How Justice Gorsuch’s could impact your ability to access healthcare

By: Nicole McLaren

The battle between Republicans and Democrats for the Supreme Court seat is officially over as Gorsuch was sworn into the lifelong position earlier this week. He is replacing Scalia who passed away and left an open seat for more than a year. There are some key things that you need to know about his views that could impact your rights to healthcare.

  • His views on abortion are unclear

He has not ruled on a case that deals with abortion. Although we can make some assumptions from his book in 2006 about assisted suicide where he states “the intentional taking of human life by a private person is always wrong”.

  • His stance on maternity leave is also not clear

Two former students have stated that he accused women of using their companies for maternity benefits. He has claimed the students misunderstood him and that he was trying to teach young women about the unfair treatment they will receive in the work place and during the interview process.

  • He has a record of putting corportations over women’s reproductive health rights

      In the Hobby Lobby case he ruled that closely held businesses are not required to provide their employees contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the religious beliefs of the owner.

With this knowledge we can work to combat the rhetoric against women’s right to access reproductive healthcare services by working in our communities to try to ensure the safety and rights of all women. This can be done through volunteering with organizations like Planned Parenthood or even sharing the stories of how women have benefited from access to reproductive healthcare services. The US federal government has a blog that shares these stories here is the link https://www.womenshealth.gov/blog.

Where Your Tomatoes Come From

By: Nicole McLaren

When people think about ethical eating they may think about the treatment and consumption of meat but it is important to also consider the people the farmworkers who make your salad possible. The rights of farmworkers in the U.S. have been neglected by the government and their labor exploited by employers.

This week, March 24th-31st, was Farmworkers Awareness Week. This is a time dedicated by community members and student activists across the country to focus on farmworker rights. Organizations like YAYA and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) are leaders in this area.

The CIW are currently working on their fair food campaign to push Wendy’s and other companies to pay their fair share to farmworkers who pick their fruits and vegetables. Over 700 people protested earlier this week in Columbus, headquarter of Wendy’s.

This fight has been going on for about a decade and has seen success with many large corporations. The list of companies that they have a fair food agreement with range from Walmart, Mcdonalds, and Aramark to Whole Foods and Trader Joes. The fair food program relies on the the farmworkers, growers and buyers like Wendy’s.

Another important component is the consumer, you and I. The CIW runs the Campaign for Fair Food to educate consumers on how to use their buying power as leverage to improve the treatment of farmworkers. You can get involved in their campaigns as well. Here’s the link http://www.allianceforfairfood.org/take-action/

 

 

 

“Lean In”: How to Help Other Women Achieve Their Potential

By: Jillian James

In 2015, 104 women served on the United States Congress, making up only 19% of the 535 members. Currently, women only hold 5% of all Fortune 500 CEO roles. However, women make up over half of the total U.S. population.

It is absolutely vital for leadership to be diverse. The United States is comprised of a vast amount people of different genders, backgrounds, ethnicities and religions. If the leadership is equally as diverse, then different perspectives and issues will be brought to the table.

So how can we inspire more women to become involved in leadership?

When you see a fellow woman succeed, then go out of your way to acknowledge it. Encourage them to pursue their passions and instill within them the confidence to try to succeed. If you are in a leadership position, then it important that you genuinely listen to ideas and concerns of your subordinates. Be accessible to them and treat their thoughts with respect and integrity.

If you are a woman in a position of power, don’t be afraid to use your voice. Speak up and give your unique perspective on issues, and make sure that you are providing equal opportunities for others to rise up.

            By taking the time to acknowledge the power and light that each individual woman has, you can create an uplifting and positive culture where women feel empowered to use their voice and take action.

 

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/women-in-leadership/series/inspiring-leaders

http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/women-us-congress-2015

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_women_CEOs_of_Fortune_500_companies

 

 

 

 

Crash Course in Periods: Part 3 (Debunking Period Myths)

A lot can be said about periods. Unfortunately, not all of it is true. Let’s go through some of the most common myths and talk about why they are not true.

You can lose your virginity to tampons

This is a myth I have heard a lot. Tampons are generally not big enough to break your hymen. Even if they were, many different things can break your hymen, like riding a bike, doing splits, or getting hit in the crotch. The hymen is not an indicator for whether or not you’ve lost your virginity and you can only lose it once you have had sex.

You can’t have sex while on your period

This is by far the most common myth. You can absolutely have sex while you’re on your period. It could get a little messy, but it’s possible. You can also get pregnant while on your period so make sure you still use protection.

Women are moody when they are on their periods

It is true that irritability and mood swings are symptoms of PMS, but it does mean they are completely moody and irrational throughout their entire period. In fact, when they are moody is when there is a spike in their testosterone right before their period.

You get your period every 28 days

You do get your period around every 28 days, but every cycle varies. Some cycles can be less than every 28 days, others can be closer to 30 days. Your cycle can also change depending on birth control, stress, illness, etc.

As a final note, one misconception I have heard some men have is that you can stop bleeding at points during your period. It’s not true. The reason your period can be called a flow is because you bleed continuously throughout the week.

I Switched to Organic Tampons: Here is What Happened

 

By: Cassandra Hedrick

This month I decided to try organic cotton tampons. I tried this brand called L. They have no chemicals like chlorine, rayon, dyes, or fragrances. This means they are just cotton. Plus, for every product bought from them they donate a product to a girl in a developing country.

One of the main reasons I decided to switch to organic tampons is because it reduces the chance of toxic shock syndrome. Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is bacterial infection that you can get from using super absorbent tampons. The chemicals found in normal tampons increases your chances of this.

After switching I found that I really liked these tampons. In my opinion, they are more absorbent than normal tampons. I was able to keep them in for about five hours at a time without any leaks, not even when I wore them overnight. I also found that I had less severe cramps. I normally have awful pelvic and abdominal cramps during my period and this month I had hardly any. Of course, this is my personal experience and yours may vary.

 

I think these tampons are good alternative to normal tampons. They don’t have chemicals and lessen the chance of TSS. They cost the same amount as normal tampons and come in an adorable jar. You can get at Target or from thisisl.com. If you want to try them out you can get 15% off here.

Sex Education: The Importance of a College’s Sexual Culture and Sexual Support Systems

By: Jillian James

When you choose a college, you may consider factors like academics and extracurricular involvement. However, it is important that you look at your potential college’s sexual culture and what resources are available on campus. This is critically important because you want to join an environment that is accepting, welcoming, and that will be able to offer a wide variety resources.

Here are some important factors to consider when judging a college’s sexual culture:

  1. Is free birth control offered on campus, like condoms? How accessible are they?
  2. Is there a women’s clinic on campus? Would you feel comfortable going there if you had an issue?
  3. Does the college offer STD/STI testing? Is it free?
  4. Is the campus friendly to the LGBTQ community? Are there clubs and events for LGBTQ students?
  5. Are there support systems in place for survivors of sexual assault and rape?
  6. Are classes offered about sex and sexuality, or is it a taboo topic academically?
  7. What is the social culture like? Do men or women control it? Is their social pressure to hook up or have casual sex?

These questions are all incredibly important because they can help you have a happy, product, and safe time at college. If some of these support structures don’t exist at your current college or university, try to implement them yourself and attempt to create a healthy sexual culture on your campus.

 

 

Reproductive Health Care Access Improves Quality of Life for Women Worldwide

 

By: Jillian James

Recently, President Donald Trump cut funding from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). This is an organization that aims to provide reproductive services and care to women around the world. Why is reproductive health care access so important, and what are its global impacts?

The emphasis of the importance of Reproductive Health Care is the two words health care. Sexual and reproductive health care issues are a leading cause of death and disability for women in the developing world, according to the UNFPA website. This means that restricted or no access to care kills an incredibly large amount of women each year, and that these deaths could largely be preventable if they had received aid.

Reproductive health care is vital in society to ensure that every child born is wanted. Giving women access to medical care greatly reduces the risk during pregnancy for the mother and the child as well, ensuring that both can have healthy lives. Reproductive and sexual health care access also cuts down on the rates of STDs and STIs.

In addition to reproductive health care, sexual education programs can be empowering for women who live in repressive, patriarchal societies. According to the UNFPA website, more one hundred million girls face the terrifying prospect of genital mutilation or child marriage. These practices are incredibly dangerous and oppressive ensure strip women of all their tights and bodily autonomy.\

Providing reproductive and sexual health care is absolutely vital in order to have a healthy society and can empower women to begin to make their own choices about their bodies. By supporting women now, we can ensure that the future generations are happier and healthier tomorrow.

SOURCES:

http://www.unfpa.org/about-us

https://www.bustle.com/p/trump-defunded-the-un-population-fund-its-devastating-for-women-worldwide-49117

Plan B & Emergency Contraceptives

 

By: Cassandra Hedrick

Emergency contraceptives are ways to prevent pregnancy after your first form of birth control has failed. The most popular form of this is the Plan B pill. Here is everything you need to know about Plan B before you take it.

How and when should you take Plan B?

Plan B is for times when things like forgetting to take you birth control or when the condom breaks. You can take it up to 3 days after having sex, but it works better the sooner you take it. Plan B should not be used as your primary birth control method, but it can be very helpful in case of emergencies.

Where can you get Plan B?

Plan be can be bought at just about any pharmacy. You can also get it at your local Planned Parenthood. If you go on the Plan B website you can use their store locator to help you find the closest place you can get Plan B. You type in your zip code and it will show you all the stores that carry the pill.

What are the Risks?

Plan B is generally safe. It is just a high dose of Levonorgestrel, the hormone found in most birth controls. However, like any medication, it comes with some side-affects, which includes…

  • A period that is lighter, heavier, early, or late
    • Nausea
    • Lower abdominal cramps
    • Tiredness
    • Headache
    • Dizziness
    • Breast tenderness
    • Vomiting

If you puke within two hours of taking the pill, call a medical professional and ask if you should take another dose.

                Plan B can be very helpful in preventing pregnancies, even though it should not be your primary method of birth control. While it does come with some side-affects, it is generally safe. You can get it at just about any pharmacy and you do not need an ID. While you should talk to your doctor about getting on a birth control regimen, if that ever fails there is a backup

Undocumented Women Healthcare

By: Nicole McLaren

Access to something essential, like healthcare, is often decided by factors other than necessity. The barriers to healthcare can be forgotten by many citizens in the US while there are still a significant amount of people who are unable to obtain this right. For undocumented people it is not only legal barriers to get insurance to pay for their healthcare but also factors like resource constraints, discrimination and sometimes a lack of understanding of the US health care system.

In a country where our healthcare coverage is tied to our employment, access to healthcare can be difficult for many people including the undocumented community. One barrier that affects the ability to use healthcare services is the cost. According to a study by The Commonwealth Fund the US has the most expensive healthcare system and is the least effective.

These barriers are especially felt by vulnerable peoples within the undocumented community like women. One particular attack on the rights of women to choose to have an abortion is the law that went into effect last year in Texas. It made it so any woman seeking an abortion would have to have an ID. Directly impacting undocumented women who may fear deportation.

Laws like this are unjust and do not improve the situation of undocumented women nor do they hinder undocumented immigration. The only way to ensure that anyone in our country has the ability to access healthcare is to break the barriers. Giving access to state-run insurance and expanding health care regardless of status are two ways to improve the system for undocumented workers.

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2015/oct/us-health-care-from-a-global-perspective

 

 

The History of Planned Parenthood

By: Jillian James

In 1916, a revolutionary and pioneering woman named Margaret Sanger opened America’s first birth control clinic. Now, over 100 years later, Planned Parenthood provides medical care and reproductive services all over the country to woman of all races, backgrounds, and sexual identities. Because of the bravery and compassion towards her fellow women, Margaret Sanger was able to leave a lasting legacy and ensure that future generations of women would be able to receive healthcare.

Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger spent a portion of her life working in the slums of New York City as a nurse. She saw first hand how women were affected by frequent childbirths and miscarriages. She also saw women who sought out dangerous backdoor abortions because they didn’t want or couldn’t physically carry another child to term. During this time period the 1873 Comstock Law made it illegal to disperse or provide any information about birth control because it was deemed obscene. Sanger defied the law of the time and opened a birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York. She was later arrested. Even through her hardships, she never stopped speaking out and being an advocate for women’s access to birth control and a women’s right to be able to control her own body.

Planned Parenthood

In 1921 Sanger’s clinic would become The American Birth Control League. In 1942 the League would become the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Since then Planned Parenthood has evolved into a service that sees millions of women every year and is a trusted source for contraception and family planning. Thanks to the vision of Margaret Sanger, women can take control of their lives.