Choice USA is a reproductive rights non-profit organization in the United States based in Washington, D.C. and Oakland, California. It is youth-led, with a focus on pro-choice movements.
History and organization
Choice USA was founded in 1992 by Gloria Steinem, an American feminist, activist, and writer. The organization's first projects analyzed the activities of the religious right in elections and promoted electoral participation by women, young people, and people of color.
In 2001, Choice USA laid the groundwork for making a transition to exclusively become a youth-led and focused reproductive rights organization by creating programs that incorporated lessons from research and field experience.
Currently, Choice USA's programs reach young people in every region of the country by supporting youth leaders in creating chapters at college and university campuses.
Mission and values
Choice USA is based on the belief that each person worldwide has the right to decide when and if they will have sex, when and if they will be pregnant, and when and if they will have a child. In order to make those personal decisions, Choice USA supports the need for accurate information and safe, legal reproductive health services available to everyone.
The organization is guided by the following principles in order to ensure diversity and inclusion:
- shared power and authority
- a youth-controlled agenda
- collaboration and partnership
- constituent-specific strategies
Choice USA advocates for these core reproductive and sexual rights and health issues:
- comprehensive, medically accurate sexuality education
- accessible and affordable access to safe sex methods, including contraception and emergency contraception
- safe, accessible, comprehensive, quality and affordable reproductive and sexual health care that encourages parental involvement but does not require their notification or consent
- safe, accessible, comprehensive, quality, affordable, and legal access to abortion services
- informed consent for decisions related to reproductive and sexual health care, including non-coercive and unbiased counseling about contraception, abortion, pregnancy and birthing
- comprehensive prenatal care
- culturally and linguistically competent reproductive and medical care
Reproductive Justice Organizing Institute
The Reproductive Justice Organizing Institute is a set of trainings and programs developed by Choice USA to develop and support emerging pro-choice leaders.
- Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute (GSLI): an intensive training for college students and leaders, held throughout the year in Southern, Midwestern, and Western parts of the United States. Participants learn about reproductive choice and justice issues, network with other young people, and develop leadership skills for reproductive justice activism.
- Specific Issue Strategy Sessions (SISS): workshops designed to develop strategies around local campaigns.
- Grassroots Organizing Weekends (GROW): Choice USA partners with United States Student Association for this workshop that prepares student activists to promote and defend reproductive choice.
- Voter Action Strategy Training (VAST): teaches participants how to run voter registration, voter education, and get-out-the-vote efforts that build electoral power to pressure decision-makers and win policy changes.
- History of Choice, Future of Justice: an overview of the history of reproductive rights, the pro-choice and oppositional movements, and ideas for the future expansion of reproductive rights into a broader, social justice-based framework.
- Training of Trainers: a training program designed to specifically train activists to be experts in a number of Choice USA trainings.
Campaigns and activities
- In 1996, the Next Generation Campaign was created in response to the decline in young people’s support for reproductive choice compared to previous generations, assisting in the organization's transition to exclusively youth-led and focused
- In 2005, Choice USA focused on defeating California Proposition 73, which would have amended the California Constitution to ban performance of abortions on minors until 48 hours after the minor's parent or guardian were notified by a physician
- In 2005, Choice USA launched a National EC Campaign, in an effort to urge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make emergency contraception available without a prescription
- In 2006, Choice USA joined in the cross-organization campaign to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which excludes abortions from covered Medicaid services
- In 2006, following the approval of over-the-counter sales of emergency contraception to women 18 and older, Choice USA joined in the fight to make emergency contraception available for all women at health care centers and pharmacies
- In 2006, Choice USA and the Latina Institute for Reproductive Health hosted the Young Women's Collaborative training, the first training for what would later become the Southwest Partnership, in Tucson, AZ.
- In 2007, Choice USA collaborated with other organizations to support the Fairness in Flowers campaign, in an effort to change working conditions for female flower workers in Ecuador and Colombia
- In 2007, Choice USA began working with students to reverse the negative impact of the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act on Birth Control prices on college campuses.
- In 2007, Choice USA sent 35 Reproductive Justice Youth Ambassadors to the first United States Social Forum in Atlanta, Georgia to participate in the discussions and activities around reproductive and sexual health and social justice
- In 2007, Choice USA began a collaboration with Generations Ahead on Egg Donation
- In 2008, Choice USA hosted the first annual Gloria Steinem Membership Conference.
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