ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: reproductive justice

Birth Control’s Journey Through The U.S. Court System

Since today is “Thanks, Birth Control” day, I wanted to take a moment to bring up some of the most influential U.S. Supreme Court (USSC) Cases related to birth control and reproductive healthcare! The first case in our timeline that I’d like to discuss is Griswold v. Connecticut, a USSC case in 1965. This case came about because Connecticut legislation had tried to outlaw contraception which included pressing charges against doctors who distributed birth control. Once this case went to the Supreme Court, the court struck down the states prohibition on the prescription, sale, and use of contraceptives. However, this case was primarily directed towards to married couples. This lead to Eisenstadt v. Baird in 1972. The Supreme Court decided in this case to overturn a Massachusetts law limiting the… Read more »

The Gender Politics of the Looming CSU Strike

Faculty across twenty three California State University campuses voted on Wednesday, November 4, to authorize a strike if negotiations between their Union and the University system breaks down. This means over 20,000 members of the California Faculty Association concluded that if the Union and CSU cannot agree to the recommendations made by an independent fact-finding panel, faculty will go on strike in order to secure the 5% pay raise they’ve demanded. The CFA points to member’s comparatively low salary and the CSU’s increasing reliance on a two-tiered employment system as catalysts for the strike. In order to cut costs, the California Faculty Association argues, the CSU system has increasingly relied on the work of temporary, low-paid lecturers who often work alongside tenure track professors without the same assurance of job… Read more »

Beyond Equal Pay

Earlier this week, California Governor Jerry Brown made two decisions about women in the workplace that, at first glance, seem contradictory at best and incomprehensible at worst. The Governor signed  an equal pay for equal work bill which helps ensure that women who do substantially similar work as their male counterparts be paid comparable wages. But, amid the positive press, Brown quietly vetoed a bill that sought to revise workers compensation laws. The  bill sought to close loopholes which categorized pregnancy and menopause as legitimate pre-existing conditions in determining employer’s liability. Put simply, the veto was a victory for insurance companies and employers, who can continue to legally reduce the amount of workers compensation Californians are entitled to by law, simply because they live in bodies that experience these natural… Read more »

Amber Rose is Still Not Asking for It with Los Angeles SlutWalk

This past weekend model and artist Amber Rose hosted a SlutWalk in Los Angeles to speak out against slut shaming. There are a few key lessons we can all take from it, especially as members of the reproductive justice movement. But first, a brief history lesson. SlutWalk was established in 2011 after a police officer at a school in Toronto told people they should not “dress like sluts” to avoid getting raped or other forms of sexual harassment. This is problematic for many reasons, but here are two big ones: 1. Everyone has a right to their own body and their own choices. Whether it’s their right to a safe abortion or contraception or simply what they want to wear. There is no reason society should ever police someone’s body… Read more »

They Can’t Hyde It From Us

Today marks the anniversary of a dark day in America’s history. On September 30th, 1976, the Hyde Amendment was passed. If you’re friends on social media with anybody with the slightest interest in reproductive justice, I’m sure you’ll hear about this today, and maybe you already know what it is, but if you’re curious, I’ll answer your questions now. Let’s start with the basics. What is the Hyde Amendment? The Hyde Amendment bans federal funding of abortions, with Medicaid being the primary target. Exceptions are made for rape, incest, and danger to the mother’s life. Well that doesn’t seem so bad. Maybe it’s a budget thing. Hasn’t Medicaid funding been banned for other conditions? Actually, no. Abortion is the “only procedure that has ever been banned from Medicaid.” Can’t people find… Read more »

California Could Be the First State to Teach ‘Yes Means Yes’ in High School

On Friday, September 11, the California State legislature passed SB-695, a bill that would require high school health classes to include information about affirmative consent and sexual assault alongside existing health curriculum. The legislation, spearheaded by Senator Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D- Santa Barbara) comes on the heels of the “yes means yes” bill the California Legislature passed last year in order to ensure all government funded universities use an affirmative consent standard  when evaluating sexual assault claims. If well implemented, “yes means yes” education in high school could have very positive, direct effects. For one thing, starting the conversation in high school instead of waiting for those cheesy freshmen orientation plays makes sense if we want to equip students with the emotional intelligence they… Read more »

Straight Outta Respect: Hip Hop and Domestic Violence

In late August of this year, Straight Outta Compton, the film biopic that told the story of the famous ‘90s hip hip group N.W.A. (Niggas With Attitude), hit theaters nationwide. The film was met with a widespread positive response from hip hop historians and fans of traditional Black rap music as well. I still have not seen the film, and in some ways, I’m glad I didn’t. N.W.A is a rap group from the late 80s, early 90s that first brought gritty, inner city gangsta rap to the forefront of mainstream music. The group was primarily comprised of O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson, Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, and Eric “Eazy-E” Wright. The group released the album “Straight Outta Compton” to the tune of 750,000 copies in 1989. The film documents critical moments… Read more »

This “classist, sexist, anti-child” California Policy Must Go

Over twenty years ago, California was swept up in the fervor of President Clinton’s “welfare reform” policies, and, following suit, cut welfare to low income families by instituting the Maximum Family Grant Rule. The rule denies additional aid to children born to mothers who already receive cash aid through the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKS) welfare program. This means that families who are enrolled in CalWORKS when they have a child can’t receive an extra $128 a month in order to pay for housing, food, and other necessary expenses that new parents inevitably incur. In December 2014, California Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) proposed SB-23 in order to repeal the Maximum Family Grant rule, calling it “a classit, sexist, anti-democratic, anti-child policy” because of the ugly welfare queen stereotype (a woman who… Read more »

Beauty and the Beast: Kalief Browder, Mental Illness and the Black Community

Mental illness. Depression. Schizophrenia. Bipolar disorder. Anxiety. Whatever one suffers from, mental illness has always been the elephant in the room, especially in the African-American community. It’s taboo, something to be brushed off, kept quiet, a simple “storm or phase” that a person is going through. But the African-American community has been caught in a vicious storm for as long as I can remember. Slavery was the beginning of a long history of mental abuse, with slave masters raping, killing, beating, and verbally and physically abusing African-Americans, which gave many Black the mentality not to show weakness and survive this inhumanity. This long suffering abuse (something which America tells us to simply ‘get over’ in various ways through the media and government treatment) did not go away when slavery was… Read more »

New Types of Male Contraception to be Available in the Near Future

Three types of hormone pills, vaginal ring, diaphragm, intrauterine device, a hormone patch, upper arm hormone implant, and emergency contraceptive are all types of commonly used birth control methods used by uterus owners. All of these choices come with significant risk of side effects whether it be weight gain, blood clots, lowered libido, or even depression and liver problems. Besides condoms or a vasectomy, men today have virtually no responsibility when it comes to birth control. However, a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation has found that a majority of cisgender men are willing to take on some more responsibility outside of the options available today. Thankfully, more methods are expected to pass FDA testing soon that will even out the number of options available to all: Vasalgel (RISUG) This… Read more »