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Lessons from Texas

November 21, 2013

Meghan Delaney, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) engagement coordinator, traveled to Texas to join the Stand with Texas Women movement in Austin. Below is her recap of her whirlwind trip. 

A few weeks after I started at Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky this past summer, my boss walked up to my desk one Friday and said, “Ok, I am going to ask you something. You can say no…”

Less than 24 hours later, I landed in Texas to help out Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas with a massive mobilization effort. I was greeted by an all-star team of people from Planned Parenthood affiliates in Montana, New Hampshire, California, and Florida. We were an awesome and diverse group, and we were all ready to do some work!

We were in Austin to help Stand with Texas Women, a coalition of multiple organizations and individuals that organized in opposition to Texas Senate Bill 5, a bill that sought to restrict access to abortion and would result in the closure of almost all the abortion clinics in Texas.

On Monday, July 1, thousands of people showed up at a rally at the Texas state house to support the women of Texas. Our group helped organize the event and helped with crowd control. A few anti-choice people were there, and we didn’t want any confrontations. Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards, Texas Rep. Jessica Farrar, and Texas Sen. (and now gubernatorial candidate) Wendy Davis (, who a few days before had delivered an amazing 11-hour filibuster to stop an earlier version of the bill, were among many wonderful speakers we heard at the rally.

After this long day of being in the Texas sun (I didn’t wear sunscreen, big mistake), we had a follow up meeting with Cecile. My Planned Parenthood colleagues and I were a little star-struck! After having a conference call with all of the coalition partners and a discussion about Tuesday’s plans, she very kindly took a picture with us and said, “Y’all need sunscreen!”

On Tuesday, the House heard testimony on the bill. Thousands of people on both sides came to have their voices heard. The day started at 8 a.m. and ended around 1:30 a.m. the next day. Every overflow room and hallway was full of people, and tension ran high throughout the day.

By late afternoon, everyone was starting to get a little weary and very hungry. One of the Stand with Texas Women supporters Tweeted that everyone at the Texas statehouse was getting hungry and we needed help. Soon, thanks to a #pizzasolidarity movement on Twitter, food sent by supporters from all over the country started showing up! It was amazing to see all of the support.

As the night came to an end, the bill was voted on, and was passed. It was a huge disappointment for the people of Texas, and for all of us. However, I left knowing that all of our hard work was not in vain. I learned so much about the power of social media, spreading the word and getting people pumped up and involved. Most important, I witnessed the power and dedication of volunteers. Without their help, this would never have happened.

Advocacy is huge part of Planned Parenthood’s success. I saw that first-hand in Texas. We have power in numbers. Are you ready to take action? Sign up here


Two-Year Anniversary of Preventive Care Court Victory

June 17, 2013

You have to wonder, how far will they take it? How many taxpayer dollars will be wasted?

It’s hard to believe, but we’re coming up on the 2-year anniversary of the preliminary injunction that halted the enforcement of the “defunding” element of HEA 1210. You remember this law — it’s the one that did a lot of damage to reproductive rights in Indiana, and it included an attempt to strip Medicaid funding from PPIN’s poorest patients.

While the preliminary injunction continues to be something we celebrate — and strongly believe will become permanent — we’re disturbed that the State of Indiana is still considering pursuing this case in court. Despite the highest court in the land declining to intervene on the state’s behalf, our Attorney General hasn’t ruled out further legal action.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana

So, what does someone have to gain, by trying to take away Pap tests, breast and testicular exams, birth control and STD testing and treatment from low-income men and women? They’re certainly not looking at the big picture, or the general health of Hoosiers — because if they were, they’d see how PPIN’s preventive care makes our state healthier and drives down health care costs.

No, improved health and saving money isn’t on their minds. This is all about scoring political points.

Raise a glass with us on June 24 — the injunction anniversary — and think about the thousands of men and women whose preventive care remains intact, because PPIN (with you by their side) stood up and said, “Enough!” Pay attention to what our politicians’ priorities are now and in the future.

Already on Alert

January 15, 2013

It seems they can’t help themselves.

Despite assertions that jobs and the economy would be their top priority – Indiana legislators have already introduced a number of dangerous anti-women’s health bills.

Take a look at the legislation that’s been filed – just 8 days into the 2013 session!

SB101 (Banks, Kruse) – Written materials on abortions. Requires the state department of health to develop written materials to be provided to a pregnant woman setting forth specified information. Allows the state department to charge a provider who requests the materials the cost of printing and distributing the materials. Specifies information to be included in the written materials.

SB179 (Banks, Yoder) – Physical plant requirements for abortion clinics. For purposes of hospital licensure law, modifies the definition of “abortion clinic” to include an entity that provides abortion inducing drugs for the purpose of inducing an abortion. Sets forth certain safety and health requirements that an abortion clinic must meet. Specifies that existing licensed abortion clinics must meet the safety and health requirements. Requires the state department of health to inspect an abortion clinic at least one time per year.indiana statehouse

SB183 (Banks, Kruse) – Sex selection and genetic abnormality abortion ban. Prohibits a person from performing an abortion if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion because of: (1) the sex of the fetus; or (2) a diagnosis or potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or a genetic abnormality. Makes it a Class C felony if a person knowingly or intentionally commits a sex-selective abortion or an abortion conducted because of a diagnosis of Down syndrome or other genetic abnormality. Provides for civil relief.

SB335 (Kruse) – Insurance coverage of abortions. Prohibits a state employee health plan, an individual or group policy of accident and sickness insurance, and a group or individual contract with a health maintenance organization from including coverage for abortion unless the abortion is necessary to prevent a substantial permanent impairment of the life or physical health of the pregnant woman. Allows an insurer or health maintenance organization to offer a rider for abortion services if the insurer or health maintenance organization charges an additional premium for the rider.

SB371 (Holdman) – Abortion inducing drugs. Amends the definition of “abortion clinic” to include facilities that provide abortion inducing drugs. Specifies that only a physician who meets certain conditions may administer to a pregnant woman an abortion inducing drug, and sets forth the procedure the physician must follow. Requires a physician who learns of an adverse event following the use of an abortion inducing drug to report the adverse event to the Food and Drug Administration and the medical licensing board. Specifies that the reports of adverse events related to abortion inducing drugs and maintained by the medical licensing board are public records. Makes a violation concerning distribution of an abortion inducing drug and failure to report an adverse event a Class A misdemeanor.

As you would expect, our legislative team has been communicating and meeting regularly with members of the Indiana General Assembly, to talk about these bills.  We’re keeping a close eye on the above list, and know that more troubling legislation may be on the horizon.

We’re also, of course, very aware of the man who was sworn in as our state’s 50th governor just yesterday.  Gov. Mike Pence has said that jobs and education will be his main focus when he’s in the Statehouse, and we intend to hold him to that promise.

So, tell us, what do you foresee for the 2013 session?  And don’t forget, you can always join us in our fight to protect our patients by becoming a part of the Advocates team!

When Women Vote, We ALL Win

October 2, 2012

We hope you enjoy the guest post below by the 51% Club.


Did you know that around 250,000 women who voted in the 2008 Democratic Primary DIDN’T vote in the 2010 General Election?  The 51% Club is an organization dedicated to getting Hoosier women back to the voting booth on November 6.

We want to hear from you.  What happens in your life, in your family, in your community, in your state, and in your country, when women vote?

Send us a picture of yourself (like the one on the right) holding a sign saying what happens when women vote to and we will post it on our website for you to share with your friends on your social networking sites.

Women around the state have already begun to participate in this effort.  Check out their messages at, join the movement, and pass it along!


Love this idea as much as we do?  Be sure to send our friends at the 51% Club a “when women vote” photo.  And let us know in the comments section below what’s driving you to the polls this November.

Before You Vote, Learn About the Candidates

August 27, 2012

All the talk about Missouri Congressman Todd Akin over the last week drives home the point that we need to be very aware of who we’re voting for this November.

Women, in particular, have a lot at stake.  In Indiana, for example, Mike “I’ll Shut Down the Federal Government Over Preventive Health Care for Low-Income Women” Pence is running for governor.  He’s not alone, of course, in his extreme views on women’s issues.  “Personhood” is alive and well in other states.

On the day after Women’s Equality Day, we thought you’d enjoy the opinion piece below that outlines why women’s issues are important to the overall health of Indiana and its economy.  A smart group of women got together to submit this to a number of Hoosier newspapers — and we couldn’t agree more with the sentiment.


Women. We find new solutions to old problems. We care about children, education, health, fair pay and jobs with living wages; we care about Indiana’s future.

We are 51 percent of the population. When we vote, families and communities win. When we’re concerned, we go to work, and we change the world.

Today, on Women’s Equality Day, when we celebrate women’s right to vote, we’re concerned about the future of our state. The statistics on women, children, families and our state’s economy don’t look good. Consider this:

A recent Prudential Financial study showed that the majority of American women are now the breadwinners in their households. Yet in Indiana we still make only 74 cents compared to every dollar made by our white male counterparts. If we happen to be African-American, that’s only 62 cents and if we are Hispanic, 54 cents.

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, one in five Hoosier children live in poverty, and in 2010 nearly half a million free and reduced-price school lunches were served in Indiana. We know that children who struggle with hunger are less prepared to enter school and children who don’t perform well in school are more likely to drop out. Teens who do not graduate from high school are three times more likely than college graduates to be unemployed and — even more sobering — teens who don’t complete high school are eight times more likely than high school graduates to end up in jail or prison. Completing fewer than 12 years of education is a strong predictor of repeated unplanned pregnancies, perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

Hoosier teenage girls have a birth rate significantly higher than the national average. For every 1,000 young women aged 15-19, there are approximately 44 births. We know that teen mothers are less likely to complete high school. Teen mothers are also at a greater risk of dependence on federal aid: approximately one-quarter of teen mothers go on welfare within three years of the child’s birth. We know that daughters of teen mothers are 22 percent more likely to become teen mothers themselves and sons of teen mothers are 13 percent more likely to be incarcerated.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, Indiana ranks 49th in the United States in terms of access to family planning services. We know that every $1 spent on family planning saves taxpayers $4 associated with the costs of unintended pregnancy that end up being paid for with public dollars.

Wage discrimination, policies and practices that discriminate, and lack of access to comprehensive sex education and contraceptives not only make Indiana less welcoming, they also contribute to the growing problem of poverty in our state.

We’ve heard that this fall’s elections are about jobs and the economy. On this day when we commemorate women’s right to vote, we remind our candidates for public office that “women’s issues” are not separate from jobs and the economy — they are the foundation for creating a strong, well prepared workforce and the key to a thriving economy. We want to elect leaders who will support what we know works:

• Jobs that provide Hoosier families with living wages.

• Equal pay practices for women and men who perform the same jobs.

• Access to comprehensive sex education so our young people know how to protect themselves against disease and unplanned pregnancies.

• Access to family planning services, including contraception, so that families have the tools to determine for themselves how best to grow and succeed.

This fall, we women must make our voices heard. We must examine our candidates’ positions and records. And we must vote for the ones who will stand with us to make Indiana a place where every individual has the opportunity to grow and prosper.

Robin Olds, State President

National Organization for Women

This letter also was signed by American Association of University Women State President Sharon Langlotz; Central Indiana Jobs with Justice Community Organizer Amy Shackelford; Indiana Federation of Business and Professional Women State President Theresa Adams; Indiana Federation of Democratic Women Statewide Coordinator Trish Whitcomb-Sipes; Indiana Religious Coalition in Support of Reproductive Justice Co-Presidents Sue Ellen Braunlin, M.D., and Carolyn Meagher; National Council of Jewish Women State Public Affairs Chair Robyn Pauker-Honig; and Planned Parenthood of Indiana President & CEO Betty Cockrum. 

Back on Campus? Get Involved!

August 10, 2012

Following is a guest post from Mackenzie Szymanski, statewide advocacy coordinator for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana.

Summer may be over, but the War on Women isn’t.  As we near the November election, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana is calling on all of its supporters to speak up, get active, and help us win this war!

What does this have to do with a college student?  Right now, you may be taking that unpaid internship (wow, I’m sorry about that, but you won’t regret the experience) because the Pill is covered by your insurance.  You may be on a bar crawl at 1 a.m. because you’ve practiced safer sex and don’t have to find a babysitter.  You may be conscious of your health because a nurse recognized pre-cancerous cells during your cervical screening.

It’s hard to believe, but our right to these basic healthcare services is at risk.

We’re calling on you, college students, to get involved this semester.  Here’s how:

  • Join the Planned Parenthood Action Network (PPAN):  All of Planned Parenthood’s advocates should subscribe to our Action Network to receive a calendar of events, political updates, and volunteer opportunities.  It’s the easiest way to stay in the loop regarding all things Planned Parenthood, and we promise we won’t crowd your inbox!  Sign up here.
  • Table:  set up shop at a health fair, concert, or campus event.
  • Crowd canvassing:  hang out in a public space with a Planned Parenthood petition.
  • Condom crawls:  pass out condoms to the public before/after a big event (like a bar crawl or concert).
  • Petitions and letter-writing:  legislators need to hear from their constituents about issues we care about.
  • Voter registration/Get Out the Vote:  help your peers register to vote and give them information about their polling locations.

Interested?  Contact and we can get started!

Is activism on your to-do list for school this year?  Let us know below!

Did You Know? PPIN’s Education Team Explains the Benefits of the Dental Dam

June 22, 2012

In the guest post below, Planned Parenthood of Indiana‘s (PPIN’s) new media and youth program specialist, Lizzy Bartelt, shares some helpful information about a form of contraception that may not be familiar to you.  Lizzy is a member of PPIN’s Sara and Albert Reuben Partners in Health Education team.  To learn more about our non-profit’s education efforts, please click here

As a sexuality educator, my job is to help people learn how they can make sex safer.  One barrier method that most people have never heard of is a dental dam.

What is a dental dam?  It is a barrier that you can place between you and your partner during either cunnilingus (mouth-to-vulva, a.k.a. “eating out”) or anilingus (mouth-to-anus, a.k.a. “rimming”).  This thin latex barrier (that can also be made of poly-urethane or nitrile) prevents fluids from being transmitted and makes sex safer for you and your partner.

Why is a dental dam so important?  Did you know that as of 2011, the leading cause of mouth and throat cancer is sexually transmitted infections (STIs), specifically human papillomavirus (HPV)?  For many years the leading cause of mouth and throat cancer was tobacco use, but no longer.  Having unprotected oral sex can have severe consequences.  Aside from HPV, most STIs can be transmitted through unprotected oral sex.

Are you afraid you won’t be able to find a dental dam?  They are, indeed, difficult to track down and typically can only be purchased in specialty shops or online.  Never fear, though!  You can get them from many of your local PPIN health centers.

Lizzy Bartelt, new media and youth program specialist for PPIN

Remember:  dental dams are not made for vaginal sex and will not protect you if used that way.  They come in flavors and should be used once per sex act.  Store them in a cool, dry place and make sure you check the expiration date.  If you are using lubricant, ensure that it is water-based (i.e., K-Y Jelly, Astroglide, water or saliva).

If you’ve had unprotected sex, be it oral, anal, or vaginal, it is important to get yourself tested.  Call 1-800-230-PLAN to schedule an appointment today!

More questions?  Go to

So, did you know about the dental dam?  Let us know in the Comments below, and be sure to pass this information along to your friends!  Have a great weekend.

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