URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
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URGE is a reproductive rights and justice non-profit organization in the United States based in Washington, D.C. It is youth-led, with a focus on pro-choice movements. URGE changed its name in July 2014 and was formerly called Choice USA. In a statement on its website, the group said the name change reflected work it was already doing outside of abortion rights advocacy. It described its mission as “catalyzing the power of young people to fight for the ability of all people to build the families they want, access the healthcare they need, and to live and love in the way that’s true to who they are."
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History and organization
URGE was co-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 recent years, the organization has focused its efforts on mobilizing people under 30 in support of abortion rights, comprehensive sex education, and access to sexual health and wellness services.
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, URGE 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, URGE 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, URGE 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, URGE joined in the fight to make emergency contraception available for all women at health care centers and pharmacies
- In 2006, URGE 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, URGE 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, URGE began working with students to reverse the negative impact of the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act on Birth Control prices on college campuses.
- In 2007, URGE 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, URGE began a collaboration with Generations Ahead on Egg Donation
- In 2008, URGE hosted the first annual Gloria Steinem Membership Conference.
- "Beyond 'Choice': Youth-Focused Reproductive Rights and Justice Organization Renames Itself URGE - Rewire". Rewire. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
- "About Our Name Change". URGE.
- "Gloria Steinem | Profiles | Finding Your Roots | PBS". Finding Your Roots. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
- Stolberg, Sheryl Gay (November 29, 2009). "A Pregnant Pause". New York Times.
- Nelson, Samantha (April 10, 2016). "Rally at Ohio University touts abortion rights". The Athens News. Retrieved December 23, 2016.
- URGE Records, 1980s-2005, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College