GD Meg is the original green diva, a long-time podcast producer, digital media producer, lover of wildlife, nature and getting the word out about climate change/crisis!
Last week the Biden took two actions to expand access to reproductive health care: the FDA lightening restrictions to medication abortion access during the pandemic and the Biden administration beginning its rollback of Trump’s harmful Title X program rules. Dee Srivastava, Policy Analyst at Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Nina Serriane, Legislative Affairs Manager at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, celebrate the recent changes in access to medication abortion and the lifting of restrictions on the national Title X program with us.On April 12th, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration suspended a medically unnecessary barrier to medication abortion—requiring patients to access medication abortion pills in person at a hospital, doctor’s office, or clinic—for the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that people will not need to expose themselves to COVID to get the basic care that they need in states that permit it. It also allows patients in some states to access abortion care in a way that is safe, effective, and ensures privacy. It is important to remember that restrictions to medication abortion care existed before the pandemic, and after the pandemic is over we need to fight to ensure these unnecessary barriers to abortion access are eliminated permanently.In 2019, the Trump-Pence administration instituted a “domestic gag rule” on the Title X family planning program, which prohibited grants from going to providers where clinicians divulged to their patients how to safely access abortion care. This prevented providers from being able to disclose a full range of information to their patients and severely limited the comprehensive care that patients were able to receive. On April 14th, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed the rescinding of this rule. This Trump rule resulted in the Title X network’s capacity being slashed in half, and the health needs of people around the U.S. have only increased during the pandemic. Since this is a proposed rule, there will now be a public comment process, which you can find more information about in the Take Action section. The comment deadline is May 17th, 2021. Support the show (
April 11 – 17, 2021, marks the fourth annual Black Maternal Health Week. In this bonus episode, Dr. Jamila Perritt, board certified OB/GYN and President and CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health and Dr. Mishka S. Peart, OB/GYN and fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health, talk to us about the importance of highlighting and discussing the disparities in abortion, contraception, and maternal health access and outcomes for Black people in the United States.There are undeniable race- and ethnicity- based disparities in maternal health outcomes in the United States. For example, maternal deaths occur more frequently among Black people than any other race or ethnicity, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that Black people are three to four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than any other racial or ethnic group. Lack of access to quality contraception and abortion care also disproportionately impact Black communities; in fact, a recent study found that barriers to abortion contributed to up to a 38 percent increase in maternal deaths, which has a disparate impact on Black people. Medical care, access to comprehensive reproductive health services, and maternal health outcomes are certainly impacted by social inequities and racism. “Weathering”, or the phenomenon of the biological impact of stress related to being Black in America, is an effect of the systemic racism faced by the Black community in the medical system and beyond. It is vital that the U.S. medical system recognize this cyclical structure and make long-term changes that address the inherent biases in the healthcare infrastructure. The reproductive justice framework has four tenets at its core: 1) every person has a human right to determine if they have a child, and to determine the circumstances under which they give birth; 2) every person has a human right to decide if they will not have a child and to have the resources to decide if and how to prevent and end a pregnancy; 3) every person has a human right to parent the children they already have in sustainable and safe communities free from violence; and 4) every person has a human right to bodily autonomy and sexual pleasure. It is far past time that the United States begins to view and provide comprehensive reproductive health care holistically and through the lens of a reproductive justice framework.Support the show (
LGBTQ+ people, overall, lack equal rights and access in the United States. In fact, in most of the U.S., LGBTQ+ people face discrimination in housing, credit, public accommodations, jury service, and other public arenas that don’t directly involve marriage or employment. It’s also no secret that Republicans around the country have been passing legislation for years that attacks the health and rights of transgender people. Charlotte Clymer, writer, LGBTQ+ advocate, and Director of Communications and Strategy at Catholics for Choice, talks to us about how state attacks on transgender rights are contributing to the lack of protections for LGBTQ+ people in the U.S.This year state-level anti-trans policies have fallen into three buckets: those that prevent transgender youth from receiving lifesaving, gender-affirming medical care, those that prevent transgender youth from competing in sports, and religious liberty exemptions. Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee are states that have formally passed these types of legislation so far this year. In direct opposition to these egregious attacks on LGBT health and rights, the Equality Act is a comprehensive bill that, at the national level, would ban discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in every aspect of the public square. Since the Biden administration has taken office, there have been a number of protections that have been passed to support LGBTQ+ people. Immediately, the Biden administration signed a flurry of executive orders that made it illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people within the federal government, overturn the ban on trans people in the military, and appoint a number of LGBTQ+ people to government posts. To expand upon its progress, the Biden administration should release every LGBTQ+ (and specifically, trans and non-binary) undocumented immigrant from ICE and CPB custody, ensure that incarcerated trans people maintain their rights and wellbeing, and create an LGBTQ+-specific equality commission or council, and strengthening reporting in the State Department’s international Human Rights Reports on LGBTQ+ safety around the world.Support the show (
Gender-based violence, or GBV, is harm perpetrated against a person’s will on the basis of their gender or gender characteristics. It is such a widespread global issue that 1 in 3 women have reported experiencing some form of gender-based violence. Gayatri Patel, Director of Gender Advocacy at CARE USA, talks to us about ­­­­this universal issue.   GBV can include rape or sexual violence, domestic or intimate partner violence, human trafficking, child marriage, harassment, controlling behavior, and economic abuse, among other forms of violence. While gender-based violence is often committed against women and girls, it is important to remember that boys, men, and people of other gender identities experience gender-based violence, as well. GBV takes place in all countries, to people in all social and economic classes, and to people of all races, ethnicities, and religions. In practice, global gender-based violence looks like: ·      Somewhere in the world, 1 girl every 2 seconds is married before the age of 18·      An average of 137 women are killed by a family member each day·      1 in 10 women in the European Union saying they have experienced cyber harassment since the age of 15 Conflict, natural disaster, and humanitarian situations often lead to a lack of traditional social support, disintegration of familial structures, and increased rates of stress. Combined, this phenomenon can lead to rising rates of all forms of GBV in these situations. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in GBV, particularly domestic violence, intimate partner violence, child marriage, and female genital cutting. Because people’s movements are restricted due to stay-at-home measures, jobs have been lost, and schools have closed, many are trapped in a home with an abuser, have become financially dependent on their abusers, or have become an easier target of abuse. Each survivor is different and therefore, each survivor needs different things. Examples of needs for gender-based violence survivors could include economic and job support, immediate crisis counseling, long-term psychosocial services, legal services, sexual and reproductive health services, and more. The Biden administration is already taking action to address GBV. The administration established the White House Gender Policy Council and they are developing a national action plan on GBV, and updating the U.S. strategy to responded to global GBV. Support the show (
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