Feb 22, 2011 @ 10:48 am | By TheFeministGriote | 1 Comment
“Reproductive freedom is critical to a whole range of issues. If we can’t take charge of this most personal aspect of our lives, we can’t take care of anything. It should not be seen as a privilege or as a benefit, but a fundamental human right.”-Faye Wattleton the first African-American president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America from 1978-1992
Recently I had the distinct honor and privilege as a feminist to put my theory and love of the feminism into praxis. I donated my time and energy to the Planned Parenthood phone bank that was being held in Miami. The phone bank was setup to call constituents of West Virginia and Tennessee whose Representatives Shelley Moore Capito (R, WV) and Jim Cooper (D, TN) who were still undecided on how to vote on Title X. Title X is a government funded program which allows Planned Parenthood to offer poor or uninsured women basic preventive care such as pelvic exams, breast exams, safer sex counseling, and basic family planning to women and men. The $317 million dollars that was given to Planned Parenthood by the government for the 2008-2009 fiscal year cannot be used for providing abortions. In no way has Planned Parenthood breech that rule! The service that Planned Parenthood is providing sounds like service that America should be in favor of. Title X helps prevent and lower the unexpected pregnancy rate in this country as well as the STD infection rate, but if you are a House member of the GOP stripping poor and uninsured women of their basic right to access quality preventive healthcare is of top priority. Forget our failing infastructures, climate change, the BP oil spill, the compounding housing crises, the lack of jobs in America, or the fact that members of congress are being gunned down in grocery stores. All of those things can wait the real problem and issue according to Representative Mike Pence of Indiana is Planned Parenthood!
On Friday Februray 18, 2011 the House of Representatives voted 240-185 to defund Planned Parenthood. There is currently 241 Republicans in the House therefore, the GOP had no issues getting this amendment passed. Representative Mike Pence has declared war on the 95 year old institution, which so many women such as myself have come to rely on as a medical outlet and a place to get birth control at a reasonable cost. Representative Mike Pence said in an interview with politico.com that, “If Planned Parenthood wants to be involved in providing counseling services and HIV testing, they ought not be in the business of providing abortions.” “The business of providing abortions,” that quote makes it seem like Planned Parenthood is feeding its thirst for blood by running after women and forcing them to abort their pregnancies, which is a fear tactic and total misrepresentation of Planned Parenthood.
The fact is that planned Parenthood serviced 3 million patients in their combined 800 healthcare centers in 2008-2009. 36% of women received contraception, 31% received testing and treatment for STD’s, 17% of women received cancer screening, and a whopping 3% were provided abortions! If Planned Parenthood is the true abortion mill that Rep. Mike Pence would have us to believe then why is that 90% of Planned Parenthood’s business is focused on preventative care and providing sexual education? Fear mongering is the number one tool that the GOP has in its arsenal. The GOP believes that if wrong information is repeated enough times and done so loudly that it will eventually take root and become the truth, and that is what has happened when it comes to the issue of reproductive rights and women in this country. The truth of the matter is abortions are sometimes necessary for numerous reasons such as rape, incest, condom/birth control failure, or there was no condom or birth control in the picture to begin with.
I understand fully that America needs to work on the surmounting issue it has with the deficit, and yes as a proud liberal and card carrying member of the Democratic party, I too believe spending needs to be cut (gasp), but I do not believe it needs to be done on the backs of poor and underinsured women in America. Using Planned Parenthood and Title X as the only way which America can balance the budget is criminal! We cannot take this blatant attack on women’s reproductive rights sitting down. I am not sure what the Senate will do, or if President Barack Obama will use his veto pen to protect the reproductive rights of women if he had to. I for one do not want to take that chance. I am urging everyone who is outraged and concerned over this movement to usurp Planned Parenthood to call your congressman/woman and tell them that they should not copy their cohorts in the House and they should make the right vote and continue to support Title X. Also, I urge you if you have time to donate your time to Planned Parenthood. Every movement needs help and Planned Parenthood needs our help. While I was at the phone bank the one thing that struck me was the fact that the majority of the women volunteering were well past their reproductive years and they were suburban women. There were only three young women including myself who are still in our reproductive years. The other women care so much about the work that Planned Parenthood provides that they gave of their time. Please sign the petition and donate if you can. We must send a strong message to our leaders that we women are more than capable of making our own decisions about our bodies without the meddling of government, and that the best way to prevent abortions and to lower the need for abortions is to provide sexual education and family planning options, which is what Planned Parenthood is doing and has been doing since 1916!
Do you stand with Planned Parenthood? Why or why not?
Categories: The Temple of My Familiar