Rural Access Matters.

Don’t we all deserve accessible reproductive health services, regardless of economic or social status? Yes, we all do. No one should be refused services or discriminated against because of lack of transportation, financial means or social status.
Nevada County does not have a Planned Parenthood — the nearest Planned Parenthood is located in Sacramento. We at Citizens for Choice are proud to have served our community for over 25 years. “The Clinic” provides the very same types of services one might access at Planned Parenthood, here locally. In fact, The Clinic has provided over 21,000 services so far this year. That has a big impact on our community.
If rural access matters to you, you are invited to join us for our Fall Fundraiser movie screening of “Sister.” This film has received international recognition in multiple film festivals. “Sister” depicts personal stories of women and children around the world, who are striving for reproductive justice and access to health services, despite the economic and rural challenges they are presented with. This film emphasizes Citizens for Choice’s message that rural access matters!

Please join us for our Fall Fundraiser screening of “Sister,” to be held November 4th, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m., at the Nevada City Theater, located at 401 Broad Street, in Nevada City. Advance tickets for $30 can be purchased on our site www.citizensforchoice.org, through PayPal, by check and at the Nevada Theatre the night of the event for $35.

    Posted in Uncategorized

    LGBTQ– How Far Have We Come? A look at human rights and sexual orientation

    Assuming we can overlook the ‘media circus’ surrounding the Bruce Jenner transition to Caitlyn, there is good that has come from Caitlyn’s openness to scrutiny about her history, the decision to follow her heart, and willingness to talk about her feelings.

    Because of her public persona, Caitlyn has had a unique opportunity to allow others to see that transgender people are, after all, people. Like the rest of us, they have opinions and preferences in everything from food to politics to vacation destinations. While one’s gender is a part of what defines us, it’s not everything. Our understanding of who we are as humans includes gender and sexuality, but also includes our career, lifestyle, causes we support, ethics, and hobbies. None of us is one-dimensional.

    Read more ›

      Posted in Current Societal Issues Tagged with: , , , , , ,

      Rape Culture in the U.S. – Causes and Solutions for an Epidemic Problem

      ‘Put molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it. Took her home and I enjoyed that, she aint’ even know it’.

      ~ Rapper Rick Ross, in ‘You Ain’t Even Know It’
      (‘molly’ refers to MDMA, or Ecstasy)

       

      Rape culture is alive and well in the United States. It asserts that men have a right to women’s bodies, with or without consent.                             

      Nearly 1 in 3 male college students admitted they would rape a woman if they could be certain no one would find out and there would be no consequences, according to a University of North Dakota survey.

      respect for personal boundaries is critical

      Respect for others boundaries is essential to stopping rape culture

      The survey, released in December 2014, contained sobering insight into the students’ definition of rape, depending on the wording of the question rather than an understanding of the behavior. When the question was posed as ‘would you act on intentions to force a woman to have sex’, 31.7% responded ‘yes’.

      The researchers changed the wording of the question to ‘would you act on intentions to rape a woman’ and found that only 13.6% said ‘yes’.

      Why did the respondents think there was a difference?

      The paper, “Denying Rape but Endorsing Forceful Intercourse: Exploring Differences Among Responders,” was released recently in the journal ‘Violence and Gender’.

      What the researchers discovered is that those respondents who said they might force a woman to have sex but ‘not rape her’ seemed to have high levels of indifferent sexual attitudes – in other words, they weren’t overtly hostile (as were the group who admitted to thinking that rape was acceptable), but they also didn’t perceive women as individuals who have the right to control their own bodies. It appeared that the respondents felt that acting aggressively was ‘expected’ and ‘manly’.

      What cultural and peer behaviors encourage this belief?

      • In 2013, two Steubenville, Ohio high school football players were convicted and sentenced for the rape of a 16 year old girl. The media was flooded with comments about the young men, who had ‘such promising futures’ and how ‘sad it was their lives were ruined’

       

      In reality, the girl was brutally assaulted by her peers, who transported, undressed, photographed and sexually assaulted her. The boys jokingly shared their crime on social media, posting photos of the rape, saying she was ‘like a dead body’ because she was incapacitated by alcohol. Hundreds of shared photos and text messages making light of the crime were presented as evidence during the trial.

       

      • At Kenilworth Junior High School in Petaluma, California, a school administrator informed all the female students that they ‘couldn’t wear tight pants because it caused the boys to be distracted’.

       

      Why did the school feel it was incumbent upon the girls to change their dress and behavior? Purportedly because they feel the boys aren’t able to control themselves.  Why not teach mutual respect and boundaries instead?  This action inferred that the boys somehow weren’t to blame for their own behavior.

       

      • The treatment of women as ‘objects’, and violent behavior exhibited toward them by prominent sports figures such as NFL star Ray Rice sets a terrible example for teen boys who idolize these athletes. Had Mr. Rice’s vicious attack on his then fiancée not been videotaped and widely distributed in the media, it’s entirely possible the NFL would have looked the other way.

       

      Who is responsible for perpetuating the belief that boys don’t need to respect boundaries with girls?

      It seems everyone is to blame. Video games, Rap music, sports culture, internet porn, television, lack of action on the part of schools, and peer pressure are all factors. Adolescent and teen boys are getting the message that encourages them to ignore their emotions, objectify and degrade women, and resolve conflict through aggression. The media creates a minefield of gender identity and false expectations of what it means to become a ‘real’ man at a time in boy’s lives when they are struggling with overwhelming feelings of sexuality.

      objectifying women in video games

      Violent video games often portray women as ‘objects’

      Is progress being made?

      Arguably not fast enough, though there are programs to mentor young men and promote healthier, non-violent identities based on a set of values which embrace respect for women.

      One such program is the Men of Strength Club. This school-based curriculum spans 22 weeks and teaches male teens ages 11-18 appropriate dating and relationship skills.  They are encouraged to show their ‘strength’ and masculinity in positive and empathetic ways among their peers.

      Winning the 2007 United States Changemakers competition to identify the world’s most innovative domestic violence prevention programs, the Men of Strength Club is now in schools across 10 states, including California.

      Obviously, we have a long way to go.  Providing fact-based sex education in our schools is one way to open dialog between parents and adolescents – the perfect opportunity to discuss the meaning of healthy relationships. The ‘Know it & Own it’ program developed by Citizens for Choice is a powerful tool in creating a sense of responsibility and respect in teens of both sexes.

      Further Reading and Study:

      The results of a 2013 National Study on teens and sexual violence: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/10/08/2748631/national-study-adolescents-sexual-violence/

      http://dayofthegirl.org/rape-culture/  This website addresses the neglect and devaluation of girls around the world

      http://therepresentationproject.org/films/the-mask-you-live-in/about-the-film/synopsis/
      Documentary directed by Jennifer Newsome (Miss Representation) which explores the role of boys as they grow up with stereotypes and expectations of a society that condones aggression.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

        Posted in Current Societal Issues Tagged with: , , , , ,

        What is Reproductive Freedom?

        By Kimberly D’Urso, President

        Many organizations exist for the sole purpose of maintaining a society which respects everyone’s right to intimate relationships, and to decide whether or not they choose to have children. Education, access to affordable contraception, and a ‘Life Plan’ all play a crucial role in an individual’s ability to make choices which reflect their personal beliefs.

        Abstinence only programs which avoid scientific-based facts, perpetuate the idea that by providing sex education, teens will make poor decisions. In conveying this message of distrust, it makes it much harder to empower our youth in a dialogue about sexuality—including abstinence, consent, contraception, identity and healthy relationships—giving them the tools to prosper as emotionally stable adults.

        Let’s begin with Defining Reproductive Freedom. There are five main contributors in understanding an individual’s reproductive freedom:What is Reproductive Freedom_Graphic

        Self-Awareness. When a person has conscious knowledge of their character, feelings and personal beliefs they are self-aware. Gender identity, the ability to define consent, and establishing a ‘Life Plan’ are all acts of self-awareness– which may include starting a family early, waiting until after college or later in life, or not having a child.

        Emotional Stability. When an individual is self-aware, they are better equipped to withstand peer pressure, recognize healthy relationship behaviors and avoid domestic violence or dangerous emotional instability patterns.

        Choice. Without the opportunity to choose, there are no reproductive freedoms. Affordable access, patient rights, and confidential unbiased care are the basis to one’s reproductive choices.

        Support. There are many ways support maintains reproductive freedom. Voting for a candidate who supports your right to choose, activism, or by donating your time/money, all support the many diverse organizations whose objective is to ensure reproductive justice for all.

        Foundation. Reproductive freedom is founded on your constitutional right to choose what is best for YOU. Fully understanding your reproductive rights–and the organizations who support them–ensures that they are available for you, and generations to follow.

        By providing women, men and teens access to confidential, unbiased resources to maintain their reproductive health, our community benefits from an increase in individuals who lead healthy, proactive lives–resulting directly in a decrease in unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

        Kimberly D’Urso is a certified Health Worker and President of Citizens for Choice. She is working with the Countywide Health Coordinator, Curriculum Coordinator-Safe Schools/Healthy Students to bring a comprehensive sex-education program to middle and high school students in Nevada County, as well as an independent program, Know it & Own it, offered directly through Citizens for Choice. If you are interested in learning more about these programs, Kimberly can be reached at kimberly.c4c@gmail.com

          Posted in Reproductive Rights

          February is National Condom Month

          by Freddy Zylstra

          A soldier stands in the damp hallway of Dudley Castle, the mist creeping in through the cracks in the cold stone wall. The year is 1642. He is there to meet a chambermaid working for 6th dreamstimefree_204630Baroness Dudley Frances Sutton. When the young woman arrives, hiding in the shadows to avoid discovery, they quickly embrace. The soldier removes a tube from his uniform which has been made from a sheep bladder. After placing it on his penis, the two have sex quickly before the chambermaid kisses him and scurries back to her station. Smiling, the soldier removes the bladder and discards it in the castle cesspit before returning to guard the castle.

          The oldest condoms ever excavated were from a cesspit located at Dudley castle, thought to have been used by the soldiers who were protecting the castle from being overtaken by Cromwell’s army in 1642. It was around that time the English Civil War began; Dudley Castle was considered a stronghold.

          But those sheep bladder condoms were by no means the first. Paintings in the Grotte des Combarelles, a cave in Dordogne, France, depict what appear to be condoms on some of the men. These paintings date back around 15,000 years. Historians think that they had made the connection between disease and ‘unprotected’ sex, and began fashioning penis sheaths as a means of prevention.

          They weren’t always made from relatively comfortable material, either.  In 16th century Italy, ‘sheaths’ made from linen were used as condoms.  The material was soaked in a chemical – thought to kill disease – and then allowed to dry. These maintained popularity for some time, although it was said some men complained about their comfort. (There are no anecdotes about how women felt about these linen condoms, but we can guess they were a bit like sandpaper) Later in the Renaissance period, the use of animal intestine or bladder to make condoms became more popular. Just some of the other materials tried over the centuries were leather, oiled silk paper, tortoiseshell and horn.

          In 1494 Syphilis was rampant, and some physicians were very outspoken about the need for protection. The first known reference to condoms and the prevention of pregnancy wasn’t until 1605.

          Today’s condoms are mass-produced from a variety of materials including latex, polyurethane, lambskin, or non-latex natural rubber.  They are still the best line of defense against Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) if used correctly.

          According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), STI’s can be significantly reduced if condoms are used consistently and correctly. STI’s are transmitted via two primary exposures:

          1. Through infected secretions from the vagina or urethra (men and women) which come into contact with mucosal surfaces (urethra, vagina, cervix, anus or even oral mucosa) The following diseases are primarily transmitted in this manner:
            • HIV / AIDS
            • Gonorrhea
            • Chlamydia
            • Trichomoniasis

          Because condoms provide an impermeable barrier between secreting surfaces, they are an excellent choice in prevention of the above diseases.

          1. Contact with infected skin or mucosa. The diseases transmitted in this way are:
            • Genital Herpes
            • Syphillis
            • Chancroid
            • HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)

          Condoms are also highly effective in preventing disease transmitted via skin contact, though cannot prevent transmission in areas that aren’t covered by the condom.

          Are all condoms created equal? In order to give yourself the best protection, here’s what to look for on the label:

          • Latex or polyurethane, including the female condom
          • Disease prevention claim on package label

          Chlamydia is by far the most prevalent STI in Nevada County, with almost 10 times the number of cases compared to Gonorrhea.  It’s preventable.

          There’s no excuse for not using condoms.

          Condoms are available for free at:C4C_Condom Fairies

           Asylum Down  |  Behind Closed Doors  |  BriarPatch   |  Café Mekka   |  Classic Tattoo  |  Common Goals  |  CoRR   |  DVSAC  |  Foggy Mountain Music   |  Good Times Board Store  |  HAALo  |  Ink Expressed Tattoo  |  Dr E. Lernhardt, MD  |  Mine Shaft  |  Sierra Care Pediatrics – Grass Valley  |  Sierra Care Physicians – Penn Valley  |  Sierra College Health Services   |  N.S.J.-Sierra Family Medical Clinic  |  Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters  |  The Stone House  |  Tribal Weaver  |  WIC (Women, Infants, and Children’s Services)

          Need help learning the safest method of using a condom? (You’d be surprised at the number of people who don’t know.) The Clinic! , located at 140 Richardson St., Grass Valley, offers friendly, non-judgmental instruction on the proper use of condoms, prevention of STI’s, and many other aspects of reproductive health.

          The soldier meeting his lover in Dudley Castle back in 1642 valued his health enough to wear a condom. Today, condoms are more comfortable and even better at preventing disease. So, no more excuses. Love your body and enjoy it in good health.

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

            Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,

            Why our Community Needs The Clinic! and Women’s Health Specialists

            An unsuspecting woman suddenly in need of assistance with an unplanned pregnancy, birth control, or facts about her reproductive health may look to a local clinic for help.  It is likely to be the first time she has consulted with anyone for these needs. How can she know the information she’ll receive is factual and comprehensive?

            She does an online search.  A nice-looking clinic is advertising that they help women with these issues, and from the looks of it, the staff is compassionate and well-informed. But what this woman doesn’t realize is that she has reached a Crisis Pregnancy Center with a definite agenda that doesn’t include her best interests.

            Crisis Pregnancy Center staff, in their mission to protect the unborn at all cost, feel its okay to lie to pregnant mothers and young women seeking advice about their reproductive health as long as their agenda is successful.

            dreamstimefree_224435

            Am I pregnant?

            The goal is to coerce pregnant women into carrying the fetus full-term or as a last resort consider adoption. Any woman who asks about terminating a pregnancy is given a laundry list of lies designed to scare her into quickly dispensing with the idea.  These clinics also often counsel women against birth control methods and shame them for wanting to have sex if they aren’t married.

            Yet these centers advertise that they’ll help pregnant women with their choices and offer ‘educational’ services for women.

            The documentary ‘Misconception’ chronicles the experiences of three women who went undercover to centers that advertised they would help women make ‘choices’.  Their investigation was secretly filmed and revealed shocking deceit and lies on the part of the centers’ workers.

            Many of these ‘centers’ receive government funding. They are careful not to appear anti-abortion in their advertising – because this will bring women into the clinics who are seeking abortions, which they hope to stop. While not all ‘pregnancy crisis centers’ employ these methods, here are some of the lies told to women who venture in either looking for factual counseling, contraception, education or termination:

            • One of the women in the documentary was asked “Why do you have sex?” and was then informed that there has to be meaning behind intercourse. “You don’t have sex to make yourself feel good.”
            • Condoms are “naturally porous” and do not protect against STDs (This is, of course, untrue)
            • “Abortion causes extremely high, increased risk of breast cancer” that “can be as much as an 80% increase depending upon how the risk factors fall into place.” (The National Institute of Health finds no connection whatsoever between abortion and any kind of cancer.)
            • 30 percent of women who get abortions die within the first year due to complications. (In fact, the risk of death from childbirth in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy is 11 times greater than that of abortion – after 20 weeks, the risk is the same).
            • At one CPC technicians were caught tapping out “messages” from unborn babies (“hi mommy and daddy”) as they perform ultrasounds, making the inference that the first trimester fetus can recognize and even speak to its parents.
            • A Jewish woman who posed as a pregnant woman as part of an investigation was told at five centers that she wouldn’t go to heaven unless she converted to Christianity.
            • 91% of “services” at Planned Parenthood in 2010 were abortions. (The actual number is about 3%)
            • “Birth control and the ‘morning-after pill’ are abortifacients. (meaning they cause abortion)” In fact, they prevent conception from occurring at all.
            • One of the women who went undercover for the documentary was given a sonogram, shown a plastic ‘replica’ of a supposedly 12 week old fetus and sternly lectured about morality and religion. The ‘replica’, by the way, was a very small but completely developed doll made to look like a 6 month old baby.

            As long as centers reveal they don’t offer counseling which includes the choice of abortion, are clear that they follow an anti-abortion position and religious beliefs, that would be fine. They could also be honest that they don’t condone birth control or sex outside marriage so women can make their own decision about whether or not to visit. Few centers are so straightforward, since they desire to ‘convert’ those who don’t share their opinions.

            To use deception and lies to promote a clinic that receives taxpayer funding is reprehensible. Our local ‘Crisis Pregnancy Center’ offers lovely language on their services page, offering to ‘help you make an informed choice’ and offers a ‘friendly, safe, non-judgmental environment for you to talk about your options and ask questions about parenting, adoption and abortion’. Sounds very helpful and open, doesn’t it? The only counseling you’ll receive about abortion is that it is not an option.

            http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-doctor-teenage-patient-image28561064

            Unbiased information about all options.

            Contrary to the erroneous opinion of the well-meaning staff at crisis pregnancy centers, The Clinic!, run by Citizens for Choice and Women’s Health Specialists, does not advocate abortion for every pregnant woman.  Abortion is not performed at The Clinic! – instead, women who choose to terminate a pregnancy are referred to the Chico or Sacramento Clinic. Abortion accounts for only about 4% of the total services offered. The Clinic! Offers truly unbiased options based on scientific fact. Women are encouraged to explore all options so they may come to a decision which is right for them. It’s a personal decision- one which is respected by the staff.  In fact, education is the primary mission of Citizens for Choice, with a new program launched just this year called ‘Know it and Own it’. According to The Guttmacher Institute, nearly 50% of teens don’t learn about their reproductive health from their parents, and instead, rely on often incorrect information from friends. This program aims to create a generation of teens who are well-informed about their reproductive health and have a sense of empowerment based on knowledge, confidence and acceptance.

            Why do we need The Clinic! in our community? It’s the only place where men and women of any age and sexual orientation can truly get unbiased, science-based, medically accurate and comprehensive information and counseling  from staff whose only agenda is to help them be empowered and informed.

              Posted in Reproductive Rights Tagged with: , , , ,

              The History of Citizens for Choice in our Community

              We’ve reached a milestone.

              The small group of women who envisioned greater access to reproductive health care and unbiased, informative planning in 1989 knew something had to be done in our community. We were too small and rural to warrant a Planned Parenthood clinic – and many of those residents truly in need of services didn’t have the ability to travel to gain access to those services.

              Education was an immediate need.  At Silver Springs High School (the county school with programs for young mothers), the school nurse reported that the overwhelming consensus among students was that getting pregnant was desirable, because they would receive more welfare money.  These young mothers didn’t envision a choice for themselves – either in their reproductive health or their lives.

              Nevada County was overwhelmingly conservative in 1989.  The LivingWell clinic, an anti-abortion advocate, had opened its doors in 1986, its intention to influence and coerce young pregnant women to consider only full-term pregnancy as an option. No organization existed to provide medically accurate, truthful, complete education and options to those in need.

              Women from The American Association of University Women (ww.aauwnevadacounty.org), Business & Professional Women of Nevada County (bpwnevadacounty.org), and the League of Women Voters (www.lwvwnc.org) formed an alliance to provide education about reproductive choice.  They decided their first priority was to begin encouraging public dialogue.120 Richardson St_sm

              Armed with pamphlets and medically accurate information from pro-choice organizations outside Nevada County, these women held their first public information seminar. They were thrilled when a deluge of attendees arrived. The excitement was short-lived, however, when they discovered the attendees were present only to prevent the presentation from taking place and to remove the entire supply of educational pamphlets. They decided to reorganize and become better prepared for future presentations.

              These early founders were astounded that there was an organized effort to suppress facts about pregnancy and abortion.  They were accused of being pro-abortion. In fact, just like today, no one was advocating that young women rush to have abortions the moment they discovered they were pregnant. What they did advocate for was education and empowerment – based on unbiased, informative family planning and access to reproductive health care.  This alliance of women strongly felt that choice – the choice to have children or not – and when – is an absolute right for all people.

              The ensuing years brought change – but it was slow and often discouraging. Citizens for Choice became an independent organization in 1992.  Its founders dreamed of providing a clinic for Nevada County, but felt it might never come to fruition.

              Were it not for the dedication, courage and hard work of the women who met 25 years ago with a shared vision of supporting reproductive choice, we would not now be celebrating this milestone anniversary.

              Today, Citizens for Choice is a member organization of the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom (CCRF), a statewide reproductive and sexual health, rights, and justice coalition of more than 30 independent organizations. We are partners with Women’s Health Specialists for The Clinic!, our reproductive health care clinic in Grass Valley, which was opened in 2006. We provide education through our ‘Know it and Own it’ program.  Our advocate partner, C.H.O.I.C.E.S., promotes reproductive justice and education at Sierra College.

              Join us in celebrating our 25th Anniversary! A ‘Decadent Desserts’ fundraiser is planned for Thursday, November 20th, 2014 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Historic Powell House in Nevada City.  Have you been craving the luscious taste of Chocolate Grand Marnier cake? Give in to your desires! Your senses will be soothed by voluptuous desserts baked lovingly by Upper Crust Bakery in Chico; your ears caressed by the soulful music of Aedryan Gantt. You will be supporting a great organization with your modest donation (suggested $25 in honor of 25 years of service).

              RSVP via e-mail at info@citizensforchoice.org and honor the commitment and vision of Citizens for Choice and the difference we make in our community.

               

               

               

               

               

               

                Posted in Reproductive History Tagged with: , ,

                Honoring Courage

                This short, 10-minute film is powerful. ‘Honoring Courage: A Short History of Reproductive Health Services in California’ details the fight in the 1960s and 1970s to legalize abortion and curtail forced sterilization and takes viewers to current efforts to secure reproductive rights and justice.

                This story has never before been documented on film.

                Produced by CCRWF and Storefront Political Media, we were honored to work with our Advisory Committee: Black Women for Wellness, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, NARAL Pro-Choice California, and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, as well as the many leaders who agreed to be interviewed and filmed.

                  Posted in Reproductive History, Reproductive Rights Tagged with: , , ,

                  TED Talk by our friend and youth advocate, Holly Lemyre

                  Check out this riveting TED talk from our local Sierra College C.H.O.I.C.E.S club leader – Holly Lemyre. This speech was given at the TEDxYouth@GrassValley event on November 11, 2013.

                  Here’s a little more about Holly:

                  Holly is a free spirited young feminist, born and raised in the Bay Area. Finding herself entranced with Nevada County, Holly moved to Grass Valley in August of 2012 to begin her education. Holly is a full time student, president of the reproductive health club C.H.O.I.C.E.S. at Sierra College NCC, and runs a sex health blog, Sex Digest, in her spare time.

                    Posted in C.H.O.I.C.E.S. club Tagged with: ,

                    Facts and Fallacies about the HPV Vaccine

                    The HPV Vaccine, which guards against Human Papilloma Virus, has been available since June, 2006.

                    Few side effects have been reported;  in fact, according to VAERS (the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) nearly all reactions to the HPV vaccine have been very mild, compared to other vaccines, such as MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) and DPT (Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus).

                    Vaccine reactions are typically a low fever or mild pain at the injection site although there remains much controversy about the vaccine’s safety and scare tactics abound. Even vaccines which cause higher incidence of serious reaction than the HPV vaccine are still exponentially safer than the diseases they prevent.C for C blog Aug 2014

                    HPV is a common but potentially serious group of viruses, of which more than 100 strains exist.  Most men and women, by the time they reach adulthood, have been exposed to this virus.  In 90% of the cases, our immune system clears the virus within two years.

                    About 30% of the strains are sexually transmitted.  Of these, a few are considered ‘high-risk’.  They may cause abnormal Pap tests and can lead to cancer of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis or anus.  Others, called ‘low-risk’ strains may result in genital warts or even cause Pap test abnormalities.

                    Cervical cancer is the most serious complication of the HPV virus.  Nearly 4,000 women in the United States die annually from this disease – worldwide, the numbers are a staggering 270,000.

                    So why does the controversy still exist over a vaccine which has been proven to prevent the HPV virus?

                    According to a Reuter’s article, the scare over the vaccine was fueled, in large part, by Michele Bachmann during her run for the 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination.   One of Bachmann’s rivals, Texas Governor Rick Perry, had mandated the vaccine as part of the Texas state school vaccination program in 2007 (It was subsequently overturned.) In a 2011 debate, Bachmann seized upon an opportunity to make her rival look bad, saying he ‘forced innocent little girls to have a government injection that was potentially dangerous”. The next day, while on the Today show, Bachmann added fuel to the fire by claiming she knew of a woman whose daughter had become ‘mentally retarded’ after receiving the vaccine.

                    The American Academy of Pediatrics tried to quell the controversy caused by Bachmann’s unsubstantiated and self-serving remarks by issuing a statement which contained actual facts, backed by scientific research, which showed the vaccine to be safe.

                    In fact, so incredulous were some of the country’s top Bioethicists, that two offered rewards if Bachmann could produce proof that even one person suffered such a reaction.  (One of the rewards was in excess of $10,000.) They offered to donate the rewards to Bachmann’s favorite charity and invited her to ‘put her money where her mouth was’ by donating to their charity of choice should she fail to produce a victim.

                    Bachmann’s campaign never replied.  She never collected the reward, as she remained silent, apparently unable to find anyone with a reaction worse than a sore arm or mild headache.

                    As is typical, however, outlandish claims by dramatic and power-inebriated political candidates seem to get more air time than scientists talking about real facts.  Possibly this is because scientists tend to behave in a calmer, more self-restrained style, which is good for science but bad for television.

                    Because of the dramatic accusation made by a political candidate (whose career was in law – not science), internet scare stories have proliferated in spite of a profound lack of substantive evidence. C for C Teen iStock_000016793985XSmall

                    A survey done by the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that 85% of parents planned to have their child vaccinated.   Twelve percent were ‘undecided’, and cited claims made on the internet as the reason for their fear.  Three percent were adamant they would not vaccinate under any circumstances, apparently fearful their offspring might not be able to comprehend a fact-deficient political debate in the future.

                    It’s clear that science and facts are winning the battle, but there remains much to be accomplished to educate parents of girls in middle school about the benefits of HPV prevention.  Citizens for Choice supports this education, as they support all education for men and women alike to foster reproductive health.

                      Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,

                      The Clinic!
                      120 Richardson St. Suite A
                      Grass Valley, CA 95945

                      Mondays 10:30-3:30
                      Wednesdays 11:00-4:00

                      530.521.3273 The Clinic!
                      800.714.8151 - 24/7
                      530.274.3331 C4C

                      info@citizensforchoice.org

                      follow Citizens for Choice

                      Kimberly D'Urso, President

                      Position open, Vice President Administrator

                      Sharon O'Hara, Vice President for Programs

                      Charlotte Cammon, Chief Financial Officer

                      Fran Erickson, Secretary

                      Position open, Donor Relations

                      Position open, Marketing Coordinator

                      Susan Fivelstad, Newsletter Editor

                      Debra Worth, Outreach Coordinator

                      Position open, Volunteer Coordinator