Right now in America things are going to shit, let’s just call it like it is. From human rights violations happening at the borders to the repeal of women’s rights in many states it’s hard to know how to help and even harder to not want to want to bury your head in the proverbial sand and pretend it’s just not happening. But it is, and if you have a conscious it’s probably bothering you.
Let me make something clear from the start, YOU DON’T NEED TO HAVE A VAGINA TO CARE ABOUT WOMEN’S RIGHTS. You should care because we are all human beings, and when one of us is treated unjustly, we all are. Let’s put it this way; Women have historically been treated as less than by men in the US. It wasn’t even until 1920s that women won the right to vote (yes, WON. They had to fight for it and it took nearly 100 years. If you didn’t know this email me and I am going to assign you a book report), there is STILL rampant inequality among the sexes (Hello, wage gap). Anyway, now women are finding themselves in another fight for bodily autonomy, one we thought was over in the 70s when Roe v. Wade was passed through the Supreme Court and access to safe and legal abortion became protected under the US Constitution.
If you have been following the news at all you know that many states are currently instituting strict and barbaric regulations on abortion, such as when and IF a woman is allowed to obtain one and this hasn’t been the only attack on women’s rights in the past couple years. Under the Trump administration major changes and regulations have been placed around Title X (Title 10). You’ve maybe heard it be referred to as a “gag order”, which would make it illegal for health care providers to tell women where they can safely obtain an abortion, but it’s not JUST that. Title X is a government program that “provides affordable birth control and reproductive health care to people with low incomes, including those who couldn’t otherwise afford health care services on their own.” (https://www.istandwithpp.org/no-gag-rule/what-title-x). “Ok, so what does this mean & why should I care?” It means that the 4 million people who are able to receive medical care because of Title X would be in danger of losing it, and we aren’t talking about abortions (in fact it has never been legal for this money to go towards paying for abortions. The fund is closely monitored and often audited to make sure of this), we are talking about things like, birth control, wellness exams, cancer screening and STD testing. Not only is this a direct attack on women, it’s an attack primarily on poor, women of color, as the majority of people who receive healthcare though this program identify as black, hispanic or latino (systematic racism enter stage left). Weird that someone would think that taking away access birth control and reproductive health would be a good way to curtail abortion…
My Planned Parenthood LA Tour:
Ok. I need to pivot…If you follow me on Instagram you might know that earlier this week I took a trip to Planned Parenthood in Downtown LA. I was lucky enough to have access to an amazing tour of their headquarters as well as their clinic- Let me just say, the clinic is SO nice that I’m considering ditching my pain in the ass, wait for an hour in the lobby, Beverly Hills Gyno for them. Someone else can help fund their next Maserati & send their kid to private school. I wanted to go straight to the source so that I could get the most accurate information possible since I knew this was something I wanted to discuss with you all. What I want to do is share with you what most surprised me most about my visit.
- Planned Parenthood LA served well over 200,000 patients in LA last year, 91% of which are living at or below the federal poverty level. That means a family of 4 is making $25,750 a year. I don’t even understand how that is possible in a city as expensive as this one.
- I asked one of the wonderful women giving us the tour what percentage of services performed at PPLA are abortion services because let’s be honest, Planned Parenthood is painted to be an abortion clinic by many people. Before she answered she warned me that this figure is a little higher than other places in the country being that it’s Los Angeles. I braced for an astronomical figure…7% came out of her mouth. A MEESLY SEVEN PERCENT. Lets do the complicated math; 7%-100%= 93% NINTY THREE PERCENT OF THE SERVICES PROVIDED ARE NOT ABORTIONS. 84% are actually family planning services.
- 59% of the women who obtain abortions are already mothers; 26% already having one child and 33% having two or more.
- 73% of Americans do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned.
- As I stated earlier roughly 4 million people in this country receive their medical care through the Title X program. Planned Parenthood provides service to 41% of that figure. Remember, these are mostly people who are living below the poverty level, Planned Parenthood is often their only source of medical care. If Title X is revised in the way the current administration would like to see, Planned Parenthood would no longer have access to reimbursement from this fund, potentially further limiting the medical care for the portion of the population that has the least access to it otherwise.
After this visit a couple of things became very clear to me; One is that we cannot let politicians and law makers limit this conversation to abortion, it’s much more than that, it’s healthcare. The other is that the amount of misinformation being espoused is staggering. I consider myself an educated person, I try my best to seek out accurate information, and there was a lot about this that I was absolutely shocked by. Planned Parenthood is NOT an abortion clinic, it’s a doctors office that 7% of the time provides abortion services.
Lets Get Some Facts Straight:
As I mentioned earlier, the amount of misinformation out there is vast. I think in order to be able to make any thoughtful decision we need to have the correct information. I want to clarify some of the facts that are most prevalent to today’s conversation so that no matter where you fall on the issue, be it pro-life or pro-choice, you are making your decision based on facts.
- Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana & Georgia are pursuing legislation that are being referred to as “heartbeat” bills, meaning that as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected it would be illegal to receive an abortion. A fetal heartbeat is usual detectable at 6-8 weeks pregnant…Now comes the biology lesson many are in desperate need of: 6 weeks pregnant is 2 weeks after missed period/ 8 weeks pregnant is 4 weeks missed period. Pregnancy is calculated based on the LAST day of a woman’s LAST period. For most women it is very normal to experience a late period, meaning most women wouldn’t even know that they were pregnant until after the 6 week mark.
- The term “heartbeat” when referring to an embryo is extremely misleading. There is NO heart to beat yet. What this term refers to is actually cardiac cellular activity. Meaning: the cells that have the potential to one day become a heart are organizing and showing the correct activity for someone who desires to be pregnant to know that their pregnancy is on the right track to progress.
- Partial Birth Abortion is not a real thing, it is a political term that the National Right To Life Committee invented to illicit an emotionally manipulative response. This is NOT a medical term as one cannot be “partially born”, you are either born or unborn. The procedure we are discussing here is medically referred to as dilation and extraction (more commonly referred to as intact D&E or D&X). This is a medical procedure in which a fetus is removed from the from the body through the birth canal and was developed to vastly reduce the maternal risk to a woman who has to have this procedure. This procedures complication rates are extremely low, they are 0.5%-5% compared to a c-section who’s complication rates are around 27%. I’m going to say this loudly so that the people in the back care hear me, “THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF WOMEN DECIDING TO ABORT THEIR BABIES THAT ARE HEALTHY OR HAVE MINOR FETAL ABNORMALITIES AFTER 24 WEEKS.” The women who are having to endure this procedure are women who are fully intending to carry their babies to term. They are having to have these procedures for one of two reasons or for BOTH reasons; the baby has severe fetal abnormalities (ie. missing organs vital to life outside of the womb, major birth defects, a twin that has died inside of the womb) OR continuing the pregnancy is likely to cause a major medical threat or death to the mother. This kind of abortion makes us less that 1% of the abortions preformed annually in this country and is vital to the physical and emotional well being of the mother. Why is this being used as a sticking point by the pro-life movement? Because it causes an emotional reaction from their supporters and galvanizes their base.
You might be surprised how abortion became a political issue:
Surprisingly abortion was not a partisan issue until rather recently. We begin to see it in the 1970s when presidential candidate Richard Nixon started to take an anti-abortion stance in an effort to gain support from the Catholic church and other conservative voters. This is when we start to see abortion began to be used as political strategy – Thanks a lot Tricky Dicky. A great example of this would be Ronald Regan, who, as governor of California, signed into law the California Therapeutic Abortion Act in 1967, which was one of the most liberalized state abortion laws to date at that point. Then when he ran for president as republican candidate in 1980 he ran on a pro-life platform. Why? Political strategy. There was a HUGE untapped and under represented religious/conservative population of potential electorates who could be activated by using this topic.
If you are under the impression that the candidates you support for wanting to place bans and regulations on abortion and women’s health care are doing so because they share in your beliefs, I’m so sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you’re probably wrong. Politicians represent their constituents and they run in the hopes of winning elections. If said constituents are pro-life they will run on a pro-life platform. If that were to suddenly change and the voters became overwhelmingly pro-choice, believe you me, said politician would have a sudden and concise change of heart too.
If that’s ok with you, fine, I am not telling you how you should pick your representatives. But please don’t continue under the illusion that you’re not being purposefully and thoughtfully manipulated by them to garner your support and votes.
It’s important to note that this political flip flopping on the right to choose wasn’t isolated to Ronald Regan; George H.W. Bush started as a moderate who supported Planned Parenthood, and even current President Dumpster Fire identified himself as pro-choice prior to running for president and subsequently trying to destroy the earth. These men probably all didn’t suddenly and coincidentally have a change of heart once they ran for President, that would be highly unlikely don’t you think? They wained to the pressure of religious conservative voters in this country. Politics is cute right?
Where do we go from here?
I want to be very very clear on something, this is not a black and white topic. You can be pro-choice and still have your beliefs. What do I mean by that? I mean that you can believe in letting another woman make choices that you would never make for yourself. You can believe she is a murderer, a bad person, believe she is condemned to eternal damnation and hellfire and STILL let her make her own decision. In order to be pro-choice you do not have to change your morality, you just have to let someone else have theirs. Believe what you want, I will not tell you you’re wrong but give others the same treatment. Consider yourself blessed to not know the struggle a woman has to go through when making these decisions. Practice compassion and empathy. Remember, no matter where you live or who your community is; 1 in 4 women has had an abortion in this country. Look at your friend group. Would you be willing to look one of them in the eyes during probably one of the hardest moments of her life and deny her the choice? Being able to safely access abortion allows women the same right to decide what she wants from her future as a man automatically has. There is nothing forcing a man to care for an unwanted child after he impregnates a woman. He is not breaking the law in any way (with the exception of potentially not paying child support). He is allowed to decide what he wants for his life and a woman deserves the same right.
In a perfect world there would be no need for abortion. All babies conceived would be born into healthy, stable homes. Homes that are financially secure and safe, to mothers AND fathers who are ready to take on the life long responsibility of raising a human being. No babies would suffer birth defects or severe fetal anomalies. This is not a perfect world and we have a responsibility to be honest with ourselves about this and make our decisions based on facts, not illusions.
If you have made it to this point thank you, I truly appreciate that you spent the time to read this post. The subject is so important to me because it’s a subject based on equality, and that is something I will fight for tirelessly. I’m also super fucking pissed because all this real life scary shit is making it so I can’t bare to watch The Handsmaid’s Tale anymore.
Anyway, I promise that my next few posts will be a lot more fun! Until then I want to provide you with some ways you can help and get involved.
Love you, guys.
Under His Eye,