The documentary film 12th and Delaware covers the story of two clinics adjacent to one another in Fort Pierce, Florida. On one corner, sits an abortion clinic. On the other, what’s commonly called a “crisis pregnancy center” (abbreviated as CPC).
It is not happenstance alone that caused these clinics to share an intersection.
The abortion clinic was in business first. When the building across the street went up for sale, it was purchased by the organizers of CPC in order to divert the abortion clinic patients to their clinic to dissuade them from terminating their pregnancies.
If you’re not familiar with the services offered by a Crisis Pregnancy Center, I’ll give you some background. Continue reading →
“The first thing when you opened your eyes, before actual dawn, you beheld the gold and purple and then the entire sky break into color. In the evening the sunsets were reflected on the mountains in pink-lavender shades; sometimes the glow sprayed from the bottom upward, like the footlights of a theater, until the tips were aflame. Sunset vanished as quickly as the sunrise, never lingering long.”
– Margaret Sanger on Tucson, in her autobiography
Margaret Sanger’s more laid-back years in Tucson saw her with the free time to try out new things, such as cooking and painting. Another role in which Sanger indulged was as the hostess of some of Tucson’s most lavish parties. This was partly an attempt to reclaim some of her former celebrity – she missed the attention and sought once again to be in the spotlight, if only locally. Continue reading →
Friday, September 17th was PARKing Day, an annual worldwide event that encourages people to turn urban spaces into temporary parks for the common good. Planned Parenthood participated for the second year on Friday, and we had a fabulous time!
We had 14 volunteers throughout the day. Our parking space outside of Antigone’s Bookstore on 4th Avenue in Tucson was transformed into a mini park, complete with a wading pool, astroturf, voter registration materials, and delicious baked goods. We spent the day talking to people about the upcoming election, and encouraging people to register to vote.
This was my second year participating in PARKing Day. I always have interesting conversations with people when I table for Planned Parenthood, and Friday was no exception. Several U of A students stopped by the table, and we encouraged them to register to vote in Arizona. Most of them didn’t even realize that there was an election in November. We gave them a list of the PPAA-endorsed candidates, and then many people proceeded to talk to us about their frustration with Arizona politics. We urged them to turn their frustration into action by going to the polls and electing pro-choice candidates who will protect women’s health.
Another person stopped by to ask about access to emergency contraception (aka “the morning after pill,” Plan B, or EC). I explained that the morning after pill is available over the counter, but that pharmacists in the state of Arizona can refuse to dispense emergency contraception and birth control, no thanks to the Omnibus Abortion Bill (HB2564), which was signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer last year. Fortunately, Plan B is available at the U of A health center, as well as all of Planned Parenthood’s clinics, and women do not need a prescription to get it. Continue reading →
If you live in Arizona’s Legislative District 26, you have a very important vote to cast for State Senator this November. Candidate Cheryl Cage is running against the incumbent Al Melvin. With your vote for Cage you can have a hand in helping ensure the women of Arizona, in conjunction with their families and doctors, will retain the right to make their own health care decisions, rather than having our state legislature make decisions for them.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed Cheryl Cage because of her respect for women and her stand on the issues. As a volunteer with Planned Parenthood and a resident in LD 26, I’m very interested in knowing a candidate’s positions on women’s health and reproductive issues, so I asked Cheryl Cage questions about her positions.
Education is at the top of Cheryl Cage’s list of important issues, so I asked if this includes age-appropriate, medically-accurate sex education for the children of this state. Cage understands that “this information is vital for the physical and emotional health of a child.” Arizona has the second highest teen pregnancy rate in the country, yet no legislation supporting “real sex ed” has made it out of committee. With Cheryl Cage in our state senate, I believe comprehensive sex-ed classes stand a chance of being put in place and our state’s teens could be 50% less likely to become pregnant. Continue reading →
At least since the days of the Wild West, Tucson has seen some of history’s most infamous characters. These days, the city celebrates this past with events such as Dillinger Days, which commemorates John Dillinger’s apprehension and arrest in downtown Tucson. Some controversial figures didn’t merely pass through town but instead made Tucson their home, including the namesake of the Margaret Sanger Health Center and inductee into the Arizona Women’s Hall of Fame: Margaret Sanger.
In the 1930s, when Sanger first came to Tucson, the town was known for its healthful climate – a reputation that drew Sanger here early in the decade when her son, Stuart, was suffering from an ear infection. “Arizona was so unlike any place I had been before; you either had to be enthralled by it or hate and dread it,” Sanger wrote in her autobiography. “But I knew there was a delight in the cool nights and the translucent, sunny days with a lovely tang in the air.” The following spring, her son in better health, “we packed our bags once more in the little car and drove away, looking back regretfully at the indescribable Catalinas, on which light and clouds played in never-ending change of pattern.”
This first stay left a favorable impression in Sanger’s mind, and in 1935 she returned with Stuart, who this time was suffering from an eye infection. His doctor wanted to operate but Sanger thought he could be cured by a fasting regimen, in which she joined him. The alternative treatment wasn’t successful – but during this time Sanger decided she liked Tucson so much that she and her husband, J. Noah Slee, thought about making it their permanent home. Continue reading →
September 14 marks the birthday of Margaret Sanger, founder of the modern birth control movement. Born Margaret Higgins in 1879 in Corning, New York, Sanger would become a trailblazer and set the stage for women to control their reproductive destiny.
Margaret was the sixth of eleven children. She watched her mother struggle with the challenges of childcare and frequent pregnancies, and it made a permanent mark on Margaret’s mind. Feminist author Gloria Feldt tells us:
Margaret’s earliest childhood memories were of crying beside her mother’s bed after a nearly fatal childbirth. Anne Higgins, a devout, traditional Catholic, did die at age 50, worn out from frequent pregnancies and births.
Margaret’s father was a freethinker, a stonemason, a charmer who loved to drink and spin a tale but was less than a dependable provider. Margaret knew poverty; she identified with the struggles of women. Her experiences formed her sensibilities about the moral rightness of birth control. And she had that freethinker streak that allowed her to break boundaries.
Part of the Higgins’ family’s problems stemmed from the fact that Michael Higgins was very vocal in his opposition to the Catholic church. Corning was a predominantly Catholic community, and Higgins’ opinions made it hard for him to secure commissions as a stonemason. It also made the Higgins children the subject of ridicule amongst their peers. This may have been a blessing in disguise, however, because it helped the Higgins children rely on each other for companionship. And when Margaret was ready to launch the birth control movement many years later, her sister would join the fray. Continue reading →
For as long as people have been practicing medicine, rudimentary as it might have been for most of history, people have been performing abortions. In the United States, abortion was outlawed in the mid-1800s, the reason being that the procedure was too dangerous; before then it had been legal until quickening. This rationale dissolved as techniques improved and the procedure, when performed in sterile settings by a knowledgeable practitioner, became safer than childbirth itself, and abortion was legalized with the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. For the century or so during which abortion was prohibited, women continued to seek them out. We’ve all heard the horror stories about the injuries and deaths that could result from illegal abortions. This image was widespread during those years as well, which makes it all the more telling that women still sought illegal abortions — a woman’s need to control her own destiny could outweigh a genuine fear of death.
The Abortionist: A Woman Against the Law by Rickie Solinger (1996) tells the story of Ruth Barnett, an abortionist in the Pacific Northwest who practiced from 1918 to 1968. Barnett’s success as an abortionist — she served tens of thousands of patients and never lost a single one — stands in stark contrast to the caricature of the back-alley butcher. Although incompetent, sloppy, and predatory abortionists did exist in the pre-Roe years, there were many, like Barnett, whose skilled work ensured that some women could obtain safe, albeit illegal, abortions. Continue reading →