An Internship With a Purpose

cynde cassidyEditor’s Note: Today’s post is by one of PPAZ’s interns, Cassidy Olson. Cassidy is an Arizona native who was born and raised in Prescott. She is currently studying public relations at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and will be graduating in December. Cassidy has been interned in the communications and marketing department at Planned Parenthood Arizona, December 2010 through May 2011.

My internship in the communication and marketing department at Planned Parenthood Arizona (PPAZ) came about really by happenstance; however, it turned into something greater than I could have expected. As a member of Arizona State University’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), I participated in an event called “Shadow Day.” During Shadow Day, each PRSSA member was matched with a business in Phoenix to visit for a day to learn how the public relations department at each organization functioned. I had always been interested in the nonprofit side of public relations, so when I found out that I had been matched with PPAZ for the day, I was eager to learn more about nonprofit PR for a couple of hours. Never had I expected my short visit would turn into an internship lasting five months.

When I met Cynde Cerf, communication and marketing manager at PPAZ, I was in awe of the fact that she was able to manage the entire PPAZ communication department by herself. Because of this, when Cynde mentioned she was on the look-out for interns, I thought it might be a fun opportunity to learn a few things and help out. In all reality, the internship did much more than that for me. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Brace yourself for this piece of shocking news: Abortion Rises Among Low-Income Women, Falls In Other Groups. In other words, people who generally can’t afford or gain access to affordable contraception also can’t afford to have children — so they aren’t. (Guttmacher)
  • Ignorant Legislator Says Women Should Plan For Post-Rape Abortion, Since “I Have A Spare Tire.” Equating keeping a spare tire with preparing for the possibility of impregnation by rape = logic and sensitivity FAIL of titanic proportions. (Jezebel)
  • Illinois Sex Ed Law Requiring Teachers to Talk Contraception Passes Senate (Huff Po)
  • Totally ignoring the fact that sometimes, abortions are life-saving procedures, the House approved an amendment that defunds medical schools that teach abortion. (Daily Kos)
  • For instance, abortion saved this woman’s life. Read her story. (Salon)
  • Get pregnant in the military as a result of a rape and need an abortion? Military health insurance doesn’t cover abortion, even in cases of rape. (AP)
  • Planned Parenthood and the ACLU: Takin’ no prisoners in South Dakota. (RH Reality Check)
  • Some wingnut in Wisconsin (with a gun!!!!) had big plans to “lay out abortionists because they are killing babies” at a Madison Planned Parenthood (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

STD Awareness: Scabies and Pubic Lice

Latex barriers, such as condoms and dental dams, offer fantastic protection against most sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). They are not 100 percent effective, however, and there are even some STDs for which latex poses no obstacle. Because barriers only cover a portion of the genital area, they do not offer sufficient protection against scabies or pubic lice, both of which are caused by infestations of tiny arthropods.

Both scabies and pubic lice are treated with topical medications. A Planned Parenthood health center, as well as other health care providers, clinics, and health departments, can provide testing and treatment. Follow treatment instructions to the letter to ensure success. During this time, you can take actions to prevent reinfection, including vacuuming floors and cleaning rooms, and thoroughly washing all clothing, towels, and bedding in hot water. Your sexual partner(s) might also need to receive treatment.

Now let’s learn more about both specific STDs.

Scabies

Sarcoptes scabiei, the mite that causes scabies. Image from the Public Health Image Library.

Three-hundred million people carry the eight-legged mite that causes scabies, Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis. While it’s so small that you need a microscope to see it, it causes an itchy condition that you can definitely feel. The female mite burrows under the skin, usually starting between the fingers and then spreading to the rest of the body, digging until she dies and laying eggs along the way. When the eggs hatch, the nymphs travel to the surface of the skin, where they may transfer to another host or reinfect the original host. Continue reading

Learn How to Raise Your Pro-Choice Voice

Has the current assault on women’s right to choose and women’s health care made you want to take action to defend these basic rights? One of the ways you can do that is to become a Community Action Team (CAT) Volunteer at Planned Parenthood Arizona. If you’d like to help but you’re hesitating because you’re concerned about how well you would do talking about these important issues with people or legislators, I have good news for you!

Planned Parenthood has very good volunteer training programs that will help you feel confident and comfortable when meeting people. Also, new volunteers are always teamed with at least one other more experienced volunteer so you can learn by talking with, and watching, your fellow volunteers.

I have been volunteering with the Planned Parenthood Arizona CAT for three years and these training sessions have been really helpful. One of the training sessions I attended is called, “Talking About Tricky Subjects.” It is reassuring to know that just about everyone has the same concerns. What if I freeze up? What if I can’t remember a bunch of facts and figures to reel off? What if I just get mad and defensive? Continue reading

Look Out Ladies: Anti-Woman Bills from the Arizona Legislature Are Coming Your Way!

AZ_State_Capitol_BuildingFor many people, the start of the New Year is marked by plans and vows to make life changes and start fresh. Some people go on diets , some give up nasty habits, and others reconcile differences with loved ones. Then there are those who set out to impose on the lives and health of millions of Arizonans, as is the case of for 61 of the 90 Arizona Legislators. This year’s legislative session was a deliberate, detrimental attack on women’s freedoms, women’s health and the intelligence of women to make decisions regarding their own bodies, their fate and their lives.

Through the nine anti-choice bills that were proposed by members of the House and Senate, opponents of Planned Parenthood sought to mandate regulations that try to eliminate abortion out of existence, stigmatize not only abortion, but the individuals who seek this type of medical care as well as harass the Planned Parenthood network including patients, staff, volunteers and supporters.

House Bill 2416 is one of the bills that try to eliminate abortion out of existence. It redefines taking the abortion pill as “surgery.” It is clearly an unnecessary, extravagant, over-regulation that will result in more than half of Arizona’s miniscule population of abortion providers becoming ineligible to provide care. Women who live in Arizona’s rural areas will lose access to abortion entirely, as abortion-by-pill is currently the only form of care outside Phoenix and Tucson. Because abortion-by-pill is used by women in the fifth to ninth week of pregnancy, this proposal aims to reduce abortion early in pregnancy which could result in more surgical abortion which is potentially riskier than by pill. Continue reading

Apathy Is Not an Option

I was raised in a very conservative family- sex was not discussed openly, but you certainly did not want a reputation as a “loose girl.”  How that could happen was up to me to figure out, but it had something to do with boys.  When I got to college, it was the late sixties, and love, free sex and birth control pills were everywhere! How could I deal with these new freedoms?  I was excited by the ideas, but scared of the consequences if I made the wrong choices.  In the back of my mind, I was consoled by the thought of Planned Parenthood – somewhere I could go if there were questions or issues that I could never discuss at home.

I married and raised two daughters in a home where I hoped we could discuss most anything.  I always tried to convey these thoughts:  ask me, I love you, trust me, I will not lie, and if I don’t know the answer, we will find out.  Of course, mothers and daughters cannot always discuss everything without some embarrassment or judgement, so when they were away at university, I told them, “go to Planned Parenthood – they will always be there for you.”  Continue reading

IUDs: We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

IUDRemember the Dalkon Shield? Use the phrase “Dalkon Shield” and you conjure up all kinds of horror stories regarding the intrauterine device (IUD). Times have changed, and so has the IUD.

There are two types of IUDs available now, and both are considered very safe to use. Both IUDs are small, T-shaped, flexible plastic devices with threads at the end that are inserted into the uterus through the cervix by a health care professional.

The Mirena IUD is a hormonal device and the Paragard is a copper IUD. The Mirena IUD releases a small amount of progestin, which thickens cervical mucus, on a regular schedule and works by preventing sperm from joining an egg. This device is considered 99.8% effective in preventing pregnancy.

The copper IUD (Paragard) contains no hormones and also works by preventing sperm from joining an egg. Paragard is soft, flexible plastic, with copper wrapped around the ends of the T bar and the base of the T. This device is considered 99.2% effective. Continue reading