Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bringing Feminism to the Airwaves!

During our recent visit to the University of Louisville in Kentucky, Val and I made our radio show debut on U of L's campus radio station, WLCV! Take that Rush Limbaugh! :)

Hosted by Toma Lynn Smith, President of the Feminist Alliance of University of Louisville (FAUL), a Choices Campus Leadership affiliate, we discussed a recent article in the campus newspaper, The Louisville Cardinal, about the increase cost in birth control on campus.

Sadly prices are not just doubling at Louisville. College health centers have seen an increase in birth control prices across the country, making birth control less affordable for many of you.

Find out what you can do on your campus to restore affordable birth control through our Birth Control Access Campaign. Begin today and take action by signing our online petition to Congress demanding affordable birth control!

And while you're at it, go visit your campus radio station and spread a little more feminist love on the airwaves. :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Success on University of Louisiana-Lafayette's Campus!!

Our affiliate, Women Organizing Women (WOW), at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette has experienced huge success lately on campus!! This Valentine's Day marked the first time in ULL's history that condoms were allowed to be distributed on campus. And it was with the awesome organizing of WOW members that 450 safe sex packets made their way into the hands of students. With a concrete goal in mind and the use of effective strategies for change (such as target meetings and awareness activities) WOW members have demonstrated how to run a successful campaign in the face of opposition!

Another success for women's health and rights was won last week, when WOW members met with the campus health center director to discuss the danger of referring students to local crisis pregnancy centers. Last semester, several WOW members visited a local CPC that students are being referred to by health services staff. Literature was collected during the visit that stated false links between abortion and breast cancer, and several students have mistakenly visited this CPC when looking for abortion and birth control services or referrals.

While the health center director would not agree to stop CPC referrals altogether, new pregnancy care packets in the health services center will now include a disclaimer that CPCs hold biased viewpoints and are not medical facilities. This in itself is an awesome victory! It is also a great example of how urging incremental change creates the space and opportunity for seismic social change!

Keep up the amazing work WOW members!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Reflections from the Road

As Emily and I have had the pleasure of traveling throughout the northeast visiting some pretty awesome institutions, both private and public, we have witnessed an increasing need for support in public education. Some of the country’s brightest and most engaging students are given the opportunity to thrive at public schools and though the country is currently struggling through this economic crisis, it has become even more apparent that public education is hanging on to a thread in order to be prioritized as a significant sector of our society that needs a major overhaul. These public colleges and universities generally serve the communities that have been traditionally and are continuously excluded from resources that would enable them to be top competitive students compared to those who can afford attending Harvard or Yale.

We’ve had the privilege of meeting faculty and students at schools such as CUNY Hunter College, Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn College, SUNY Purchase, Southern Connecticut State University, and others who are truly passionate and committed to improving the nature of public education in this country. Unfortunately, due to some state governments’ issuing an increase of tuition, in spite of this financial crunch that most of working class Americans and young people are experiencing, impactful liberal arts and humanities programs are being defunded. Some departments are experiencing budget cuts of up to 20%. In addition, resource and support centers such as women’s centers and offices of multicultural affairs are also taking a pretty big hit and have to defend their existence when it comes to budgeting reform.

As organizers, we encourage students to educate themselves about the decisions being made among administration. Develop relationships with administrators, support faculty who have an invested interest in fighting for liberal arts programs, and demand your presence at the decision making table. These institutions are here to serve their number one customer: the students.

Now with the passing of the stimulus package that may motivate an increase of jobs in education and healthcare, maybe our schools will gain some attention that they so desperately deserve.

Monday, February 23, 2009

National Young Women's Leadership Conference UPDATE!

With only 26 days until the start of FMF's annual National Young Women's Leadership Conference, the FMF campus team is kicking it into high gear. Our goal is to register more than 400 participants--and we're well on our way! As of this afternoon, we've registered more than 240 participants from more than 70 campuses and organizations!

Check out Patrice's update below! She's giving you the latest scoop on our extended early bird deadline, the awesome speakers list we're working on, as well as ways you can help advertise for the conference!

If you're looking for your good deed of the day, why not help us advertise for the National Young Women's Leadership Conference on your blog or website homepage?! To add one of our nifty banners to your homepage, just copy and past the code from here!

National Young Women's Leadership Conference

Friday, February 20, 2009

CA Commission on the Status of Women: Exposing Crisis Pregnancy Centers is a Top Priority on 2009-2010 Legislative Agenda!

The California Commission on the Status of Women (CA-CSW) has recently submitted a public policy agenda for the 2009-2010 session, which proposes legislative action to expose fake clinics! And it was with the diligent research and informed testimony of the Feminist Majority Foundation's summer 2008 intern class this past July that the CA-CSW was presented with the dangers that "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) pose to young women's health.

Over the course of the summer, interns visited several crisis pregnancy centers, many located within miles of their own campuses, in order to learn more about the services offered by CPCs. Many crisis pregnancy centers had no medical personnel on staff and counselors identified themselves as trained volunteers. While in counseling sessions, many of the young women were warned about a false link between abortion and increased negative mental health problems. A study released by the American Pyschological Association in August 2008, found that there is no credible evidence that a single elective abortion of an unwanted pregnancy in and of itself causes mental health problems for adult women. Additional false information presented by CPCs includes false links between abortion and breast cancer and abortion and infertility.

The California Commission on the Status of Women is dedicated to helping "eliminate the distribution of false medical information about abortion and improve young women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care services." And as feminist student activists, who are the mouth peice for what is happening on our campuses and in our communities, we must continue to speak out against the threat that crisis pregnancy centers pose to our health and our choice!

Again, many thanks to our summer intern class for their amazing work in ensuring our voices continue to be heard!

Lilly Ledbetter and Shelby Knox to speak at FMF Confernece!!

National Young Women's Leadership Conference

Great news on a Friday afternoon!! Lilly Ledbetter and Shelby Knox have confirmed that they will be speaking at the Feminist Majority Foundation's National Young Women's Leadership Conference!

For more information--and to register for this amazing conference--go to !

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Update from the Road: Good News, Bad News Edition

Greetings from the road, fellow feminists! Tania and I have been powering our way through the middle of the country for a little over a week now. We started in Missouri, drove through southern Illinois and Indiana, headed down into Kentucky, and now are working our way back to Missouri!

So, four states and two time zones later, we took an opportunity this evening to vlog (video blog!) about our experiences, good and bad - the students we've met, the legislation we're worried about, the CPC we visited, and the amusing moments that abound while we're on the road. The video is below - we hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Intern Update!

Spring 2009 as an intern at the FMF has been pretty amazing so far. I have done some really cool research so far. I was working on a proposal concerning women's menstrual hygiene in Southeast Asia. It was really interesting and reading some of the information about the lives of these women, and how as a Western woman I take for granted something as simple as menstrual products. Menstruation is a taboo in this part of the world, and women suffer because of it. Women use rags during menstruation and when they need to rewash them at night (becasue of the taboo) they run the risk of being raped. Something that I found interesting was that women in Southeast Asia find recycling extremely important. A middle class woman uses about 15,000 pads or tampons in her lifetime. Imagine the waste that creates, if there was a way to recycle or have re useable menstrual products, women all over the world would be much better off. Women in Southeast Asia don't have the luxury to just throw away used menstrual products, finding a way to recycle them is imperative. Doing research such as this has really opened my eyes.

On a lighter note, the other interns are working on lots of projects. We are all super excited about the National Young Women's Leadership Conference!! It is going to be a great time with all the amazing speakers and topics that are to be discussed. Ah! Super exciting! Everyone should sign up and volunteering is appreciated :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Science Prevails: Abortion and Mental Health

As feminist activists, it is crucial for us to be educated on the issues that we organize around. Our Choices Campaign to Stop Fake Clinics seeks to expose so-called crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) that use deceptive advertising to target college students and distribute false and medically inaccurate claims about abortion and birth control.

A recent editorial co-authored by FMF medical director, Beth Jordan, highlights one of those false claims, the link between abortion and negative mental health outcomes. As pro-choice activists (women and men alike) we have personally experienced the effects of anti-choice political agendas waged on the battlefields of our bodies. This editorial seeks to make the important proclamation that amidst the deception of dangerous political agendas, scientific evidence still stands to prove the safety of abortion procedures. The editorial offers that,
"Fortunately, recent reviews of the scientific literature reinforce what many reproductive health care providers already know: evidence for the claim that abortion negatively affects a woman's mental health is lacking. How well we as reproductive health providers and advocates are able to convey this positive message to patients, the public, and policymakers will depend, in part, on how well we ourselves understand the findings and feel confident in their scientific integrity."
And with that confidence, not only in the scientific evidence but even more importantly in the understanding we have of our own bodies, we must continue to use our voices, our talents and passions, and the ability to organize to ensure that women's health not be endangered any longer. Let us use the power of knowledge and our own experiences to expose the threat and danger of false medical information being distributed by crisis pregnancy centers on our campuses and in our communities!

Want to learn more about how to start organizing on your campus to stop fake clinics? Contact me at and download our online kit today!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

University of Oregon Students Voice Their Choice!

Check out this awesome video filmed by the Feminist Majority Foundation's University of Oregon affiliate, Students for Choice! These amazing feminists took their message to the streets -- raising awareness about a local Crisis Pregnancy Center that deceives women seeking medical advice.

Watch the video! Post your own! Let us know how your campus is taking action to Expose Fake Clinics!

For more information on the Feminist Majority Foundation's campaign to expose fake clinics, click here!