Women’s Rights

Mamas on Bedrest: Why We ALL Need Planned Parenthood Funded

February 23rd, 2011

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.