By Tamara Fagin, Guest Blogger

I did not grow up watching Elizabeth Taylor on the silver screen. If I did, I’m sure that like many young people who did come of age with her (like my parents), I would have been utterly distracted by her dark-haired beauty, her striking violet blue eyes and all of those marriages. She was a superstar.

I, on the other hand, came of age during the 1980’s. During a period of tumultuous change – somewhat like now come to think of it. I witnessed (on television) the fall of the Berlin Wall, the fallout of Chernobyl and individuals, families and institutions grappling with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The Elizabeth Taylor that I grew up with was the most famous AIDS activist in the world.

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Today’s guest post comes to us from The Population Institute. I highlight it because the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day is being celebrated at events around the world today. The best way I can think of to celebrate IWD is to petition the U.S. Congress and other world leaders to make good on their commitments to fund international family planning. In No Excuses, I show why reproductive self-determination is essential for women to have any other kind of power. But the Republicans are trying to eliminate or drastically cut family planning funds in the U.S. and globally. Even if you don’t have time to read the whole post, please click here to sign the petition now. You’ll be saving women’s lives.

It’s time to hold world leaders accountable for their promises. Seventeen years ago world leaders gathered in Cairo, Egypt, and declared access to reproductive health care to be a universal right, but for many that right has not been realized. An estimated 215 million married women in the developed world want to avoid a pregnancy, but are not using a modern method of birth control. Tens of millions of young men and women are at risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

It’s time to make access to contraceptives and reproductive health care a reality, not just a right.
Need another reason? By giving women the power to prevent unwanted and unintended pregnancies we save lives. Every year 365,000 women, many of them too young to bear children, die as a result of pregnancy-related causes.

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