Tuesday, April 10, 2012

White House Young America Series

White House Young America Series
KRLU Studio 6A, where the White House Summit took place
Meg and me at the summit

I applied and was accepted to be an audience member of the White House Young America Series. The WHYAS is occurring at seventeen colleges across the nation. 

The first segment of the event consisted of several TED style talks, and they were FANTASTIC. We have so many talented students at UT. And honestly, the most impressive part to me was that all of these students were from different colleges, but they were talking about social justice issues: sustainability, education, the achievement gap, and immigration to name a few.

After these talks, we were invited to the stage to announce topics we would like to talk about in a two and a half hour break out session. After about ten people, I didn't hear reproductive justice issues, so Megan and I decided I needed to go up there (plus, chance to plug Voices for Reproductive Justice!). Texas Freedom Network asked for a group about sex ed, and then the last group asked for was health care. We decided to make one large group together. (Other groups that convened were on topics such as entrepreneurship, poverty, education, access to healthy food/community gardens, fine arts, and sensible drug policy.)

I always enjoy conversation about reproductive health/justice, but in retrospect I wish I would have engaged with some other groups where I could have learned more. However, I came out of this healthy discussion with a couple of points I would like to stress.

1. I think it is dangerous to shift the debate of accessible, affordable birth control strictly to female ailments like unbearable cramps, ovarian cysts, and infertility treatment. While birth control can be used as treatment for the aforementioned medical reasons, why can't we just want it because IT PREVENTS PREGNANCY? Women like myself don't need birth control for any medical reason except to prevent pregnancy. Why should I be marginalized because I am making a responsible and reasonable choice to control my fertility?

2. I also think it is dangerous to shift the debate of birth control to reducing the number of abortions. This was brought up as an "argument to appeal to our opponents." This argument further stigmatizes abortion. All of the birth control in the world won't eliminate the need for SAFE LEGAL ABORTION. Condoms break, and contraceptives fail. (The pill's effectiveness is at 99.7%, meaning that 3 in every 1000 women will become pregnant even if she uses her birth control consistently and correctly.) In this same vein, I heard some of my peers say no one is pro-abortion. Um, this girl right here is. GOOD WOMEN HAVE ABORTIONS. NO ONE DESERVES TO BE MARGINALIZED.

And on that note:

Lilith Fund Bowl-a-Thon Fundraiser

I HIT $500 IN DONATIONS TO HELP FUND ABORTIONS IN TEXAS! You still have time to donate to help Texas women. Please consider making a donation. DONATE HERE.

Here's a little more about Lilith - the fund has been around for 10 years.  Its first challenge was to raise $10,000 to begin assisting low-income folks with abortion funding.  Last year, Lilith gave away $80,000 to over 1,000 patients - so the average grant is around $75.  Once clients have an appointment with a clinic and know how much money they need, they call the hotline.  A volunteer responds to their call, provides financial counseling, and ultimately determines the amount of money they can grant to the client.  They work with clinics across Texas from El Paso to Beaumont, as far north as Killeen and south into the RGV.  The TEA Fund is Lilith's "sister" fund for North Texas. 

Other Links

RSVP to the War on Women Rally April 28th at the Capitol.

Check out the We Are Women March website.

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