Saturday, July 30, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
Watch the video where the Philadelphia Women's Center talks about their reactions to the horrific Kermit Gosnell case.
On a side note, I've been hearing a lot about Personhood Laws lately. These are incredibly scary and dangerous! If they pass, women won't just lose access to abortions, but they will also lose access to IUDs and hormonal contraceptives. These laws grant legal rights to the unborn starting as early as fertilization. Since IUDs work to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine wall, they will be considered a violation of the embryo's "person" rights. And hormonal contraceptives mostly work by blocking ovulation and by preventing sperm from reaching the egg, but in a very limited amount of cases when fertilization does occurs, they can prevent the zygote from implanting, which Personhood laws would consider to be murder!
It's scary to me that soon a human zygote will have more rights than the woman. By giving zygotes/fetus/unborn baby/whatever you call it legal rights, women will lose THEIR legal rights, THEIR medical autonomy, THEIR reproductive health rights.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
I don't remember when I first learned about abortion, but I do remember always knowing it was legally a woman's choice. I believe my mother and I talked about it when I was fairly young, and she said that women get to decide when and if they had children (though I'm sure I'm oversimplifying this-Mom, if you read this, you can chime in!). Like I said, I was young enough that I don't remember the exact details of the conversation. But I think what I got out of it (based on how I've always had a strong sense that I'm pro-choice) is that it's a woman's decision. Of course at the time and for many years, I attributed "pro-choice" only to abortion.
We also had sex and birth control chats when I was pretty young (which I'm very glad about by the way). I was never in major fear of getting pregnant as a teen because we'd talked about it and I was always on birth control. We talked about the importance of using it correctly, not missing pills, etc., as well as getting regular STI tests and such. So I have always been careful and had regular doctor visits. :-D Yay, Mom! (You rock sometimes, you know that?)
As a teen and into my young adulthood, I've always been one of those people my friends talked to about sex and "lady stuff" because I was more knowledgeable than the random teen. I remember when I was 17 or 18 that a female acquaintance of mine confessed that she didn't know how sex worked until just the year before. Until then, she'd always thought that a penis and vagina just rubbed together and that was how women got pregnant! Woah! I was shocked to be quite honest, because I cannot remember not knowing. I realized at that point that not everyone was as lucky as me to have a parent (or parents, but in my case, just my mom) who explained sex to them at a young age. And this girl was around 16 when she finally knew how it worked. On a side note, I'm strongly in favor of comprehensive sexuality education programs. Not exactly as they are now, cause I technically had "comprehensive" sex ed and it was TERRIBLE! I think sex ed courses should be part of a year-long relationship course that talks about everything from sex, to various birth controls (and how to use them), to healthy relationships, to sexual assault, to domestic violence, to LGBTQ topics (which sadly don't get covered in typical sex-ed courses).
Maybe people don't think of sexuality education courses as a choice issue, but I definitely do because if you have a good understanding of relationships/sex/your body/etc., then you are better equipped to make good choices in the future. So that's why I include sex ed here when talking about what is choice.
On to contraceptives! I'm very excited about the male contraceptives that are in the works (though it seems like they have been in the works since forever!). Provided that female hormonal contraceptives are decided to be preventative (which is what's being recommended right now if you haven't been following this topic), I also think that male hormonal contraceptives should receive this designation when they become available in the U.S. If you want to read up on male contraceptives, check out MaleContraceptives.org
On the subject of abortion, I am pro-choice because it shouldn't be my decision what another woman decides to do with her body. I'm not going to judge a woman for having an abortion, and I'm not going to judge a woman for deciding to have a baby, or put one up for adoption. It's. Her. Choice. Period. And I'm not going to judge her decision, since it's hers to make.
In an ideal world, women wouldn't have unplanned pregnancies. But we don't live in an ideal world. And people who say junk like, "Well, if she had just kept her legs shut...," then this is a note to them-PEOPLE HAVE SEX! So stop judging them for it.
Obviously, I want for people to not have unplanned pregnancies (I know I don't want one!). I want for people to be using birth control--whatever method works best for them, be it barrier, hormonal, IUD, FAM, etc.--and not have unplanned pregnancies. But not everyone has the same background, and not everyone HAS equal access to pregnancy prevention. Sure, there are some places where you can get birth control cheap, but if you don't have a lot of money, then even 10$/month for birth control hurts you financially. And this is the case for some women. And not everyone has a good background in preventing pregnancy. I read forums, and recently saw one where a 17 year old boy asked if he should use 2 condoms, because he really didn't want to get his girlfriend pregnant. I don't think he'd had a sex ed class, or at least one that was adequate, because using 2 condoms together is such a no-no! But not everyone knows this, because they didn't receive the same safe-sex info.
In an ideal world, women who want to have children wouldn't have pregnancy issues that severely affect their health and their pregnancies. Again, we don't live in an ideal world. Most later trimester abortions are not performed on woman who've simply decided that they don't want to be moms. Most of the time, they are performed on women who wanted the child, but something went wrong. This is another reason why I'm pro-choice. I do not believe a woman should have to put her health in harm's way by being forced to continue a pregnancy if late trimester abortions become illegal everywhere. If she chooses to continue the pregnancy, that's her choice, and she has the right, but she should have the right to end it as well.
In an ideal world, women (and younger teens) wouldn't get raped. But that happens too. True, the majority of women having abortions are not doing it because they were raped, but some do, which is why it must remain legal. I know there are pro-life movements in favor of making women carry to term pregnancies conceived by rape (because it wasn't the baby's fault, they argue), but I think that's cruel to the woman who has been raped.
In an ideal world, women would be able to financially support all of their children. Some women who have abortions are already mothers, but they know they cannot support another child, while still caring for their other kids. It seems that so often the politicians who are in favor of making illegal or severely restricting abortions are also the ones who want to cut family planning, welfare, and WIC--all programs that help women financially. This makes no sense to me because it's such terrible logic!
In an ideal world, women who are child-free by choice, or who've decided to have no more children, would not experience unplanned pregnancies. I'm not going to say it again, since you know where I'm going with this by now. But I won't judge them for deciding to have (or not have ) an abortion either.
It seems like many pro-life people use this argument, "You had sex, you better deal with your mistakes/consequences/accident/etc." or some variation of it. Then, they turn around and say, "Your baby is a blessing/God's gift/amazing/[insert something here]. This seems very contradictory. When it suits them (AKA when they want to make women--and usually JUST women--feel bad or guilty about sex), babies are mistakes, but when it doesn't suit them (AKA when they want to force women to carry to term all pregnancies), then they are blessings. Again, this is somewhat strange logic to me and seems to be where the term "forced birth" comes from. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
Okay, so that was my semi-rant/informative rant about why I am pro-choice. I tried to save the abortion stuff for the end, since I don't want anyone to believe that I am only pro-choice in regards to abortion. It's so much more than just that. Abortion just happens to be the most divisive issue right now, and it's all over the news!
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Naturally, anti-choice conservatives have had a thing or two to say about this, but none has been more insulting and misogynistic then a comment made by Bill O'Reilly who discussed the report in his Culture Warriors. His argument? "Many women who get pregnant are blasted out of their minds when they have sex. They're not going to use birth control anyway." First off if a woman is "blasted out of her mind" she is unable to consent, period. Second, O'Reilly is obviously ignorant to how the birth control pill works...its not exactly a magical pill that you take right before you have sex to not get pregnant.
Despite being incredibly frustrating, comments like this show what or who we're up against. The average number of people that watch The O'Reilley Factor everyday is 2.7 million according to oreilly-sucks.com.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
"Recently my mother told me something shocking. When she decided that her family was complete and sought a tubal ligation from her doctor (aka "to have her tubes tied"), she was told that her husband would have to sign a form giving his consent. This was not during the dark ages, but the dawn of the 1980s. And this was not some third world country practicing sharia law, but Texas. (Yes, I can already hear some of the 3rd world jokes many of you are making about my home state right about now. To which I say, "Hook 'em Horns.")"
Keli Goff's article is a wonderful reminder that choice is not only about abortion. Abortion tends to be the most talked about and the most divisive reproductive rights issue, but it is not the only aspect of choice.
I definitely recommend reading and forwarding this to your friends and family.
WASHINGTON -- In an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood without breaking any federal rules, Texas lawmakers passed two measures this month that will decimate the state's family planning program and result in nearly 300,000 women losing access to cancer and diabetes screenings.
In early June, Rick Perry, Texas' Republican governor, signed a budget bill that reduced the state's family planning funding from $111 million to just $37 million. Then on Monday, state lawmakers passed a measure that forces the Texas Health Department to dole out the remaining funds using a tiered priority system, in which Planned Parenthood is at the very bottom.
"It doesn't completely defund us, but it puts the agency in a position where they have to put us third in line for the money," said Yvonne Gutierrez, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of South Texas. "And it's not only us that's in the third tier -- it's all the traditional family planning providers that don't provide comprehensive care, many in rural areas. So it's the hard to reach population that's really being affected by this."
Texas Planned Parenthood offices have two avenues through which they receive state and federal money: the Women's Health Program (WHP), which is funded by Medicaid, and the state family planning program, which is funded by the Title X federal grant program. In addition to putting private providers like Planned Parenthood last in line for Title X funds, GOP lawmakers inserted language into the new Medicaid bill that will prevent WHP money from going to any entity that provides abortions or is affiliated with an abortion provider.
Because Planned Parenthood corporately separated its abortion services from its family planning services in 2005, every abortion it performs in Texas is paid for privately by the patient. But the Health Department will now have to define the word "affiliate" to determine whether Planned Parenthood's abortion and family planning services are closely related enough to disqualify it from state Medicaid funding.
"Anti-choice lobbyists have spent the entire year confusing the facts," said Peter J. Durkin, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, in an email to HuffPost. "These groups pressured lawmakers to de-fund Planned Parenthood by muddling conversations about family planning programs with false accusations that they subsidize abortion care. There is absolutely no legitimacy to their claims – and they know it."
Nearly half of the 120,000 low-income Texas women who use the WHP for basic health care, birth control and cancer screenings do so through a Planned Parenthood clinic, so the Health and Human Services Commission's ruling could be a devastating blow to family planning.
"If they're gonna kick Planned Parenthood out of the program, then all of these women going to a Planned Parenthood clinic are gonna have to go to another provider -- and these providers are already operating at capacity," Gutierrez told HuffPost.
Further, if Texas breaks federal Medicaid rules by discriminating against Planned Parenthood, the state could risk nearly $150 million in federal family planning funds.
The state of Indiana recently faced a similar predicament, and a federal agency rejected its attempt to cut Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood on the grounds that it takes away a patient's freedom to choose a qualified provider.
Gutierrez said the Texas chapter is "encouraged" by the ruling in Indiana and plans to launch a similar challenge in court.
But a spokesperson for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission said she believes the Texas version could stand. "Our attorney general believes that we have the right to limit how those tax dollars are spent," she said.
Monday, July 25, 2011
“The Last Abortion Clinic” is set in Mississippi and looks at the legislation that has been passed curtailing access to abortion in the state. At the time of the movie’s creation (it aired in 2005), there was only one abortion clinic left in Mississippi. Anti-choice laws have gradually made it impossible for clinics to operate.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
The law requires coverage with no copayments for a broad set of preventive services, from blood pressure checks to cancer screenings. Whether to include birth control as prevention for women was so sensitive that the nonpartisan Institute of Medicine was asked to weigh in.
The IOM panel said Tuesday that all FDA-approved forms of birth control should be covered, part of a menu including an annual “well-woman” exam, counseling on sexually transmitted diseases, and comprehensive support for nursing mothers.
House Bill 78 bans abortions when a pregnancy is 20 weeks along unless a doctor determines a fetus cannot live outside the womb -- a condition known as viability.
"The governor is pro-life, has been pro-life throughout his career and believes strongly in the sanctity of human life," Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said."
Ohio's House of Representatives has approved of the "heartbeat bill," but it hasn't yet been voted on by The Senate.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
That prevention may soon be more than readily available to American women. A report is due out this week from the Institute of Medicine, in which they are expected to make recommendations for “preventative health care services for women.” Birth control now falls under the category of “preventative,” since it does help to prevent pregnancy. According to NPR, the release of this report could signal contraception becoming a standard part of basic preventative health care packages that every patient gets without co-pay.
An NPR and Thomson Reuters poll showed that about 75% of Americans believe health insurers should cover oral contraceptives. According to the AP , contraception was one of eight preventative services recommended to be fully covered for women. The others included testing for diabetes during pregnancy, and screenings for cancer.
The Institute of Medicine’s recommendation will pass next to the Department of Health and Human Services, who ordered the study.
The law already requires most health plans to provide standard preventive care for people of both sexes at no additional charge to patients, but the women's health recommendations were considered so sensitive that the nonpartisan institute was asked to examine the issue and report back.
The expected recommendation could “usher in a new revolution,” by making more reliable forms of birth control, such as IUDs, more accessible.
Of course, no decision about women’s reproduction can be made without the Catholic Church raising hell. According to conservatives, pregnancy is a “healthy condition” and the government cannot provide any services that will interfere with what should be a woman’s natural state (constantly pregnant).
Jeanne Monahan, director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, says that people who object to the use of contraceptives should not have to pay for it, and claims that some contraceptives have abortive effects.
Nucatola disputed this, saying there was no evidence that was “the mechanism of action” for Plan B or other emergency contraceptives.
"Ohio Gov. John Kasich is just one signature away from staining the Buckeye State’s image by including it among the likes of Kansas, Texas and Alabama — states with the most restrictive and abhorrent abortion laws in the United States.
Indeed some say House Bill 178 will give Ohio the distinction of having the most prohibitive law on pregnancy termination in the land. It breezed through the hyper-partisan General Assembly a few days ago with a 27-7 vote in the Senate and an earlier 55-44 approval in the House.
HB 178, better known as the “heartbeat bill,” sponsored by state Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, will ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detectable, unless the pregnancy threatens the mother’s health or life. His bill does not include exemptions even for victims of rape and incest."
"Anti-abortion groups are planning to seize the momentum of spring victories in the Kansas Capitol and push for more restrictive measures, even ahead of the 2012 legislative session.
A petition has begun circulating for Gov. Sam Brownback to convene a special session this fall to consider a so-called “heartbeat bill” that would ban abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Another group plans to introduce a bill calling for a state constitutional amendment guaranteeing the rights of personhood to every human being from the beginning of biological development, including fertilization."