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.