September 27, 2016
"Can a rock concert end abortion stigma?" Robin Marty, Care2: "With Ohio at the heart of the abortion access battle, ... Cleveland made the perfect host city for the 'All Access' concert," an abortion-rights event that included storytelling, musical performances, comedy acts and other performances, Marty writes. She adds that "[s]imilar events were held in cities across the country, with local guests and satellite feeds from the main show." According to a Cleveland Scene article, "'The point of the evening was to get together a group of friends, go see an awesome show, pay nothing, and create a community of people who are vocal supporters of reproductive rights.'" According to Marty, given that "clinics are down to just a fraction of the number that existed just two decades ago, and over 200 new restrictions have passed in just the last five years ... it's little wonder that those who have had abortions or know someone who has are speaking out loudly about their experiences." She concludes, "With one in three women projected to [have an abortion] at some point in her childbearing years, it shouldn't take a rock concert to make people comfortable enough to publicly support access to abortion. But until the stigma is finally gone, these public venues are one of the biggest opportunities to break down that wall of silence" (Marty, Care2, 9/23).
"California agrees: There's no such thing as a child prostitute," Yasmin Vafa, Huffington Post blogs: Vafa, executive director of Rights4Girls, spotlights a recently signed California bill (SB 1322) codifying the group's efforts to "eliminate the very notion of 'child prostitute' in both language and law." Vafa explains that her group first launched the "No Such Thing As a Child Prostitute" campaign last year in Los Angeles County, successfully working with law enforcement so that "trafficked girls are no longer placed in handcuffs and criminalized for their exploitation," but instead "are treated as victims of crime and given the services and support that are offered to other victims of child sexual abuse and violence." By signing SB 1322, titled the "No Such Thing" bill, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has enacted this policy change state-wide, Vafa writes. Further, she notes that Brown recently "signed three other significant pieces of legislation [AB 1276, AB 1761, AB 2948] that ... ech[o] the essential principles of No Such Thing to protect survivors while holding exploiters accountable." She concludes, "The passage of these critical laws marks a clear shift in the public perception of sexually exploited youth as victims rather than criminals. ... Our hope is that other states will now follow suit to provide necessary protections to our most vulnerable girls" (Vafa, Huffington Post blogs, 9/26).