Tag Archive for contraception

Let’s talk about women’s health and “balanced” reporting

femcareAs a reporter, I was always careful to tell both sides of a story, unless the “other side” was a lie — i.e. tobacco is safe, the world is flat or the free market can handle health care without any regulation whatsoever.

It was particularly important when dealing with controversial issues like abortion. I bent over backwards to be fair because although I am pro-choice, I chose not to have an abortion when I was advised to have one. There might have been a circumstance under which I would have chosen to end a pregnancy, but I didn’t encounter it.

I will not, however, condemn any woman who chooses an abortion because I am not in her shoes. According to the law of the land, she has a right to make that choice, with choice being the operative word here.

This week, the only clinic in the state that was eligible to perform safe, legal abortions was shut down by the state, just after the governor signed a law that will close the other 15 clinics.

The thing is, this isn’t just about abortion. These clinics aren’t abortion factories; they provide affordable care to women who are uninsured. I know because I got my primary care at an “abortion clinic” for several years when I didn’t have insurance and I never had an abortion. I’m not the only person who realizes how important these women’s clinics are for women’s overall health.

Women’s clinics also do well-women care such as cancer screenings. Many also have obstetricians who offer affordable care through pregnancy and childbirth. When you close down women’s clinics, you close down women’s access to health care. A lot of people are aware of this, and I would expect newspaper reporters to be among them.

However, when I opened my newspaper this morning, I might have thought I was the only one who knows about the diversity of services offered at women’s clinics and the importance of having them in the community. The front-page headline stated that the “abortion clinic closure” was “praised.”

Perhaps the closure was praised by people who oppose abortion under any circumstance, but the issue here is also access to affordable care, cancer screenings, contraception and other medications.

The problem here is that there is precious little help for women now. A woman of childbearing age (which I no longer am) has a right to decide when and if she will have a child. That’s pretty simple if she has effective contraception, but now that Femcare is closed, that makes affordable contraception more difficult to get. And the very people who deny women access to abortion also want to deny them access to contraception. Then, when the inevitable happens and a baby is born, these same people complain that poor women keep “pumping out” babies.

No matter what, they want to lay the blame on women — not on the men who impregnate them, not on a society that punishes people for being poor, but on women, often because we’re seen as sinful. Eve committed the first sin, after all. That’s what I was taught growing up.

So now, a group of old white men in Raleigh has decided that women can’t have access to abortion and the newspaper reporter can’t find a single person to say it’s not a good thing? No one is available to say women need the services this clinic provided?

I find that hard to believe.

 

Too crazy

Rep. Paul Broun from Georgia, says he believes people existed with dinosaurs. He is on the Science Committee in Congress.

A generation ago, someone who doesn’t believe in evolution wouldn’t have been on the Science Committee in Congress, and someone who espouses the death penalty for sassy children would have been laughed out of the public eye.

A generation ago, the media might have called Mitt Romney out on his lies during the debate instead of declaring him the winner. And a candidate who was caught in the number of flat-out lies and scope of deception of the Romney campaign would have been shamed out of the campaign long before the convention.

We used to have something called common sense that helped us weed out the crazies; now we seem to welcome them with open arms.

The guys who claim women can’t get pregnant from “real” rape get to stay in the race and maybe even win the election.

We who fought for women’s rights in the 1960s thought we had won some of these battles — like the right to access to contraception and safe abortions, and the right to keep our jobs regardless of whether we’re on the Pill and not married.

I can actually remember when a woman could be forced to quit her job if she got pregnant because she belonged at home with her baby. It wasn’t her decision to make; her boss could make it for her.

Blatant lies like the ones put out there about the Affordable Care Act — the death panels, the $716 billion “theft” from Medicare — used to be dispelled by the media, which now repeats them over and over as “the other side of the story.”

Our previous president lied us into war, tortured prisoners and suffered no consequences for his war crimes. Our current president kills innocent people with unmanned drones on a regular basis and it doesn’t even make headlines.

Instead, we get to hear all about which celebrity is looking at jail time for drug abuse, who is divorcing whom, who wore the lowest-cut dress to whatever awards ceremony last week, cute fuzzy-puppy stories from Middle America and sports, sports, sports.

We are obsessed with Honey Boo-Boo and America’s Got Talent, but we can’t be bothered with the real issues long enough to demand that the corporate media explain the real ramifications of public policy instead of giving equal weight to the truth and the lies.

Instead of a media that searches for truth, we get a lying sack of crap declared the winner of a debate because he looked “sharper.”

I worry about this country’s future as people lose access to real information about real issues. Even the president is out there talking about Big Bird. Drop it already and talk about how we lower our military spending, make huge corporations behave and pay their share of the public load, regulate their greed-induced ill behavior and invest in education and other things that ensure a stable future for our children and families, not to mention our nation.

 

Boobs and boors

Do you really think these guys are here to celebrate women’s rights?

Let me start by saying I’m not a prude.

But c’mon, women, why all the fuss about being able to go topless when it’s already legal in North Carolina?

The idea for the rally came from a man who bills himself as Sparkles the Clown. He’s from Alabama and his wife doesn’t even approve.

It seems to me this clown and a lot of “participants” are nothing more than goons with boob fetishes.

What’s happening here is that the clown from Alabama has convinced a group of women that they need the right to parade around half-naked — a right they already possess.

Meanwhile, a women’s equality rally a couple blocks away went almost unattended.

Crap like this rally takes away from the serious problems ultra-conservatives are causing women. We’re on the fast track to losing our right to contraception. I mean, they’ve gone beyond attempts to remove access to abortion; they want to make us beg for contraception.

My generation fought this fight 40 years ago and now we’re having to do it again.

Meanwhile, women are parading topless around downtown, allowing drooling mouth-breathers to take pictures of their boobs as though it was some kind of serious issue.

The real issue here is whether we’re willing to go back to the days when men could make us stay home and have to rely on them for everything. They could treat us as they pleased and we had no recourse. Trust me, I remember those days. I lived that life for a few short years, having to ask for money to buy underwear.

Never again. I will control my body and my destiny. My husband is there to share the journey with me, not drag me along on his joy ride.

So, those of you who bared your boobs so boors could gawk, please try to see how you’re being manipulated and tell the boys to find their prurient pleasures somewhere else.

 

Single motherhood is abuse? Really?

The GOP in Wisconsin has introduced a law to classify single parenthood as abuse.

Where are these people coming from?

Before women gained control over their reproductive organs, we were forced to stay in marriages that all to often were unhealthy or downright abusive. We couldn’t find work that paid us enough to live on if we did leave, and men were very adept at not paying child support.

That is not an understatement or a lie; it is true. I knew women who were battered and unable to leave. It’s only been in the last 30 years that public opinion on domestic violence has changed to recognize that it’s not the victim’s fault, at least until these clowns got into positions of power and started turning back the clock on women’s rights.

Once we were able to leave, controlling men hated it. They had no way to keep women as their personal housemaids and sex slaves.

Now they want to regain control by denying us access to contraception and making single parenthood a crime.

Well, it is not a form of abuse.

I was a single mother for several years, and I can tell you it’s hard as hell to be both parents to children, especially when he absent parent (most often, but not always, the father) doesn’t pay his (or her) share of the child-rearing costs.

After work, I picked up the kids, went home and fixed supper as the kids played or watched TV. After supper, it was homework time as I cleaned up. By the time that was done, it was bath time, then bedtime. I never could take them anywhere that cost money because I had none, so we went for picnics or hikes when the weather was good.

My children would have been deprived of Disney World had it not been for their father, who could afford such things. The only reason there was a television in their room was because their father bought it after I asked him not to. They had to suffer through eating home-baked snacks instead of Twinkies or Little Debbie cakes. They had to eat supper at home instead of McDonald’s.

So, were they abused? If you asked them at the time, they probably would have said they were because of the home-baked snacks and my aversion to theme parks, fast food and consumerism.

But they both grew up and moved out and realized I had been right about some things. They both developed a good work ethic and became honest men.

Being the sons of a single mother, they both had to help with household chores. They learned to do laundry and cook, sew on buttons and clean their rooms. They became more resourceful than kids whose mothers did everything for them, and they learned to respect women.

So, why would one want to criminalize single parenthood?

I think it comes down to control. These men who support such laws (and they are overwhelmingly men) don’t want women in control of their own destinies. They don’t want to have to share in the duties of keeping a home and raising a family, they want to be in charge of every aspect of our lives, and God forbid we should produce more strong, Democratic men.

 

 

You call that an apology?

Really, Rush? You call that an apology? “A poor choice of words?”

You went after this young woman Sandra Fluke, an articulate, accomplished young woman who only wanted to talk about the importance of contraception at Rep. Darryl Issa’s hearings. She was turned away because the panel was already full with five white men, at least one of whom was a priest who supposedly never has had a need for contraception.

When she was allowed to testify before an informal committee of Democrats, she talked about a friend who needed the Pill to control an ovarian cyst. When she couldn’t get the Pill, the young woman’s condition worsened and she finally had to have surgery to remove her ovary. That surgery was plenty more expensive than giving the young woman the Pill would have been.

But Rush apparently decided to comment on her testimony without even listening. He called her a prostitute and a slut because he mistakenly thought she was asking the government to pay for contraceptives. The fact is, she wanted to say the government’s compromise that would allow churches to opt out of covering contraception but make insurance companies pay for it, is a good thing.

He spoke as though a woman only takes birth control pills when she’s having sex, which shows how ignorant he is. Maybe he’s confusing it with erectile dysfunction drugs.

He attacked her again the next day and the day after that, inviting her to make sex videos to post online. Maybe this is how Rush tells a woman he thinks she’s attractive, I don’t know.

But waging personal attacks three days in a row against someone who only wanted to testify before a House committee is far from choosing your words badly. It is a deliberate, malicious action, and the man should be taken off the air, at least for a week.

That’s the punishment liberal talker Ed Schultz took after calling Laura Ingram a “media whore.” Schultz issued a genuine apology and took a week off the air.

Rush’s “apology” reminds me of the one my older sister made after my mother caught her pushing me. It was totally insincere and there was no doubt she couldn’t wait for my mother to leave the room so she could push me again.

This isn’t journalism; it isn’t even entertainment. This is a misogynistic rant from a very mean-spirited man.

In very poor taste

Last week, Rick Santorum’s sugar daddy, Foster Friess, said,  ”Back in in my day, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”

Newswoman Andrea Mitchell was floored, and as progressive radio host Stephanie Miller said, this is a woman who has seen Alan Greenspan in the bathtub; it can’t be easy to shock her.

That joke was funny when we didn’t have to worry that we might actually have to resort to that. Now, it seems, it’s a sexist vision of America.

Women won’t have a right to any form of family planning if these people have their way.

What bothers me most is the same thing that bothered me two generations ago: All the decisions are being made by men. Women weren’t allowed to testify before Darryl Issa’a panel, only men. Old, wealthy white men. People who can’t get pregnant.

In my day, to paraphrase Friesse, women in Massachusetts, where I grew up, were forbidden by law from getting birth control. Any doctor who prescribed birth control to an unmarried woman could go to jail.That’s right, the penalty was on the doctor, who was almost always a man, as though women were too stupid to make up their own minds.

This isn’t about health care, it’s about control of women. It’s about taking us back to the 1950s, when women had few economic options aside from marriage and repeated childbearing. It was legal to deny a woman a job because she was a woman. She could be fired for getting married, and almost always had to leave her job if she got pregnant.

Contraception gave us the chance to have only as many children as we wanted or could care for. It also gave us the option to stay in our jobs until we chose parenthood, and even afterward. It gave us the chance to escape bad marriages. We no longer were prisoners — or property – of men. It was an important step for the women’s movement, and some want to go back to when women had to do as they were told.

Attacks on a woman’s right to an abortion were just the beginning, as it turns out. Now they want to de-fund Planned Parenthood, which is where millions of women go for annual checkups and birth control, and then they plan to go after contraception.

This is one wacko war we’re being called to fight.

Just because I’m too old to get pregnant doesn’t mean I won’t fight for the rights of my granddaughters to control their own bodies.

If your religion is against contraception, don’t use it. But don’t deny it to others. Your freedom of religion doesn’t mean I have to adhere to your convictions.

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