Posts Tagged ‘planned parenthood’
From the Women are Watching rally on Tuesday to Cecile Richards and Sandra Fluke last night, women’s rights have taken center stage at the Democratic National Convention. It has been wonderful to see so many powerful women speakers, like Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, NC Governor Bev Perdue, NARAL President Nancy Keenan, Tammy Duckworth, Kathleen Sebelius, Lily Ledbetter, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Elizabeth Warren.
The unprecedented focus on women and women’s rights comes on the heels of two years of unrelenting attacks. Two years ago, when Republicans fueled by Tea Party support took control of the US House of Representatives, they came after women’s health. They voted to end cancer screenings and well-woman visits for five million women, end funding for birth control at Planned Parenthood, and for good measure, they even tried to redefine rape. Across the country, there have been more than 100 new laws enacted to restrict women’s access to health care.
Right here in North Carolina, our GOP-led legislature, despite campaigning on promises to create jobs, went to work to ban Planned Parenthood from receiving state funding to provide preventive health care- like annual exams, birth control, cancer screenings, and STD detection and prevention- to women.
As Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood Action Fund President, said last night at the convention, “So why are we having to fight in 2012 against politicians who want to end access to birth control? It’s like we woke up in a bad episode of Mad Men.”
The 2012 Election is perhaps the most important one we’ve faced in our lifetime. It is very clear that Republicans want to take us back. Take us back in every way, from fair pay, to birth control, to voting, to controling our bodies and our lives. Mitt Romney says he’ll “get rid of” Planned Parenthood, turning his back on the three million women who come to us for care every year.
Well, we’ve got a message for Mitt, “ We’ve come way too far to ever turn back. And we won’t.” Watch Cecile Richard’s full speech as she endorses President Barack Obama.
It’s no real surprise that the North Carolina legislative majority is again playing harmful, political games with women’s health. Little has changed since the last session in that regard- a majority of our lawmakers are still hard at work taking away life-saving services from their female constituents while being disrespectful and condescending towards female colleagues. But a group of legislators has had enough and is standing up for women’s health.
The Democratic Women’s Caucus held a press conference yesterday calling the GOP shenanigans exactly what they are: disrespectful, discriminatory and offensive. Senator Doug Berger made it clear, “The new majority has no respect for individual rights of women and we are here to call them out on it.” And House Representative Deborah Ross admonished the inaccurately worded “Women’s Right to Know Act” saying “it disrespects women, it disrespects doctors and it disrespects our court system.”
Seeing these advocates stand up for women’s health was refreshing in an otherwise hostile session. But they aren’t alone and it doesn’t stop there. Women have already said and will continue to say through election season: It’s not okay.
According to recent polling reported from the Kaiser Family Foundation, three out of four women believe there are groups aiming to limit women’s reproductive freedom. Almost a third of women perceive this to be a wide-scale effort to limit choice. Women are watching, and they’re taking action. Four out of ten women report taking some action in the past six months in response to the War on Women. Women (and men too! Polling found men were equally as likely to take action) have been attempting to influence friends’ and family members’ opinions, donating to reproductive health non-profits and political organizations, and contacting elected officials. It’s already been enough to change the minds of 10% people regarding who they will vote for.
Women are the voting majority in North Carolina. The Republican majority can play games now, but you can’t win an election without women. Women do not want politicians to interfere with their health and the public strongly opposes efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. Public Policy Polling found in April 2011 that 60% of women would be less likely to vote for a legislator who voted to ban Planned Parenthood funding. And it’s not a partisan issue; almost half of Republican women said they would be less likely. Planned Parenthood identified over 20,000 new supporters last year as a result of the attacks on Planned Parenthood and almost all of them are registered to vote.
It’s time for the Republican majority to stop playing politics with women’s health. And if they don’t, their constituents will send the message in November when they stand up for women’s health at the polls.
We’re birth control experts! And since October, we’ve been letting the world know that Planned Parenthood makes Birth Control Easy. We’ve put up posters, sent out emails, posted on the blog, updated facebook, tweeted, worn buttons, passed out bookmarks and NOW, we’re going to give away T-shirts!!
All this to let folks know that we are the GO TO place for birth control information and supplies.
Have you been paying attention?
Be one of the first three people to correctly answer this True/ False Quiz and we’ll send you a birth control made easy t-shirt, just like this one:
1. PPCNC(that’s Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina) will mail birth control to your address.
2. You can start birth control without a pelvic exam
3. PPCNC has same day and walk-in appointments
4. Unlike most pharmacies, PPCNC will allow you to buy more than one month of pills at a time
5. PPCNC’s Pill Pixy will send you text reminders to take your pill (if you signup)
Put your answers in the comments- which are not published right away- and the first three to get the right answers get lovely T-shirts!!
Last week, I received a media call from a reporter working on a story about NC Pride. She asked me (among other things) why Planned Parenthood felt it was important to march at Pride. My natural inclination was to say, “Why would we ever NOT go? It’s so much fun and the crowd loves us!”
While that’s a good enough answer for why I personally love to march in the Pride Parade every year it really doesn’t get at why it’s so important that we’re out there being highly visible with our support.
We march because we want the local GLBT community in North Carolina to know that Planned Parenthood is a safe place that they can come to seek health services.
Many people don’t realize that Planned Parenthood offers health services that are critical regardless of your sexual orientation. Annual exams, pap tests, and breast exams are basic health care for ALL women. Comprehensive STI testing and screenings for HIV/AIDS are services that all sexually active people should seek out regularly.
We march because Planned Parenthood is built on the basic premise that everyone has a right to self-determination and all people deserve sexual and reproductive freedom.
These days the gay rights and pro-choice movements are inextricably linked by these common goals as well as common opposition. When we go to Pride on Saturday, we will see the people who want government out of every single aspect of life. Unless, of course, you are a woman experiencing an unintended pregnancy or gay and wanting to spend your life with the person you love.
For these reasons among many other personal ones (including that it’s FUN!) we’ll be marching in the 2010 NC Pride Parade and we want YOU right there with us! The parade begins at 1:00pm with parade line-up at 12:30. So join with Planned Parenthood to celebrate sexual and reproductive freedom this September 25!
We’ll have volunteer opportunities starting on the Pride festival grounds as early as 10:30 so come out, enjoy the people, the vendors and knowing that you’re making a positive difference in your community! Email Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your very own hot pink bandanna for the parade. We can’t wait to see you at PRIDE!
The battle over sex ed is one of those “issues” that I feel is generally blown way out of proportion. Not because I don’t think it’s an important issue, but because it seems like most reasonable people believe that some type of comprehensive sex ed should be at least be an option for kids in school. The linked article shows that it’s not just a simple majority of individuals in North Carolina who believe comprehensive sex ed should be available… it’s almost 70%. Those are huge numbers of support (especially in a state which, despite turning blue in the most recent presidential election, isn’t always known to be a bastion of liberalness). So, in some ways, it seems that the controversy sounding this issue is just the result of a very vocal minority expressing their opinion, albeit loudly.
That minority recently got a perceived boost to their cause, when a new study was published this month in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. The study aimed to examine success rates of varying types of sex ed curricula on 662 African-American sixth and seventh graders. The students were enrolled in one of the following: an abstinence-based program, a program that dealt only with “safer sex,” a comprehensive-based program, and a control program that focused on health issues that were unrelated to sex ed. Students were then tracked for two years, at which point the researchers attempted to find out how many of the students had engaged in sexual activity.
The study found that those students who took part in the abstinence-education program had the lowest rate of sexual activity. This, as you might imagine, caused the abstinence-only crowd to go a little wild. One organization, Abstinence Clearinghouse, declared that it meant that “comprehensive sex ed [is] a big flop.” You might consider the generalization that all comprehensive sex ed programs are worthless because of the findings of this study to be a little suspect. And, unsurprisingly, you would be right.
As a result of these distortions (let’s call them what they are), the study’s authors felt the need to clarify a few things. They point out that comprehensive sex ed programs have consistently be shown to work and therefore, this study should not be indicative of any great failure on the part of comprehensive sex in general. Also, they clarify that the abstinence-based program that they examined was not a typical one. As another organization reported, this particular program “did not advocate abstinence until marriage, did not portray sex in a negative light or suggest that condoms are ineffective, and contained only medically accurate information” (quite different than most abstinence-based programs). In other words, the authors say that this study should be seen as an indication that this particular program seems to work for this particular population… which is not even remotely close to the conclusion that all abstinence-based programs are successful.
Now, my reasoning for mentioning all of this isn’t to denigrate all abstinence-based programs (though I will confess to having a strong bias for the alternative). Instead, I simply find it interesting that abstinence-based groups took something that could have been a small, positive turn of events… and twisted it into a lie. Maybe they’ve been lying so long that it was just a reflex action on their part, trying to turn this into something much more. Regardless, I think it’s a shame that the fact that researchers are finding successful interventions at all is being overlooked to engender hyperbolic propaganda. Because that’s what it should be about. Helping kids learn about sex ed in a way that makes sense to them. It’s too bad that some groups had to make an issue out of it.
We’ve written several posts tracking the disturbing trend of NC county and municipal governments cherry-picking what reproductive health care services they want to cover and subsequently voting to eliminate abortion coverage for their employees. For these employees, July first marked much more than a new fiscal year. For employees in the counties and towns that voted to eliminate coverage of abortion care, yesterday also meant the first day that they were without comprehensive reproductive health care.
Check out this blog post written by our friend at Planned Parenthood Health Systems and NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina with a perspective on the divisive “wedge-issue” politics that are making their way into local governments across the state.
Today is the beginning of a new fiscal year. To many, the first day of July is primarily of financial significance. But for some municipal employees in North Carolina, today marks a new limit on their Constitutional right to choose abortion.
Vehement anti-choice state Rep. Paul Stam provoked local elected officials across the state — from Apex to Gastonia and Pitt County to Lincoln County — to remove abortion coverage from governmental employee health plans. Many municipalities made this change in their new budgets effective today. While some city and county managers made the decision to cut off benefits for their employees, others decided to put the coverage to a vote. How many of them would want their private medical issues debated in a public forum? (links added by Choice 2.0)
An employee at a Virginia elementary school has been suspended for handing out 4-inch tall plastic representations of fetuses to 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students. The principal of the school has also been placed on leave, although it seems to be unclear as to whether or not she knew the dolls were being distributed.
From the linked article:
“The teeny figures, in pink and brown, came with a “pro-life” message and information on fetal growth, according to one teacher.”
While this scenario raises a host of questions (like who actually thought this would be a good idea? or where does one even procure a large number of fetus dolls?), the thing i find most amusing/infuriating is that this person is guilty of the exact thing that the religious right routinely accuses liberals of: trying to indoctrinate children to feel a certain way about an issue.
How many times have we heard the cry from Republicans, anti-choicers, and others that “the gays” are trying to force their “lifestyle” on unsuspecting children? Or that sex ed classes are just thinly veiled advertisements for promiscuity, abortion, and Planned Parenthood? That children shouldn’t be confronted with these types of ideas and situations at such a young age? If this is true (and I am, by no means saying that it is), how is it then perfectly acceptable for anti-choicers to force their opinions and viewpoints on young children? You simply cannot have it both ways.
But to these people, indoctrination evidently only includes attempts to teach tolerance and scientific information, not blatant propaganda in the form of fetus dolls handed out to 8 year olds. I guess these types of issues are only problematic when one don’t agree with the way that they’re presented. That’s a great lesson for kids.
A new form of emergency contraception is attempting to gain approval to be sold to women in the United States, and as you may expect, it’s meeting a fair amount of controversy while waiting to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The new drug, called ella, can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex for up to 5 days, and seems to be more effective than Plan B, the currently available form of emergency contraception.
But the drug is, of course, rankling those opposed to women having any type of control over both their bodies and their medical decisions. Anti-choicers have already begun to compare the new drug to medications that induce abortion in an obvious attempt to misinform the public of the drug’s intended use. From Wendy Wright, of anti-choice group Concerned Women of America:
“With [ella], women will be enticed to buy a poorly tested abortion drug, unaware of its medical risks, under the guise that it’s a morning-after pill.”
The linked article also mentions that opponents of ella are explicitly concerned that women will attempt to use it as an abortion pill. I don’t mean to sound glib or sarcastic here, but if the FDA began to block medications because they thought that someone might use them for something other than the intended use, very few medications would actually be available (and certainly things like painkillers, Viagra, and even Tylenol PM would be banned, as these are all drugs that people use for reasons other than their intended purpose, rightly or wrongly).
This is just another example of anti-choicers attempting to frame an argument in a way that takes a fairly non-controversial thing and makes it controversial. Unfortunately, these groups are quite good at doing this… which is why the FDA’s long delay in making Plan B more readily available will probably be repeated in this situation. And, as is usually the case, the people who are in need of this medication the most will be the ones who have to pay the price of political grandstanding.
Mark your calendars folks, because June 5th is “Protest the Pill Day: The Pill Kills the Environment.” Yes, this Saturday, 27 “pro-life” groups are coming together to rail against birth control pills, evidently because trying to control one aspect of a woman’s medical decisions doesn’t take up enough of their time. So on June 5th, the American Life League, Human Life International, Operation Rescue, and others are urging people to stand outside a local pharmacy, Planned Parenthood clinic, random doctor’s office, or any busy intersection with a sign protesting birth control.
So why are these organizations so dead-set against forms of birth control? Well, the protest’s website, www.thepillkills.com, attempts to explain their reasoning. Like any medication, hormonal birth control can occasionally have some risks, which is exactly why it’s dispensed by doctors and physicians, who can evaluate whether the drug is appropriate for a patient. But the website sensationalizes these side effects, along with the (very) rare deaths that have sometimes been linked to birth control use, and even goes so far as to suggest an enormous conspiracy. Besides effects on humans, the site also attempts to make the case that birth control is “making male fish, frogs and river otters less masculine.”
The website’s obsession with the “feminizing” of fish and other animals is pretty fascinating (and I could probably write a fair amount about the connection the site then makes to humans eating these fish, and the implicit use of homophobia as a scare tactic, but that may be a bit off topic) . And if you actually look at the article the website used to make its case on this issue, it is more focused on “the environmental effects of chemicals that aren’t being filtered out by sewage plants, including pharmaceuticals and pesticides that can mimic hormones.” This is an environmental problem, but not something that can strictly be blamed on birth control. It seems to be much more about the lack of proper precautions in the disposal of medications and other chemicals. Not that the people behind www.thepillkills.com would want to be bothered with those facts.
No, they instead hide behind whatever articles or theories they can find to further their real agenda: trying to control the medical decisions of all women.
They can say that they want birth control banned because of health risks or the environment, but I just don’t buy it. The website has too many references to violating “Church teachings” and “Bringing Jesus to Planned Parenthood” to make me think this is nothing but a (very) thinly veiled cover for attempting to (yet again) impose a group’s “moral” values on everyone else.
What I don’t understand, and what I think I never will, is why it’s so important for some groups of people to control what every else does. If you don’t want to take birth control, no one is forcing you. No one from Planned Parenthood is trying to get legislation passed to mandate that every woman must be on some form of hormonal birth control. No one is calling for mandatory abortions. We simply want these options to be available to women who need or want them. If you don’t, then don’t use them.
If only it were actually as simple as that.
What do you think of “Protest the Pill Day?” Is it even something worthy of our time or attention?
Recently, I’ve written a fair amount on various pieces of statewide legislation that are aimed at limiting a woman’s access to abortion. One of the most common approaches for anti-choice legislators to take is legislation mandating that a woman must have, and be offered a chance to view, an ultrasound before having an abortion procedure. Many states have even taken up legislation that would require a woman to view the ultrasound before she can have her procedure… whether she wants to or not.
The Guttmacher Institute has a complete overview of all the states that have introduced ultrasound bills this year. The New York Times also recently published a really interesting article on this type of bill, which you can see here.
The article includes a few choice tidbits, including the fact that many abortion providers already require ultrasounds on their own for medical reasons (including Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina), and that both studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that having a chance to view an ultrasound (or being required to) almost never changes a woman’s mind in whether to have the procedure… and, in fact, it occasionally solidifies a woman’s decision to have an abortion. Like I said interesting stuff, and well worth reading.
But I wanted to focus on one quote in particular, because I think it strikes at the heart of what’s really behind these enacted and proposed bills.
“Like other patients, Laura, who has a 17-year-old son, said she took offense at the state’s implicit suggestion that she had not fully considered her choice.
‘You don’t just walk into one of these places like you’re getting your nails done,” she said. “I think we’re armed with enough information to make adult decisions without being emotionally tortured.’”
As this quote gets at, and as the article itself also alludes to, these types of bills do nothing but infringe on a doctor-patient relationship, and also assume that a woman isn’t smart enough or well enough informed, to make her own decision. I can’t think of any other scenario in which legislators could require a doctor to perform a medical procedure on a person, regardless of the patient’s needs or desires.
Can you imagine the outcry from the “big government is bad government” crowd if they were being forced to undergo a particular medical procedure that they didn’t want (or possibly even need)? If you recall the hysteria that occurred by the Tea Partiers and others during the recent federal health care debate, I think it’s pretty easy to get an idea as to what would happen. But because these groups are generally anti-abortion, there’s nary a word about patients’ rights or individual freedoms when it comes to these bills. Yet another example of hypocrisy in action with this group of people.
I’ve said it in previous blog posts (and I’m sure I’ll say it again) but the continual insistence by legislators that women aren’t smart or strong enough to make this decision on their own is both incredibly misogynistic and insulting. As the quote above indicates, this is not a decision that women take lightly.
I spent over two years working in a clinic that provided abortion services, and I am extremely confident in stating that, to an enormous degree, the women who were seeking abortions had given the matter a huge amount of thought and consideration. And anyone who doesn’t think that to be true has probably never met someone who’s had an abortion… or is so consumed by an agenda that they are completely blinded to the reality of the situation.
So what’s your take on ultrasound laws? Are they meant to be barriers to service, or are they, as I think, a larger insult to women? Or are they something else entirely? Sound off in the comments!