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On the Eve of the Election, Guest Writer Nadia Discusses Obama, Romney and “Women’s Issues.”

Posted on 11.05.2012 by Admin

This guest post is by Nadia Smiecinska.

With the presidential election just days away, the candidates are working overtime to convince voters that they are the better pick to lead this country through the next four years. Women’s votes become a hot topic in the last months, particularly since women make up just over half of the electorate.

Women appear to favor President Obama’s message, specifically on issues related to reproductive rights. However that is not the entire story. Differing viewpoints on abortion and contraception provide a glimpse of each candidate’s fundamental opinion of what the role of government ought to be in the lives of the American people and who they will fight for.

Obama’s Record on Reproductive Rights
It is no secret that President Obama’s record on women’s rights and, more specifically, reproductive freedoms outshines Governor Romney’s. NARAL Pro-Choice America has a detailed breakdown of each candidate’s actions on choice and President Obama’s unwavering commitment to women making their own decisions without the government dictating morality is commendable. Besides being a consistent defender of Roe v. Wade, President Obama has also made sure that under The Affordable Care Act, insurance policies must cover contraception, counseling and testing for a variety of sexually transmitted diseases, like HPV, and preventative care visits without copay. He also continues to support comprehensive sex education programs, which were cut or significantly defunded under the last Republican administration in favor of abstinence education, and continues to invest in teen pregnancy prevention programs.

Romney’s (Confused) Record on Reproductive Rights
Despite Romney’s latest, slightly more liberal opinions on choice, which differ from those voiced throughout the campaign trail and now specifically target women in swing states, his views appear confused at best and outright dishonest at worst. When Mitt Romney ran for U.S. Senate in the 1990s and lost -- subsequently successfully winning the governorship in Massachusetts -- he supported a woman’s right to choose  and even signed into law a measure “for Massachusetts to apply for a federal Medicaid family-planning waiver to expand services to more low-income women and families.” However, during the same term as governor, he failed to sign a bill that would have allowed rape survivors information and access to the morning-after-pill. In the last decade, as Romney has become a national candidate, seeking the presidency twice, he has continued to move further away from choice. As the Republican Party transitioned ever more to the right, he has done his best to align his own views on everything from reproductive rights to environmental issues with the du jour sentiments of the GOP.

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Welcome to the New Provider Project!

Posted on 4.10.2012 by Admin

The Provider Project began as a way of collecting the stories of people who work in abortion care.

We recognize, however, that abortion is part of a whole world of women’s health care that we want to write about.

So we’re broadening our mission and introducing a new editorial board of people who have experience ranging from emergency medicine to abortion counseling to doula-ing and herbalism.

From now on, we’ll be bringing you stories and commentary from multiple areas of women’s wellness, which we define as a multidimensional state which encompasses not only an individual's physical, emotional and mental health but also interpersonal and community support.

We all share in common a desire to radically change the way women’s health care is understood and delivered, and we each bring different experiences to that mission. We hope to bring you commentary about breaking news related to reproductive justice, as well as insights and stories from the broader world of health and wellness.

Here’s a little about each of our new editorial board members:

Chantal Tape is an anarchist/radical feminist who is passionate about empowering and accessible health care. She is a trained birth doula and former abortion counselor. As an abortion care provider, Chantal witnessed firsthand the personal and political obstacles that women face when trying to obtain safe, legal abortion services. She is committed to fighting the negative effects of capitalism and patriarchy on women's health, while promoting a holistic vision of wellness that encompasses the physical as well as the emotional and social.

Chantal currently lives in Providence, RI and works as a medical scribe in the Emergency Department. When she grows up, she hopes to become a doctor and specialize in Obstetrics and Gynecology. In her free time, she enjoys baking, dancing, and talking about abortion.

Contact: chantal@theproviderproject.org

Lily Shield has worked in abortion clinics for the past three years, and she hopes one day to found a reproductive health clinic where empowering, patient-centered care is the standard. She is a trained counselor in the subjects of abortion, pregnancy options, and birth control, and also enjoys working on the medical side of the clinic. She hopes that the framework of reproductive justice will one day make “pro-choice” an obsolete anachronism.

Lily lives in Connecticut with her partner and future dog, and plans to go to nursing school within a few years. Besides living and breathing reproductive health care, she enjoys lifting weights, reading the feminist blogosphere, and watching both trashy and quality TV.

Contact: lily@theproviderproject.org

Kelly Nichols is an educator and aspiring nurse who dreams of one day opening a free clinic where allopathic and holistic health modalities can coexist. After graduating from Brown University in 2009 with a degree in Environmental Studies, she spent a year apprenticing with herbalist Mary Blue at Farmacy Herbs, in Providence, RI. A trained birth doula, she is passionate about justice across the spectrum of reproductive choices, from abortion access to childbirth options.

Kelly currently lives and works in San Francisco, CA as a school garden educator, teaching urban elementary school students about ecology, nutrition, and food justice. She is interested in exploring the many dimensions of healing, the social and political elements of wellness, and the history of popular health movements.

Contact: kelly@theproviderproject.org

Amy Littlefield is a former abortion counselor and an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Providence Journal, Women’s eNews, Gender Across Borders, New Politics magazine, the Providence Phoenix and other outlets. She currently splits her time between Providence and New York City, where she is a news production fellow for the independent TV/radio news hour Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman. (All opinions on this site are solely her own.)

Amy founded the Provider Project in 2011 after working as an abortion counselor for more than two years. After witnessing the shame and stigma of abortion firsthand, she wanted to find a way to fight back against the shame machine -- and honor the providers who make abortion care their life’s work. She believes our stories have the power to bust through the stigma and spark a revolution in women’s health.

Contact: amy@theproviderproject.org

See our new mission statement here!

If you’re interested in writing for the Provider Project, or in being interviewed, please contact amy@theproviderproject.org or chantal@theproviderproject.org.


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I'm not a robot.

Posted on 4.08.2012 by Admin

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The State of My Union is the State of My Uterus

Posted on 1.23.2012 by Admin

This post is by Aphra Behn of Guerilla Girls On Tour! It is cross-posted with Gender Across Borders.

While on tour this year, I felt an uncomfortable cramping near my crotch. It was somewhere between Arkansas and Oklahoma that I realized what it was. The government was tightening its grip on my uterus.

In Kansas, my uterus signed up for a sex education class but the only subject taught was abstinence. In West Virginia, my uterus got tired of abstinence and got a prescription for birth control, but my health insurance company wouldn’t pay for it. As a result, by Texas my uterus was pregnant and sought pre-natal care, but there wasn’t any because state legislators decimated Planned Parenthood's funds.

Conservatives proclaim to detest government interference in one's life. Republicans make careers out of repealing regulations. Yet, both groups seem obsessed with restricting what goes on inside my uterus. It got so bad this year that at one point, I think Congress believed that controlling my uterus would create more jobs.

Now, my uterus may not see ovary to ovary with other uteruses across the land. But no matter where we reside, we are all American uteri and as such are guaranteed a fundamental human right, the right to privacy. But without much outcry, my uterine rights are shriveling away.

In the first half of last year, 80 abortion restrictions were enacted in male-dominated legislatures across my country, more than tripling the 23 enacted in 2010. The last half of the year was gloomier yet, marked by Mississippi voters pondering an initiative that would have declared a fertilized egg a legal person and Health and Human Services Secretary Katheleen Sebelius overruling the FDA’s decision to make Plan B emergency contraception available over the counter for all women.

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