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Valerie Tarico
Valerie Tarico, Ph.D., is a psychologist turned writer with a passion for personal and social evolution. In 2005 she co-founded the Progress Alliance of Washington, a forward facing donor collective that seeks to improve strategic coordination and planning, build infrastructure, and foster effective, data-driven policies in Washington State. She also is founder of, an interactive website that showcases humanity’s shared moral core via quotes, poetry, stories and essays from many traditions. Her book, Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light, offers personal insight into how we can apply “constructive curiosity” to our most closely guarded beliefs.

Tarico is committed to ensuring that young and poor women have access to empowering contraceptive technologies. She describes this as an “all-in-one” upstream strategy to address a broad array of challenges she has worked on over the past 20 years—children’s mental health, family resilience, empowerment of girls, poverty, peacemaking, food and water sufficiency, the existence of other species on this planet, and our aggregate carbon footprint. To that end, she serves on the board of Advocates for Youth, a D.C. based nonprofit with wide-ranging programs related to reproductive health and justice. Tarico is a Senior Writing Fellow at Sightline Institute, a think tank focused on sustainable prosperity.

Tarico writes for online news and opinion sites about religious fundamentalism, the role of women in society, contraceptive technologies, and the intersection of these three. Her articles have been featured at Salon, The Huffington Post, AlterNet, TruthOut, Grist, and Jezebel, as well as IEET, and can be found at

Entries by Valerie Tarico

Meet the Abortion Provider Facing Off With Texas in the Supreme Court

(4) Comments | Posted March 2, 2016 | 10:28 AM

Amy Hagstrom Miller has defended her group of Texas clinics, Whole Woman's Health, all the way to the Supreme Court despite tremendous personal cost. Here's why.

Amy Hagstrom Miller will face the Supreme Court Tuesday in defense of her group of abortion clinics, Whole Woman's Health. Hagstrom Miller is...

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Are #HayleysIUD and #ShoutYourAbortion the Next Phase of the Sexual Revolution?

(1) Comments | Posted October 29, 2015 | 2:50 PM

What prompts a young woman to shout her abortion or live tweet her IUD insertion?

The most lasting effect of the smear campaign against Planned Parenthood may be this: Young women are done -- beyond done -- with being shamed for the fact that they are sexual beings, with...

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In Defense of Cherry Picking the Bible

(25) Comments | Posted May 19, 2015 | 5:28 PM

People accuse each other of cherry picking sacred texts, as if the term was an insult. But for those seeking to honor the quest of the Bible writers or to raise healthy children within a Christian tradition, that is precisely the right approach.

No parent with a backyard cherry tree...

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10 Bonus Health Benefits of Birth Control

(22) Comments | Posted December 10, 2014 | 11:08 AM

"What do you mean, how often do I want to have my period? Are you saying I have a choice?!"

We women hear a lot about side effects of birth control, but we don't hear as much about the side benefits. If you haven't had a conversation with your doctor...

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Unveiled: Three Former Muslim Women Look Back on the Hijab

(3) Comments | Posted March 24, 2014 | 1:01 PM

Marwa Berro was raised as a Lebanese Muslim. She now lives in the United States. Recently, from my vantage as a feminist and former Christian fundamentalist, I wrote an article asking whether the hijab is a symbol of diversity or oppression of women. Marwa wrote back and let...

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Is the Hijab a Symbol of Diversity or a Symbol of Oppression?

(19) Comments | Posted February 18, 2014 | 11:59 AM

Coca Cola's "America the Beautiful" ad on Super Bowl Sunday aimed to be a celebration of diversity, showcasing the many ethnicities that make up our modern social fabric. Right-wing pundits jumped on the ad as a symbol that White Christian America is under assault. Not surprisingly, the Left reacted...

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Intrauterine Bling: 2,000 Years of IUDs, From Camel Contraceptives to Body Mod

(1) Comments | Posted October 29, 2013 | 4:44 PM

Picture a series of copper beads on a fine titanium alloy wire curved in a graceful sphere. It looks like an earring, but you won't find it in a jewelry store. It's made to go in your uterus.

Intrauterine contraceptives are the fastest growing method of birth control in...

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How the Catholic Bishops Outsmarted Washington Voters

(23) Comments | Posted May 23, 2013 | 9:58 AM

When it comes to matters of individual conscience, Washington State voters have a don't-mess-with-us attitude that makes Texans look like cattle--and it goes way back.

In 2012 Washington voters flexed their muscle by legalizing recreational marijuana use and marriage for same-sex couples. In 2008, death with dignity passed some...

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What Every Woman Should Know About Contraceptives and Weight

(3) Comments | Posted February 6, 2013 | 2:59 PM

Our ancestors struggled to get enough calories just to stay alive. Now, as we try to keep our weight in a healthy range, we look at all kinds of factors: diet, exercise, sleep, supplements, meditation, hypnosis, psychotherapy, prayer, or even surgery that might help us tip the scales a little...

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Abortion as a Blessing, Grace, or Gift -- Changing the Conversation About Moral Values

(0) Comments | Posted January 10, 2013 | 12:22 PM

How can we reclaim the moral high ground in the debate about abortion as a part of thoughtful, wise loving and living?

Most Americans think of childbearing as a deeply personal or even sacred decision. So do most reproductive rights advocates. That is why we don't think anybody's boss...

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Hey Ladies! Thinking About Ditching Your Period? A Doctor Answers 12 Puzzling, Scary and Hopeful Questions

(1) Comments | Posted December 5, 2012 | 2:31 PM

How often do you want to have your period?

When modern contraceptives first got formulated, back in the 1950s, the men in charge made a simple assumption that would affect millions of women over the next half century:  They assumed that women wanted to bleed every month.  A...

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9 Clues That Reproductive Policy Is Economic Policy

(53) Comments | Posted October 11, 2012 | 7:06 PM

Anybody who says that talking about reproductive rights is a distraction from talking about economics is not running the numbers.

On October 4, a study of 9,000 women showed that access to free contraception radically dropped the rate of unintended pregnancies, two-thirds of which according to the Guttmacher...

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My Abortion Was Different: Why Women Shame and Blame Each Other

(0) Comments | Posted September 18, 2012 | 3:47 PM

We've all heard stories, apocryphal or not, of women who picket family planning clinics and then cross the line when they find themselves with a problem pregnancy. One doctor tells of a patient in stirrups saying, "I don't belong here, you know." The subtext: "I'm not one of them."


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IUDS: Pamper, Pamper, Pamper -- Plus 9 Other Tips For Falling In Love With Your IUD

(41) Comments | Posted March 27, 2012 | 7:43 PM

You've heard that an IUD can give you five to twelve years of never-have-to-think-about-it contraception. You've also heard that, depending on which IUD you choose, you can have your period decrease by (on average) 90 percent. You've heard that in real world use IUDs are more...

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Child Friendly Faith

(14) Comments | Posted March 6, 2012 | 12:23 PM

Does religion help or harm children? Viewpoints range from those who believe that it is impossible to raise loving, moral children without faith to those who see religious immersion as child abuse. A new effort,...

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Picture a Technology Revolution. In Contraception. It's Here.

(26) Comments | Posted January 26, 2012 | 3:11 PM

Imagine a future in which we can simply toggle the default on human fertility, so that accidental pregnancy is a thing of the past and women become fertile only when they want to become pregnant. By nature, adolescence switches our fertility default to "on" and it is stuck there for...

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What Is a Person?

(65) Comments | Posted November 8, 2011 | 10:46 AM

Egg Being FertilizedThis week the citizens of Mississippi will vote whether to legally assign the status of "personhood" to any human egg that has been penetrated by a sperm. I, for one, think that being a person is a serious...

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Should Freethinkers Shun or Claim the Language of Spirituality?

(54) Comments | Posted October 28, 2011 | 6:35 PM

On reading an early draft "Trusting Doubt," which looks at my old evangelical beliefs from my current vantage as a nontheist, one reviewer commented, "This is a very spiritual book."

What?! I thought. A part of me protested: I don't believe in...

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Confronting Religion and Child Abuse

(14) Comments | Posted May 10, 2011 | 6:48 PM

Author Janet HeimlichValerie Tarico interviews Janet Heimlich, author of Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment. During eight years working for NPR, Heimlich never shied away from controversial topics. She won nine journalism awards, in part by doggedly...

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U.S. Army Christian Flag Folding Ceremony Shows Official Sanction of Church-State Violations

(35) Comments | Posted February 13, 2011 | 2:00 PM

(Part 1 of a three part series on religious boundary violations in the U.S. military and what soldiers are doing to fight back.)

Star Logo for Military Comprehensive Fitness Program

When American soldiers come forward with tales of...

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