Advocates' Blog
Advocates' Blog
Supreme Court Thwarts “Buffer Zone” Initiative and Turns its Back on Women
Thursday, 26 June 2014 00:00

Today the Supreme Court turned its back on women. Instead of upholding a law enacted to protect the safety of patients and staff, the Court ruled to inhibit women’s ability to freely exercise their right to abortion care—a right afforded by the Court itself over forty years ago—and chose instead to allow protesters to continue their routine of harassment, intimidation, and shaming of women seeking abortion care.

“With this ruling the Supreme Court is sending a message to women that they are on their own. They are telling women across the country that while they may have the right to an abortion, they will have to suffer to exercise it,” said Debra Hauser, president of Advocates for Youth.  Read more

12 Ways You Know There’s A Huge (Magnum) Conspiracy Against Condoms
Thursday, 12 June 2014 13:50

According to new information from the CDC today, condom use among sexually active teens has dropped 4% since 2003. The statistic is troubling, especially since young people experience the highest HIV and sexually transmitted infection rates of any age group. So why are fewer teens using condoms? Well…maybe it’s because we’re telling them that condoms are bad all the time?  Check out and share our Buzzfeed list! 

Remembering Barbara Huberman
Monday, 19 May 2014 06:11

by Advocates for Youth President Deb Hauser

It is with deep sadness that we mourn the death of a true visionary in youth sexual health and rights. Barbara Huberman, Advocates’ Director of Education and Outreach, passed away on Saturday, May 17th, after a brave battle against leukemia.

Barbara had a tremendous influence on our collective work here at Advocates, giving us the Rights.Respect.Responsibility Campaign, the European Study Tour, the National Support Center for State Teen Pregnancy Prevention Organizations, the State Organization Leadership Roundtable, Let's Talk Month, the Parents' Sex Ed Center, and National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, to name just a few.

Prior to coming to Advocates, Barb founded and served for ten years as executive director of the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Council of North Carolina.

Slow to speak and quick to smile, Barb was wise, pragmatic and provocative. She taught us all the importance of vision. And she showed us all the power of one.

Barb loved her interns, her friends and her sex-education-themed tools, art, and toys. She loved her family and she loved her work. She believed in all of us so deeply.

We will miss her terribly.

It’s All Connected: Youth Homelessness, Health Access, and the Parental Notification of Abortion Law in Illinois
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 13:54

 Guest post by Lara Brooks

Lara S. Brooks is a Chicago-based youth worker fighting for transformative justice, queer and trans youth spaces, a never-ending supply of harm reduction options, and holistic health access for youth experiencing homelessness. Brooks works with the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health as a youth rights advocate.

During the first week of April 2014, youth leaders rallied at the Illinois state capitol to advocate for their reproductive rights and generate awareness about the dangers of the Parental Notification of Abortion Law (PNA). The Illinois PNA law requires that any person under 18 years of age seeking access to abortion services must have an adult family member (someone who is a parent, legal guardian, grandparent, or step-parent who lives with the young person) notified at least 48 hours before a medical provider can perform the abortion. There are similar laws in 38 states around the US.

As a long-time youth worker, sexual assault counselor, and former director of a youth center, I know that young people, navigating complex realities and complicated systems, are making informed and thoughtful decisions about their bodies—something that the very premise of PNA erases altogether. As an advocate and youth ally, I resist that erasure. At the recent youth rally in Springfield, I witnessed how powerful the voices and stories of youth can be when lifted up as part of policy conversations around the reproductive rights of youth.

The dangers of PNA, in combination with existing barriers to abortion access, disproportionately impacts youth who are in danger of or currently experiencing homelessness, housing instability, violence, and neglect. Based on my experiences working with young people, I know the trauma, danger, and crisis induced by PNA directly exacerbates violence, neglect, and homelessness. For already unstably housed young people, parental notification of abortion laws are just as dangerous as laws in other states that require written consent.

Most significantly, PNA does nothing to address the systemic or structural roots of this critical question: What are the lived realities of many young people in Illinois that make it unsafe to inform PNA’s list of approved adults and guardians in the first place?

Advocates at CPD
Tuesday, 13 May 2014 08:35

by Amanda Kiefer, International Policy Analyst

In April, countries gathered at the 47th United Nations Commission on Population and Development (CPD) in New York. I, along with Ariel Cerrud and three International Youth Leadership Council (IYLC) members, attended the meeting on behalf of Advocates for Youth. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, during which 179 countries agreed to a Programme of Action (PoA) on rights-based development. Therefore, this year’s CPD focused on progress in implementing the PoA over the last 20 years. The negotiated outcome document, along with other ICPD regional and thematic consultations, will influence the ICPD Index Report, which will eventually feed into the post-2015 development process.

In 1994 in Cairo, Egypt, Advocates for Youth mobilized a youth caucus of more than 20 groups to lobby for the inclusion of language around adolescent reproductive health and rights and increased allocation of resources to programs that serve young people’s needs. We drafted provisions and led the process to ultimately get this language included in the final ICPD Programme of Action. Twenty years later, we are still fighting to see the Programme of Action fully implemented and to progress the Cairo Agenda forward, beyond 2014.

Advocates' team spent an entire week at the United Nations Headquarters advocating for the issues that affect the largest generation of young people the world has ever seen. We joined over 100 young people from across the globe to attend side-events and to communicate to governments our priorities concerning adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), including comprehensive sexuality education; recognition of the human rights of all people, without distinction of any kind, including young people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities and gender expressions (SOGIE); and access to safe and legal abortion.

Unfortunately, while there were strong and progressive statements from many governments on a number of our issues, including SOGIE, a breakdown in negotiations and the influence of fervent far-right opposition gave us a largely “status quo” outcome document. Here’s how it went down.

They're here!
Monday, 28 April 2014 12:02

We are delighted to announce the release of The National Teacher Preparation Standards on Sexuality Education. Created by the nation's leading sexual health organizations, including Advocates for Youth, these standards were created to provide guidance to institutions of higher education in order to better prepare undergraduate physical and health education teachers to deliver sexuality education in school settings.

In the United States, sexuality education is most commonly taught within the health and/or physical education (PE) curriculum at the middle and high school levels. The Teacher Preparation Standards will better prepare undergraduate pre-service students in providing high-quality comprehensive sexuality education that is developmentally, culturally, and age appropriate.

The development of the Teacher Preparation Standards is part of the ongoing Future of Sex Education (FoSE) Initiative to provide the next class of health education teachers the skills they need to become more knowledgeable and prepared on the topic of sex education.

Get The National Teacher Preparation Standards on Sexuality Education here!

Read Advocates' press release about the Teacher Preparation Standards

Week of Artivism Going Strong!
Friday, 25 April 2014 08:10

This week, over 50 campus groups, organizations, and others around the nation are participating in the 1 in 3 Campaign's Week of Artivism.  Participants are finding new and amazing ways to share the stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign.  Check out some great pics of the installations at the 1 in 3 Campaign's facebook page.

We were also honored to host a Google hangout about art and activism with spoken word poet Sonya Renee, author Kate Manning, artist Heather Ault, and hosted by Advocates' own graphic designer Rosanna Dixon.  These very talented folks talked about the creative work they had done on abortion, how their art and their activism intersect, and how they're motivating activism and changing people's minds.  Watch it here!

Advocates for reducing the stigma around abortion are also gathering signatures for the 1 in 3 Pledge.  Sign the pledge here, and then urge three friends to sign!

Through collaboration and creativity, we can bring the stigma and shame around abortion to an end and protect access to safe abortion care for all. 

Celebrating National Youth and HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Thursday, 10 April 2014 12:20

In celebration of National Youth and HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) Ambassador Florida Mwesiga encourages teens to take ownership of their health and get tested for HIV.This article originally appeared on the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation blog.  

So, I’ve got a question for you, and I’m going to be honest with you if you’re straight with me. Okay?

How much do you know about HIV and AIDS? A little, a lot, or not much at all?

I bet the honest answer is the last one – not much at all – and seriously, that’s scary.

HIV/AIDS is real, it’s not a joke and it’s affecting teens around the world. Young people make up almost 42 percent of new HIV infections.

What’s really scary is that the majority of teens living with HIV don’t even know it.  Today’s teenagers are a part of the largest generation of adolescents and young people ever recorded. There are more than 1.6 billion of us, and we’re growing up in a fast-paced, dynamic and interconnected world.

In the ideal version of that world, we would all be sitting at home, doing our homework at night, and watching sitcoms on TV. I’m a 16-year-old in 2014 – I hang out, I take #selfies, I go to parties, and I like to have fun.

But somewhere there is a girl, just like me – who likes to hang out, and likes to have fun – only she is living with HIV. For her, and the millions of other teens living with this virus, simply living to see another birthday is a miracle.

I could have been that girl. My mother is HIV-positive, but I am HIV-free thanks to the steps she took when she was pregnant with me to make sure that I didn’t have to grow up living with the virus that has dominated her life. Not everyone is as fortunate.

Today (April 10) is National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and in the spirit of honesty, I’m starting a new trending topic. Let’s talk about HIV and AIDS. Let’s be honest with each other about how you can contract the virus.

Don’t know anything about HIV? Great! Learn about it.

I’m 16 and I have my whole life ahead of me.  I want to be there to live it on my terms and I can’t afford for something like HIV to hold me back. Neither can you.      

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for Spanish-speaking GLBTQ youth
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