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All Young People Have the Right to Lead Safe and Healthy Lives
Monday, 24 November 2014 21:22

The death of Michael Brown represents only one small piece of the systemic injustice and violence that all too frequently cause young people, particularly young men of color, irreparable harm in our communities. No young person's life should end under such tragic circumstances -- circumstances that are far too common. Too many of our young people in the United States and around the world grow up in fear and at risk of violence and harm from a society that does not give them the rights and respect they deserve. At the very least, young people should not fear violence or danger from those whose duty it is to protect and serve. We all need to keep working for a culture and for policies that value young people, create opportunities for them, and make them part of the solution.. All young people deserve, and have the right to lead, safe and healthy lives.

Young people in communities around the nation have stood up against the continued injustices and called for real solutions to the systemic injustice. We stand in solidarity with those exercising their right to nonviolent protest and making efforts to find lasting change.

2014 Trans Day of Rememberance
Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:23

November 20, 2014, marks, the 16th International Transgender Day of Remembrance. According to their website, “The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.” Originally, the day was established to honor Rita Hester, who was murdered on November 28, 1998. Today, hundreds of thousands of people around the world honor the day.

Advocates for Youth would like to observe this day by honoring the lives of transgender young people that have died because of anti-transgender violence. According to the Transrespect Versus Transphobia Worldwide (TVT) project, there have been 226 cases of reported killings of trans people around the world within the last 12 months. Of those, approximately 20% were under the age of 25. Below is a list of young people around the world that have died because of anti-trans violence. Join us as we remember and honor their lives. #TDOR

2014 Election Recap: The Good, the Bad, and the Hideously Ugly
Saturday, 08 November 2014 10:18

by Abbey Marr, Reproductive Justice Fellow

No doubt about it, last Tuesday’s results were tough to take. We’re painfully aware of the ways that the 114th Congress can have a serious impact on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people. But, there were some silver linings to remember as we look at what is to come. Here’s what went down this week:

The Good:

  • Most ballot measures were positive on issues important to young people: Voters approved extensive background checks for gun purchases in Washington, an equal rights amendment in Oregon, the reduction of some criminal penalties in California, paid sick leave mandates in Massachusetts and several New Jersey towns, marijuana decriminalization in Oregon, Alaska, Guam, and DC, and minimum wage raises in South Dakota, Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, Illinois, San Francisco and Oakland, and they soundly rejected personhood amendments in North Dakota and Colorado.
  • Senator Jeanne Shaheen – a champion on sexual health issues who has sponsored key legislation on abortion access and birth control – ran a successful campaign with a reproductive rights platform, making Scott Brown the first man to be defeated in a Senate race by two women in two different states.
  • Many of our progressive champions in the House were re-elected. To brighten your day, check out this interview with one of our sex ed champions, Barbara Lee, on the Colbert Report (skip to 6:24 where they talk about comprehensive sex ed!).
  • At the state level, Tom Wolf defeated Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, who had an abysmal record on reproductive health issues.

  •
    "A Very Queer Love Letter to Alabama"
    Monday, 27 October 2014 07:08

    Foster, a state activist and a member of Advocates for Youth's Media Team, wrote this excellent piece for  

    "When Adam and I worked to organize and mobilize for change to sex education laws, we were undercut even by those who supported our cause. Tens of thousands of people signed and commented on our petition. Every third comment was some variation of "This is the 21st century" "Alabama is disgusting" "You poor children!" One commenter even suggested a revamping of the Underground Railroad to remove LGBTQ young people from the South. When we read those comments, we did not feel loved. We did not feel safe. And we did not agree.

    The South is a region that comes with incredible bigotry but also an incredible history of organizing and resistance. Queer people here face incredible barriers, but our experiences and feelings about our state are not a monolith. My queer Alabama is beautiful and resilient. When I found activism in my community, it changed my life."

    Read the full article

    Supreme Court Allows Texas Abortion Clinics to Stay Open
    Wednesday, 15 October 2014 06:35

    The Supreme Court has declared that the abortion clinics in Texas impacted by the state's highly restrictive abortion law will be able to stay open while the case is decided in the court system.

    The law meant that 80 percent of the state's abortion clinics would have to close. The clinics still have to face a lengthy court battle. But had the law been allowed to stay in effect for the many months it could take to decide the case, they might lose their building leases and licenses, and have had to stay closed permanently. Today's decision is a victory for the women of Texas.

    Read a great analysis of the case so far.

    It’s Up to the Courts to Block Alabama’s Extreme Parental Involvement Law Print
    Thursday, 09 October 2014 06:18

    by Abbey Marr, Reproductive Justice Fellow

    Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the state of Alabama on behalf of one of its only abortion clinics to block a new parental involvement law that could put some young people on trial simply for seeking abortion care. Alabama’s restriction is one of the worst laws in a huge, nasty pile of laws passed by state legislatures to put obstacles in the way of people – particularly poor people, people of color, and young people – who are seeking abortions.

    Parental involvement laws require that when people under eighteen seek abortion care, they notify or get consent from one or both parents first. Most young people seeking abortions do involve their parents, but there are a variety of reasons that is not always possible. In fact, one study found that thirty percent of pregnant teens who do not tell their parents about their abortions make that decision because they fear violence or being kicked out of their homes. Young people who are not threatened with abuse in their homes may be afraid to let their families down or uncomfortable involving their parents. Yet, under these laws in order to get around the parental involvement requirement a person has to file an petition to the court for a “judicial bypass” saying that the person is mature enough to make the decision to get an abortion – petitions judges can and do reject. Parental involvement laws delay access to abortion, endanger health and safety, and fundamentally disrespect young people’s ability to make their own decisions. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court upheld just such a law in the early 1990s, and 38 states have adopted them. Alabama has required people under 18 to get the signature of one parent or legal guardian since 1987.

    This past year, however, Alabama passed a new law that is unimaginably worse. As the ACLU wrote in its brief to the court, the law “radically alters the judicial bypass process in a wholly unprecedented manner that goes well beyond any judicial bypass statute that has ever been upheld by a federal court.” Now, when a person under 18 petitions for a judicial bypass, the District Attorney is automatically notified, and the court may appoint an advocate for the fetus (Yes, you read that right!). Further, if the person’s parents know of the bypass proceeding already, the court must allow them to participate. The District Attorney, fetus, and parents may call any witnesses they want to testify against the person’s petition – including witnesses who may be the very reason the person has chosen to ask for a judicial bypass in the first place, such as an abusive partner or family member. With this law, Alabama is literally putting young people who need abortion care on trial.

    It is best for young people who find themselves pregnant to be able to seek the advice of a trained medical professional rather than face the situation alone and afraid. Further, young people should have the same right to access the full range of reproductive and sexual health services that other people have. That right includes the ability to access reproductive and sexual health services confidentially and with dignity. It does not include being put on trial to get the services they need. The Alabama legislature seems to have forgotten this, but hopefully the courts have not.

    This blog is cross-posted at Law Students for Reproductive Justice’s

    What a year!
    Wednesday, 08 October 2014 08:08

    Thank you. Because of your support, we are creating a world where all young people have the right to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

    Take just 60 seconds to glance through our annual report, find an image that speaks to you, and celebrate what we have accomplished together.

    Supporters like you help us respond on a moment’s notice when young people’s rights, dignity, and access to lifesaving sexual health information and services are under attack.

    Thank you for helping to make our efforts possible.


    Be Bold! Take a Stand Against Hyde
    Tuesday, 30 September 2014 11:16

    No person should have their pregnancy options limited because they cannot afford to have an abortion. We have not fully secured abortion rights until everyone has access to safe, affordable abortion care.

    That’s why we are part of All* Above All, a coalition of organizations committed to restoring public funding for abortion care.

    Sign the All* Above All Declaration in support of repealing the Hyde Amendment.

    Thirty-eight years ago this week, the Hyde Amendment was passed for the first time, barring the use of federal funds to pay for abortion care. Every year, politicians in Congress renew the amendment and deny abortion coverage for individuals who get their insurance or health care through the federal government. Enough is enough!

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