On International Women’s Day

EDIT: I have a lot to say about the things that make me angry lately. If it’s not your cup of tea then mosey on to another blog in your reader. On International Women’s Day I felt this post (that I’ve had somewhat drafted) to be appropriately updated and published.

Let’s talk women’s health. It’s a sticky icky topic that most men find confusing or just awkward. It needs to be well known. Cecile Richards said on The Daily Show last night that “99% of people use [some form of birth control].” Along with some other juicy factoids like, “For many women, we are their only medical provider, we are their doctor, the one doctor’s visit they get a year is at Planned Parenthood. That’s why, again, I think there’s been this ground-swell of concern when politicians say ‘we’re going to end not only Planned Parenthood but all family planning in America’.” “I did just see some national polling, 69% of American people not only support Planned Parenthood but believe that we should get federal funding to provide the services that we do.”

Then why aren’t 69% of candidates for family planning and preventative health care for women? Because they’re old, white men who want to stay in power and voters aren’t willing to switch sides after 20 years over something that they only slightly care about. If we went to a time where “suddenly” condoms were taken away, abortion clinics shuttered, and women had to go to a full-cost doctor to get prescriptions at full-cost for their daily pill there would be anarchy. Well, ok, not anarchy but we would see an immediate rise in birthrates, infant and mother mortality rates, HIV/AIDS, back-alley dangerous abortions, and the various dwindling of resources that all of that entails. If more teenagers already in bad situations get pregnant constantly, who do you think will be paying for their food stamps, baby’s health insurance, prenatal care, formula, etc.? Preventative care and education is paramount to saving more money and resources in the long term.

“Those are issues [unintended teen pregnancy] that 90% of Americans agree including folks from every religious persuasion.”

My mom was a laymidwife, so my friends had a habit of asking me just about any sexual related question under the sun. Some of the questions I got from not just boys, but girls too were appalling. From getting pregnant while on their periods to when/what is douche. Someone had actually asked me if they could get pregnant from giving a blowjob. Hand to God. Obviously, teen sexual education in Texas is woefully lacking. Abstinence only works at single-sex boarding schools. Or at least that would be the only place I can imagine it working. In fact, I think this should be a part of sex education. It’s not a prophylactic, it’s a matter of giving a girl a pocket calendar or an app for their phones to track when they are fertile and when to avoid sex. It’s not perfect but if girls had to track their cycle in detail for health class every month (as a grade) maybe they would get into the habit of taking charge of their own sexual health. Unfortunately that sounds a bit more harsh than I’d like.

There’s also this. This, I think, is actually worse than being forced to listen to a heartbeat (a variation passed where it is voluntary) or forcible transvaginal ultrasounds. As someone who had a transvaginal ultrasound during my first miscarriage I can attest to how horribly invasive they are, especially during a deeply emotional time. Preventing women from knowing if they could die from an ectopic pregnancy is by far the worse attack on women. If a man had prostate cancer, a doctor would perform surgery to remove a portion of the gland if needed. They would ALWAYS offer that option if it was viable. Why wouldn’t they do the same for a women with a potentially life-threatening health problem? The worse part of this? Her family would have no legal recompense should she die as a result of this information being withheld. A bill to protect doctors from families who pass blame of disability makes sense. The method they’ve chosen to employ is poor in the best of circumstances and horrifying in the least.

I think the status quo needs to be upended if these are the sort of things we’ll allow in our country let alone our world.

(transcribed here)

P.S. That’s way more often than I’d ever thought I’d type “transvaginal.”


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