Because of the London Family Planning Summit, the British newspaper Financial Times has just published a special report on sexual and reproductive health.

And we get a little mention in at least the print and .pdf versions–see page 6, under the “North America” heading (although we would have preferred “Global.”) We join nearly 1300 other civil society organizations, many from the Two Thirds World, who agree that “Family Planning Saves Lives.”

You can also see the full list of endorsers here.

We are not specifically mentioned, but we are also one of the 200-plus organizational members of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition, whose ad appears on page 1 of the Financial Times report.

The ad mentions “unsafe abortion” as one consequence of lacking contraceptive access. All abortions are unsafe for unborn children. Some are maternally unsafe as well.

Wonder if any other endorsers of the civil society declaration would agree with us.

Next month in London, England, the British government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will convene a global summit on family planning. All Our Lives has endorsed two important human rights declarations created in anticipation of the summit.

“Women’s Human Rights Must be at the Center of the Family Planning Summit” warns:

Our experience, built over decades of work around the world, has taught us that the failure to take actions guided by women’s human rights – to health, to life, to live free from discrimination among others – can have devastating consequences. Policies that accept or tacitly condone forced sterilization, the coercive provision of contraceptives, and the denial of essential services to the young, poor and marginalized women that need them every day have violated, and continue to violate, women’s human rights.

Nearly twenty years ago, governments at the [1994 Cairo] International Conference on Population and Development agreed that respect for women’s reproductive autonomy is the cornerstone of population policy. Any return to coercive family planning programs where quality of care and informed consent are ignored would be both shocking and retrograde.

A global letter of support for the summit emphasizes a program of action to increase family planning access to the millions of human beings who currently lack it.

We applaud the London Summit on Family Planning for its commitment to work with poor and vulnerable populations to increase individual awareness, address socio-cultural barriers, and increase community acceptability of family planning, including comprehensive sexuality education. In particular, we applaud the initiative’s emphasis on empowering women and girls, and delivery through increased service provision. We encourage you to focus on providing information and services to those who have historically faced poor access to family planning, especially young people, poor women, people with disabilities; rural, indigenous, displaced and post crisis populations. Similarly, we encourage you to make linkages to other programmes including those for economic development, education (especially for girls), environmental protection, HIV/AIDS,maternal and child health, security and youth.

We commit to working with communities and reaching poor and vulnerable women and girls with evidence-based information so that they can make informed choices regarding their fertility and choice of contraceptive method.

Yes and yes. If we are the sole prolife group signing on to these statements, well, it’s got to start somewhere.

On Truthout, Eleanor J. Bader favorably mentions All Our Lives in her article Criminalizing Pregnancy: How Feticide Laws Made Common Ground for Pro- and Anti-Choice Groups.

Although…it would be nice not to be called “anti-choice.” It’s not what we call ourselves, and in fact we are about creating and expanding other and better choices than abortion. “Anti-choice” suggests a categorical opposition to women’s self-determination. It does not fit us.

Daily Cloudt, a new activism platform, is running as its lead story an article I wrote about why All Our Lives, in contrast to Feminists for Life, works for family planning freedom. Unfortunately, the site put a title and a summary on the article that are more antagonistic than I wanted them to be.

Probably it is better to be heard under a problematic label than not to be heard at all. Maybe someday. Though today would be preferable.

Joining over 40 other organizations concerned about maternal and child health and welfare, All Our Lives has signed onto an amicus curiae or “friend of the court” brief documenting the many evidence-based reasons why the State of Alabama should not criminalize substance using pregnant women.

One reason is that women will feel pressure to have abortions because substance abuse treatment is so difficult for them to access during pregnancy and they fear prosecution. Yet this criminalization is pushed in the name of establishing rights for unborn children! Punishing women and driving up the abortion rate doesn’t accomplish that in the real world.

We signed onto the brief after reaching out to National Advocates for Pregnant Women, in response to an RH Reality Check article by their attorneys Lynn Paltrow and Emma Ketteringham, Now It’s Clear: Pro-Life Means Pro-Imprisonment.

It doesn’t have to. And it won’t, if we can at all help it!

Thanks especially to Emma Ketteringham for her help.

(A recent article by the wellknown antiabortionist Lila Rose has frustrated our board members, some of whom campaigned for contraception before she was even born. We privately and publicly asked Rose several times to engage with us on this matter, but have to date gotten no response from her. Thanks to Fem 2.0 for publishing our response.)

Lila Rose, founder of the controversial anti-abortion group Live Action, recently penned an article on Politico entitled “Battle Hymn of the Anti-Abortion Feminist.” As board members of All Our Lives, an unapologetically feminist organization whose (interfaith, nonsectarian, secular) mission is to alleviate the societal problems responsible for so many abortions, we are outraged by Rose’s presumption that she speaks for us. Starting with that militaristic title…

(Read the rest at Fem 2.0…)

The Violence Against Women Act was originally passed in 1994 with the help of a coalition of pro-choice and pro-life advocates, including Feminists for Life. Since then, it's been relatively uncontroversial and enjoyed bipartisan support. VAWA is up for renewal again, and is now meeting with resistance from Senate Republicans who oppose new provisions aimed at improving services for Native Americans, undocumented immigrants, and LGBT individuals.

If you need additional pro-life incentive to help reauthorize VAWA, take a look at the statistics on the relationship between intimate partner violence, unintended pregnancy, and abortion in our "Family Planning Freedom is Prolife" presentation (.ppt) (.pdf), or in this factsheet from the Family Violence Prevention Fund.

The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence has all the info you need on how to help:

You did it!! We now have 60 Sponsors in the Senate!

Thanks to Senator Heller (R-NV), who signed on to sponsor VAWA this week, we now have 60 sponsors – and one full day before our goal! Thank you for all your hard work!

Now we need to secure our sponsors’ commitment to S. 1925, the real VAWA, and to get as many new Senate supporters as possible. VAWA is coming to the Senate Floor and we need to have as big an outpouring of support as we can!

This week, we want you to help us by signing petitions, engaging your friends and family and getting the word out that every Senator needs to hear from you and your loved ones about why VAWA must be passed immediately.

Things are moving quickly – so “like” our Facebook page to get up to the minute information: http://on.fb.me/NTF_Facebook_page or check out our website: www.4VAWA.org

TAKE ACTION TODAY!
Suggested actions for this week include:
1. Ask your FRIENDS AND FAMILY members to call Senators to urge co-sponsorship and votes for S. 1925, the real VAWA!
2. Ask all the men you know to sign a petition supporting VAWA

Action 1: Ask your FRIENDS and FAMILY to call both of their senators’ D.C. offices today (http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm) and ask them vote YES on S. 1925 the real VAWA:

I urge Senator _____ to support the Violence Against Women Act and vote YES on S. 1925 AS IS. Don’t use VAWA as a political tool – pass it now so that all survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking can get the support they need!

Action 2: Ask all the men you know to sign a petition supporting VAWA
VAWA is everyone’s issue. Help us engage more men by asking the men you know and love to sign the 10,000 Men for VAWA petition
:

http://www.change.org/petitions/us-congress-10-000-men-supporting-the-violence-against-women-act

Check our website for fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and updates: www.4vawa.org

Check out and “like” our Facebook page where you can find a toolkit and other action and information items: http://on.fb.me/NTF_Facebook_page

Don’t forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA and #VAWA.

If you aren't on one of the VAWA email lists or want to add members of your staff or state/community leaders to our grassroots alerts e-mailing list, send names and contact information including email to Sean Black, sblack@icasa.org.

 

Most of the talk of reproductive rights in mainstream politics and media in the United States revolves around not bearing children. Family planning advocates, ourselves included, argue for sex education and access to contraception to prevent unintended pregnancy. Pro-choice advocates argue for a right not to bear children who have been conceived.

What is too often neglected in the mainstream discourse is the right to have children, and to raise them safely and with dignity. One reproductive right that women of color do not have in this country is the right to raise their children free of the fear that their babies will be killed because they are “suspicious.”

Trayvon Martin
was a 17-year-old African American who was visiting family in Sanford, Florida. On February 26, during halftime of the NBA All-Star Game, he walked to a nearby store to get candy for his brother and a can of tea for himself. As he walked back to his father’s home, the hood of his sweatshirt pulled up against the rain, he was spotted by the (self-appointed, as far as I’ve been able to tell) Neighborhood Watch captain George Zimmerman. Zimmerman, 28, thought Trayvon looked “like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining, and he’s just walking around, looking about.” He called 911, then told the dispatcher “these assholes, they always get away” and “he’s running.” Zimmerman left his SUV and followed Martin, despite being told by the 911 dispatcher that he didn’t need to and a squad car was on the way. Neighbors reported hearing a fight, and cries for help. On one 911 tape, cries and a gunshot can be heard. When police arrived, Trayvon Martin was dead — shot in the chest by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman claimed he had acted in self-defense. Sanford police accepted his explanation, saying that they had no probable cause to believe otherwise, despite the fact that Zimmerman shot an unarmed minor with whom he had needlessly initiated a confrontation.

Trayvon Martin had no history of violence or misbehavior, and had no drugs or alcohol in his system. George Zimmerman has a history of belligerent behavior, and was not tested for drugs or alcohol.

I think of how devastated I would be if this happened to my daughter. I also know that it wouldn’t happen to my white daughter; she will never be found guilty of Walking While Black. If she were killed while walking down the street on a simple errand, police would pursue and charge her killer. So while I stand in solidarity with Trayvon’s parents, I also don’t presume to really know what they’re going through, or what all the parents of young men of color who fear that their sons might be next are going through.

It’s too late to help Trayvon Martin’s family keep their son alive. Here’s how you can help them with their demand for accountability for his death:

  • Sign their petition asking the Florida State’s Attorney to prosecute George Zimmerman. Or call the office of State’s Attorney Wolfinger at 407-665-6410.
  • Contact the Department of Justice to ask them to investigate the case and the reluctance of Sanford police to act.
  • Call Attorney Jasmine Rand at 850-222-3333 to give to the family’s legal fund.
  • Share this information. Follow @attorneycrump and @blacklaw18 and the #TrayvonMartin hashtag on Twitter, or “like” the Justice for Trayvon Martin page on Facebook, or follow the blogs I’ve linked here. Don’t let the case fade away without so much as a charge.

Following a Supreme Court decision in February which inaccurately declared that emergency contraception is abortifacient, the Honduran Congress is poised to make distribution or use of levonorgestrel emergency contraception (LNG EC) a crime punishable by jail time. Once again, we see that misinformation about EC has severe consequences. The best available research shows that LNG EC has no mechanism of action other than the prevention of fertilization. The blog Feministas en Resistencia Honduras has more information (English translation).

 

Please sign this petition to the President of the National Congress of Honduras urging him not to criminalize the use of emergency contraception. Please also continue to educate governments, media, and pro-life or pro-choice organizations wherever you live on the facts about emergency contraception.

All Our Lives, a pro *every* life nonprofit, does *not* stand with the anti-contraception Stand Up for Religious Freedom.

We support religious freedom, but that does not include employers' restriction of workers' family planning freedom. Instead we support and applaud the Coalition to Protect Women's Health Care in its defense of contraceptive access.

Family planning freedom is a human right in its own right, and indispensable to reducing unintended pregnancies and abortions.

All people, whether prolife or prochoice on abortion, should join together in the defense of family planning freedom, so that it becomes a reality for all women, especially women whose exercise of it is hindered by discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, socioeconomic class, race/ethnicity, disability, national origin, and/or sexual orientation.

Pfizer has announced a recall of 1 million birth control pill packets, saying that there was a packaging error that led some of the packets to have too many active pills and some to have too few. This press release from Pfizer contains information on how to tell whether your pills are subject to the recall. If you are using birth control pills, check your packet to make sure that you are not accidentally put at risk for unintended pregnancy.