Thursday, December 31, 2009

Because we all love Sarah Haskins

Something fun for New Years Eve:



Can I wait for the start of the legislative session in Oklahoma? Sure. But Shoe Truck Day can't come fast enough.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Every Day, Good Women Choose Abortion

This message from Northland Family Planning Centers is from a few weeks ago, but no less important.


Amongst all the political hullabaloo that we’ve had this year, and will most definitely have next year, we need to make sure that women who have had or are thinking about having an abortion are still receiving the support that they deserve. A lot of hateful messages are being and will be a spewed their way, and it is as important to counteract that as it is to counteract hateful legislation.

Read more about the video, and responses to it, here.

Friday, December 18, 2009

HB 1595 BLOCKED~!!!!

A temporary block on HB 1595 is now in place until February 2010. CLICK HERE to read more...

THANK YOU Wanda Jo Stapleton, Martha Hardwick and the attorneys at the Center for Reproductive Rights!

HB 1595 to be heard in court today

HB 1595, the statistical reporting for abortion act, will be heard in court today at 3 p.m. This is the third judge assigned to the case, the other two asked to be excused. This bill needs to be ruled unconstitutional and locked away for good. We will keep you updated.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thank GOODNESS for Dr. Carhart!

I'm thankful for Dr. Carhart everyday and he needs your support! It has been a rough road for women who are seeking an abortion...no matter what the reason...since the death of Dr. Tiller. Both Dr. Tiller and Dr. Carhart have the toughest job in the world. There is little thank you except from the women they help and the supporters of a woman's right to choose.

Please click here to sign the petition to support Dr. Carhart's efforts in Nebraska. We must protect him!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sign the petitions to STOP STUPAK

The widespread effect of the STUPAK-PITTS amendment will be devastating to women across the country. Please click here to sign the petition to STOP STUPAK!

Friday, November 6, 2009

What's it going to take...

This afternoon I attended at rally at the capitol for reproductive rights! It was exciting to see the crowd participating at the rally, now its time to get to work.

What's it going to take to stop anti-choice legislation at the capitol in 2010. That's the $10,000 question.

1. The session starts on February 1st...its an election year...so, be prepared for an onslaught of anti-choice legislation to fall out of the sky. No doubt politicians want to be either newly elected or re-elected by using "abortion" as their wedge issue. "I co-authored HB 1595." will be heard a billion times next year. There are approximately 29 Representatives and 11 Senators who co-authored this bill. Hmmm, I wonder if they're all running in 2010?

2. The legislative session starts on February 1st...our advocacy work started yesterday! The bill request deadline is December 11th, the bill introduction deadline is January 14th. So in the next few months, anti-choice legislators will be trying to figure out how to reintroduce the five to ten bills from HB 1595 and SB 1878(2007) and get those single bills out of committee. If you aren't ready to contact your legislator on Feb. 1st at 8 a.m. with a convincing argument why they should not support legislation that is harmful to women, you may not get another chance to make the argument. By 8:01 a.m. on February 1st, ten loud anti's have already called or emailed their opinions. The deal is done.

3. Check your email for legislative alerts daily, hourly, every second. This legislative body is not stupid, if they can sneak a bill in committee unannounced, it's no surprise to anyone but us. We have tried to attend committee meetings which were supposed to start at 4:30 p.m. but were moved up to 3:30 p.m. and they're already done for the day. Pretty sneaky sis.

4. Don't think your opinion doesn't count it does...if your talking to YOUR legislator. We've tried and tried to get in the door of one particular female senator but her assistant won't let us in the door because we aren't from her district.

5. DO recruit people daily to the cause. It will take MANY TO STOP ANY anti-choice legislation in 2010!

6. DO contact Governor Henry and let him know how much we need to protect women's health in Oklahoma! This is very important...if we can convince him he has the votes to sustain a veto, he may veto a bill. Then the work is having to come up with the votes.

7. This is Governor Henry's last year in office. This would be the time to not hold back on the big V-E-T-O power. Also, this is Governor Henry's last year in office, it would be a good idea to know the gubernatorial candidates stand on reproductive health issues. Being a Democrat in this state does not mean they're pro-choice.

8. Roll up your sleeves this could get messy.

Whew!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Unbelievable Bravery

Love this story about Elizabeth Smart, not so sure about Matt Lauer's comments at the end...

Counter protest anyone?

An anti-choice extremist group will be setting up shop on the University of Central Oklahoma campus on November 2-3. A silent counter protest is being organized on campus to promote the truth about reproductive health issues women in Oklahoma face today. Be sure to stop and stand with us!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Human Wolves

Here’s a spooky tale for you…

Carved on a headstone located in the elder part of Konowa Memorial Cemetery is the cryptic epitaph, “Murdered by human wolves.” The stone belongs to one Katherine Cross, who died Oct 10th, 1917 at the age of 18. According to the Seminole County News, her death was caused by a “criminal operation” performed by a Dr. A.H. Yates. Many have assumed, due to the circumstances surrounding her death, that this criminal operation was an abortion and the human wolves were Yates and his assistant. Thus she and her headstone have become an obscure bit of Oklahoma history and folklore.

A few Oklahoma anti-choice blogs, whom shall remain nameless, have marked the anniversary of her death with posts. Some claim her as a martyr for their “graveyard of choice”, others simply use her as a cautionary tale against abortion in general. However, they completely miss the fact that had Cross legally had access to proper medical care, or had Yates had access to the proper tools and procedures, Cross need not have died at all. Hell, if the 18th century attitude towards the female body and sexuality had been more than bupkiss and outright lies, had there not been a stigma against contraception, sex, and pregnancy out of wedlock, she might have had a fighting chance of not getting pregnant at all.

92 years and four days into the future, women in Oklahoma have the choice to terminate pregnancy in a safe and clean environment that Katherine did not have. We (theoretically) have access to the education that Katherine did not. However, every day is a constant struggle to keep hold of that choice. HB1595 is the latest in a long line of scare and shame tactics used to chip away at choice and drive young women in need of help away from those that can safely provide it. Abortion providers, referrers, and supporters have to keep constant vigilance. Everyday we face snide phone calls, harassment, even the possibility of bodily harm for providing women with all of the options. Our clinics look like bunkers and we keep a constant lookout for strange powders, people, and foreign objects. A little over four months ago, in our neighbor to the north, Kansas, Dr. Tiller was gunned down by the anti-choice activist Scott Roeder.

When I think of Katherine Cross today, I can’t help but wonder about exactly who the human wolves are now.

To see the headstone: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=7423442

Guttmacher Report Cites Increases in Contraceptive Use, Reductions in Unintended Pregnancies and Abortions...and More Work To Do | RHRealityCheck.org

Guttmacher Report Cites Increases in Contraceptive Use, Reductions in Unintended Pregnancies and Abortions...and More Work To Do | RHRealityCheck.org

Posted using ShareThis

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rachel Maddow on HB 1595

Yes, it's all over the news...HB 1595 which we fought against earlier this year is getting national attention! Watch Rachel Maddow discuss the bill on her show here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Droves of Women and Girls Moved to Change Minds After Accepting Cupcakes!


Okay, not really, but this is my light-hearted item for today.
I picked this up from the great pro-woman blog feministing.com. I mean, is there really no shame out there? Assuming that there isn't, in what realm could this possibly be an effective strategy? Many people believe in the power and efficacy of prayer. Do that. Silent witness. Do that, I suppose. I guess you can also this, but it just seems silly.
I mean, would we even consider pro-choice cupcakes at anything besides an event tailored to people who already esteem abortion as a fundamental right?
I suppose I'm changing my tune. Go ahead and trivialize this by placing it on a baked good. Maybe you'll come to realize that abortion is just another medical procedure.
By the way, please check out the FAQs. They are to die for!
Sample:
Q: What do I do if a pro-choicer smashes a cupcake in my face?
A: Wipe the cake off your face and share the rest with someone less angry inside. Go with courage and go with love, the unborn need you to be their voice.
Priceless!


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Costs of Unsafe Abortion in Our World

Women, naturally and quite rightly, want to have control over their bodies and dictate the terms on which they live their lives. Motherhood is a wonderful thing, but only if the the woman is a willing participant in the act of creation. Women understand, perhaps more than others, the implications of having more children than theycan afford because they see, directly, the effects a malnutrtion, sickness, and all the ailments that can effect a child.

A new study from Guttmacher Institute shows that unsafe abortions cost Latin America and Africa between $227-$280 million per year in related medical expenses. That number increases to at least $341 million when Asian and Pacific regions are taken into account.

The study, in my opinion, rightly concludes that nearly all of these costs could be negated if only men and women, the world over, had access to reproductive health. Women correctly estimate the impact to themselves and/or their family of an additional child and unsafe abortions indicate the length to which women will go to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

The study also notes that the cost is, in fact, considerably higher than the one they can actually figure because they estimate that 15-25% of women receive no form of medical treatment for any complications that they may experience after undergoing an unsafe abortion because they lack access tyo medical services of any kind.

All of this goes far to indicate that we must protect and expand our domestic access to reproductive health, but in the same breath, we must also fight for our fellow humans in the world who suffer far more than most of us. For more information about how to do that, I invite you to visit the International Planned Parenthood Federation website.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

One, Two Sucker Punch

Wow, Tuesday and Wednesday were bad days. Not only do governments and individuals have to deal with the pain and suffering that will no-doubt result from the natural disasters in the Pacific, but we're having our own problems here in the states. So many people had pinned their hopes that President Obama would be able to push through meaningful health care reform. We'll still get some kind of reform, but the Senate Finance Committee killed the public option, which would have been our best chance at getting affordable health care for millions of uninsured or underinsured Americans. I suppose that we're just supposed to take insurance companies at their word that they'll control prices. Many companies (ahem, Blue Cross Blue Shield and, ahem, Humana) have near monopolies in their respective markets. I thought that conservatives wanted competition in the marketplace...apparently that was an incorrect assumption.

That was the first punch. Then, not only did the Finance Committee strip away the meaningful and necessary public option, they also re-instated $50 million for unscientific and absolutely ineffective abstinence-only education. That, at least, came to a closer vote of 12-11 with all Republicans and three Democrats voting to include funding for the religious programs masquerading as sex education.

So much of what's going on in Washington is getting to me. Did or did not President Obama win by a veritable landslide? My memory recalls a nation with states that had historically voted red for generations switch to blue on the promise of progressive reform. Now, Democrats are playing chicken and the Republicans do everything they can to obstruct every conceivable piece of the President's goals. We didn't have the hemming and hawing in trying to decide whether or not to go into the Iraq debacle. We undertook that fallacious journey with great gusto and yet the the government can't get behind providing health care for our society's most needy! We marched merrily along to destroy life but can't bring ourselves to save it.

Some hope remains. This bill that came out of the Finance Committee still has to pass the full Senate. I hope beyond all hope that clear-thinking minds will prevail and that this legislation will find itself back in committee with its strength reinstated to provide real comprehensive education to our nation's children and supply the basic human right of health care to each American citizen.

In the meantime, to help you feel a little better about all of this, I encourage you to watch this little video. It's not funny, though, if you think about it because it does seem that there are some men and women in Washington who are more concerned with insurance executives' salaries than health care for all Americans.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Catholic Church Seemed to Be Doing Something Right...

Happy Monday, friends!

As a lapsed Catholic, I'm still keenly interested in the policies and work of the Catholic Church-- no doubt because I drank so much of the Kool Aide that it's not really possible to purge all of it from my body.

Anyway, there's a brouhaha churning. It seems as though in all religious congregations that there's a fundamental tension between those wanting to support holding the line on "family values," whatever that means, and those who push for social justice. Now, don't get me wrong, there are lots of people that push hard for social justice while still opposing same-sex marriage, abortion, etc, but I find (and found) them to be the minority.

This tends to bubble up quite prominently at the institutional level. There are many, many social justice programs under the umbrella of the Catholic Church. It is, after all, the largest charitable organization in the world, and one of the most well funded domestic entities is the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. That is an organization that is the direct outreach of the Bishops of the United States (and consequently the Roman Catholics of the United States)to the people of the United States (as opposed to Catholic Relief Services which is their outreach to the globe) and it essentially follows along the lines of of traditional social justice: aid for the poor in the form of education/tutoring, health care, neighborhood development, food pantries/soup kitchens, micro-loans, etc. It is not an aid organization in and of itself, but it funds numerous programs.

WELL! Apparently, the people at CCHD got a little too excited and started funding things that are getting conservative Catholics all riled up! CCHD seems to have funneled money to groups that opposed Proposition 8, support access to reproductive health, support gay marriage and so forth. These things struck a little too close to the heart of the Millennium Development Goals and strayed a little too far from the flock, apparently.

I have to say that I have this little bit of hope that the Catholic Church will start to change at least some of its positions. Sometimes it puts forth blatantly reckless things. Imagine for a moment, just imagine, if the the world followed the Catholic Church's line and no one used contraception. Not only would we have prodigious amounts of sexually transmitted diseases but we would be, perhaps quite literally, drowning in children. We'd experience global poverty to an even greater extent than we do today. Reproductive health is a key component of the solution to ending poverty.

The Catholic Church was doing something right. It's a shame that people who are less concerned with the message of Jesus and more concerned with control over people's private lives still find themselves in power.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Scary: It isn't a child, it's a CONSEQUENCE!

Well, I know that I had initially set up the expectation that we would have funny things on Friday.

This video is not funny. Well, at least not in the traditional sense. It's funny because these people are off their rockers, but that's about the extent of it. You have to check this out and never doubt for a second that the fight for reproductive health limits itself to securing access to abortion. In some parts of the country contraception even finds itself under attack.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Recession and its Impact on Reproductive Health

No doubt you've heard through the anecdotes of friends and family that times are tough. Or perhaps you have experienced that toughness yourselves. Of course, here we're all particularly concerned about how harder economic times effects women and their access to reproductive health.

Now a study released by the Guttmacher Institute sheds some concrete data-driven light on these concerns. The study found that the recession had an impact on the reproductive choices of women with nearly 1/2 of those surveyed saying that they intended to delay pregnancy until the economy improves.

The study also points out that this in itself causes additional problems because when women want to delay pregnancy, they turn to contraception, which is an expense in and of itself. Lack of access to affordable reproductive health options increasingly puts women in untenable situations. This further highlights the centrality of organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, that can provide reproductive health services at or below cost.

The above link takes you to a summary, but the published study itself is worth a read and provides lots of valuable data that many of you might find interesting. And if you feel comfortable, please share your story. How has your life or the life of a friend been effected by the recession with regards to reproductive health? If we all listen and do a little, we can do a lot.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Video from the Author of the Vagina Monologues!

I thought that our readers out there might really appreciate this inspiring and challenging video from a leader in the movement to fully empower women.

Ms. Ensler isn't without controversy, however, and I'd love the chance to hear your thoughts about this video, about her work with V-Day and about her now quite famous work,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sometimes, people make me angry

This video from the American Life League has to be one of the most ridiculous and equivocating things I've ever seen. First off, they make gross claims that fly in the face of fact, such as the claim that this guy makes that the vast majority of Americans are against abortion, which just simply isn't true. If the vast majority of American abhorred it, we wouldn't have it. That's typically the way things work in a Republic.

Furthermore, they are pointing out all these things that actually empower "grandma." As one commenter points out on ALL's YouTube Channel,


Everything you are talking about is already the law. I can sign an end of life directive right now and any doctor who ignores it violates the law. What this bill does is provide Grandma a voice and an opportunity to tell her doctor what to do in certain situations. Had Terry Schiavo's doctor met with her, she could have decided for herself if she wanted to be kept alive on a feeding tube. But since Terry didn't have a living will, the court made that decision. Stop scaring uninformed people.

The guy keeps bringing up the Terry  Schiavo, (you know, where "scary big government" tried to impose itself on a person and make decisions for her-- that thing that conservatives are supposed to dislike) but the fact of the matter is, as the poster points out, that this bill has the provision and the language that would have encouraged and allowed Terry to meet with her doctor and then a living will could have been established.

This bill, far from victimizing "grandma" attempts to empower her and to encourages her and her family to talk have the tough discussion about what happens when the eventuality arises when one cannot speak or reason for oneself any longer. These tactics are infuriating and people buy into them. Each of us has a duty, as citizens, to try and combat this. The ludicrous supposition that the President wants to kill off old people is nauseating and yet hordes of gullible and impressionable people drink up from the arch-conservative bottle.

Don't let you or one of your friends be one of them! We can always try to make the case for a little cool-headedness and rationality. Of course, in the face of marches at the state capitol (and the National Mall) with signs equating President Obama with Hitler, that might not win the day and we may have to pose a question like Barney Frank (D-Minnesota) to someone, "On what planet do you spend most of your time?"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Good News!

Normally I don't like to rejoice at the downfall of something or someone, but I'm making an exception in this case. NPR and the AP are reporting that Operation Rescue is almost completely and totally out of money. I found this surprising because just a month or so ago the group announced their intention to publicly consider purchasing Dr. Tiller's clinic.

I'd like to think that OR suffers from a dearth of funds because people are finally growing more comfortable with the notion of choice, realizing that it is here to stay, and focussing the charitable giving elsewhere. Sadly, I think NPR has it correct in saying that, in fact, people probably shy away from the organization because of its connection to the murder of Dr. Tiller via contact with and donations received from the murderer, Scott Roeder.

No doubt the American Life League and other explicitly or nominally anti-choice organizations continue to receive their donations. We can, however, take some measure of comfort that one of the most militant organizations seems to be clutching anywhere for life in a world that, bit by bit, sees their fear and ignorance based goals as less and less pertinent to the health and well being of our society.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Intermingling of Disappointment and Optimism

How long, oh how long will it take people to regard abortion as a medical procedure? This really is a blow. Obama's plan, as it turns out, will not provide any funding for abortions and presumably would not count it as a covered medical procedure in the government healthcare option nor in the mandates to be laid out for insurance companies. I've imbedded the video in here and it's definitely worth a watch in its entirety, but that particular blow to the fight for reproductive justice comes comes at around 27:20 in the speech. Also, if you'd prefer just to read what the president says and forgo all the hoopla, you can read a transcript here.



This, of course, all stems from the roadblocks that still stand in front of us with regard to the previous post. Abortion is the great unmentionable. It's taboo. Many of its supporters feel uncomfortable with the topic. It's something some other person does, and as such, that keeps abortion from moving away from a shadowy existence.

The bottom line is that much of the country (this includes, apparently, the federal government) does not view abortion as something purely medical. Imagine what a disconnect we'd experience if President Obama stood up and said, "Just to clear up any misunderstandings, none of your tax dollars will be used to fund chemotherapy."

So, as the title of this post suggests, I find myself conflicted. It's a great humanistic boon for me, personally, that the country finally seems on a course to ensure this human right for every citizen-- yet it still stigmatizes reproductive health despite the fact that empowering women and giving them choice, both in our country and elsewhere, has proven to be one of the most effective means of eliminating poverty and, to tout a great conservative notion, helping people to help themselves.

Healthcare reform is surely something around which we can rally, let's just be sure to have the courage to continue to speak frankly about about our cause. We've got to do our part to shine the light on choice because society wants to keep it subdued and quiet in the shadows.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Coming Out of the Closet

This article from feministing.com helps put into perspective that there’s a lot of “othering” that goes on with regard to the abortion question. Many Americans paint themselves a sour face and hold their nose about a “distasteful” procedure because some other person might need it. The tendency to “other” stems from the fact that, as the author points out, women who have had abortions remain closeted, and as such, abortion remains an abstract concept to most Americans.

One of the tactics employed by the LGBT community to gain acceptance in society was simply to come out of the closet. Though it remains stigmatized and demonized in many parts of the country, supporters and bigots alike had to come to terms with the fact that they knew, really knew, a gay person. It’s harder, unless you’re truly a monster, to abuse and discriminate with your words or with your votes if the person you attempt to demonize is your daughter, niece, or grandson.

I think that same sort of openness might lead to the de-stigmatization of abortion if we would simply realize that we know a woman who has made that choice for herself. Abortion is not something that a low-income woman somewhere in the country or world seeks—it’s a medical procedure that has improved the lives of and empowered our mothers, sisters, and friends. If more women could discuss it frankly and openly, then I think we’d see a shift. Maybe we could stop talking about stripping abortion of its legal protection and have a more serious and heartfelt conversation about how to safeguard the reproductive rights of all people.

It’s a difficult first step to take—to stick your neck out when it’s simply easier to remain silent, but rarely has the course of history found itself offered by those who fell victim to timidity. Better to be thought outspoken then to say nothing at all.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Operation Rescue's Goal: Unwanted, Unloved, and Impoverished Children

Obviously anti-choicers want to strike funding for abortion and the like, but it seems ironic, conceptually, to try to take away funding for abortion services (a service predominantly used by women from disadvantaged backgrounds) from a government health option designed to address the healthcare needs of low income individuals. It’s pretty ridiculous, don’t you think, to strike out one of the most pivotal services for low income individuals from a plan designed to help that very same group?

At any rate, I’m writing in response to this post about opposition to a medically inclusive health reform plan set forth by our “friends” at Operation Rescue.

Needless to say, I hope that each of you is very much giving thought to what a boon universal health coverage would be for the United States’ citizenry. Then, with particular regard to the above post, be sure to let your legislator know that any health reform should include funding that supports women’s health by giving them a full line of reproductive choices.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Janet Pearson Editorial

Janet Pearson, Associate Editor for the Tulsa World, wrote an editorial in yesterday's paper on SB 1878. Click here to read the editorial...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

SB 1878 UNCONSTITUTIONAL

This is a huge win for women in Oklahoma! Today, Judge Vicki Robertson ruled the ominous SB 1878 UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!! SB 1878 would have required a vaginal or topical ultrasound one hour prior to an abortion procedure. This requirement would also force the physician to turn the screen toward the patient as he/she described what was on the screen. It also would have created the Freedom of Conscience act among many other things!

Well fought everyone!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The difference between night and day

Recently, on an outing with my husband, we were served by our usual waitress we've known now for about five months. She was always courteous and helpful, johnny on the spot with our beer. Never really talked about personal stuff with her until last weekend, she showed some interest in getting to know me better.

Of course her second question after do you have kids was "where do you work?" "Planned Parenthood," I said hoping she would say I love Planned Parenthood. "Planned Parenthood?" she said, "but don't they do abortions?" I'm thinking that wasn't the response I wanted to hear. "Well, yes many affiliates do, but our affiliate isn't one of them." She replied "well I'm from Illinois and I've seen those terrible signs outside the clinics and well, I just don't believe in abortion." The smile faded from this once happy 20 something and she walked away. As I sit there beerless and a little put out by her response, I'm reminded that it will always be an uphill battle here in Oklahoma.

I'm not sure when or where it was said in life that if you meet someone who works at Planned Parenthood you should immediately pass judgement. I'm married and a mother of two, I work hard, I play hard, I've got bills, I volunteer in my community, and I WORK AT PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF CENTRAL OKLHOMA AND DAMN PROUD OF IT!!!!

Thank goodness for our friends out there...reading this blog...who become fans of our facebook page...who follow our tweets...you are the best!

Friday, August 7, 2009

STI testing for Students in Washington D.C.

Things that make you go hmmmm...

What do you think about this story from msn.com regarding a woman being charged with breast feeding her baby while drunk...even though the call was for domestic violence...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Birth Control Options for Women Over 30

Check out this article from cnn.com on new birth control options for women over 30...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

PPCOK on Facebook

Become a fan of Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma's Face book page. Click here for the details!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Acting Globally! Thinking Locally?

The human rights organization Amnesty International maintains 2.2 million members in more than 150 countries and regions. A few of the organization’s campaigns include the death penalty, immigrant rights, arms control, countering terror with justice and stopping violence against women. One thing that has set Amnesty apart from other human rights groups is its refusal to accept money from any partisan group (including political parties and churches). The purpose of this is to bring a diverse group of individuals into the discussion of what’s best for humanity in general, despite personal differences.

Because of Amnesty’s goal to be all-inclusive, they did not actively declare their stance on abortion for forty-six years (1961-2007). The increasing use of rape as a weapon of war in several countries is what lead Amnesty to ultimately take a stance on abortion “within reasonable gestational limits” for women in cases of rape, incest or violence, or where the pregnancy jeopardizes a mother’s life or health. Amnesty described that “women and girls are being attacked, not only to dehumanize the women themselves but also to humiliate, punish, control, inflict fear and displace women and to persecute the community to which they belong”. In response to Amnesty speaking out, many long time advocates of the organization, including the Catholic Church, expressed their dissatisfaction with their decision and encouraged members to cut off all donations and support immediately. Amnesty issued a statement clarifying that they are a “movement to protect citizens including the believer but we do not impose beliefs. Ours is a movement dedicated to upholding human rights, not specific theologies. Our purpose invokes the law and the state, not God. It means that sometimes the secular framework of human rights that Amnesty International upholds will converge neatly with the standpoints of certain faith based communities; sometimes it will not”. As an advocate for the pro-choice movement, Amnesty’s decision to openly include and support women’s choice as a human right makes absolute sense. But there is still a bitter taste in my mouth from their statements.

AI’s executive deputy secretary-general, Kate Gilmore described, “[Our] position is not for abortion as a right but for women’s rights to be free of fear, threat and coercion as they manage all consequences of rape and other grave human rights violations”. How can women be free of fear, threat and coercion if abortion is not a right? I understand that as an organization Amnesty must work hard to not exclude potential or existing supporters, but isn’t only supporting abortion within “reasonable gestational limits” excluding a large group of individuals, mainly women? News channels, YouTube and other media sources constantly show clips of women entering abortion clinics with anti-choice crowds surrounding them trying to invoke fear and declaring threats. With the recent death of Dr. Tiller, I believe it is time to take a step further and support women and their right to choose, no matter the reason why.

-Mackenzie Love, Summer Intern

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Commentary on Killing for Life

Dr. Carol Mason posted this commentary on www.publiceye.org regarding her book and the resurgence of "KILLING FOR LIFE."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Truth Truck vs. The True Stories

The Truth Truck is one of the most popular “pro-life” groups known for driving the streets with pictures of dead fetuses on the side of their trucks. Their website claims they “determine to make the horror of abortion an unavoidable issue and to make the Lord Jesus Christ paramount in our nation”. The Truth Truck organization also claims “They haven’t seen the truth, until now!”



Susan Hill, President of the National Women’s Health Foundation, describes the truth of late-term abortions by explaining that really tragic cases were sent to Dr. Tiller in Wichita, Kansas --“Those included women diagnosed with cancer who needed abortions to qualify for chemotherapy, women who learned late in their pregnancies that their wanted babies had fatal illnesses, and rape victims so young they didn’t realize they were pregnant for months”. Don’t just see the truth trucks, hear and read the truth. The true stories of why abortion must be an option!

“I looked at the woman as she cried about the baby she wanted so badly, & looked in horror at the films showing the cancer eating the child alive. The pain this child must be in & the cries of the parents as they don’t want to let go. Then I hear Dr. Tiller say…”You are so amazing…all the pain your baby is in & you are going to selflessly take that away. You are being strong for him. You are giving him peace he will never know.” 2 days later I cleaned & dressed that little boy before the parents viewed him. The ghastly tumor that had grown through his chest & out his spine a horrific parasite, & a stark reminder of the life he could never have. I watched this little angel at peace & I cried. For all of them. And I felt blessed to be a part of such a wonderful man, who could look in the face of utter hopelessness, & give them comfort. That child was taken home & lovingly laid to rest. That day is how I will remember Dr. Tiller. May his family find the peace he gave so openly”


More true stories:
Patients Remember Dr. Tiller on Feministe Blog
A Heart Breaking Choice

Tiller's clinic closed permanently

This is a travesty.

Check out this article, "Myth of the Lone Shooter" by Ellen Goodman.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tulsa Candle Vigil and Memorial in Honor of Dr. Tiller

Members of the Reproductive Health Coalition of Tulsa have scheduled a candelight vigil and memorial service for the late Dr. George Tiller at 7:30 p.m., Monday, June 8 at Fellowship Congregational Church, 2900 S. Harvard Ave.

The service, which will pay tribute to the life of Dr. Tiller, is open to the public and will be officiated by local religious leaders including the Rev. Paul Ashby of Fellowship Congregational Church, the Rev. Tamara Lebak of All Souls Unitarian Church, Rev.Gerard Davis, Restoration UU, Director and Teacher Jackie Roemer of Bodhicharya Oklahoma, Rev. Steve Cranford, former Executive Director of Tulsa Metropolitan Ministries and former President to Interfaith Alliance, Rev. Jay Hoyt, Acting Director of Tulsa Metropolitan Ministries, Rev. Melinda Foster of Open Table United Church of Christ in Owasso, Clark Inkanish, performing the Cedar Ceremony, and many others.

Dr. Tiller, a talented long-time Wichita obstetrician and gynecologist, husband, father of four and grandfather of eight, was shot while he attended church on Sunday, May 31 in Wichita, Kan. Apparently, the shooter’s sole motive centered on Dr. Tiller’s involvement in providing abortions for his patients.

“The senseless and unthinkable murder of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas this past weekend has jarred our sensibilities and our faith in the sincerity of those who self-identify as ‘pro-life’”, said coalition member Martha Hardwick.

Coalition member Nancy Kachel stated “Abortion as a moral choice, a religious choice, and to support abortion is a legal choice. To use violent means in order to deny anyone this right goes against the core values that America stands for.”

The Coalition, formed more than 10 years ago to support women’s freedom to make her own health choices, condemns those who commit violent acts against abortion providers, and the radical religious who support and incite these violent acts, as domestic terrorists. It believes these activities should be added to the list of hate crimes, and that the perpetrators be prosecuted for hate crimes.

Tiller, 67, was Diplomat of the American Board of Family Practice and Medical Director of Women's Health Care Services. He was born in Wichita at Wesley Hospital where he later became President of the Medical Staff. As a young man he attended Alcott Elementary School, Robinson Junior High School, and Wichita East High School, graduating in 1959. He attended the University of Kansas on a swimming scholarship, completed a degree in zoology in 1963, and graduated from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1967. He served his medical internship at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Camp Pendleton, CA. He graduated from the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute Flight Surgeon School and became a U.S. Navy Flight Surgeon.

He was a member of the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the National Abortion Federation and many other national organizations. He was a renowned speaker and guest lecturer on women's health issues for numerous organizations around the world.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation may be sent to the George R. Tiller, M.D., Memorial Fund for the Advancement of Women's Health in care of the Wichita Community Foundation, 200 W. Douglas, Suite 250, Wichita, KS 67202.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Death of Dr. George Tiller

Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma wishes to express our deepest sympathy to the family of Dr. George Tiller during this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Govenor signs HB 1595

As expected, Governor Henry signed HB 1595 into law last week. Although the bill won't go into effect until 2011, this is still another set back for women in Oklahoma. Legislators want to find out why women are seeking abortions...or yet to find out how to mark their doors with a big RED A in rural communities.

There are several ways to lower the abortion rate in Oklahoma starting with emergency contraception readily available in ALL emergency rooms for rape victims; comprehensive sexual education in schools not the so called abstinence until marriage education which has not stopped the Oklahoma's current 6th ranking for teen births in the United States; equal coverage for contraception by insurance companies and requiring pharmacies to find alternative resources when their pharmacist refuses to fill prescriptions.

We've got issues Oklahoma and they are not the issues that are being addressed at the capitol!

This session is just the first part of the two year session. We must make our voices heard!

For more information about joining our activist network, email ppco@ppfa.org today!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

HB 1595 awaiting Govenor Henry's next move!

Just when we thought the battle for HB 1595 was over, Anti-choice extremists bombarded legislators with e-mails asking them to fund the bill despite a high cost estimate from the Health Department. Now, the bill is sitting on Governor Henry's desk!

A fiscal impact report for HB 1595 estimates that the initial cost would be $281,285 ($40,000 more than a similar program proposed last year) and $256,285 for subsequent years. This program will cost Oklahoma taxpayers more than $1 million over four years. Furthermore, the Oklahoma State Department of Health already has a website to collect statistics for abortions -- OK2SHARE, making HB 1595 redundant. Oklahoma deserves a fiscally responsible government during these difficult economic times.

You can stop HB1595! Tell Governor Henry to VETO HB 1595. CLICK here to send an email today!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cecile Richards on CNN!

Cecile Richards, PPFA Chief Executive Officer, was recently on CNN to talk about the FDA's approval of emergency contraception to be available to 17 year olds over the counter.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

AHA! The Senate Sustains VETO~

Before my fingers were through typing the request to senators below, the Oklahoma Senate has voted to SUSTAIN Governor Henry's veto of HB 1326!

Check out this article...

Stay aware of this situation, another override attempt could happen at any time!

Oklahoma Senators Need Your CALLS!

If you support the advancement of scientific research to cure diseases such as parkinsons, sickle cell anemia and blindness to name a few, then call your Senator today and ask him/her to sustain Governor Henry's veto of HB 1326 today!

The Oklahoma House voted to override Henry's veto this morning. The Senate will need 38 votes to sustain the Governor's veto.

Please call today!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Read Janet Pearson's Editorial

Janet Pearson, Associate Editor with the Tulsa World, has a great editorial on the current syphilis outbreak among teens in central Oklahoma. The editiorial entitled "Talk 'the talk': Teens really do want to hear from their parents" is great advice for all parents!

Friday, April 3, 2009

GYT: Get Yourself Tested!

Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma is proud to participate in a nationwide campaign with MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation and to officially unveil “GYT: Get Yourself Tested,” a campaign to increase testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among those under 25 years of age.

“In Oklahoma, we currently rank 6th in the country for teen births and more recently have been informed of an outbreak of syphilis among our teens.” said Terry Dennison, Director of Education at PPCO. “STD’s are treatable or curable, so this is why it is important to get yourself tested. Now, more than ever, it is critical that young people make safe responsible decisions regarding your sexual health.”

GYT kicks off with a mix of promotions on-air, online and in the real world that will unfold throughout the month of April in recognition of National STD Awareness Month. The central hub of the campaign, GYT09.org, will provide comprehensive information about STDs and will direct users to the nearest testing location simply by entering a zip code. A mobile companion to GYT09.org, the GYT short code (49809), provides details about local testing locations to mobile phones by texting a zip code.

“Most people would be shocked to hear that, by age 25, one in two sexually active young people will have an STD. This is not just a statistic, but the reality of what Planned Parenthood health centers see every day,” said Dennison. “The GYT campaign is an excellent opportunity for people to learn what Planned Parenthood knows — that affordable testing and treatment and education are the tools teens and young people need to stay healthy and safe.”

An all-star collective of pop culture personalities are carrying the GYT message far and wide, appearing in a series of attention-getting on-air and online promotions on MTV and other MTV Network properties this month; blasting out GYT on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms; wearing GYT on their chest and sleeves; and of course, going to get tested for STDs.

For more information or to find you a Planned Parenthood Health Center nearest you, call 1-800-230-PLAN.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Support Rep. Ryan Kiesel on OETA tonight!

Rep. Ryan Kiesel, an advocate for reproductive rights, will appear on "The People's Business" on March 25th at 7:00 p.m. on OETA to discuss HB 1595 (the statistical reporting for abortion act). "The People's Business" is a weekly program discussing issues in the legislature. Rep. Mike Ritze, an anti-choice conservative, will provide the
counterpoint to Rep. Kiesel.

The program accepts questions from the public via e-mail, peoplesbusiness@oeta.tv, or voice mail, 1-800-285-1580 or check out or go to the OETA website. Kiesel has been a strong pro-choice advocate since he was sworn in and we are thankful for his common sense approach at the capitol.

Monday, March 9, 2009

ABC to air story on Pharmacy Refusal

On Tuesday, March 10th, ABC will air a story call "What would you do?" a scenario show with hidden cameras and controversial topics. This episode, the scene is a 16 year old is refused birth control by a local pharmacist while a room full of customers decide how to react. Read more hear and don't miss this episode!

Friday, February 27, 2009

HB 1595 Passes in the House...

Not surprising HB 1595, which creates the "statistcal abortion reporting act", passed in the House 93 Ayes to 4 Nays votes. This bill is bad because the reporting requirements, which would be listed on a state run website, is so detailed that you could actually identify in rural towns who had an abortion.

Why would our legislators (minus Rep. Ryan Kiesel, Rep. Jeannie McDaniel, Rep. Mike Shelton and Rep. Al McAffrey) want to add more pain and anguish to an already difficult decision? So do-gooders in the community could hunt down the woman who decided to terminate an unwanted pregnancy and paint a red A on her door? Not to mention this bill has a fiscal impact report attached to it to the tune of more than $280,000!

When Oklahoma is struggling with a $900 million budget shortfall, tack on another $280,000 so we can see this website!

Now is the time to start calling your Senators and asking for them to vote no to hearing the bill in committee.

Do not assume that you won't be heard, please, please, please call...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sex ed throughout the years...

Found this gem from www.abcnews.com on sex education films from 1940 to date...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Congratulations to the authors of these great bills!

Prevention is the key! Planned Parenthood supports the following legislation which will increase access to birth control, lower the teen birth rate, assist victims of rape and protect access to contraception in rural areas:

HB 1348 – Rep. Jeannie McDaniel
Sexuality Education – Requiring that any Oklahoma Schools which teaches or distributes information on sexuality education, must have scientifically accurate materials;

HB 1353 – Rep. Jeannie McDaniel and SB 477 - Senator Tom Adelson
Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies (CARE) Act – Requiring emergency rooms and other health are facilities that treat rape victims offer information on emergency contraception;

SB 264 – Senator Jim Wilson
Patient Protection Act – Requiring that pharmacies fill prescriptions for contraceptives and provide availability to over-the-counter emergency contraception, or follow guidelines set forth to fill a prescription in a timely manner;

SB 494 – Senator Constance Johnson
Right to Choose Life Act – An Act related to family planning. Requires coverage of prescription contraceptive drugs and devices; and

SB 495 – Senator Andrew Rice
Contraceptive Equity – Requiring Insurance companies to cover contraceptive supplies at the same rate that they would cover pregnancy, childbirth, and prenatal care.

If you've never had the pleasure of lobbying for (or against) legislation, you might check out the legislative process at www.okpolicy.org. Also, Planned Parenthood makes an effort to educate legislators about the good and bad bills which effect reproductive rights in our state but it takes calls from YOU,as a constituent in their district, to make an impact!

To find out who your legislator is click here!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Agenda, agenda, who has the House agenda...

Heard through the grapevine HJR 1009, which "strongly opposes the federal Freedom of Choice Act", is being heard to day in the House. This resolution by Rep. Sally Kern basically thumbs their noses at President Obama's support of reproductive rights. Please click here to read the resolution and call your Representative today to ask them not to vote for this resolution.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Upcoming events...

There are some exciting workshops and events coming up in the next few months, check these out:

February 11th - Tulsa Reaches Out: Inclusion of the GLBT Community presented by Tommy Chesbro, M.H.R., AASECT and VP of Education for Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma.
The program is free and is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Youth Services of Tulsa, 311 South Madison. Call 918-858-4656 for more information.

February 10th through February 17th - National Condom Week!
Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma celebrates National Condom Week both on college campuses and in PPCO's five clinics to promote safe sex during the week of Valentines Day. For more information call 528-0221 or click here.

February 18th - Women's Coalition Advocacy Day; This non-partisan organization offers workshops and information on advocacy and issues related to women and children.

March 23rd - Women's Health Day at the Capitol
Come rally with folks from women's health related organizations on the 4th floor rotunda from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 23rd. For more information contact Michael at 528-0221.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama Expected to Overturn Global Gag Rule!

Jumping in feet first, President Obama is considering an executive order to overturn the Global Gag Rule on Thursday, the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

In 2007, I attended a Planned Parenthood conference in Washington D.C., where Presidential candidate Obama spoke eloquently about the health and well being of his two daughters...protecting their hopes and dreams by promoting women's health issues while in office. As a mother of two daughters I can't tell you how relieved I was to hear President Obama "gets it."

Lets hope Oklahoma legislators will do some soul searching regarding reproductive rights in Oklahoma before they vote on bills which would harm women's health.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Interested in Running for Office?

Interested in appointed office? Want to learn more? Click on this link to access WCF Foundation’s Appoint Her, an online resource center geared towards women looking for new challenges. The site includes the following:
 Why appointed office is critical to policy at the state and local level
 Women’s representation in appointed office today
 A state directory with links to information on the appointments process in each state
 Sample job descriptions, including the type of work, time commitment, remuneration
 Sample job “ladders” demonstrating accomplished women’s path to appointed office

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Roe v. Wade Commemoration Event

Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma will commemorate the 36th Anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision with on Thursday, January 22nd from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Oklahoma City Community foundation, 1000 N. Broadway in Oklahoma City. The event will include guest speaker Dr. Carol Mason. Dr. Mason is associate professor of English and director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program at Oklahoma state University. Her talk is titled “Promoting Reproductive Justice in Red States.”

“Roe v. Wade” is a powerful reminder that politicians should stay out of our families’ personal moral and medical decisions,” Anita Fream, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma said. “Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma has spent the last 70 years operating under the belief that the ability to control your own fertility is a fundamental human right.

“There are so many individuals in Oklahoma who have no idea that more than 20 bills are introduced every year by anti-choice legislators that limit our right to choose,” said Fream. “We are hoping to educate as many individuals as we can and to build support for protecting our right to decide when and whether or not to have children. Our ultimate goal for all women, men and families is for every child to be wanted and loved.”

The cost is $10 and includes drinks and light refreshments. Space is limited. For more information or to make a reservation, please contact Planned Parenthood at 405-528-0221.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Ineffectiveness of the Virginity Pledge

Hmmm. The Washington Post reports a federal survey found "that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a "virginity pledge," but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers."

Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, wrote a commentary for the Huffington Post website on the same study. “At this point, it's hard to imagine how much more data the government and Congress need to collect to come to the conclusion that just telling kids to not have sex isn't working. The more that abstinence-only programs stress the failure rates of condoms and contraception, the less likely young people are to protect themselves against pregnancy and infection. What the vast majority of parents will tell you is that they want comprehensive sex education for teens in school, that includes abstinence but also information about birth control and preventing STDs.”

Terry at Get R.E.A.L. Oklahoma has some interesting insight also...