our Great Lakes state environment.

Please join Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan this Saturday at Cobo Hall, and be a part of change in the making! Registration begins at 8 a.m.; speakers and sessions begin at 9 a.m.

Sign up at today!

Online registration ends at the end of the day tomorrow (May 14th), otherwise onsite registration will be available on Saturday.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

PPAM at Michigan Policy Summit 3 Years Running

Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan has been a sponsor of the Michigan Policy Summit since its inception three years ago. This year’s Summit, to be held at Cobo Hall in Detroit on May 16th, is titled “Investing in Michigan’s Future” and will focus on healthcare, clean energy, ending the foreclosure crisis, and jobs.

Since all of these issues affect PPAM staff, and our patients, we are excited to be there as part of the solution in these hard times. This Summit, a gathering of progressive organizers and activists, is not only a great way to network, gain support for our campaigns, and learn a lot, but it’s also a great way for Planned Parenthood to exhibit our skills. This year, we will be both tabling at the Organizational Showcase at the Summit and presenting a workshop on Pro-Choice Organizing. (Come by and say Hi to us!)

For more information and to register, please check out

Together, we will take up the change agenda here in Michigan that’s sweeping the nation.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Tides are Changing!

Here's a little update from Planned Parenthood Federation of America President, Cecile Richards:

If President Obama’s pro-women’s health agenda during his first 100 days is indicative of what we can expect during the next four years, we have much to look forward to! Since taking office, the president has shown his commitment to women’s health care on a wide range of issues: repealing the global gag rule, restating his commitment to protecting a woman’s right to choose, creating a White House Council on Women and Girls, expanding access to affordable birth control, and calling for evidence-based, medically accurate sex education. (Check out my Huffington Post blog on President Obama’s top 10 women’s health achievements during his first 100 days.) We’re grateful for President Obama’s leadership on health care and his commitment to reducing the number of unintended pregnancies. Here’s to making women’s health care a priority!

Also,the final member of President Obama’s Cabinet has been confirmed — and not a moment too soon! Governor Kathleen Sebelius’ confirmation as secretary of health and human services is an important victory for women and families who are struggling to afford quality health care. In the face of anti-choice opposition to her nomination, Planned Parenthood mobilized 37,712 activists, who e-mailed their senators with the message that Sebelius’ record and credentials make her an outstanding addition to the Cabinet.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

I think Earth Day may be my favorite holiday! Not that we should stuff all of our love for nature and Mother Earth into one day (maybe we can all start thinking like Earth Day every day...), but what better thing to celebrate than this magnificent planet we inhabit!?

I often think about how women's health in particular is affected by what we're doing to our environment; our soil, our air, our water- all the stuff we take into our bodies every day that that have an impact on us. As providers of life, just like the Earth itself, we need to stay healthy for our sake and for the sake of our families. And we need to protect the planet on which we live so that it can continue to provide all the various forms of life on which we greatly depend.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Join Us for The Michigan Policy Summit

It's that time of year... coming up on May 16th, 2009 is the 3rd Annual Michigan Policy Summit. This year's theme is Investing in Michigan. Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan rocked years 1 and 2...and we're about to do it again! We want to show a strong Pro-Choice presence, so we hope you can join us. We'll also be presenting a workshop on Pro-Choice Organizing and will have a table at the Organizational Showcase.

This year, for the first time, the MPS will be in Detroit, at the Cobo Hall downtown. It's a great excuse to go to Detroit for a beautiful spring day! The Summit is great for networking and for learning about what policy initiatives the progressive community in Michigan is fighting for and how these initiatives are good for job creation and the economy. Here's the website to get all the details and to register:

Hope to see you there!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day of Silence

The National Day of Silence brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Each year the event has grown, now with hundreds of thousands of students coming together to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior.

In an effort to bring attention to the National Day of Silence - please consider participaing by: being silent, wearing red, talking, wearing the rainbow, wear any color, tweet your experience, facebook your friends your expereince, blog the silence, or silence your blog. For more info please visit

Monday, April 13, 2009

Update on HHS Regulation

Just before leaving office, the Bush administration implemented a rule that would allow individual health care providers to deny patients vital health care information and services based on their own personal biases, without the patient even knowing. More than 200,000 people — including more than 90,000 Planned Parenthood supporters like you — and 150 members of Congress called on the Bush administration to withdraw this damaging rule.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America fought back by filing a lawsuit with Planned Parenthood of Connecticut in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, asking the court to invalidate the administrative regulation finalized in December by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In March 2009, President Barack Obama began the process of overturning the midnight regulation when the Department of Health and Human Services proposed a new rule to rescind it. In the proposed rule, the department expressed the importance of ensuring that any regulation in this area is consistent with Obama administration policy, and sought to address a number of concerns that had been raised about the midnight regulation. HHS gave the public 30 days to comment on the proposed rescission and specifically asked for comments on these concerns.

The comment period has now closed, and the Obama administration will review comments received on its proposal to rescind the damaging HHS regulation. In response to another overwhelming call to reverse this regulation from more than 68,133 Planned Parenthood activists, members of Congress, and state elected officials (including 17 attorneys general), we hope that the Obama administration will fully rescind this dangerous regulation soon.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Get Yourself Tested!!

Planned Parenthood is joining with The Kaiser Foundation and MTV for the Get Yourself Tested campaign in an effort to raise awareness about STIs, safe sex, and getting yourself tested.

For more information, and to find a local clinic where you can get tested, go here:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Tonight at 8 pm MTV is airing Pedro, a docudrama about Perdro Zamora, the first openly gay, HIV positive star on the Real World.

This film is not only significant because it honors the life of a stellar activist, who died too young, but is also important because it will help spread the word about the importance of HIV protection to a new generation. As an organization that is dedicated to healthy sexuality, we are so excited to see this film debuting tonight!

Here's a link to MTV's site on Pedro:

Monday, March 30, 2009


Check out this press release sent on March 27th:

HOUSTON, TX - Tonight, Planned Parenthood Federation of America <> (PPFA) proudly honored reproductive health and rights advocates who have made significant contributions to the advancement of women's health care through their work promoting prevention and family planning, and presented its highest honor, the PPFA Margaret Sanger Award, to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Secretary Clinton received this award for her unwavering support of women's health and rights throughout her public service career. Actor America Ferrera co-hosted the event with PPFA President Cecile Richards.

"It was a great privilege when I was told that I would receive this award," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in accepting the award. "It's part of a movement which is about economic and political progress for all women and girls. It's about making sure that every woman and girl everywhere has the opportunity she deserves to fulfill her potential, the potential as a mother, worker and human being. The overarching mission of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the cause of reproductive freedom that you continue to advance today is as relevant in our world now as it was 100 years ago. So, I thank you."

"Throughout her public service career, as first lady of the United States, as a U.S. senator, and now as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton has blazed a path to make health care affordable and available to all Americans," said Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards. "We are honored to work alongside such a champion of health care reform to meet the needs of women, men, and families across the country."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Planned Parenthood Applauds Federal Court Ruling on Plan B

Very exciting news! Check out this press release:

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) applauded today’s ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ordering the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to expand access to emergency contraception (EC), also known as Plan B.

“Today’s federal court ruling puts women’s health ahead of politics,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “We must do everything we can to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and protect the health and safety of all women.”

Specifically, the court ruled that the FDA must make Plan B available over the counter to women age 17 and older within 30 days. Currently, Plan B is available over the counter to women age 18 and older, and with a prescription to women younger than 18. The court also ordered the FDA to reconsider whether minors under age 17 should be permitted to obtain emergency contraception over the counter.

“It is appalling that the U.S. has the highest rate of teen pregnancy among the most developed countries in the world. Approximately 750,000 teens will get pregnant this year, and this ruling can help reduce this alarming statistic,” added Richards. “Studies show that teenagers use emergency contraception responsibly and don't rely on it as a regular method of birth control."

The court ruling criticizes the FDA’s decisions regarding Plan B, saying that it was infected by “political considerations, delays, and implausible justifications for decision making,” “pressure emanating from the White House, and the obvious connection between the confirmation process of two FDA Commissioners and the timing of the FDA’s decisions.”

Research shows that increased access to contraception does not increase or encourage sexual activity among teens.

Emergency contraception (EC) pills contain hormones that reduce the risk of pregnancy when started within 120 hours of unprotected intercourse. The sooner EC is administered, the better it works, making timely access critically important. And studies show that women do not rely on emergency contraception as a regular method of birth control.

Monday, March 23, 2009

VICTORY! Affordable Birth Control Restored!

FINALLY! It's about time!

On Wednesday, March 11, President Obama signed into law the FY09 Omnibus Appropriations package (HR 1105), which – among other things – included the language to once again permit pharmaceutical companies to immediately offer nominally priced drugs to all Planned Parenthood health centers, as well as other family planning clinics and college- and university-based health centers, should they choose to do so.

To assure pharmaceutical companies that they may once again offer all Planned Parenthood health centers nominally priced drugs if they so choose, we asked Senators Stabenow (D-MI) and Baucus (D-MT) to submit a colloquy (a conversation for the record, demonstrating congressional intent) to that effect. We have provided this information to CMS and been in conversations with them regarding implementation.

This victory was two years in the making. Congratulations to everyone who worked hard for this fix!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Let's Say Goodbye to Abstinence Only Funding!

Here's what we know: Each year, the federal government spends $176 million on failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs through Title V.

Here's what we're hoping: Since the Bush Administration is gone, and President Obama is a supporter of comprehensive, medically accurate, age-appropriate, sexuality education, that that abstinence-only mess will be halted and its money used for what research shows works much better: Comprehensive Sex Ed!

Speaking of that, here's another thing we know: Research indicates that teenagers who receive information about both abstinence and contraception, including condoms, are more likely to delay sexual activity, have fewer partners and use protection when they do become sexually active.

Oh, and one more important thing we know: We need to let our elected officials know that America wants comprehensive sex education in schools. Over 80% of parents want sex education to include information on abstinence AND contraception.

So, call Senators Stabenow and Levin today- and let them know that you want our teens to be safe and informed!

Sen. Stabenow:(202) 224-4822
Sen. Levin: (202) 224-6221

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

White House Council on Women and Girls

Yesterday, the Obama Administration announced that, via executive order, it is setting up a White House Council on Women and Girls. This panel's charge is to address women's issues, and specificaly now, with the current economic crisis, women's role in the American economy.

“The mission of the council will be to provide a coordinated federal response to the challenges confronted by women and girls and to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies consider how their policies and programs impact women and families,” a White House official said (

I am excited to see that the myriad of issues we face as women are getting attention as they relate to and effect us. There are so many things that I care about that may possibly be included in this council- obviously, reproductive health issues, but also domestic violence, sexual assault, work place discrimination, the affect of environmental degradation on our health, body image issues, ... and the list goes on!

I hope they set up a website for this, like they have for other important issues the President is working on, so that women can participate by sharing their stories and ideas. I know we here at PPAM, and all of our volunteers and supporters, would have a lot of things to share!

Although many women's groups have been advocating for a Cabinet level office specifically for women, I think this non-cabinet council is still a step in the right direction. For the last 8 years we didn't have anything at all!

President Obama's signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, his signing of the SCHIP expansion, his repeal of the Global Gag rule- and now this Council, all in his first 50 days as president, show his commitment to women and young girls' health and well-being.

Friday, March 6, 2009


We are so close to having affordable birth control BUT WE NEED YOU TO MAKE SURE IT HAPPENS!

On Wednesday we were made aware of an attempt by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) to strip this provision out of the bill calling it an "earmark" directly supporting the efforts of Planned Parenthood. But the fact is this fix does not provide funding to Planned Parenthood - or anyone else! It would simply fix a mistake in the law that put up a roadblock for pharmaceutical companies that wanted to offer cheaper drugs to health clinics.

Once we defeat this amendment for good, we will need to take credit for this monumental win.

PPFA has posted a video ( on why affordable birth control is important and we need your help! Please follow the link and create your own video why affordable birth control is important.

We are looking for stories and videos that answer the question: Why is affordable birth control important to YOU? For example, as college students you can talk about the cost textbooks, food, tuition, ramen noodles - anything - and hammer in the point that you are doing your part to pay for college, now it is the government's turn to make sure you can continue receiving this basic health care without losing other key essentials to succeed in college.

PPFA hopes to post as many videos on YouTube before Wednesday, March 11. And be sure to include the state of residence – these videos will be sent to your Congressperson.

After two years of hard work by YOU - our VOX members and Planned Parenthood staff members - we are SO CLOSE to restoring access to affordable birth control. In total, 50,000 postcards from all across the nation asking YOUR elected officials to pass affordable birth control legislation were collected. VOX students from around the country have been lobbying key officials on the hill and making a huge impact with senate leadership. You have written letters to the editor, op-eds, and media outreach in local and college papers, highlighting the importance of needing this legislation passed. And last fall almost 300 campuses in forty five states across the country participated in our Affordable Birth Control Week of Action, urging their community members to support affordable birth control.

This is your time to tell Congress and the President why affordable birth control is important to you! Please share your story on YouTube ( and let everyone know why affordable birth control is commonsense basic healthcare!

If you post a video on YouTube please let us know,, that way we can alert the national PP office to watch it and pass it on to your Congressperson.

Thanks for the quick action!!!

PP at Obama's Health Care Summit

The White House Health Care Summit was the first step in what will inevitably be great health care reform, where more Americans have access to health care, including preventative care, like what we here at Planned Parenthood are famous for.

Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood Federation of America President, was a featured speaker in the only breakout session that aired live on TV.

In addition, Cecile was one of the select few who was asked to speak during the summit. She highlighted PP’s important role as a safety net provider to millions of women and families, not just to the White House, but also to congressional leaders, media and a national TV audience.

You can watch her comments here:

Click here for more information on the White House Health Care Summit and to make your voice heard visit:

Doesn't it feel good to be moving in the right direction when it comes to something as important as health care!?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Vitter Amendment- Seriously?!

This is one of those moments I'm not proud to say I'm from Louisiana. Usually, I declare my birthplace with a smile, but lately, Sen. Vitter is really getting on my nerves. At least he's not my Senator, but what he's trying to do could affect women, men, and teens across the U.S.

Just this week he's announced an Amendment to the Appropriations Act that would keep Planned Parenthoods across the country from receiving Title X (that's the nation's family planning funding) money. He's tried these stunts before in the name of his "pro-life" values, but yet again, they don't really make sense to me.

So, let me get try to get this straight: You, Mr. Vitter, are going to take away money that PREVENTS unintended pregnancy (and has nothing to with abortion because Title X cannot be used for abortions) from the organization that is the LEADING reproductive health care provider in the nation? ... the very organization that prevents the most unintended pregnancies, and therefore abortions, in America? How does this achieve your supposed goal of lessening the number of abortions again? And how does this make sense when more people than ever find themselves with out health insurance or enough money to go to the doctor?

Oh, wait. It doesn't. And most people get that. Again, women's healthcare is being thrown under the bus for political gain.

There are almost 900 Planned Parenthoods from coast to coast, and we provide over 5 million people a year with family planning services. To take this option away from people at a time like this is not only non-sensical, it's immoral.

Take Action:

Friday, February 27, 2009

BREAKING NEWS!!! Obama Rescinding HHS midnight rule!!!!

Obama Administration Takes First Step to Repeal Rule that Limits the Rights of Patients To Receive Complete and Accurate Health Information and Services

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) applauds the Obama administration for taking the first step in rescinding a midnight regulation that undermines the country’s fragile health care system as well as patients’ access to health care information and services.

“Today’s action by the Obama administration demonstrates that this president is not going to stand by and let women’s health be placed in jeopardy. By taking the first step in rescinding the harmful midnight regulation, the Obama administration is standing up for patients having the right to receive complete and accurate health information and services,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards.

According to the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) website, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has sent a proposed rule titled “Rescission of the Regulation Issued by the Department of Health and Human Services on December 19, 2008, Implementing the Church Amendments (42 U.S.C. 300a-7), Section 245 of the Public Health Service” to OMB for review.

“Our priority is ensuring that the millions of patients we see every year receive complete and accurate health information and services,” said Richards. “In these difficult economic times and with more than 45 million Americans currently uninsured, it is critical that we work to increase, not limit, access to health care. When a patient walks into a hospital, pharmacy, or any health care center she should be confident she will receive complete and accurate health care information and services.”

When the Bush administration proposed the Rule, roughly 200,000 U.S. citizens, federal and state elected officials, medical organizations, and health care advocacy and religious organizations submitted comments opposing the misguided rule, including

a bipartisan coalition of more than 100 members of Congress
a bipartisan group of governors, including Governors John Baldacci (D-ME), Chet Culver (D-IA), Jim Doyle (D-WI), Christine Gregoire (D-WA), David Paterson (D-NY), M. Jodi Rell (R-CT), Edward Rendell (D-PA), and Ted Strickland (D-OH)
a bipartisan group of attorneys general, including those from Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont
state legislators from a number of states, including Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin
nongovernmental organizations ranging from American Nurses Association, the American Medical Student Association, the American Social Health Association, the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, and several prominent HIV/AIDS, international health, and gay rights organizations

In addition, the legal counsel and two commissioners from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also submitted comments, explaining that the rule creates unnecessary confusion for the nearly 600,000 health care facilities it reaches.

By allowing health insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, physicians, and health care workers of all kinds to deny patients vital health care information and services, without the patient even knowing, the rule undermines health care access and creates chaos in an already stressed health care system, particularly for low-income women and families whose options are already limited.

In January, Planned Parenthood filed legal action challenging the regulation. In addition, the Connecticut attorney general, joined by the attorneys general of California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island filed a separate but parallel legal action challenging the regulation. These states have taken proactive steps in enacting legislation that protects patients’ access to vital health care services and information — for example, laws that guarantee rape survivors have access to emergency contraception in emergency rooms. The current HHS regulation poses a serious barrier to the states’ enforcement of their laws protecting patients.

PP Applauds President's Budget, Expands Medicaid Family Planning Programs

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) applauds President Barack Obama for living up to his commitment to supporting women’s health and investing in commonsense proposals to expand family planning programs. President Obama’s 2010 budget includes a provision to expand family planning under Medicaid, which would help extend basic health care to millions more women. In addition, the president’s budget promotes “evidence-based” teen pregnancy prevention programs.

“We commend the president for his commitment to make family planning and basic health care services, including lifesaving cancer screenings, more accessible and affordable to millions of low-income women and their families,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “With women and their families losing health coverage every day, we applaud the president for making women’s health a priority as he works to reform our health care system.”

The president’s budget includes a line item under the Health Reform Reserve Fund to “Expand availability of family planning services under Medicaid.”

Expanding family planning under Medicaid has been one of Planned Parenthood’s top priorities under our Prevention First Agenda. Also known as the Medicaid Family Planning State Option, it would simply allow states to expand their Medicaid family planning services, including cancer screenings and other preventive care, to more women in need, without having to go through the burdensome Medicaid waiver process.

The Medicaid Family Planning State Option would have a significant impact on women’s health and is vital to expanding care to the millions of women who are losing either their jobs or their health insurance in this economic downturn. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this provision would provide coverage to 2.3 million low-income women by 2014. A study by the Guttmacher Institute finds that this flexible option would help 500,000 women avoid unplanned pregnancy.

“As the nation’s leading advocate and provider of women’s health care, including reproductive health services, we see every day that the best way to prevent unintended pregnancies and promote healthy families is to invest in family planning programs and ensure more women and families have access to affordable, quality reproductive health care and comprehensive sex education programs,” said Richards. “In addition, President Obama’s budget blueprint makes reducing teen pregnancy using ‘evidence-based models’ a priority.

“With President Obama, we have a leader who agrees with what doctors, scientists, parents and teens have been saying for years: comprehensive sex education, including information about abstinence as well as contraception, helps prevent teen pregnancies,” said Richards. “President Obama’s budget makes clear that the government won’t waste federal dollars on programs that don’t work, that won’t reduce teen pregnancy, and that won’t keep teens healthy and safe. He has clearly stated that our shared goal must be to reduce unintended pregnancies and ensure that all women, regardless of income, have access to affordable care to lead healthy lives.”

Monday, February 23, 2009

Secretary of Health and Human Services: Who's It Going to Be?

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D) is being vetted as the leading contender for Secretary of Health and Human Services. As Kansas insurance commissioner from 1994 to 2002, Gov. Sebelius protected state health programs and boosted Medicaid reimbursement to physicians. Most recently, the Governor negotiated a difficult state budget crisis by cutting about $300 million from the state budget, but in doing so largely spared health programs like the state’s Medicaid services.

In public statements, the Governor fended off requests about the HHS post by commenting that she was focused on balancing the Kansas state budget. The Governor is expected to be in Washington DC over the weekend for the National Governor’s Association (NGA) meeting (Feb. 21 – 24) and this visit to the nation’s capital has led to the speculation that an announcement may come as early as this weekend.

Gov. Sebelius emerged as the leading choice for the position following the February 3 withdrawal of former US Senator Tom Daschle as President Barack Obama’s nominee. Daschle was expected to serve as both HHS Secretary and in a White House health reform post. It is now expected that these roles will be filled by two different individuals.

According to the Washington Post, the Obama administration is also considering at least two other individuals for Secretary of HHS. These dark horses include Nancy-Ann DeParle, a former administrator of the agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid and a former Office of Management and Budget official, and Jack Lew, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources.

We will keep you updated once a formal announcement is made!

Friday, February 20, 2009

So much to celebrate!

I think there is so much to celebrate this year with the new administration - a new hope for our country, new voices speaking out for Planned Parenthood issues, and new issues to be talked about.

As it was mentioned yesterday, Michigan's US Senator, Debbie Stabenow and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Health Care for Women Resolution, designed to highlight the importance of women’s health and ensure that health care reform addresses the needs of women and families. Kudos to them for taking a stand and making women's health a priority! I am celebrating this today.

Everyonce in a while I look for fun holidays to celebrate or ways to brighten these gloomy winter afternoons. So today as we near the weekend, and the looming winter storm over Lake Michigan - I encourage you to take sometime out of not just Friday but February 20 - the day the toothpick was patented, or for those up in Traverse City, National Cherry Pie Day. So all readers, have a wonderful weekend, and celebrate this new hope and energy spilling into Americans (and Canadians too, I hear President Obama was a HUGE hit this week on his first Foreign Trip there).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Health Care for Women Resolution Introduced

Great news sent to us from our PPFA President, Cecile Richards:

Three cheers for healthy women! On Feb. 11, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Health Care for Women Resolution, designed to highlight the importance of women’s health and ensure that health care reform addresses the needs of women and families. The Health Care for Women Resolution sets the framework for ensuring equity in health care by recognizing the multiple roles women have as health care decision makers, caregivers, and providers, and calls on Congress to pass legislation that “guarantees a level of benefits and care, including comprehensive reproductive health care, pregnancy-related care, and infant care, that is necessary to achieve and maintain good health throughout a woman’s lifetime and lessen the burdens caused by poor health.”

Monday, February 16, 2009

It's National Condom Week!

February 14–21 is National Condom Week — a time to raise awareness about condom use and to make sure people have all the facts about condoms.

Condoms used consistently and correctly provide the best protection against sexually transmitted infections for sexually active individuals. They also protect against unintended pregnancy.

Latex condoms have been scientifically proven to:
  • Reduce the risk of pregnancy. Condoms are an effective, inexpensive over-the-counter form of birth control.
  • Reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission. The condom is a highly effective barrier against HIV infection.
  • Reduce the risk of other sexually transmitted infections. Condoms significantly reduce the risk of getting or passing many other sexually transmitted infections.

Celebrate National Condom Week by learning all you need to know about condoms and safer sex! Click here for more information:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

S.E. in the MI

That’s right, I have sex ed on the brain. While researching the current sex ed laws and policies in the State of Michigan, I came across a pretty impressive document. It’s the State of Michigan-State Board of Education’s Policy to Promote Health and Prevent Disease and Pregnancy. I was excited to learn that the Board recommended comprehensive sexuality education for Michigan schools. The Board recommended that sex ed programs be initiated early, before students reach the age when they begin to engage in sexual activity. The policy also included a statement that sex ed should be centered on a positive, healthy definition of sexual health rather than one that focuses only on avoiding negative outcomes. I was shocked. Were there really others who understood that scaring students about sex doesn’t lead to abstinence? Talk about your revelations.

You would think that with the experts on education in the State of Michigan on your side, getting comprehensive sex ed legislation passed would be a breeze. Not so fast. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about our legislators, it’s that they often vote ideals and not reality. They’d rather vote along party lines, than use factual information to make their decisions. I hope that the new legislature stops gambling with the lives of our young people and instead, passes laws that protect them. The last thing we need is one more legislative pontificator. Let’s stop the rhetoric. It’s time to put up or shut up. Let’s get our comprehensive sex ed programs funded and reject abstinence only.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

National Black AIDS Awareness Day

Saturday was the 9th annual National Black AIDS Awareness Day and health centers and community organizations around the country took action to raise awareness about the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in African American communities and to encourage people to get tested.

This annual day that highlights a problem over half a million African Americans live with every day ( was brought to people's attention here in Detroit as well. Dozens of organizations, including our Planned Parenthood health center in Midtown (, provided free HIV testing that day.

Knowing your status and practicing safe sex are the first steps in helping to stop the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Empowering your friends to get tested as well is essential for our communities' well-being.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Thank You Vox Students!

This past Saturday, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan had our third annual Vox Conference. It is a conference for all of the pro-choice campus groups we work with. It was a great day, full of excellent training, motivational speakers, and helpful discussion.

For me, the most inspirational part of the day was seeing what all these amazing activists are up to on their campuses. College students all across Michigan are working every day to raise awareness of reproductive justice on their campus, and their work is irreplaceable!

So I'd like to thank all of the students who attended the conference on Saturday for all of their hard work! Thank you for all you do, and we here at PPAM are honored to work with you!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Checking In

Hey all -

Megan here. The field team is hard at work prepping for the 2009 VOX Conference - it's tomorrow.
Dessa (Senior Organizer) finished the HUGE task of getting all the photos from the past 3 YEARS online and I spent majority of my day sifting through all of the wonderful events, trainings, and election work PPAM staff and volunteers accomplished - talk about a walk down memory lane. We encourage our volunteers to take pictures at our events and volunteer nights and send them to us!!

Stay tuned for a complete update on the 2009 VOX conference - in the mean time enjoy this photo of your PPAM Field Team!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Economics of Birth Control

In case you haven’t heard, the US economy is in the midst of a horrible, downward spiral called Recession. We all know this, right? What a lot of people don’t know is that women spend 68% more on health care costs than men. Because many women do not have insurance that provides contraceptive coverage, they bear the burden of paying out of pocket, month after month. When 95% of a population uses a health-related product or service, it’s pretty safe to call this product or service basic health care.

Population Connection cites “…research shows that full contraceptive coverage would cost the employer, at most, $24.40 per employee per year. While birth control pills cost an average of $300-$359 per year, the average cost of having a healthy baby is $10,000. The fact is that not covering contraception in employee health plans costs employers 15-17% more in direct and indirect costs than providing coverage. “

In an economy such as ours, everyone is doing all they can to stay afloat. It is absolutely wrong not to cover contraceptives. Not covering them makes no economic sense for our nation and it does not make financial sense for businesses….which begs the question: Would contraceptive equity even be an issue if men used birth control? I doubt it. Let’s call it what it is…it is sexism and classism. It is unfair and unacceptable. The Michigan Civil Rights Commission ruled that employers who exclude prescription contraceptives from their health plans (when other prescription drugs and devices are covered) violate the prohibition against sex discrimination. They have determined that not providing contraceptives as a part of a basic health insurance plan is discrimination…and I agree 100%.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Healthy Families: Kids are a Great Start, but Let's Keep Going

Today the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, having passed through Congress again last week (it was vetoed by Pres. Bush twice), was signed by President Obama. This new expansion gives 4 million more children access to health care their parents couldn't have afforded with out this assistance.

It's a great start to supporting families by keeping them healthy, but we've got many more preventative measures needed! For example, affordable birth control, comprehensive sex ed, and funding for reproductive health and pre-natal care.

And even with this expansion, there are still a lot of kids who don't qualify for CHIP, but whose parents can't afford insurance for them. To learn more and to take action, check out The Children's Defense Fund:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Planned Parenthood Sues Bush Administration Over Disasterous Midnight Regulation

Planned Parenthood Federation of America Press Release:

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and Planned Parenthood of Connecticut filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut asking the court to invalidate the administrative regulation finalized in December by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The midnight regulation, issued by the outgoing Bush administration, poses a serious threat to women’s health care by limiting the rights of patients to receive complete and accurate health information and services.

“We filed this lawsuit today on behalf of the millions of women whose health care has been put in jeopardy by the Bush administration’s parting shot at women’s health. As a critical provider of health care information and services for women, Planned Parenthood cannot simply stand back and let this harmful regulation go into effect,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards.

“Every day, women and men who walk through Planned Parenthood health center doors are confident that they will receive complete and accurate health information and services,” said Richards. “That is our priority, and it should be a shared priority among all those committed to strengthening public health. Unfortunately, this new rule puts this critical priority at risk.”

The complaint charges that the final regulation goes far beyond the intent of Congress when it enacted the laws in question. The regulation is in conflict with other existing laws and regulations. In addition, in its rush to finalize the regulation, HHS failed to follow the appropriate regulatory steps, including failing to respond adequately to the many comments that raised significant problems with the regulation.

PP Staff Focus on Advocacy

At our annual All Staff meeting, nearly 120 Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan staff gathered for a day of camaraderie and departmental updates. Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan, the advocacy arm, took this opportunity to do a few things.

First, we explained what was going on with the Stimulus Package that was making its way through Congress, and we handed out background info, as well as everyone’s members of Congress’ phone numbers (and the number to the White House) and told them to get out their cell phones. In just 10 minutes, we got about 100 calls in to our Senators, Congress People, and the President, letting them know that we wanted to see the Medicaid Waiver stay in the package. We had billing folks, IT people, nurses, organizers, medical assistants, VPs, and our CEO calling all at once…it was a beautiful sight!

Jaunella and Cinnamon making calls

Next we divided all the staff up into groups, gave each group a prop box, some talking points, and about 15 minutes to come up with persuasive commercials around our Prevention Agenda, which includes, access and info about emergency congtraception, comprehensive medically-accurate, age-appropriate sexuality education, family planning funding, and contraceptive equity. They were fabulously creative and hilarious! I encourage everyone to give a group of Planned Parenthood staff an atlas, an umbrella, a condom hat, and a harmonica just to see what happens!

Finally, we gathered up the enormous amount of donations we’d received from staff throughout January when we held our Women’s Essentials Drive in honor of Dr. King. We wanted to get a look at it all in one place and take the opportunity to snap a picture of our success. Staff from Detroit, Lansing, East Lansing, Ann Arbor, Brighton, and Ypsilanti posed with pride. Since then, the donations have been distributed to local women’s shelters near each health center.

MLK Donations 1/09

Monday, January 26, 2009

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

As we approach the end of the month, it is important to acknowledge that January is Cervical Health Awareness Month.

Every year about 11,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and about 4,000 American women die of the disease. Fortunately, it is preventable.

Planned Parenthood is working diligently to increase access to preventive health care services that can protect women from cervical cancer, such as regular Pap screenings and HPV vaccination.

Last year, Planned Parenthood affiliates provided more than one million women with cervical cancer screenings to help them prevent the disease. A growing number of Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide offer the HPV vaccine, which protects women from the two most common forms of HPV, which cause 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. Planned Parenthood routinely educates patients and the community about the importance of regular condom use, which also significantly reduces the risk of contracting HPV.

Find more information about cervical health and how to protect yourself here:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Breaking News! President Obama Overturns Global Gag Rule

***** Press Release from Planned Parenthood Federation of America *****

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards
Statement on President Obama’s Executive Order Overturning the Mexico City Policy (global gag rule)

“With the stroke of a pen, President Obama has lifted the stranglehold on women’s health across the globe. His repeal of the global gag rule ends eight long years of policies that have blocked access to basic health care for women worldwide. No longer will health care providers be forced to choose between receiving family planning funding and restricting the health care services they provide to women.

“Expanding access to family planning is not only good, basic health care; it saves women’s lives. In some parts of Africa, women have a one-in-10 risk of dying in childbirth, a sad fact only exacerbated by the gag rule. Women’s health and well-being are the bedrock of freedom and independence for individuals, families, and entire communities. Avoiding disease, having access to clean water and nutritious food, deciding whether and when to have children, and being safe in pregnancy and childbirth make women stronger and improve the quality of life for families and communities.

“Planned Parenthood thanks President Obama for taking immediate action on this critical health issue. With President Obama, women in the U.S. and around the world have a president who puts protecting and strengthening women’s health first. Just a few days after he’s taken office, we can clearly say that thanks to President Obama, it truly is a new day for women’s health.”

Friday, January 23, 2009

Global Gag Rule

Many news sources today are claiming that President Obama will "issue an order restoring U.S. funding for international family-planning groups involved with abortion. But he chose not to do so on Thursday, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade."

For the past eight years, the Bush administration’s gag rule has prevented thousands of health care providers around the world from making basic services such as birth control accessible to women. As the U.S. has lead by example, the global gag rule has had a chilling effect on governments around the globe, sending the message that women’s health is not a priority and undermining the political will necessary to make it so. Many groups have chosen not to comply with the rule, thus forcing them to forgo funding. Meanwhile, the global gag rule has put a strangle hold on women’s health around the world. An estimated 20 million unsafe abortions occur every year, and this dangerous number has only been exacerbated by the gag rule. Denying women basic services such as birth control also perpetuates the cycle of poverty.

The words and actions of both President Obama and Secretary Clinton clearly show that this Administration will move – and we believe soon – to overturn the global gag rule. This is a clear indication that the Administration will work to make the U.S. a leader in ensuring freedom, justice and rights worldwide. We look forward to working with the Obama administration to make healthcare for women a priority for women in the U.S. and overseas.

Stay tuned today for more on the hopeful action of President Obama to overturn the Global Gag Rule!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Roe v Wade Day

Every year on this day we celebrate and can be reminded of all we have to be thankful for. Our foremothers fought hard to secure our reproductive freedom and now, 36 years after the legalization of abortion, we owe it to them, and to ourselves, to continue to fight to maintain these rights and to seek reproductive justice where we have not yet succeeded.

Excitingly, this year we can be more hopeful that we will make progress on the national level due to a wonderfully pro-choice president just inaugurated 2 days ago. However, we must remain vigilant and let President Obama and our other elected officials know how important our reproductive freedoms are to us. Now that we have a pro-choice President, the anti-choice movement will be more mobilized and agitated than ever- so, we must keep up the good work that brought us pro-choice leadership to begin with.

And hopefully today the Global Gag Rule will be rescinded by our new President. I have faith that he will do what’s right for millions of women around the world and allow them the aid they so badly need.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Celebration

It's been almost twelve hours since President Obama took the oath of office and I'm still processing the scene from Washington. It says something about our country's desire for a new direction that millions of people traveled to watch a 20 minute speech on a jumbotron from a mile away. I spent this morning with students at the University of Michigan collecting signatures on an open letter to President Obama emphasizing the importance of women's health issues. Shortly before noon we gathered around to watch an internet feed of the inauguration and I think we all felt a collective excitement in the air. I can't imagine how powerful it would have felt to be in Washington.

Amidst all of the day's emotions, I'm left with two thoughts. First, it's important to celebrate victories and today offered a chance for this kind of collective reflection. There's a lot to be done, though, and it's back to work tomorrow. Second, while President Obama's campaign made brilliant use of media, the internet, speeches, etc., if it wasn't for traditional organizing, today could have been very different. To everyone who donated to the campaign, phone banked, or knocked on doors, this victory is also yours.

If you want to be part of the change and make Women's Health a priority, please contact Liz at

P.S. How cool is this?

Friday, January 16, 2009

What are you doing?

What are you doing to celebrate the three - very big - events next week? Volunteering your time at a local food bank to celebrate Martin Luther King Day? Attending a local inauguration watch party with your friends or co-workers? Are you taking time out of your day on Thursday to remember the historic anniversary of Roe v. Wade?

We would love to hear from you - your events, your stories, your support. Email

Hope everyone had a safe and happy new year and we look forward to working with you in 2009 to ensure access and safety in the services we provide!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

MLK, Inauguration, and Roe v Wade Anniversary- What Do They All Have in Common?

What does the inauguration of Barack Obama, the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy, and the 36th Anniversary of Roe v Wade all have in common?

A. Barack Obama, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, and Roe (as well as her lawyer Sarah Weddington) all are/were Pro-Choice.

B. The election and inauguration of our first African American President, the civil rights work of Dr. King, and the Supreme Ct. decision in Roe v Wade all are signs of American progress toward social justice and equality for all peoples.

C. Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan are celebrating all three events next week. Please join us!

Detroit Area

January 19th, Monday
We will be celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Day as part of the National Day of Service. Rather than just a day off from school and work, we view this day as a "day on"- a day to help out in our community. For more information, please email To register to attend, RSVP at (fill out a New Registration form, and when you get to the portion of the form that asks what group you'd like to serve with, pick Planned Parenthood.)

January 20th, Tuesday
We will be hosting a Inauguration Watch Party at a local pub in Detroit. The inauguration begins at noon, and we'll be there at 11:30 with bells on. Help us welcome our new, PRO-Choice President! For more information and to RSVP, please email

January 22nd, Thursday
Planned Parenthood will be hosting a Roe v. Wade panel discussion in Oakland County. Speakers will be presenting on the following topics: the public policy/legal aspect of Roe v. Wade; the history of reproductive justice movement; Planned Parenthood- our mission and our services; religion and reproductive justice; and a personal story. Question and answer session to follow. 6:00-9:00 p.m. Food will be provided. Please RSVP at

January 25, Sunday
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan will join the Detroit Chapter of NOW for a Roe v. Wade Commemoration event in downtown Detroit. The event will begin at 2 pm and will have great local speakers! For more information, please contact Karisha at

Lansing Area

Celebrating the Promise of Hope. Join us for the 36th Annual Roe v. Wade Commemoration, January 21, 2009,from 5:30-7:00 p.m. We will have a program at 6:00 p.m. with pro-choice legislators and info tables, games, snacks and more all evening at the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing (819 Abbot Road). This event is sponsored by Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan, the Michigan Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, the ACLU, Lansing Area Advocates for Choice, the League of Women Voters Lansing Area, MSU Medical Students for Choice, MSU Students for Choice, NOW, & The Jane Doe Fund. For more information, please email

Kalamazoo Area:

On Thursday evening January 22, the Clergy Advisory Board of Planned Parenthood of South Central Michigan will host the Rev. Penny Willis (United Church of Christ), Director of the National Black Church Initiative, La Iniciativa Latina, and Generation to Generation for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice in Washington D.C. Rev. Willis will facilitate a conversation between religious leaders focusing on the intersections of theology, culture, race, tradition, and human sexuality, in order that we might begin to learn more with and from each other. We seek to have all views represented and so we invite you to join us. The event will take place at the Kalamazoo YWCA, in the Parfet Room, Thursday, January 22, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Please let us know that you (and other leaders or teachers in your religious community) can come, by calling or e-mailing Andrea Anderson ( or the Rev. Jill McAllister ( 381-1783.

Grand Rapids Area:

On Thursday, January 29, Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan invites you to participate in our second annual “Talking About Choice” workshop! Learn tools for speaking about and debating the pro-choice position, as well as identifying the differences between comprehensive sex education and abstinence-only education. Games and activities will help you brush-up on your skills. The event will take place from 4-7 p.m. at 425 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 in the Planned Parenthood board room. Dinner will be provided. We hope that you will come and join us for a lively discussion about Choice, education, and activism! Registration is required by January 26. Please contact Sara Waalkes at or call 616.774.7005 ext. 3148.

Ann Arbor Area:

Barack Obama is pro-choice, and so am I!
All day on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20th, we'll be tabling and showing inauguration coverage on UM's campus. Letters of support to President Obama will be available to sign. Come stop by to support choice...and finally, a pro-chocie president! For more information, please email

On Friday, Jan 23rd join us for our annual Get Down for Choice Roe commemoration. It's from 8pm until midnight at the Corner Brewery (720 Norris, Ypsilanti). You must be 21 to attend and there is a $10 suggested donation at the door. The first hour will be dedicated to tabling by local and campus pro-choice groups. The music begins at 9pm (Hullabaloo will be opening, followed by the Third Coast Kings). Local pro-choice leaders will speak and we'll be signing a letter of support for pro-choice President Obama. For more information, please email

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Year, New President: Let's Get Down to Business!

There is a very exciting day in the near future for us pro-choicers. January 20th is the inauguration of Barack Obama. This is the end of 8 long years of a president who did everything in his power to restrict and attack reproductive rights. More importantly, it is a new beginning. Our new president fully supports protecting women's health. In fact, he has said that one of his first actions as president will be to rescind the global gag rule (an executive order that prohibits U.S. funding from going to any international clinic that does abortions or has information about abortions).

This will definitely be a day for celebration. It is also a time for us to think about what pro-active measures we can take to ensure that reproductive rights are protected in our country and around the world. For once, we won't have to be on the defensive constantly! We have a president who is our ally and who will work with us to advance our agenda. Let's take advantage of it!

Contact me to learn how you can work with Planned Parenthood to advance reproductive rights in 2009 and beyond: