Electronic Frontier Foundation
 Electronic Frontier Foundation
 Electronic Frontier Foundation
 Electronic Frontier Foundation

Marie PickettWhile so much scrutiny is focused on national security these days, and rightfully so, I cannot leave this urgent matter unaddressed.

 

There are so many ways in which the current occupants of the White House and Congress are tearing away at our democracy, that it is getting harder and harder for me to highlight only one travesty, but I will try to do so. The GOP has taken aim at healthcare and Planned Parenthood, essentially trying to completely remove access to healthcare from not only the most fragile in our society but also from those with limited means to affordable healthcare. The GOP is looking to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act, and defund Planned Parenthood. This would be a very good time to remember that while the politicians are taking away our healthcare, that we will still be forced to pay for their healthcare coverage through our tax dollars!

 

Speaker Paul Ryan announced that they are going to move to strip away all federal funding for Planned Parenthood as part of the Republican plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, most often referred to as Obamacare.1 Why don’t they want all Americans to have healthcare coverage? Do they feel that Americans are not worthy of healthcare coverage? Personally, I do not feel they are worthy to have tax paying Americans pick up their tab for their healthcare coverage. If the GOP has a better plan than the one that’s in place, let’s hear it. But they don’t. As always, the GOP just criticizes while offering no alternatives or solutions. It is so typical of them.

 

There’s one bright spot though … Speaker Ryan didn’t plan on any dissension among the GOP ranks, but sure he got some. Complements of Senator Susan Collins of Maine, and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both of whom are pro-choice. Senator Paul Rand of Kentucky also opposes the legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare because the “underlying budget is not balanced and adds to the deficit.” Three cheers to these Republican Senators who may break from the dog pack and do the right thing.

 

Here is a brief history of the wonderful non-profit Planned Parenthood organization. The beginning of Planned Parenthood can be traced back to Brooklyn in 1916 where the first birth control clinic in the United States was opened.2 That clinic provided birth control, birth control information and advice to the community. All of that lead to the founder, Margaret Sanger along with her sister Ethyl Byrne, and Fania Mindell, being arrested and jailed; each accused of distributing obscene materials. It’s ridiculous that 100 years later we are still dealing with that same mentality.

 

Federal funding for Planned Parenthood came about as a result of the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act signed into law by a Republican President, Richard Nixon, in 1970 based on the premise that “no woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.” That Act was passed with bipartisan support. Repealing it would be both discriminatory and unconscionable.

 

Planned Parenthood plays an extremely important role in providing healthcare to underserved communities in America. Planned Parenthood offers much more than the lightning rod services of contraceptives and abortions (federal funds are not used for abortions). Planned Parenthood also dispenses general healthcare, breast exams, men’s sexual health services, and women’s general health services, etc. Planned Parenthood is a non-profit entity offering vital information to teens, to parents, and to educators. Information is vital. Without it, how could people make informed decisions? Planned Parenthood provides information and tools needed to make informed, rational choices. Yes, Planned Parenthood is an advocate for reproductive rights, but having Rights is a good thing!

 

Contraception is a good thing, too. It’s a right. Condoms, a male driven contraception, are sold in large retail outlets, in the corner grocery store, in restrooms at the local bar, Online – and everywhere in-between. The most common female driven contraception is “the pill.” For that, a woman must go to the doctor, get a pelvic exam, have a prescription written, then go to the pharmacy to have it filled. The pill is a well thought out and long-term plan arrived at through counseling and information. It is not a rash decision like stopping in at the grocery store for some condoms because it might be a “lucky night.”

 

The GOP’s and religious leaders’ “teach abstinence” mantra is a ridiculous stance. It’s ridiculous not only for young men and women, but also for adults. Just ask Sarah Palin how well abstinence and void of birth control worked for her daughter Bristol.3 To me, the abstinence argument is akin to believing that President Trump practiced monogamy during his marriages? Neither are realistic.

 

While I do wholeheartedly believe in the “my body/my choice” thinking, that may not be right for every woman … but at least within “my body/my choice” there is a choice! I want my children and grandchildren to have choices. Forcing women to have children that they are not prepared for only leads to abandonment, abuse, and heaven knows what else. Those outcomes will be on your head Speaker Ryan, on your head Vice President Pence. Are your male egos so fragile that the thought of a woman not wanting to carry a male seed and give birth, that that would make you do crazy things like block healthcare to the most fragile in our society? Must you deny contraception and thereby force women to have children before they are able to properly care for a child, and then also deny healthcare of any kind by repealing the Affordable Healthcare Act? Must you!?

 

Would you leave women with the indignity of not being able to provide proper nutrition, and unable to pay for child care, or even have a home? You, the GOP, have not thought this through. Let me help you: an $8.00 to $10.00 per hour job will not pay rent, much less child care, food, heat, etc. Many married and unmarried women alike have sadly and painfully learned that they cannot rely on the father (or the seed provider) for support – for neither emotional or financial support. Are you, the Christian GOP, going to chip in out of the kindness of your heart and help? I don’t think so … since, in my opinion, you have no heart. For if you did, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

 

For one moment GOP men, get your mind off your penis and think about what it would be like to be a 19- or 20-year-old woman, pregnant and alone. Where does she go? What does she do? I imagine that she exists in a very lonely, painful, place. Many men who impregnate our young women abandon them because their reaction is that “it isn’t mine.” After all, she was “sleeping around.” If you think this doesn’t happen daily, then you better think again. Come back to reality. The fantasy world you live in doesn’t exist for people struggling in the real world.

 

In my opinion, advocating for pro-life is equal to advocating for child abuse. You preach saving a life, but that is all you do. You do nothing to help. Nothing. The reality of everyday American women doesn’t touch you. You, who hid behind God. You, who hid behind fake righteous indignation, behind your corrupt causes with all of its dollars. Leave us alone. We are woman. Do not judge us, lest you be judge. This is between me and my God who bears no resemblance to your God. I am woman. I will deal with it. If you don’t have a vagina, if you don’t have a womb, I say to you that you have “no say.” So please take your seat and remain silent for the remainder of this righteous fight for reproductive rights.

 

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