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: