Em-URGE-ing Voices

Posts Categorized: Health and Wellness

Why Paid Sick Leave is Reproductive Justice and Why Issues Like It Matter

When we discuss the implications of mandatory waiting periods to receive abortion care, we are usually talking about abolishing them. While that is, of course, where a large part of our energy should be spent, we forget to also advocate for the socioeconomic factors that make the mandatory waiting period not only sick, but entirely restrictive. In an ideal world, all people seeking abortions would be able to take a singular day of work off. In reality, this is far from the truth. Many women drive hours to a clinic, take days off from work and must find childcare to receive abortion care. While these restrictions flaunt themselves as a time for women to “reflect on their decisions,” they are thinly veiled roadblocks put in front of people to stop… Read more »

Reproductive Health Issues Could Lessen with Better Sex Ed

I have written about the importance of sexual education and why there is a need for more comprehensive sex ed programs in the United States: to provide an education on condom usage, hormonal birth control, consent, and healthy sexual and romantic behaviors. Real sex education can also help break down the stigma attached to sexuality, and our reproductive organs. One reason to promote comprehensive sex education that many people overlook is to include conversations on male and female reproductive organs (plus the more common variances that occur with intersex individuals). Yes, promoting the use of condoms and learning about more than abstinence is great, but learning about our own bodies is extremely important. Teenagers learn about their muscles, their digestive systems, and their brains in high school. Why not their… Read more »

My New Year’s Resolution Fell Apart, What Now?

It’s the end of January and it’s been a year since President Trump has been in office. Every day he’s done something off the cuff and we’ve all been watching in terror. In 2018, we promised ourselves we would be more politically involved. We’d turn out for every ballot, we’d stand in line and sit in city hall meetings and find out who our representatives are. We promised we’d be proactive so we wouldn’t be railroaded by random policies and actions that we, the American people, didn’t consent to. My question is, have you kept your New Year’s Resolution? I’ll be honest, when it comes to New Years Resolutions I’m the worst. I can make goals and design vision boards like nobody’s business, but when it comes to just consciously… Read more »

When Birth Control and Anxiety Meet

When I arrived for my first appointment with Kansas State’s Counseling Services in October 2017, I cradled an iPad in my hands and filled out a digital intake form. It asked me how concerned I was about certain factors in my life, like my anxiety symptoms, personal relationships, relationships with my body image and food, and all that jazz. When asked about medications, I reported just one: the allergy medicine I’ve been taking since I was a child. I forgot to mention my NuvaRing; it was a new medication and, since it is not a pill, I forget it is actually a medication. I wish I had mentioned it. Maybe my semester would have been smoother. I have not been diagnosed with general anxiety or anything of the kind, but… Read more »

5 Unexpected Benefits of Meditation

It is no secret that now is a very stressful time to be alive. Finding ways to cope with that stress can be really crucial to one’s well-being and longevity. The benefits of meditation exist in abundance, ranging from stress release, increased self-awareness, lower blood pressure, better health and concentration as well as a serious increase in quality of life. Meditation helps millions of people manage depression, anxiety and insomnia. From yoga to qi gong to tai chi, meditation also explores a vast platform of relaxation and helps us tackle the everyday hustle and bustle of life by introducing a deep sense of inner peace and balance into our lives. In other words, it’s quite literally a godsend. What can be so easily forgotten in the murky midst of hard… Read more »

Why I Put a (Nuva)Ring on My Busy College Schedule

We have more birth control options now than ever. With advancing medical technology, scientists have been able to offer effective hormonal birth control in many different methods. One of the most infamous method is the pill. The advent of the birth control pill as we know it today came from the efforts of activist Margaret Sanger and endocrinologist Gregory Pincus, with contributions to synthetic hormone studies by other scientists. The first oral contraceptive was approved by the FDA in 1957 to treat menstruation issues, then again in 1960 actually as a contraceptive. Since then, more birth control options have been tested and approved for use, and many aim to reduce human error with the medicine. One of the drawbacks of the standard birth control pill is that a person needs… Read more »

Carry Pads In Public

When we were younger, my sister and I would call menstruation, “The Thing.”  In a similar way, society seems to have a huge problem addressing ‘taboo’ topics for what they are. And in this case, I’m talking periods. Although not all those who have periods are women, going to a women’s college has given me a unique privilege of noticing how ashamed and secretive many people are about their periods. While some people embrace them and joke about becoming blood sisters with friends or throw moon parties for their sisters, others hide their menstrual pads in shame and make a bolt for the nearest self-check-out line on heavy flow days. I truly cannot remember how many people have told me the age old story of their male teachers asking why… Read more »

Supporting Sexual Health Care in Kansas Starts with Education

Last week, I attended the Protecting Sexual Health in Kansas forum at Kansas State University. Speakers Jennifer Greene, director of the Riley County Health Center, and Micah Kubic, executive director of the Kansas ACLU, discussed the state of sexual health care in the country and in Kansas, specifically Riley County. Greene called Riley County a “contraceptive desert” as it only has two publicly-funded clinics that offer a range of family planning options. Many of the surrounding counties in the area don’t have a single clinic like that, so the need for contraceptive services are greater there. Looking at the entire state, Greene said that in 2010, 45 percent of pregnancies in Kansas were in unintended. In Riley County alone, 9,190 women (aged 13-44) are in need of publicly-funded sexual health… Read more »

Dear Incoming Freshman, Please Add Condoms to Your List of School Supplies

“Americans are having less sex” says CNN news article, but the spread and severity of sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs and STIs) are on the rise. New York magazine surveyed over 700 students and to their findings, only 41 percent of women and 49 percent of men reported being sexually active. You might assume that because of TV shows like “Skins” and “Shameless” college is a literal hotbed of sexual activity. Not so. In fact, in the same survey about 39 percent of students identified as virgins. So to assume that more and more young people are having less sex may not be far fetched. While sex is seemingly on a decline, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced this summer that  over 70 countries have identified a strain of… Read more »

Domestic Violence Is a Reproductive Justice Issue

When my 24-year-old cousin got married this past year, my mom imparted onto her what she believes to be the key to an everlasting marriage. She said, “No matter what happens, just keep your mouth shut. Don’t say anything, don’t do anything; just accept everything and keep your mouth shut and make sure you do everything he says.” When I found out she said this, it occurred to me how deeply domestic violence had become woven into the fabric of not only her life, but also the lives of her children. It dawned on me that over the course of my childhood, my sister and I had publicly witnessed almost every woman in our family experience some kind of casual emotional abuse at the hand of their husbands. Somehow, just… Read more »