ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: family matters

Responding to Teen Pregnancy: Stop the Shame

The current conversation around young mothers is not only stigmatizing, it’s also incredibly insensitive. Campaigns such as #NoTeenPreg, launched by the Candies Foundation, present young mothers as inherently problematic – to themselves,  their families, and their communities. The campaign proliferates messages like,  “You’re supposed to be changing the world, not changing diapers,”  as if teen moms are incapable of influencing positive change. The Candie’s Foundation isn’t the first organization to shame young parents and unfortunately it won’t be the last. As advocacy organizations, we often respond to campaigns like this by explaining that the “real problem” with teen pregnancy is the lack of resources and medically accurate information about sex and sexuality. While I agree that these are often the cause of unintended pregnancies –  80% of teen pregnancies are… Read more »

Mama’s Day: A Tribute to Two Strong Mothers

Read more Mama’s Day blogs at Strong Families Mother’s day comes every year in May, and every year I realize I have no idea what to get for my mom. What do you get for the woman that has everything? My mommy, the lady that loves me unconditionally, how can I ever repay you for deciding to be a mother again and dealing with a baby girl as inquisitive and stubborn as me? You did it by yourself, 24 hours a day – rain, sleet, or shine. You went to work, late nights and early mornings, bus rides, and soggy days caught in the rain. Many tears shed so tired, but never stopping, you are a queen. Never fitting the classic narratives of the white housewives on Mother’s Day cards,… Read more »

Postpartum Cancer and The Breast & Cervical Cancer Prevention & Treatment Act, or, Two Reproductive Justice Things I Learned About By Simply Having A Conversation With My Sister

My medical history is something I’ve always been vague on. Aside from a smattering of recessive traits and bad teeth, I don’t really know what disorders or diseases to which I may be genetically predisposed. As a woman, this has always concerned me, particularly as the gap between my 20s and 30s begins to close. Not only am I becoming more interested in having a family of my own, but it’s no secret that women become more susceptible to reproductive cancer and hormone fluctuations as we age. My half-sister Christie is one of few relatives who offer clues to my medical history. A breast cancer survivor who underwent chemo, radiation, and a double mastectomy this summer, Christie has made a fairly speedy recovery – much to my relief. Naturally, I… Read more »

We are Overdue for an Update to Our Child Support Laws

Sperm or egg donation is possibly one of the most selfless gifts you can provide to someone who cannot conceive a child in a more “traditional” manner. Hopefully that belief is in the minds of all people who do make a decision to lend a piece of their body to help another family group. Even if the volunteer only seeks money, that should be immaterial in deciding custody of a child years into their life. However, this meaning seems to be lost in the case of William Marotta. The Kansas man is being pursued by the state for child support after donating sperm to a lesbian couple. Because the artificial insemination was done at home instead of under the supervision of a doctor as required by Kansas law, the state… Read more »

Open Thread: Holiday Fun Times

We hope everyone is having a safe and happy holiday season! As the holidays usually means time with family, we are opening up a thread to talk about the joys of being a reproductive justice advocate around those who may not see eye-to-eye on these issues. So, what’s the funniest comment you’ve received from friends and family about your activism for reproductive justice? It’s like group therapy, only virtual.

Biology v. Sociology: How Traditional Notions of Womanhood Pervade Our Legal System

When a child is born to unmarried parents outside of the United States with one parent being a U.S. citizen and the other not being a U.S. citizen, is it constitutional to have different requirements for said child’s acquisition of citizenship depending on whether the citizen parent is the mother or the father? This question is focal in the 2001 United States Supreme Court case, Ngyuen v. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), 533 U.S. 53. The patriarchy hurts everyone, not just women. Let’s look at a Supreme Court case I studied last year.  I site this case as an example of how the role of women in our society shapes and is, in part, shaped by our legal system. If you aren’t familiar with law or legal language, some of… Read more »

Emergency Contraception in Public Schools and the concept of “Parental Rights”

Well, color me surprised. New York City has started expanding its contraceptive offerings (emergency contraception, birth control, condoms, pregnancy tests) in city schools. I was honestly ignorant to the fact that any high school provided these services to teens. I obviously think it’s a great thing but there are good points from both sides, so let’s talk about it! First we will get some figures out of the way, thanks to NYC Health Department: 7,000 girls under age 17 got pregnant last year in the city (Wow, that’s it?) 90% of those pregnancies were unplanned (I really hope the other 700 were well capable of taking care of another human being.) 64% were aborted (That’s 4480 preventable abortions) 2,200 became moms by age 17. About 70 percent drop out of… Read more »

Mi Familia Poderosa: How Sex Education Changed my Family

My story is a common one. I was raised by Catholic, Mexican parents in southern Arizona which meant I observed strict traditional gender roles in the house. It also meant that sex was something we just didn’t talk about. In fact, the only time I ever remember my parents talking about sex was when they told me and my siblings that they had been virgins when they got married. The only sex education I received was either from the abstinence-only curriculum I received for two weeks in high school or from Catholic School at my church. I was first introduced to the reproductive justice movement when I entered college and it changed my life forever. I know that’s a dramatic thing to say but I can honestly trace everything I’ve accomplished today… Read more »