I tend to get lot of emails, tweets, and messages about one thing: How do I become more aware of what’s happening in my community and nationwide when it comes to reproductive health and rights? What are some resources I can start using to increase my awareness?
I’ve used many resources throughout the years to get timely information on what’s happening in reproductive rights, health and education, and I wanted to share some of the best resources I’ve found. Of course, this isn’t a complete listing of every online source that you can use, but hopefully you can use this as a stepping stone to begin increasing your awareness of what’s happening across the country and globally when it comes to reproductive health and information. Plus, you may already be familiar with these resources. In that case, great! I’m sure there is always something use, fresh, and useful for you to learn and share.
From perspective blogs to interactive maps, here are 8 online resources you can use to jump-start your reproductive rights activism (and 3 ways to get the most out of them):
RH Reality Check– RH Reality Check is an online community that provides evidence-based information on what’s happening in sexual health and reproductive rights policy. From birthing rights, abortion, law and policy, public health, and many other topics, RH Reality Check has its regular site writers and also invites readers to submit posts and videos as guest bloggers in order to increase it’s range of progressive and insightful news an analysis. Not only will you find information and commentary on reproductive health and rights happening in the United States, you’ll also read what’s happening globally.
Scarleteen– Scarleteen is the go-to site for all things positive sexuality for youth and adolescents (and their parents and caretakers). Headed by author and activist Heather Corinna, Scarleteen provides frequently updated information on comprehensive sexuality, dating, ways to do outreach offline, resources, mentoring and leadership opportunities, advice on where to go for services, and much more. Coupled with All About S.E.X.: The Scarleteen Book!, Scarleteen also runs a moderated message board for you to ask questions and get answers on all things pro-healthy sexual development.
Guttmacher Institute– Combining research, policy analysis, and public education, The Guttmacher Institute advances sexual and reproductive rights by providing updated information on a national and global front. Guttmacher not only provides frequently updated information on technology/bioethic, abortion, contraception, pregnancy, men’s health, and adolescents (among others), but Guttmacher also provides facts sheets, briefs, slide shows, reports, and media kits on local and international policy and perspectives on sexual health, as well as a state center to keep you up to date on what’s happening in your state around trends on contraception, abortion, family planning, and funding.
Bedsider– Bedside is the go-to online guide for birth control methods. Operated by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, Bedsider is one of the most comprehensive and inclusive websites available on the different methods of birth control, including factual information on the various methods of birth control, medical provider perspectives, and testimonials from people on why they’ve chosen their preferred method of birth control. It even includes “not right now” (celibacy and abstinence) as a method of birth control. Bedsider includes options to get reminders of when to take your birth control, to having a collaboration with Daily Feats to gain points in order to get discounts on a variety of services, to even a birth control finder that, after answering a few questions, can tell you if you’re eligible for free birth control.
Center for Reproductive Rights– The Center for Reproductive Rights uses law and policy to make advancements in reproductive policy and rights globally. Guided by the basics of human rights, the Center focuses on abortion, safe and healthy pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, censorship, youth rights, and funding. The Center provides conferences and trainings, information on how to engage policy makers, and even what’s happening at the United Nations in terms of reproductive health advocacy. Two major highlights of the Center are its regional center (information on what the Center is doing globally) and In The Courts, where you can look up any issue (from the Global Gab Rule to sex education) in any region of the world to see what court cases are open, where the cases were filed, which Center attorney is leading the effort, and the outcome of that case.
SIECUS– The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) provides education and information on sexuality and sexual/reproductive health using their principles of education (assisting schools and community groups in developing accurate comprehensive sex education, as well helping parents and caregivers talk openly about sex with young people) advocacy (meeting with policy makers to discuss sexuality and sexual education and to gather support for comprehensive sex education and sex-healthy education policies), and informing (making their information as accessible as possible to everyone from students to policy makers). SIECUS has an amazing array of resources, from information on comprehensive sex education, abstinence-only education, as well as state profiles, policy updates, and a really useful Community Action Kit, which provides the tools you need to gather support for comprehensive sex education in your schools and community.
ISIS– The Internet Sexuality Information Services (ISIS) focuses on providing leadership, research, and educational resources to advance mobile and online sexual health information and advocacy, with a particular focus on young adults, youth of color, and LGBTQ youth. Focusing on the fact that many young people today receive most of their information via the internet, mobile devices, and social media, ISIS uses technology to bring accurate information on sex and sexuality to young people. One of the highlights of ISIS is Sex::Tech, a two-day annual conference that brings together professionals, youth, and parents to learn how technology (including social media, mobile devices, and the internet) is advancing how we think and receive information on sexual and sexuality, and how professions, youth, and adults can capitalize on this information.
Mapping Our Rights– Developed in partnership between SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, Center for Reproductive Rights, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force ,and Ipas, Mapping Our Rights is a state-by-state analysis of the various laws and policies that affect sexual and reproductive rights. This interactive map allows you to monitor what’s happening in your state (including state rankings, state statistics by race/ethnicity, etc.), focusing on contraception, abortion restriction and access, sex education. The state colors rank from blue (less restrictions) to deep red (the most restrictions). You can also send Mapping Our Rights feedback on the map as well as to find out how often the information is updated.
How can you utilize these resources?
Subscribe: Many of these resources have a newsletter sign-up that sends weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly news and highlights directly to your inbox. They also contain job and volunteer opportunities, guest blog post submission requests, and other useful information.
Social media: Spend some time looking around these sites, and you’ll find that many include ways to stay connected via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and more. Using social media is a great way get up-to-the-minute information as it becomes available.
Share with your colleagues and friends: Don’t keep this information to yourself! Be sure to share these resources with your friends and colleagues.