Tag Archives: planned parenthood

Making Her-story

Former Texas Senator Wendy Davis will be speaking at the Planned Parenthood Spring Luncheon

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Senator Wendy Davis will be the keynote speaker for the Planned Parenthood Spring Luncheon on Thursday, April 26. Senator Davis is known for her defense of women’s rights, and her fight for gender equality. Specifically, her eleven-hour filibuster in 2013 that temporarily thwarted a bill in the Texas Senate to enact a bill that would greatly restrict a woman’s right to end a pregnancy in a safe and legal fashion. Although the bill was later passed, the filibuster inspired women across the nation to stand up and fight for their reproductive rights. It called attention to the politicians who were trying to strip those rights, and others, from their constituents while few were paying attention. Most importantly, it added fuel to the momentum of a movement that continues five years later.

“I’ve had so many women, young and not so young, who have shared with me and continue to do so to this day, the inspiration experience that they had watching the 2013 filibuster. It motivated them to get involved on this issue, and I think that was the most important thing that happened that day. We brought awareness to what is happening in Texas and across the country. We made a lot of women who thought this was a right we could take for granted understand that it’s not,” Davis recalls.

Restrictions on ending a pregnancy in a safe, legal environment will ultimately cause devastation to women and families across the nation. Currently, we are facing potential limitations on abortions after 20-weeks. These cases only make up a small percentage of abortions, and those that do occur often happen because the baby will be delivered stillborn or is endangering the health of the mother. This is not a decision that women make lightly. As Davis explains, even if the law is written with exceptions in order to anticipate what women may be facing, each individual case is different.

“No language can capture what each of us, as individual women, may face. There is the danger that our autonomy is removed,” she explains. “My feeling is, why would we make a change from where we are today, when currently we are allowing women and their doctors, guided by their faith, to make these decisions for themselves?”

This is a question that needs to be repeated before every politician until lawmakers understand that women are not going to watch their rights be stripped away. With so many ignoring phone calls and refusing to see constituents, communication can feel difficult, if not impossible. It’s important to find respectful and effective ways to discuss these matters. If you’re looking for suggestions, try Davis’ organization, Deeds Not Words (www.deedsnotwords.com). Described as a “starting point for turning ideas about women’s equality into action,” the group began as a way to provide answers to questions people asked Davis as she travelled across the country. She found that many young women were passionate about gender equity, but had no idea how to get involved. They were at a loss on how to use their energy and passion to really make a difference.

Deeds Not Words seeks to show those fighting for gender equity how to do so digitally, by engaging, inspiring, and motivating women to understand how the process works at local, state, and federal levels. The goal is to show them where they can most effectively add their voices to progress in a way that motivates change. In Texas, advocate trainees recently worked ten different bills proactively and they were able to pass seven of them. All were centered around protecting women from sexual assault, particularly on college campuses, and protecting vulnerable young women who are victims of sex trafficking. They hope to expand their advocate trainee program to other parts of the country soon.

Ultimately, Davis and the Deeds Not Words program hope that women will continue to get involved in running for office in 2018 and beyond.

“We have to start by looking at who represents us across the country and the fact that we have an incredibly small amount of women at the local, state, and federal levels. What that means, of course, is that we don’t have the champions that we need. There are many men who support women’s reproductive freedoms. However, the true champions for these issues are women, and they are the ones who are going to fight with everything they have to make sure we don’t go back,” says Davis.

Davis is encouraged by the fact that more women are owning the responsibility for themselves of stepping out of their comfort zone and running for office. As she explains, if we don’t do it, no one will do it for us.

In her memoir, Forgetting to Be Afraid, Davis quotes Lady Bird Johnson on the idea that sometimes you have to get so caught up in something you forget to be afraid.

“The good thing is that we are there for each other,” she adds. “I see that more and more, particularly post-2016 election, the number of women stepping forward to run for office and support those putting their names on the line is increasing. There is a growing sisterhood and network, and that is important to know when we, as candidates, feel afraid. It’s so nice to know that our sisters are there and have our back.”

Davis hopes to continue to stay a prominent part of the conversation about gender equity and its many forms including reproductive autonomy, safety for women from domestic violence and sexual assault, and equalized economic opportunity. Although she knows she speaks from a place of privilege, she will use her voice to do everything she can to empower other women. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear her speak in person. Purchase your tickets to the Planned Parenthood Spring Luncheon at springluncheon.ppsat.org. Space is limited, so make sure to secure your tickets as soon as possible!

Vessels: A Human Journey

Photographer James Glass is on a mission to give the public a glimpse into the humanity of patients walking through the doors of Planned Parenthood on a daily basis. In the eyes of his models, one can almost imagine them: the woman who has never had children, the mother of three, or the woman visiting later in life for preventative care. Each individual has their own story, and James hopes to show that narrative through photography. Ultimately, the audience will have an idea of what it means for that person to be both a patient at Planned Parenthood, and a human on planet earth.

Before we explore the project, let’s revisit the facts. One in five women has turned to Planned Parenthood at some point in her life for professional, nonjudgmental, and confidential care. In addition to the safe and legal procedure used to end a pregnancy at health centers, they also provide lifesaving cancer screening, birth control, information on the prevention and treatment of STDs, breast health services, sex health education, and health counseling. A woman can be walking into a health center for any number of reasons, and it is far past the time that people stopped assuming they know every detail of her life and what is best for her.

Glass’ project is called Vessels: A Human Journey, and it represents the raw, unfiltered moments in the life of men, women, and children who serve to remind us all of a simple fact: We are not in the shoes of the child we pass crying on the sidewalk, the old man sitting in the coffee shop, and certainly not any of the women visiting Planned Parenthood health care centers. So why is it so hard to let go of the outdated notion that women should be controlled by laws affecting their bodies, and governments should dictate personal health care decisions for entire populations?

Of course, in the end, there are those who will shut themselves off from even considering the information that the show has to offer. However, there are so many on the middle ground of this issue who do not want to be defined by a label. They are interested in learning more about the services Planned Parenthood offers the community and are seeking answers to the dangerous myths that have circulated over the past few years. This show is a good place to start or continue seeking that information.

“The people that we do reach may not be reached solely from the show. It’s part of ten things that happen that make them open their eyes,” Glass explains. “Hopefully those people in the middle can see these pictures, and it can be part of an evolution for their intellectual and emotional intelligence to look at fellow humans with reason and kindness.”

Vessels: A Human Journey will open Friday, September 1 at the Alexander/Heath Contemporary Art Gallery in downtown Roanoke. There will be a ticketed Preview Night on Thursday, August 31 from 6-10pm. For more information, visit www.alexander-heath.com.

The Safety Pin I’m Wearing

There are a lot of opinions floating around on social media about the donning of a safety pin on one’s apparel. Some would agree that it is a visible sign that the person wearing it will help provide a safe place for people who identify as a member of the many targeted groups who have experienced hate crimes throughout history. Others have argued that it is something of a shield—an easy way for the wearer to escape any real action helping the same marginalized groups while still identifying themselves as one of the “good guys.”
I would like to respectfully address the latter.
I understand the argument comes from a place of anger, and perhaps the writer’s own embarrassment. Believe me when I say, I’m embarrassed also. I’m embarrassed that, despite my belief that those in the LGBTQ community should always enjoy the same rights and freedoms I occasionally take for granted, I let their recent victory in the Supreme Court make me lazy.
I’m ashamed that I took my extra money over the last few months and bought coffee or treats for myself while women in more conservative states feared that key resources like Planned Parenthood would disappear because of the life-saving, professional services they offer to some patients who choose not to carry their pregnancy to term for whatever reason.
I’m furious with myself for not engaging with those on social media who posted memes about gun control, subtly and not-so-subtly identifying Muslims as the force behind the violence we’ve witnessed in recent months. Additionally, I’m horrified that pressing a “delete” button or demurring from the “sensitive” topic of immigration and violence against minorities was my choice approach for so long. It was such because I believed that we lived in a country where yes, fear has a voice, but compassion, kindness, and acceptance were so close to eradicating it.
I’m embarrassed, but not by my safety pin.
We are surrounded by distractions that let us fall into the monotony of modern life without considering the hate and discrimination befalling humans across this planet and across our nation. A tragedy occurs and we change our profile pictures to represent our sympathy, but by the following week things are back to normal unless you are directly affected by the incident. Nothing is ever going to change unless we realize that we have a responsibility, as humans, to stand up for one another. Even when it is uncomfortable. Even when our newsfeeds are filled with engagements, babies, and accomplishments.
If my safety pin tells you that I am a safe space, that is a wonderful thing. I will stand next to you, and I will give you a shoulder on which you can cry, lean, or use to climb up and achieve your dreams.
But that little silver trinket is not, nor will it ever be, a plea for recognition or a pat on the back.
It is a reminder that history, in fact, does repeat itself if we aren’t careful. The Emmett Tills and Matthew Shepards of this world are still out there suffering. And when I look at my wrist, I make a promise to them that I will never let myself get lazy again.

Giving Tuesday: Helping Women In Need

Cyber Monday is great–but why not wait until Giving Tuesday to put your money in hands that make a difference in the world? #GivingTuesday is a global giving movement driven by individuals, families, organizations, businesses, and communities around the world. Now is the perfect time to talk to you family and friends about how you can use the holiday season to help those who are less fortunate or in greater need. If you still need something under the tree, check out a couple of our favorites below:

ppf00303_1_6Planned Parenthood, offering many women’s health services in addition to abortion, has a wide variety of shirts (and other products!) for sale. We love anything that supports women during their time of need, but we have to say the “Wicked Jezebel Feminist” shirt is our favorite!
From their website: “The official t-shirt of virtual reality experience Across the Line, an immersive virtual reality experience that places viewers in the shoes of a patient entering a health center for a safe and legal abortion. 
Across the Line is part of ongoing efforts by Planned Parenthood to reduce stigma and change the conversation around safe and legal abortion. Using real audio gathered at protests, scripted scenes, and documentary footage, the film is a powerful hybrid documentary-fiction depiction of the toxic environment that many health care providers, health center staff, and patients must walk through to provide or access health care on a typical day. “Wicked Jezebel Feminist” is a phrase shouted by an anti-abortion protestor in the film experience.”
Check it out here.

thinxIn this office, we celebrate any product that makes the week of our periods easier. We celebrate it even more when it helps other women around the world. The easiest way to understand how THINX underwear works is to visit their website, but we want to emphasize that, once you make the switch, you may never go back. Also, for each pair of THINX underwear purchased, the company sends funds to their partner organization AFRIpads in Uganda. This organization trains women to sew and sell washable, reusable cloth pads at affordable prices, turning local women into entrepreneurs. The investment is worth it, trust us. And, today (11/28) and tomorrow (11/29) each purchase of full priced underwear you purchase will result in a $5 donation to Women Thrive Alliance. Save $10 on your purchase by using this link.

 

Extraordinary Women: Monique Ingram

If you have ever met Monique Ingram, you know that she is an amazing woman who gives her all to her commitments and truly changes the lives she touches for the better. She is involved in many aspects of our community from her role as a health educator for Roanoke’s Planned Parenthood Health Services to volunteering with the Showtimers Community Theatre. Her interests have taken her around the world, and we feel very fortunate that she continues to share her knowledge and experience with the people in our area. 

What inspired you to get involved with Planned Parenthood?
As an adolescent, I found out that my grandmother had breast cancer and I didn’t know what that meant until she was leaving us. I remember hearing conversations in hushed tones between my family members about doctors and reproductive health. After she died, I knew I wanted to have a career where I could teach people, particularly women, about their bodies and how to help themselves.

I thought the only way I could do something with women’s reproductive health was to be a doctor or an OBGYN. I started talking to people at Roanoke College, particularly Dr.  Deneen Evans. We discussed how to craft my academic career to achieve my goals. There was a need in our area for women of color, and for women in general, to know their choices and how to find their voice when it came to reproductive healthcare.

My mom helped encourage me to fill that void. She is a strong woman, a minster. We started out in a small community where she was told she couldn’t be a preacher. She found a church home where they embraced women in ministry. I recognized that same fire in me too, and I started to create my own path. I looked into an internship at Planned Parenthood, and there I was mentored by Dina Hackley-Hunt. I used to watch her and think, “Man, I want to be just like her.” Some of my students say that about me now, and it’s crazy because I can’t believe I’ve come full circle.

monique
Photo by Jeff Hofmann

After I completed my undergraduate degree, I went home for a while before deciding that I wanted to go to graduate school at Virginia Tech. There was a job opening at Planned Parenthood. I thought, “Oh, I’m not going to be able to get that because I need my masters degree.”

However, my mom encouraged me and told me to apply because I might get it. I did, and they hired me.

I am so thankful for all of the wonderful women in my life. They’ve invited me to climb on their shoulders and see the endless possibilities of the world. They knew I would have a limited vantage point from my place on the ground. I love them so much for encouraging me to dream bigger, be better, and pay it forward.

What is your wish for every woman?
I wish that every woman could have the time and the space to find her voice—to figure out how loud she wants it to be and when or if she wants to use it. That is my wish for every person. It’s a difficult thing to try to figure out who you are and it takes time, effort, and some tears. You have to flesh out what you’re scared of, what you’re willing to stand for, and how you’re willing to grow. Growth is a huge part of finding your voice and figuring out who you are. One of my favorite quotes is, “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”

What do you do in your spare time?
I’m a member at the Showtimers Community Theatre, and I’ve been part of that family for about ten years. I don’t mind being on stage, but I adore being stage manager. I love being behind the scenes and bossing people around. That’s my comfort zone. I’m the cochair of the hospitality committee and we put on all the opening night parties for our patrons and actors to thank them for their support. Actors are volunteers, so they don’t get paid. This gives us an opportunity to recognize the gift of their time and efforts. Showtimers couldn’t happen if it weren’t for the patrons and the actors.

I am also an education partner with Project Real Talk, an all girls leadership and life enhancement nonprofit in Roanoke. Additionally, I serve on the board of Girls Rock Roanoke.

What do the upcoming months have in store for you?
This summer, I will travel to Uganda to work with women and children who are HIV positive and hopefully shadow some educators in and around Kampala. I want to listen and learn how certain educators in other parts of the world approach sex education, particularly in areas where it is difficult to be comprehensive about it.

In July, I will be going to Cyprus to work with high school students from around the United States on a service learning trip. Then, I will head back to Roanoke and start graduate school to get my Master of Public Health degree.

I am also hoping to help schedule “Are You An Askable Parent?” workshops through Planned Parenthood for parents and adults that work with young people and teenagers. The goal is to get them to a place where they feel comfortable having conversations with young people about sex education. Ultimately, our goal is to get parents to a place where they feel more comfortable having those conversations no matter what is going on with their teens or how they identify.

Visit our website during the month of June for Monique’s full interview! If you are interested in learning more about the programs that Planned Parenthood offers our community, go to www.plannedparenthood.org. To view a full list of upcoming performances by The Showtimers Community Theatre, visit www.showtimers.org.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic Spring Luncheon

f883aecea06b97670f7fd979c17af2ae_f1115The Fourth Annual Planned Parenthood South Atlantic Spring Luncheon will be held in Charter Hall in the downtown Roanoke Market Building on Thursday, May 21 at 11:30 am.

The luncheon will include keynote speaker Jenny Black, the newly appointed president of the newly merged Planned Parenthood South Atlantic that serves women, men, and teens here on the southern East coast. Warner Dalhouse will be honored at this event. Warner is a philanthropist, founder and the former CEO of Home Town Bank and other local banks. Additionally, he was the keynote speaker at the 1991 Planned Parenthood Annual Meeting.

Actress Kathleen Turner will also be in attendance this year. Turner is the chair of the national Planned Parenthood Federation of America Board of Advocates. She is most notable from her roles in the films Peggy Sue Got Married, Romancing the Stone, and Serial Mom. She has also appeared on stage in The Graduate, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and most recently in Red Hot Patriot, a one-woman show about Texas liberal journalist, Molly Ivins.

Kathleen Turner has been a longtime supporter of Planned Parenthood. About her work with the organization, she says, “As I travel the country, I’m still shocked at what I see. Attacks on women and women’s health are rampant. No woman should have to face these attacks to access the health care she desperately needs.”

Consider attending this luncheon and volunteering your time and money to this amazing organization that helps support the underserved women AND men in our area. For more information about the many services Planned Parenthood provides, visit their website.  If you are interested in obtaining tickets to their luncheon, email Rachel.Fletcher@ppsat.org.

Written by Krista Knauer