Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Stop PNA

Good afternoon MVMC blog readers!

If you don't know already, there was a horrible law passed in August of 2013 limiting access to abortions for teens in Illinois. It is known as the Parental Notification of Abortion Law. The law states that anyone 17 and under is required to notify a parent or legal guardian 48 hours before their procedure. If a teen chooses not to notify a parent/legal guardian they may be able to receive a judicial bypass from the court. A judge is able to waiver the parental notification if the judge sees the young person as "fit" to have an abortion. This is an extremely unfair law passed by Illinois legislatures, but that is a post for another day.

I'm writing this to inform you that CAF will be teaming up with ICAH (Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health), ACLU (American Civil and Liberties Union), and other organizations for Advocacy Day in the beginning of April. I'm so excited! We will travel down to Springfield with other allies and organizations to promote the Stop PNA Campaign. There will be a training, state legislator meetings, and a youth-led rally. Anyone 14 and older can attend without a parent or legal guardian, but they have to have the permission form signed by one. Anyone under the age of 14 can attend, but they need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

If you are interested and want to help in the fight to repeal this law visit:

You will find all the forms and information needed to attend Advocacy Day on the website.

To learn more about judicial bypass and groups doing great work helping the young people affected by this visit:

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Challenging Comfort Zones!

Happy Sunday morning!

Let me start by sharing with you all one of my favorite quote of all times! "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone" I find this quote to be truly powerful, for me specifically I have learned as the years progress I find it harder to step outside of my comfort zone, so I challenge myself. Although at times I may find myself feeling confused, scared, or worrisome I do it anyway. I moved from NYC to Chicago in search of something powerful, of finding myself and engaging in powerful work, learn new ideas, continue to grow in many ways. Chicago has led me to this powerful organization, Chicago Abortion Fund. I am lucky to be a part of Caf as the reproductive justice fellow, but I am even luckier to immerse myself in something that challenges me every single day. I believe the choices you make teach you and shape you in so many ways, some for the positive some for the negative but nonetheless you learn something from each one of them and that is simply beautiful.

As a social work student I find myself challenging myself and as a newbie to issues on reproductive justice I find myself speaking my mind in the classroom and discussing the intersections of a woman's life that lead her to make decisions, and at times difficult decisions. In one of our classes our professor asked us to think about an issue or belief that you had during some time in your life and changed. Well, I shared my history with abortion. As  a young girl I grew up believing abortion was something morally wrong and I even identified as a pro-life. It was not until my sophomore year in college where my thinking process began to shift and I began to learn that life situations are not black and white and there is so much gray. Issues on race, class, gender, socioeconomic status all shape and impact a woman and her family differently. It is the intersections of our lives that shape us and impact us differently.

As I  graduated and became a caseworker for a domestic violence shelter I learned of the stories of my clients. Some of my clients were pregnant considering abortion due to their current circumstances meanwhile others had gone through with an abortion and although feeling relived still had shame attached to them. Getting clients to process though this helped them to reflect on the reasons they made their decision. These discussions got me thinking about the impact our society makes and how it influences our beliefs. If abortion were something accepted by society none of my clients would feel shame.

I then went on a shared on my own abortion. How it was that moment in my life where my belief was truly challenged, where I was stepping outside of my comfort zone and talking about a personal story although a difficult one, it is a decision that I do not regret because it allowed to continue my path to education, and allowed me to continue helping my aging mother.

Therefore, by having advocacy organizations such as Caf they each help remove the stigma and educate about the larger issues connected to abortion such as racism, sexism, poverty and how they impact women in many ways. Choice is a powerful and beautiful, we need to continue to advocate for it. Decision making is beautiful too, its transformative.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Uh Duh!

Yep!  You guessed it!  Women actually have brains and can think for themselves!  It's not rocket science, however elected officials feel that the more restrictions they put in place, the better off a woman will be.  What they are failing to realize is that they cannot control matter how hard they try.  If a woman has chosen abortion, she will seek an abortion.  She will travel to another state if there are no providers where she is.  She will pawn her valuables, if she doesn't have enough money.  She will look at an ultrasound, and still make HER decision.  So as these "so-called" elected officials haven't gotten the clue....they may indeed need to take up rocket science!  Focus on minimum wage, the SNAP program, unemployment benefits, affordable housing, the military spending productive!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

HR 7

HR 7, also known as the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" passed in the House of Representatives earlier this week. This bill would essentially restrict private insurance from covering abortion. The Hyde Amendment already restricts federal funds from covering abortion with exceptions for rape, incest, and life endangerment. If the bill were to pass in the Senate (slim chances in the majority Democratic Senate), President Obama has vowed to veto it! Even though Republicans know this bill won't go anywhere, they're using it to send the message that their war on women is ongoing with full steam ahead. I suggest they use the time, effort and taxpayers money to introduce/ pass bills elsewhere such as *ahem* unemployment benefit extensions or early childhood education or raising minimum wage!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Mother's Struggle

I used to wonder how I could ever go back to college while raising three young children, working part- time and sharing a two-bedroom apartment. "If I go to school I'll miss out on seeing my children for nearly 15 hours per day. I can't look for a full- time job because I'm in school and working part- time already and we all know looking for a job is a full- time job. Who is going to look after my children while working and in school? Sure, there are daycare centers but they close at 6 p.m. How will I afford two baby sitters when I can barely afford one? I didn't get my period this month. Please don't let me be pregnant!!! I am trying my best right now and I am barely making it. I can't mentally or physically become a mother again at this time. What will I do? If I have an abortion how will I pay for it. My half of the rent and utilities is due. I'm already short on those. One of my children is sick and her primary physician's office is closed. Maybe I can take her to the clinic next to gas station. Sure it's not well maintained and is a bit dirty but at least there open. Or I could take her to the emergency room and sit for 7 hours because her illness isn't "life threatening." Now I have to reschedule my own doctor's appointment because I was at the emergency room all night. Oh , no, there was a shooting near the girls school today. I hope my boss will let me leave early so that I can safely get the girls home and make it to class in time to take my final exam. There has to be another way."

These are not fabricated or exaggerated thoughts. These are the thoughts of a single mother trying to raise her children the best way she knows how with limited resources. These were my thoughts and true events. Being a parent is one of the hardest tasks I've ever faced. With limited or no resources, the job is much harder. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Parental Notification in Illinois......

Yesterday was a sad day for teens indeed. Doctors now have to notify the parents of a teen seeking an abortion 48 hours before their procedure. Once while lobbying in Springfield, a state representative said he was in support of parental notification because he would want to know about his daughter's decision to have an abortion. We like to think we live in a society where children live in 2 parent households who are supportive parents or even have parents at all. The reality is that isn't always the case. Some teens don't have parents or even a place to call home. What if the young women was raped (since we all know this culture promotes rapes and blames the woman) and doesn't want to tell her parents about any of it. Or what if the teen is a sex worker? The list goes on and on. Parental notification doesn't help anyone! All is does is further push society's need to control every single thing in women and girls lives. And what about the message it's sending to our youth? "You can't possibly be mentally able to make a decision like this!" Wait, that's the same argument people use when teens choose to carry a pregnancy to term and raise their children, right! I thought so. So again I must reiterate, yesterday was a very sad day for teens in Illinois. America has seen a flood of anti- abortion bills and Illinois has fell in line. Don't impose your freaking views on someone else's body!!!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Say What???!!! Wait, I'm Not Surprised At All.....

So Paul Ryan wants anti- choice citizens to "respect the views of the pro-choice community and then encourage them to change them." Isn't that the opposite of respecting someone's views? He recently told the students of Howard University that the Republican party was the party of the Civil Rights Movement. What books have Ryan been reading? And let's not forget the agenda of the Republican National Committee, calling for more inclusion and outreach to women, minorities  and gay people but not to make changes in  policy. Reaching out to these group means changing policies. There is no other reason for "reaching out" unless the RNC is going to change its way of thinking. Perhaps the two sides will have tea and discussing the plethora of bills the RNC wishes to pass that will further oppress them.