Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Women's Health Issues Under Attack!

Today, as I sit here with my sick child by my side sleeping peacefully, I wonder what kind of world he will inherit as an adult.  I am mad! I am mad not as a mother or a teacher, but as a WOMAN! Why aren't more of you mad? The new federal budget has seriously cut funding to Planned Parenthood and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). This after trying to change the definition of rape so that they could cut funding to abortions, and even have tried to end a woman's ability to get an abortion even when her life is in danger.

The GOP, and other supporters of this budget and legislation, are attacking women's rights from an ideology stand point, not a fiscal or legal one.  It is as if religious law is taking over our land originally founded on the idea of the separation of church and state. This is an effort to take a woman's right to choose, but it will hurt society overall in so many ways. Planned Parenthood, which is operating at a profit so it can't possible be a drain on the federal budget, provides so much more to America's women than a means to ending unwanted pregnancies. They provide birth control to those who never want to be faced with having to make the decision between giving birth and having an abortion. Their goal is to PREVENT unwanted pregnancies.  In fact you can walk in and they will just hand you more condoms than you can ever possibly need. They also provide primary health care to women. There is a huge segment of the population who are STILL without health care.  They charge on a sliding scale so any woman can be serviced and cared for, screened for cancer and treated for maladies. They educate young women on how to care for their bodies, educate them as to how their bodies work, and how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. They provide testing for sexually transmitted diseases. They even provide prenatal care to women who would have none otherwise. WIC in turn makes it possible for women who do have babies, provide proper nutrition and health care for them.

Now that I am a mother, I know that if faced with the decision, I could never personally choose abortion, but I would NEVER deny someone else that choice.  I know many who have and have had to live with the demons of their decision. All of the what ifs and could have beens, the general regret, but they knew it was the right decision at the time for them. I know others who gave their babies up in adoption and have had to live with exactly the same regrets.  Still others kept their babies. Some ended up in abusive relationships with men they never loved in the first place subjecting their children to a life surrounded by hate and regret. Then there are the brave single mothers who somehow do it all. Some struggle while others do a phenomenal job. Wouldn't it just be easier to avoid the situation all together through effective education and planning?

Planned Parenthood provided me with medical care and birth control as a struggling uninsured, college student. See I was already married by then, so by whatever moral or religious law you follow I was "allowed" to have sex. Planned Parenthood made it possible for me to finish school, get my degree and start me career and PLAN my family. Growing up fairly poor made my husband and I want "to do things right" and make sure we could provide the best life possible for our children. "Family planning"was a big factor in that. Now that we feel our family is complete, "family planning" still plays a major factor in our lives. More than that, they cared for me and made it possible for me to be taken care of medically when I found a breast lump at the age of 21. I will always be eternally grateful to the organization.

Here is the harsh reality. Cutting these programs may lead to more abortions, not less. Let's face it, teenagers have been having premarital sex since the dawn of time, and I seriously doubt that the young adults who have put off marriage and serious relationships until they are entrenched in their careers, will lead celibate lives. Without access to birth control and sexual education, that many parents feel reluctant to give their children, there will be a rise in unwanted pregnancies. More babies having babies with NO means to care for them and without the much needed prenatal care to ensure the health of the babies at birth and in their infancy. There will be more children born with physical and mental disabilities, the biggest expenses to school budgets, do to improper prenatal and infant care. What about the children themselves? Many times mothers, some meaning to and most who don't, push their regret onto their children letting them know they weren't planned and never wanted. This type of psychological abuse can be as damaging as a fist or a belt.  (This is NOT a generalization, but it does happen.) Moreover, as a teacher we see these children everyday in our classroom. It is proven fact the biggest factor in the success of children is their family life and socioeconomic level. More poor children being born to poor mothers  who cannot or will provide the best foundation for their children before coming to school. As a society, we will see these children as a drain on tax dollars and resources, but my concern is the children themselves. What hope will they have in the world? Add that to what will surely lead to a rise in sexually transmitted diseases, and what hope do we have as a society?

My proposal is for women to come together. Unite against these travesties against our gender and protect our nation's future starting with a national call to all representatives. Here is the number to the switchboard 877-762-8762. Ask for you representatives by name or they can connect you by zip code. Call today! Call Now!  I just did.

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