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Thursday, 31 January 2013 11:00

by Kate Stewart, Executive Vice President for Public Affairs

Should a woman’s access to safe abortion care be determined by her income level?

Ask President Obama to stand strong and protect access to safe abortion care for ALL women.

Last week, we marked the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the historic decision that made abortion legal in the United States. But while Roe was an important victory, it wasn’t the end of the fight to ensure all women have access to safe, affordable abortion care.

Millions of women in America – in particular low-income women, young women, and women of color – are denied access to abortion coverage because they get their health insurance through the U.S. government. When faced with an unintended pregnancy, it is vital that women are able to consider all options available to them, regardless of how much money they have.

In honor of the Roe anniversary, President Obama recommitted to “supporting women and families in the choices they make.” Now we need the President to stand with low-income women by submitting a budget which does not restrict coverage of abortion care for women who have government-funded insurance.

Ask President Obama to make good on his promise to protect abortion rights for all women.

No woman should have her pregnancy options limited because she cannot afford to have an abortion. We have not fully secured abortion rights until all women have access to safe, affordable abortion care.

 
A New Generation of Abortion Activists
Tuesday, 22 January 2013 08:43

by Julia Reticker-Flynn, Manager, Youth Activist Network. To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, this blog is part of a series profiling a new generation of activists working to destigmatize abortion and ensure access to safe, affordable abortion care. Published in partnership with RH Reality Check.

Nearly two years ago, I was sitting in our conference room, and I was frustrated. We all were. We were discussing the unprecedented number of anti-abortion bills being proposed—and passed—in state legislatures around the country: waiting periods designed to harass women, unnecessary clinic regulations, parental notification laws, among others. We were watching anti-choice legislation replicate from state to state in real time, knowing that these laws would have harmful consequences in the lives of real people, especially young people.


We were tired of only playing defense. We had to find a way to meet this challenge head on.

We wanted a new approach to activism on abortion issues that was pro-active and on our own terms. We wanted something that would make young activists visible, within the movement and beyond. We wanted to hear about the experiences of the people who had been a part of this movement for decades. We wanted to find a way to give voice to contemporary experiences with abortion. And we wanted to honor the complexity of people’s lives. Ultimately, we wanted a new conversation—one that didn’t focus on the politicized debate around abortion, but focused on people.

Our answer was the 1 in 3 Campaign.

Storytelling has always been a powerful tool for social change. In fact, young activists in a variety of movements were already sharing their personal stories as a large scale organizing strategy. From Dreamers working on immigration issues, to survivors of sexual assault, to LGBT activists fighting for equality, young people were speaking their truths and sharing their lived experiences as a way of shifting how the public understands often polarizing social issues. By sharing their stories, these young people were creating spaces where we as a society could think about issues in terms of people’s realities and not political debates.

 

Read more...
 
A Bold New Conversation on Abortion
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 13:02

by Debra Hauser, President

Today, I am proud to announce the release of the book 1 in 3: These Are Our Stories.

I remained silent about my own abortion for 15 years. Now, as I share my story around the country, more often than not, other women offer up theirs in response. Some are family and friends whom I have known for years; others are complete strangers. The result is a bond, stronger than the anti-abortion rhetoric or the fear of retaliation or violence that too often finds its way into the political debate. In its place is empathy for the complexity of our lives, for the commonalities that bind us, for the need to keep abortion care safe and available.

Created to mark the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, 1 in 3 :These Are Our Stories highlights the voices of forty women. Each story is different - and each is critical to the conversation about abortion.

One in three women in the U.S. will have an abortion in her lifetime – it’s a fact of life. It is essential that people hear these stories, to put faces to the statistics and to understand that women who seek abortions are sisters, mothers and daughters. Advocates for Youth launched the 1 in 3 Campaign in 2011 to begin a new cultural narrative about abortion, and I am honored to share the amazing collection of stories that has grown from it.

Start changing the conversation. Order 1 in 3 today in softcover or ebook – then read it, talk about it, and share it with a friend.

 

 
One simple way you can help fight HIV and AIDS
Thursday, 10 January 2013 07:51

by Sulava Gautam-Adhikary, Program Coordinator, Health and Social Equity

Today’s young people have never known a world without HIV. The path to ending the epidemic is long and challenging. But there is one step you can take that's easy, yet very valuable:

Call on President Obama to recognize the National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day!

Thousands of youth activists have called for a National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day - a nationwide call to action for our communities, schools and government to invest in young people’s health, education, and leadership in the fight against HIV & AIDS.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Join us on the journey toward ending AIDS.

Take action now for a National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day!

 
Doug Kirby, A True Advocate for Youth
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 14:01

by Deb Hauser, President

Last week, Doug Kirby, a giant in the field of adolescent sexual health, passed away from a heart attack while climbing a volcano in Ecuador. Doug was only 69. According to those who were with him, just before he died, Doug sat down to rest, looked out over the landscape and said, “Isn’t life great!” Anyone who knew Doug would not be surprised that these were his last words. Doug was just that kind of man—full of life and full of wonderment at the great gifts and challenges the world has to offer.

Doug served as Director of Research at Advocates for Youth, back in the organization's earliest days. His tenure stretched from 1983 to 1988. He left the organization a few years before I got here, but his legacy was clear. His research on school-based health centers, sex education and youth sexual risk taking has guided the field for the last thirty years. To those of us just starting out, he was a giant even then, but he was always available to explain the implications of a piece of research, to talk strategy, or to debate the issues of the day.

I last saw Doug at a CDC meeting in March of 2012 during which he passionately argued for greater political resources to meet the HIV prevention needs of youth in this country. Doug had always been a reasoned voice for evidence-informed sex education. At this meeting he argued forcefully for young people’s rights to sexual health information.

I was lucky enough to sit next to him at dinner that night. We talked about our children, Advocates’ 1 in 3 Campaign, and the international work that he was doing in Uganda. His empathy for those with whom he was working and the depth of his commitment to help alleviate the impact of HIV and AIDS on communities in Africa is what I will remember most from the conversation - along with his devotion to his family. Doug will be greatly missed.

Doug Kirby's obituary

Read more...
 
Engaging a Generation of New Leaders
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 11:57

Debra Hauser, President

This year, after 14 dynamic and visionary years at the helm of Advocates for Youth, James Wagoner stepped down as President and Executive Director. His vision, commitment and passion set the organization on a bold path as a champion for the sexual health and rights of young people the world over.

In January 2012, with great excitement and a strong sense of commitment, I took over the leadership of the organization after serving as Executive Vice President during the entirety of James’ tenure. His mentorship and vision continues to be a great gift to me. One of the goals of any good leadership transition must be to strike the right balance between ensuring stability and breaking new ground.

Advocates’ mission remains relevant and inspirational. The organization will continue to be a bold and innovative voice promoting a rights-based, evidence-informed, positive approach to youth sexual health. A cornerstone to our vision is the authentic partnerships we have with young people. The entire organization is committed to empowering youth as activists and leaders. Advocates champions youth leadership not just as a pathway to healthy adolescent development but as a strategy for changing the world. 

Help us realize our vision:  donate to Advocates today.

Read more...
 
Not safe to be who we are
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 14:21

My name is Urooj, and I lead Advocates for Youth’s efforts to help young people fight homophobia and transphobia abroad. In too many countries around the globe, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth face discrimination that threatens their lives and their access to sexual and reproductive health care and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.

I recently traveled to Uganda to train a group of LGBT youth activists and allies. We had to identify a “safe space” to meet because just meeting is an act of resistance. Uganda is one of 78 countries where homosexuality is a crime. Policy makers have proposed a bill to make Uganda the eighth country where homosexuality is punishable by death.

Donate today to help raise $5,000 to support brave LGBT youth activists who are fighting harassment and life-threatening laws around the globe. Donate today and you can be an ally in places like Nigeria, Jamaica and Uganda where LGBT youth activists face intimidation, imprisonment or worse.

Advocates for Youth provides training and seed grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to organizations overseas to keep the doors open at their youth-led resource centers. These centers provide support and encouragement to LGBT youth, many of whom have nowhere else to turn in communities where it is not safe to be who they are.

Donate today in honor of our youth activists who put nothing less than their lives on the line all year long. Your gift today supports their work and lets them know they are not alone.

With thanks for your activism and support all year long,

Urooj Arshad

International LGBT Health and Rights

 
Time is running out for gays and lesbians in Uganda
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 08:57

In Uganda, a terrifying “anti-homosexuality” bill has resurfaced within parliament for discussion. At its worst, it would call for putting LGBT people to death. In addition, it would demand a three-year prison sentence for people who do not turn in “known homosexuals” to the police, and a seven year sentence for “aiding and abating” homosexuality.

When the bill was last introduced, human rights and LGBT rights groups were horrified, and many governments condemned it. Pressure from around the globe led to its never being voted on. We need to put that pressure on again NOW.

  • Let Uganda’s parliament and the world know you join with the millions who condemn this bill by tweeting about it today. 
  • Then sign a petition urging Uganda’s President to veto the bill if it passes.
Read more...
 
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