Raising Women’s Voices

Highlight-A-Blog time!

Posted in Grassroots, Personal Stories, Reproductive Health Care by raisingwomensvoices on July 2, 2009

We’ve been following Anti-Choice is Anti-Awesome, a great blog about a Canadian pro-choicer who is a volunteer co-coordinator of a Clinic in New Brunswick. Check it out, and give her props for the work she does.

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The White House makes move toward awareness and action

Posted in DC Reform, Personal Stories, Reproductive Health Care, Sexual health by raisingwomensvoices on June 29, 2009

The White House announced on Friday that the first White House advisor on Violence Against Women will be Lynn Rosenthal, an activist who has been working in anti-violence and empowerment advocacy for many years. Check it out:

“In this new position, Rosenthal will be a liaison to the domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy community; coordinate with the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women on implementation of Violence Against Women Act programs; coordinate with the Department of Health and Human Services on implementation of Family Violence Prevention Act services (including the National Domestic Violence Hotline); coordinate with the State Department and USAID on global domestic violence initiatives; and drive the development of new initiatives and policy aimed at combating domestic violence and sexual assault with advocacy groups and members of Congress.”

Read an article from Feministing, and a piece from the Family Violence Prevention Fund here. This appointment follows the Clinton-era 1994 Violence Against Women Act that was drafted by (then Senator) Joe Biden and by groups such as the National Organization for Women. It was last re-authorized by President George Bush in 2006 and will be up for another authorization in 2010.

With 4.8 million intimate partner assaults and rapes in this country per year, it is imperative that our government and our citizens get serious about preventing this. This issue is fresh in the minds of the public after the inexcusable violence against pop star Rihanna by her boyfriend, Chris Brown. Proof that intimate partner violence can, and does, happen to anyone.

Raising Women’s Voices speak-out YouTube videos!!

Posted in Affordability, Health Reform Policy Proposals, Personal Stories, Reproductive Health Care by raisingwomensvoices on June 15, 2009

1.) A young Barnard student speaks about college-provided health insurance and the months during the year when this insurance does not cover her.

2.) A great-aunt speaks about the difficulties faced by her family to get a young child covered early in life.

3.) A breast cancer survivor tells her story of loosing her and her family’s health insurance after leaving a job.

Gender discrimination in medical research

Posted in Health Disparities, Personal Stories, Reports and Studies by raisingwomensvoices on June 11, 2009

Bonnie Erbe writes a blog entry for the US News & World Report about a survey of clinical trials (governmental and private) that proves a clear under representation of women in medical research. This has negative consequences for women’s health. Read the full blog entry here.

Repealing the Hyde Amendment for reproductive justice

Posted in Affordability, Grassroots, Personal Stories, Reproductive Health Care by raisingwomensvoices on June 9, 2009

Loretta Ross is the National Coordinator of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective, and is a supporter of Raising Women’s Voices. She wrote an article about the need for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. The article can be reached at the On the Issues website. It describes the need for federal funding of abortion for the most disadvantaged women in our communities. Ross states that President Obama “is disappointing his strongest supporters by not standing up for the rights of poor women who need public funding for abortion”. Also, check out this roundup that includes Loretta’s article at Our Bodies, Our Blog.

Member of Medical Students for Choice speaks out about being a provider

Posted in Personal Stories, Reproductive Health Care by raisingwomensvoices on June 8, 2009

This is an interesting article written by Rozalyn Farmer Love, a third-year medical student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. She talks about her experience growing up anti-choice and the change she has made on her journey to becoming a provider.

Giving Testimony at New York City Council’s Public Hearing–Personal Story

Posted in Personal Stories by raisingwomensvoices on April 30, 2009

On Thursday, April 23rd, the New York City Council held a public hearing concerning young adults and health insurance. I was fortunate enough to give testimony at this hearing since, as a young adult myself, the quandary of affordable, accessible health care is an important and relevant issue for me.

By now, it feels as if most of us–whether through involvement in the healthcare sphere or as a consumer being warned, cautioned, shocked or outraged–can tick off the statistics. Even if we don’t know exact numbers, we know the facts: that it’s the young adults, women in particular, aged 19-29 that are struggling with insurance, specifically that we have a 30% uninsurance rate, double working adults over age 30; that on our 19th birthdays, we enter a whole new health insurance game where we’re no longer covered as children; that when we graduate, we’re no longer under our school’s plan–if we were ever offered one; that, too early, we age out of our parents’ plan–if we were lucky enough to be covered by it in the first place.

Young adults, without the contagiousness of being a child, or the frailty of being an “adult” adult, are widely considered the “healthiest” age group. And maybe we are. But that not why we have such high rates of uninsurance. It’s because insurance is too expensive and too inaccessible for us–with our temporary, part-time, low-paying or non-insurance providing positions.

We are not, as we are so often called, “young invincibles”. We need primary care, we need preventative care, we need dental, mental and reproductive health care. At an age when many of us become parents for the first time, we need care to ensure the possibility of a safe pregnancy, adequate pre-natal care, and post-delivery care as well.

Most in attendance at the public hearing testified about the numbers, the issues, compared NY to other states where the age young adults phase out of their parents’ plan is higher, and offered some possible solutions. I was one of the few who got to share my story–to relay my own healthcare struggle as a young adult.

To keep it simple: I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was four years old. I take excellent care of myself and have a wonderful support system. But to the health insurance world, I’m just another pre-existing condition. A risk. And so I, a perfect example of needing health insurance, have to work harder, jump through more hoops, and pay more for health insurance than your average young invincible.

It’s my hope that along with the other young women who shared their stories, that our personal struggles put faces to this issue, and helped stress the need for action, for a significant change in healthcare policy. With Obama being elected, we’re talking a lot about change, and appearing open to policy reform along with the myriad of personal struggles being shared. What’s needed now, though, is definitive action. A response that proves that healthcare is truly a right, rather than a difficult to navigate privilege.

rwv-and-phnayc-009That’s me, giving testimony!

rwv-and-phnayc-010Councilman Joel Rivera

Sara Siegel

Birth Survey Evaluates Local Facilities

Posted in Health Disparities, Maternity Care, Personal Stories, Reports and Studies, Reproductive Health Care by raisingwomensvoices on April 27, 2009

The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) has released thousands of feedback postings on obstetricians, midwives, hospitals, birth centers, and home birth services.  The  program is  “dedicated to improving maternity care for all women. We will do this by 1) creating a higher level of transparency in maternity care so that women will be better able to make informed decisions about where and with whom to birth and 2) providing practitioners and hospitals with information that will aid in evaluating and improving quality of care.”

 The Birth Survey allows individuals to share their own experiences and birth stories, connect with other mothers, hospitals, doctors and midwives in their area, and learn more about the intervention rates of hospitals.

The program’s objectives include:

  1. Annually obtain maternity care intervention rates on an institutional level for all fifty states.
  2. Collect feedback about women’s birth experiences using an online, ongoing survey, The Birth Survey.
  3. Present official hospital intervention rates, results of The Birth Survey, and information about the MFCI in an on-line format.
  4. Increase public awareness of differences among maternity care providers and facilities and increase recognition of the MFCI as the gold standard for maternity care. 

“A woman who looks at a list of names from her insurance company is often choosing a provider on nothing but blind luck. Where and with whom to give birth are important health care decisions. Research shows that both provider and location have a significant impact on birth outcomes. CIMS wants expectant parents to ask questions of their providers and facilities, and have access to more information about their local options”, said Elan McAllister, founder of Choices in Childbirth in New York City and co-chair of the The Birth Survey committee.

To volunteer or get more information about the New York City Pilot please e-mail info@choicesinchildbirth.org.

Kate Michelman’s Personal Story: A System From Hell

Posted in Personal Stories by raisingwomensvoices on April 16, 2009

Kate Michelman, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America from 1985 to 2004, understands all too well the difficult position many women face today as they struggle with healthcare costs and red tape. And if a woman with a recognizable name and powerful friends is caught in an unavoidable pitfall, what are the consequences for those less well off?

Read Michelman’s moving personal story here, as she shares the tragic consequences that befell her and her family after her daughter’s accident and her husband’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s.

Nationwide Call to Action on Breastfeeding

Posted in Personal Stories, Uncategorized by raisingwomensvoices on April 15, 2009

The Department of Health and Human Services, in conjunction with the Office on Women’s Health, Office of the Surgeon General and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,  has announced a Call To Action on Breastfeeding, in which it is asking for comments from individuals and organizations about breastfeeding promoting  policies and activities. According to the group,

“Breastfeeding is unquestionably healthier for mothers and babies compared to feeding with infant formula.

We are especially interested in new ideas that will increase equity in breastfeeding rates among all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Ideas should build on programs and policies that are recognized to be effective or evidence-based. In addition, we welcome suggestions to adopt, expand, implement, research, or improve existing strategies.”

12 topic areas have been created for individuals to submit comments.

They include: 

  1. Maternal and Infant Care Practices: Prenatal, Hospital, and Post-Delivery Care
  2. Access to Lactation Care and Support
  3. Health Professional Education, Publications, and Conferences
  4. Use of Banked Human Milk
  5. Work-site Lactation Support, On-site Child Care, and Milk Expression
  6. Paid Maternity Leave
  7. Portrayal of Breastfeeding in Traditional Popular Media and New Electronic Media
  8. Support for Breastfeeding in Public Settings
  9. Peer Support and Education of Family Members and Friends
  10. Community Support for Breastfeeding in Complementary Programs (e.g., Early Head Start, Home Visitation, Parental Training)
  11. Research and Surveillance
  12. Other Areas

Submit your comments and recommendations before the May 31st, 2009 deadline.