Thursday, March 3, 2011

Planned Parenthood; Down But Not Out

 or, "For people who think sex is so immoral, they sure are screwing a lot of us"

The House passed the measure to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood, with supporters of the measure claiming budget smarts and a win for morality in one swell foop.


Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif comments on the action far, far better than I can:

"I had planned to speak of something else, but the gentleman from New Jersey has just put my stomach in knots because I'm one of those women he spoke about just now," said Speier. "I had a procedure at 17 weeks, pregnant with a child that had moved from the vagina into the cervix. And that procedure that you just talked about was a procedure that I endured. I lost a baby. . . .  For you to stand on this floor and to suggest, as you have, that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought is preposterous. To think that we are here tonight debating this issue when the American people, if they are listening, are scratching their heads and wondering what does this have to do with me getting a job? What does this have to do with reducing the deficit? And the answer is nothing at all," Speier said.

Rep. Speier had the cojones to stand up and speak in an overwhelming presence of petty spirits at their worst; please do her the honor of reading the linked original article or watching the video. Wanna really do some good, contact her office and thank her for it. Sorn Skald left a worthy comment on Hrafnkell Haraldsson's blog entry about this:

"I’m sure many of the supporters of removing funding from Planned Parenthood scream loudly about the horrors of Sharia Law, including its denigration of women, and I’m equally sure none of them see the irony there."

I don't know what I find more dismaying, the pell-mell rush to ignore the economy and job market problems in favor of rolling back social progress fifty years, or the idea that all this is just political sleight-of-hand to distract people from something worse. Having religious extremists try to force the entire populace to adhere to their particular interpretation of doctrine is bad enough, but I gotta wonder.

I personally feel that if you can't trust a woman with a choice, you can't trust her with a baby, but there are people who violently disagree with that statement who can still approve the need for affordable and available reproductive/sex related health care. And Planned Parenthood's services aren't just for chicks, they provide services for guys too, and they aren't just about birth control and abortion.

The people who approve this crap because of the abortion issue like to put it out there that PP's services are innately immoral because by uber-conservative thinking, only whores and adulterers would ever need to be concerned with birth control, abortion, or STDs. They ignore the fact that millions of people don't have medical insurance, either because they're out of work, their job doesn't have it, their partner's job coverage doesn't include them, or they can't afford it either way, and PP is one of the ways they can at least maintain basic checkups. Of course, some hardliners will tell you that "good, right living women" do their duty and find husbands who make enough cash to "take care of them as a man should", and will even imply that anyone who uses a more economically feasible option has also failed to be Good by being negligent to their precious child's health.

I'll pass on the Good Badge, thank you. I had opportunities to trade my ass for financial security when I was younger and decided a long time ago that I'd rather live in a box in the woods. Having watched several acquaintances who did be miserable up to and after their husbands traded them in for newer models, I'm still happy with that choice.

You could say that Planned Parenthood has indirectly helped me with that. Reproductive cancer runs on my maternal side; my mother is the first woman in the last five generations to live past the age of 55 because of cancer. That's only because they caught hers early. So far I'm clear, and I hope to stay that way. I've been working for a taxable wage since I was 13, and at 42 have only had two jobs that had any kind of health care options. PP has been my main way to get PAP smears and other checkups, and I consider having some rabid fruitcake yell at me that I'm a slut/murderer/slur-du-jour as I walk in for that checkup to be worth the price. Besides, getting in their faces and telling them "Does Jesus know you killed my grandmother?" does shut some of them up rather well.

This measure can still be crashed in the Senate vote. There's an open letter petition, and if you really want to make your voice heard, you can go to the US Senate site and get info to contact your senators directly via the search window in the upper right corner of the home page. If you're thinking "Why should I care? It doesn't affect me", consider that for a sec. Do you know anyone who might be concerned about a lump that wasn't there before? Anyone who's been trying to have children? Anyone who's been a victim of sexual assault and needs to talk to a counselor? No? Hi, I'm Snooze Hamilton; go back and read the previous paragraph. Now  you do. Wanna come to my 55th birthday party?