Erase (to) The Cure

Much is being posted about the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s announcement that they will stop giving money to Planned Parenthood. In fact, both my Facebook and Twitter feeds have exploded in support for Planned Parenthood and range from shock, anger, … Continue reading

That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles

There’s been a recent backlash against the Girl Scouts of America’s policy of inclusion, after a Denver, Colorado troop allowed a transgender girl to join their ranks. Three troops in Louisiana have disbanded over this after their leaders resigned, and more recently, a video of a 14-year-old girl calling for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies has quickly gone viral, spurring reactions from many (including this fabulous tumblr).

After watching the video, I found myself getting lost in the website that’s promoting it, Honest Girl Scouts. This group seems to have a host of issues with the GSUSA, and they have no problem letting you know about them. In their “cookie boycott flyer,” they list all the reasons folks should stop buying those delicious cookie shaped bits of tasty, tasty, crack.

Their words in bold, my commentary in green:

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Republican Candidates: A Race To The Bottom

Hometown (well…on weekends) Hero, Rachel Maddow hustled this past weekend to try and get some time with the Republican candidates while in New Hampshire. She specifically wanted to discuss the candidates opinions on contraception, but nobody was willing to speak with her. Maddow managed to sneak in a quick question to Rick Santorum, but his response hardly answered the question, and was cut off before he could fully answer.

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Despite the fact that birth control has been legal for over half a century, we’re now faced with almost every Republican candidate opposing birth control – something that has never been seen since the right to birth control became legal.

Towards the end of the segment, Maddow is joined by Planned Parenthood Action Fund president, Cecile Richards. The two of them discuss this phenomenon, with Richards remarking that if any of these candidates do indeed become win the presidency, there is a very good chance that our right to birth control would be taken away.

With Mitt Romney being one of the more vocal candidates about eliminating birth control, it behooves us to look at his past. As a resident of Massachusetts, it wasn’t that long ago when Romney ran for office here, looking towards Planned Parenthood for endorsement. In fact, he even filled out a Planned Parenthood questionnaire (back in 2002), in which he affirms his support for Roe vs. Wade. Way to flip-flop like a rock star, Mittens.

Statistics tell us that the majority of voters in the upcoming election will be women. The fact that Republican candidates are standing on platforms that will essentially strip women of very basic rights is frightening. This is not just about birth control and abortion. It also quickly becomes about access to affordable and quality health care, especially when candidates talk about defunding programs like Planned Parenthood.

As Richards notes, this is primary is a race to the bottom for women, with each candidate seemingly doing their best to be the worst president for women.

Don’t Refuse For Me

It’s no secret that I’m a proponent for the availability of low-cost, accessible birth control in this country. In fact, one of the core family values that I wrote about for Blog In 2011 revolved around the funding of Planned Parenthood and access to affordable family planning.

Yet, like many social issues in this country, there are always dissenting opinions. However, when those opinions begin infiltrating government policies that affect healthcare? Something needs to be done. We narrowly missed what could have been the devastating aftermath had the Personhood amendment passed in Mississippi: No more IVF, no more emergency contraception, and no more forms of certain birth control.

Despite defeating this amendment, the fight is far from over. Planned Parenthood Action Fund president Cecile Richards explains in her Huffington Post piece “The Other 99%,” that some House Republicans and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are teaming up to undermine a new birth control benefit and take it away from millions of women. Continue reading

Raise Your Hand!

How many of your Facebook friends have been admitting their hooker status lately? By my count, I have over twenty.

Sure, this latest push by Planned Parenthood for support is a little tongue-in-cheek, but it certainly gets your attention. All they had to do was use words that had been spoken against them and BAM! Instant media campaign.

This Thursday, the House and Senate will be voting on a bill that will strip Planned Parenthood from all federal funding, and they can use all the support they can muster, especially in light of all the disparaging and false remarks being spread. If you haven’t already done so, please contact your representative and let them know that Planned Parenthood is more than some of the media and politicians purport it to be.

And if I can’t convince you, then perhaps these gentleman can…
(Yes, gentlemen. Not so surprisingly, many men are just as pissed off over the fact that Planned Parenthood is in danger of losing funding)

Why Men Should Support Reproductive Rights…like it ain’t no thang

This couldn’t be more timely. Hot on the heels of yesterday’s post, comes this article by Aaron Traister, about why men should stand up for abortion rights.

Traister relays his own stories revolving around abortion – of his own mother and a past girlfriend. He goes on to share his wife’s relationship with Planned Parenthood from an early age and how it affected their own relationship.

Through his own personal narratives Traister makes it perfectly clear how men are impacted by these issues and why they should care about Planned Parenthood’s funding and abortion rights.

As a self-defined feminist who is raising a son, articles like Traister both excite and sadden me. Of course I’m thrilled that there are men out there advocating for reproductive rights and reminding others to do the same.

However, it bothers me that this is seen as unique and special, as something to be pointed at as a rare occurrence. While Traister should be applauded for his article and support of reproductive rights, just as anyone who supports these causes, I also wish it were more commonplace.

I wish my son was able to grow up in a time where it’s not controversial or sensationalist to have a man stand up for reproductive rights, as if it’s solely a fight for females. And so, in lieu of this being the case, I will work extra hard for that to be the norm for us.

Hopefully toting my son around when he was an infant, strapped to my back in his baby carrier, to all the various Planned Parenhood events and activities planted the seed, and as he grows up I will do my damnedest to nurture that seed so when he’s older, supporting reproductive rights will be commonplace for him.

I Stand With Planned Parenthood

If you’ve read even only one other post on this blog, I don’t think the above “declaration” is that much of a surprise. Everyone (at least in my circle of friends) has been up in arms since the House of Representatives voted to bar federal funding for Planned Parenthood. People are equal parts shocked, outraged and in complete disbelief over this.

I am no exception. (I’m just a mama with a son on school vacation and no time to write about it! Okay, and yes, perhaps I spent last night watching an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race once the kiddo went to bed…but can you blame me?)

My relationship with Planned Parenthood is a long one, stemming from trips to my local Planned Parenthood clinic with friends when we were in high school to helping set up appointments for my own students back when I taught high school. 

I’ve always been one for comprehensive sex education over abstinence-only programs in public high schools. My main reason being that, overall, abstinence-only education doesn’t actually work

Every spring, one of the classes I taught incorporated a “sex-ed” component to fulfill state requirements and a Planned Parenthood instructor took over for two jam-packed days of imparting crucial information on birth control and STI prevention. She would show slides of various venereal diseases, demonstrate proper condom usage and take any and all questions that a bunch of excited seventeen year olds threw at her.

I didn’t start this blog post to discuss sex-ed in public school systems. Really. I promise. I mostly meant to wax on about my relationship with Planned Parenthood and the injustice served to the organization (and communities at large) via the House of Representatives. Yet, I can’t touch on this one memory without stopping for a brief second.

This wonderful Planned Parenthood instructor would stand before 400+ students and impart crucial and potentially life saving information in two class periods. That roughly came out to 100 minutes total of sex-ed for an entire senior class. For the year.

While perhaps better than an abstinence-only curriculum, it always amazed me that we were only allotting that small amount of time on something that could be so life changing. In a country with one of the highest teen pregnancy rates, and where teens make up half of all newly reported cases of STIs each year, I can’t quite grasp why we’re not advocating for more education.

Every year after the Planned Parenthood presentation, without fail, I always had a handful of students approach me, shocked by various STI and pregnancy information. Some were curious, others nervous or afraid, but most wanted me to help them schedule appointments at Planned Parenthood for testing and/or contraception. A few students even jokingly suggested a field trip there.

When I look back on it now, I wonder if I would have gotten in trouble with administration if it came out that I helped these students schedule appointments. As a teacher, my first concern was always my students…helping them achieve the best and brightest future possible. This part was no exception.

After I left teaching to raise my son, I still kept my connection to Planned Parenthood by volunteering. As a volunteer, I did a myriad of things. I staffed booths at community events where we gave out informational pamphlets and condoms. I polled the voting booths of local elections in hopes that people were voting for representatives that would support Planned Parenthood. 

Now…look at that. An entire blog post about Planned Parenthood and not once did I mention the “a-word.” It’s almost too easy to get folks up in arms with issues revolving around abortion. And while I’m as pro-choice as they come, that’s not what this fight is about for me. This is not about a “win” for pro-life folks or a loss for those who are pro-choice.

This is a loss for anyone and everyone who needs access to low cost health care.

This is a loss for men and women who need access to low cost or free birth control.

This is a loss for many teens who only get those 100 minutes of sex-ed a year.

This is a loss on many levels.

When the House voted to bar funding for Planned Parenthood, they essentially created a larger problem. Think of the possibly implication we’re setting ourselves up for by omitting the folks that offer the health care, the education, the birth control…

If you haven’t already (you know, because you were busy crafting with your kid or even watching RuPaul’s Drag Race), I implore you to please sign the petition to stand with Planned Parenthood and express your outrage at this action.