Bed rest Coach Darline Turner-Lee reviews the common complications associated with high blood pressure during pregnancy and offers tips on how pregnant women on bed rest can monitor their own blood pressure and share this information with their health care providers.
Last Friday February 18, 2011, The US House of Representatives voted to exclude Planned Parenthood from all federal funding.
When I first heard about the vote I was stunned and then my shock immediately turned to outrage. When Republicans regained control of the House after last fall’s election, they made it patently clear that many of the social services we currently enjoy they intended to dismantle and do away with. Their vote to overturn “ObamaCare” and now the vote to exclude federal funding of Planned Parenthood shows that they fully intend to make good on their claims. And while you mamas on bed rest may be thinking, “This really has nothing to do with me”, Let me share with you a few reasons why we ALL need Planned Parenthood funded.
1. Planned Parenthood Provides General Well Woman Care.
When many people think of Planned Parenthood, they immediately think of a birth control or abortion clinic. While Planned Parenthood does in fact provide these women’s reproductive services, they also provide general well woman care to thousands, if not millions, of women annually. Planned Parenthood clinicians perform routine Pap Smear and Pelvic examinations, Screening for and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, screening for HIV and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV, the virus that causes genital warts and cervical cancer), Breast cancer screenings and low cost referrals for mammograms. Planned Parenthood is the primary care provider for thousands of US women who are either uninsured, under-insured or have no other access to well woman gynecologic care. The vote to exclude Planned Parenthood from federally funding guarantees that there will be more unintended pregnancies in the coming years, the very thing that the allegedly are trying to stop.
The truth is that women will continue to have sex, as is their God given right, but without the affordable, available care that Planned Parenthood Clinics provide nationwide, they will be at increased risk for sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies and unsafe pregnancy terminations. More women will be at risk for developing life-threatening infections and death.
2. The Conservative Agenda is Against Human Rights
Unfortunately, this issue goes well beyond funding of Planned Parenthood. The votes in the House of Representatives demonstrate that conservatives are actively working to exclude anyone who doesn’t hold their beliefs from any sort of human rights in this country. They campaigned vehemently against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the law that banned openly gay citizens from serving in the US Military. They are against Immigration reform and want to legalize racial profiling and deportation of anyone who cannot immediately produce citizenship validation on demand.
3. The Conservative Vote is a Vote against Women’s (Reproductive) Rights
Conservatives are actively working to repeal the human rights of one half of the US population, namely women. The conservative agenda is a war against women and women’s rights.
Case in point: Women still make only about $.77 for every $1 a man makes in the same job. The most impoverished people in this country are women and children. Women are disproportionately employed in low paying service jobs.
The United States is one of the only countries in the world that offers no paid maternity leave for working women. As many of you know, if you experience pregnancy complications and are out of work for more than 12 weeks, you may not have a job to return to after your pregnancy. Yet, you can have bypass surgery, hip replacement surgery or even a hysterectomy and have a job to come back to-and be paid while you are out! Such is not the case for pregnancy and pregnancy related complications.
Antiabortionist brazenly stalk, intimidate and even kill providers of abortion services limiting a woman’s access to a safe, legal medical procedure and robbing her of her right to choose what to do with her pregnancy. And with this vote to exclude federal funds from Planned Parenthood, they well prevent thousands of American women from receiving health care-unless she’s covered by her father’s insurance or married and covered by her husband’s insurance. These votes are slowly whittling away at our human rights and turning back the clock to a day when we were merely someone else’s dependent.
We ALL Need Planned Parenthood
We ALL need Planned Parenthood. Sadly a few of you reading this post will lose your job and health insurance while on bed rest. Prior to this vote, you could have received high quality, low cost post partum and subsequent gynecologic care from Planned Parenthood clinicians. Now if you suffer such loss, you’ll have far fewer places to turn for your well woman care. (By the way, if you think you’re safe because you have Medicaid, they are trying to cut funds to that program as well!)
Young women, those just out of college and not yet employed or without insurance no longer have a place to have well woman examinations, STI screenings or to receive contraception.
And our most vulnerable women, young girls will have nowhere to turn to for sexual health counseling and care. I know, many of you are saying, “My daughter can come to me if she needs anything!” I’m right there with you. My daughter is 8. It makes me dizzy to even contemplate the fact that she will one day be sexually active. I’d like to believe that being in my line of work, she”ll freely come to me with any and all questions. Yet, specifically because of what I do, she may be more inclined to avoid me entirely (gulp!). So if it can’t be me, I most certainly hope she’ll seek counseling and care from a safe alternative such as Planned Parenthood.
Many of you may be gawking at the fact that I am “encouraging” my daughter to utilize the services of Planned Parenthood. Again, I would prefer if my daughter come to me if she has questions, concerns or needs regarding her gynecologic health. However if when the time comes my daughter does not feel comfortable talking to me about her sexual health or sexuality, I’d rather she seek the counsel of other reproductive health professionals then the alternative, to go blindly into sex.
We ALL Need Planned Parenthood.
Please contact your House Representative and tell them to fund Planned Parenthood.
Few things can make my blood boil like racism, sexism and discrimination against women. So when I read that Georgia Republican Representative Bobby Franklin has proposed a bill to the Georgia legislature, HB1, that would require women who miscarry to have to prove that the miscarriage is a spontaneous, natural occurrence I was seething mad.
In my experience, most women who miscarry wanted the child that was lost and had been doing their utmost to have a healthy successful pregnancy. Unfortunately, not all pregnancies are viable. Nature in her infinite wisdom (far superior to this Georgia representative’s!) has created mechanisms within a woman’s body to dispose of non-viable pregnancies. We call them miscarriages.
I have been through 2 miscarriages myself so this is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. Despite the fact that I had my miscarriages in 2001 and in 2004, I can still remember them vividly. The first began with severe cramping and back pain followed by copious blood flow for days while I was traveling on business. If I was a Georgia resident, would I be charged with felony homicide because I deigned to travel while pregnant? That was my very first pregnancy, the first of 4, and one that I really wanted. I was devastated that it had resulted in miscarriage and was depressed for months as I subsequently endured a fertility work up and surgery to remove uterine fibroids.
The second miscarriage (my third pregnancy) occurred between my children. Again, my husband and I decided we wanted to add to our family and I became pregnant. Every thing seemed just fine. I felt good, much better than I had while pregnant with my daughter, and was really looking forward to another little one. When I went in for what I thought would be my first prenatal visit at 9 weeks, my OB could not find a heart beat. Additionally, the embryonic sac looked empty and she suspected that I had miscarried. Actually, she said that it looked like I had a blighted ovum, that the fertilization process had not occurred properly and no fetus was developing. Again, I was devastated. To make matters worse I had to call my husband, who was traveling on business in Japan, and tell him that our child was gone.
My OB thought that my body would expel “the products of conception” ( my baby) but it did not. I carried the remains of “my child” around for a week. When my husband returned home, a final ultrasound confirmed the diagnosis and my OB recommended that we remove the fetal tissue. I opted to take misoprostol to induce uterine contractions and expel the fetal tissue at home rather than go to the hospital for a D&C. Suffice it to say that the misoprostol worked and about 12 hours after taking it, I scooped the remains of “my child” out of my commode and put it into a container to be analyzed in a pathology lab. Then my husband and I sat on the side of our bed while I cried uncontrollably.
Even now, many years later, I have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes as I remember these events. I could not have endured an interrogation as to my behavior and possible contribution to the demise of my children when these events took place. Yet, this is exactly what Rep. Franklin is proposing. Rep. Franklin, a republican, who opposes big government, health care reform and has agreed with his chums that medical decisions need to be made between patients and their doctors in opposition to many of the proposed mandates in “Obamacare”, feels that it is okay to completely invade the privacy (in direct violation to HIPAA) and grief of a woman and her partner to protect the rights of an unborn child. What about the rights of the woman? This woman is very likely one of his constituents. This woman may have (although I now hope not) voted to put him in office! Yet if this same woman has a miscarriage and cannot prove that it was through no fault of her own, Rep. Franklin is proposing that this woman face criminal charges-essentially punishing her for what is very likely a force of nature.
This is nothing more than another assault on women’s reproductive rights and another attempt to regulate how and when women have children and what they do with their bodies. How can Republicans and others concerned about the size of government propose another government entity to “police” what women are doing with their bodies? By their own admission, government is already too big and we can’t fiscally support the programs that are already in place. And if Rep. Franklin is so concerned about all of his constituents and the citizens of Georgia, why isn’t the same concern shown for women when they are raped (Here again they have to prove that they did not in some way provoke the attack!), when they are battered (often while pregnant) or when they are otherwise left without means or protections? Where is his outrage and indignation for these women, these citizens of Georgia?
The bottom line is that a woman’s reproductive health is between her and her health care provider and what goes on with her body is her business, no one else’s, and it should stay that way! Keep your nose out of our uteri, Rep. Franklin! No Explanations needed!