By Molly McLain
WHEW! Election 2014 is behind us! And, in North Dakota, we have a lot to be proud of. Measure 1, a Personhood Amendment went down in flames thanks to volunteers like you who have created a STRONG GRASSROOTS NETWORK... that just keeps growing!
In this blog post, you'll hear a little story about Colorado and North Dakota, the Personhood Amendments they both faced, and how, with dedication, hard work, passion and persistence, we can indeed prevail.
Our story begins in August, when some of our North Dakota Planned Parenthood team embarked on a journey to Colorado to get our feet wet and our hands dirty in some serious on the ground organizing training. We headed to YOPICO2014. What does THAT stand for you may be asking: Youth Organizing Power Institute Colorado 2014, of course. We participated, along with about 100 plus, other young Planned Parenthood supporters, volunteers, and staff from the American West, in four days of learning about organizing principles and trainings that left us INSPIRED to say the least. We learned through team building, sharing of our stories, and applying numerous tactics that have been exercised in successful grassroots movements throughout our time and generations before, how to bring these actions back to our home state of North Dakota.
We felt a kinship in heading to the YOPI in Colorado as they too had a Personhood Amendment on the ballot. While in Denver, Sara, Dan, Janessa, and I hit the streets to canvass (that is knocking on doors and having conversations with voters) for a Saturday afternoon, along with the 150 other YOPI attendees. We talked to folks one on one and face to face about the consequences Amendment 67 in Colorado would have on people's lives. It was a super hot August day, which only made our passion burn hotter to have real, genuine conversations with as many folks as we could.... and then get back to some air conditioning and lemonade!
As a group we knocked over 2,000 plus doors that day! Woot woot! And, spoiler alert: Amendment 67 was defeated in Colorado in November. Team Planned Parenthood ND felt proud to play a small part in that.
Upon leaving Denver, our North Dakota team was seriously fired up, and we brought that fire and the skills we learned back home to help defeat Personhood a.k.a. Measure 1.
Here at home over 3,000 volunteers hours were given to North Dakotans Against Measure 1. And hundreds of volunteers, doctors, lawyers, judges, and individuals who shared stories and hours of time to have conversations about the real consequences of Measure 1....
This quote does ring true: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead
We know that organizing around issues can be grueling work at times, and we also know that with hard work we are able to celebrate some victories along the way. (WE helped in DEFEATING MEASURE 1!) We know, too, that our work to ensure reproductive health and freedom must continue. There will be challenges, and more victories, to be sure- and we will all be there along the way, to witness, take part in, and celebrate them: TOGETHER.
In November North Dakotans will be voting on Constitutional Amendment Measure 1. Measure 1 is a permanent change to the state constitution with real consequences for all North Dakotans.
The measure reads ‘The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected’. This vague and poorly worded amendment has sweeping consequences including...
The last thing we need is government intrusion in these difficult medical decisions.
We need YOU to help defeat this dangerous measure! North Dakotans from across the state have banned together to form the North Dakotans Against Measure 1 (NDAM1) coalition. Join them by taking the pledge to vote NO on Measure 1!
VOTE NO ON MEASURE 1: To learn more please visit the NDAM1 website.
Thank Senator Heitkamp for moving quickly to protect women’s access to birth control coverage in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on June 30 in Hobby Lobby vs. Burwell to allow some corporations to deny such basic health care to their employees based on their personal religious beliefs.
Unfortunately, only 56 Senators supported this legislation – Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, or, the Not My Boss’ Business bill – and 60 were needed to move it out of the Senate.
Rest assured, the fight to right this decision is not over. Let’s first take a minute to thank our women’s health champions in the U.S. Senate for their reliable support and aggressive action.
Click here to send a note to Senator Heitkamp!
Have you heard the buzz about the new hit rom-com "Obvious Child" with Jenny Slate? Well, whether you have or not- the buzz about town is it's playing at the Fargo Theatre! And, we've gotta check it out- here's a trailer.
Please join us for our Planned Parenthood July Volunteer night at the Fargo Theatre on Wednesday July 16th at 4:30 pm. We'll have a quick meeting at 4:30- talking about how to plug into happenings in the Reproductive Health movement in North Dakota, and then we'll be magically whisked into the lovely Fargo Theatre for the 5 pm showing to watch this must-see flick.
Tickets are $9 and you're responsible for your own treats this time. Take in this raw, yet hilarious, film about being a young person in the modern age surrounded by your Planned Parenthood comrades. Can't wait to see you there!
Today in "stuff we could've told you": an exhaustive new study has found that sex-selective abortions are not a problem in the United States or in many of the other countries Americans think of as enshrining male bias when having children. This is especially important news in North and South Dakota, two of the eight states that have banned sex-selective abortion. (South Dakota's ban was signed by the governor just earlier this year.)
Sex-selective abortion bans are founded on the notion that families might prefer having a child of one sex rather than the other (usually assumed preference of boys over girls), and would seek an abortion once a doctor can confirm gender. On the surface, it sounds like the kind of thing any supporter of gender equity would endorse. In reality, these bans are harmful to women's health, counter to a human rights agenda, and primarily a political tactic of groups who work to make abortion illegal.
Conservative lawmakers have repeatedly cited the “highly skewed” sex ratios in Asian communities as evidence for the necessity of sex-selective abortion bans, but this study demonstrates that these claims are based on nothing more than stereotypes and poor data interpretation. In fact, the study flipped the script, finding that Asian Americans have more girls than white Americans. Fancy that.
You may be wondering: If sex-selective abortions aren't prevalent in America, why does it matter if they're banned? In addition to promoting harmful misinformation and further stigmatizing women and their reproductive choices, these bans make it harder for women to make those choices. They also intrude on the doctor/patient relationship by requiring doctors to become investigators and patients their suspects, and that strips nonjudgmental, high-quality care from women in need.
Coupled with past statements from leading human rights organizations opposing curtailing access to abortion to address sex selection, we can only hope these new findings reverse this unfortunate trend.
LAUREN MACK, SOCIAL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS ASSISTANT
The worst thing about appointing a former anti-women's health legislator to become a federal judge isn't that he could uphold laws designed to shut down abortion providers, or that he will allow politicians to stand between patients and their doctors, or that he will allow anti-women's health politicians to impose a narrow-minded agenda on women.
The worst thing is that he is up for a lifetime appointment — and we don't need another judge who will undermine women's rights and access to care.
That's why we have to stop Michael Boggs from being confirmed to a federal judgeship. Tell your senators: Michael Boggs is wrong for women, wrong for our families, and wrong for the federal bench.
As a candidate for Georgia Superior Court judge, Boggs stated, "I am proud of my record. You don't have to guess where I stand... I have a record that tells you exactly what I stand for." So what is Boggs so proud of? A record of undermining women's rights and access to care and standing on the wrong side of the fight for equality:
We don't need another federal judge with a record of hostility toward women's rights, equality, and justice. Send a note to your senators to say no to Michael Boggs before he gets the chance to do more damage to women's health and rights.
By. Molly M., PP North Dakota Community Organizer
Organizing in rural states around issues like reproductive justice can be a long row to hoe. I recently attended a training called "Path to Power"- it was a great experience and an amazing training. It spoke to how organizing around issues can solidify a base of people who support similar issues and how that can lead to long term strong support in those communities. It was empowering to say the least. Especially empowering because we're seeing those very things mentioned above happen across our great state of North Dakota.
We want to give a shout out to the community of Minot: way up in the NorthWest corner of the state, and on the edge of the oil patch, Minot has been cultivating a community of feminists and advocates of women's health since last fall; and it continues to grow! Thanks to our dedicated intern, Kayla S., (Kayla- you rock!) who started the Minot Advocates of Planned Parenthood facebook group and who continues to facilitate monthly "Feminist First Fridays" in conjunction with the ND Women's Network- this just goes to show what slow and steady work can yield. If you want to join the fun in Minot on the First Friday of every month, please head to the facebook page: Minot Advocates of Planned Parenthood, click 'like' and you'll be in the know.
And, if you're in the eastern part of ND and want to help us grow our base here, and across ND please join next week's monthly volunteer night. We'll be talking to folks from Abercrombie to Zap to find who our supporters are and if they want to get involved in this movement. This is one sure way to grow our base of supporters of reproductive rights so that when the time comes to flex our muscles, we can do just that. Join us next next Tuesday May 27th at 6-8:30 pm in the Fargo Office: 624 Main Ave Suite 9 in Downtown Fargo.
The IMS Institute on Healthcare Informatics estimates that in 2013 women saved a whopping $483 million in out-of-pocket costs for oral contraceptives alone—thanks in large part to the Affordable Care Act.
For those of you interested in more stats: the share of women with no out-of-pocket costs for birth control pills increased to 56 percent (from 14 percent in 2012.) A total of 24 million more prescriptions for oral contraceptives were filled with no co-pay in 2013 than in 2012, saving each woman an average of $269.
It's no wonder that 7 in 10 Americans support the contraception mandate: with economic benefits on top of health benefits, affordable access to birth control is a clear win. As Planned Parenthood's own report explains, birth control doesn't just help women plan their pregnancies—it gives them control over their futures and moves them closer to economic equality, all while saving North Dakota taxpayers money.
Posted at 12:00 PM | Permalink
Laura Wilner, an APN/PA on staff at Planned Parenthood in Moorhead, wrote in to The Forum last week:
As we observe National Women’s Health Week this week at Planned Parenthood, we're also celebrating the 30th anniversary of our clinic in Moorhead. That's 30 years of providing preventive health care, such as life-saving cancer screenings, annual exams and birth control to women in the Fargo-Moorhead area.
In honor of women's health and our 30th anniversary, I want to encourage all women to make their health a priority and schedule their next annual well-woman exam. As a nurse practitioner with Planned Parenthood in Moorhead, I have the unique opportunity to serve women from both Minnesota and North Dakota (our patients are 50/50). I can tell you that no matter which side of the river you're from, well-woman exams are key in order to stay healthy and prevent future health problems. They help providers identify health risks and include preventive screenings for breast and cervical cancers. These are crucial because early detection and treatment of these diseases save lives. They also provide an opportunity for you to ask someone you can trust about, well, anything.
Read the rest on INFORUM.com, then take her advice and schedule a well-woman exam at a Planned Parenthood near you.
The Planned Parenthood North Dakota office had an awesome volunteer night last night! We talked to folks across the state about women’s health and reproductive rights in our state.
We kicked off the night in the Fargo office with a conference call to our remote phonebankers in Grand Forks (shout out to Jed!) and Bismarck (hellooooo Britta!). Our 5 (count em- 5!) volunteers in the Fargo office consisted of the fabulous team: Zach, Sonda, Lethe, Mara, and Karis- holla! Thanks to all for coming out and advocating for reproductive justice in North Dakota!
Through our calls we connected with many supporters and picked up a few new volunteers along the way. Thanks to the conversations from our confident Planned Parenthood Advocate volunteers, we are reaching with supporters from Abercrombie to Zap!
Thank you to everyone who came to help: some were first time callers and they were pros by the end of the night. We also had our seasoned and veteran volunteers back at it… they never miss a beat.
If you weren’t able to make it this time, we’ll hope to see you next month!