Posts Tagged ‘Reproductive Health Care’

While watching part of the GOP debate, I started to feel like that Angry character in the movie Inside Out. The one with fiery hair and a voice like Lewis Black. In the continual news coverage of Trump’s performance, I thought something is missing. Now we hear Hillary calling it out, the unbelievably, unimaginable gall of Rubio to tell us all that his Catholic faith informs his public policy – ie sorry no abortions ladies, life begins at conception, oh and btw, that he would make no exceptions for rape or incest.

And so we see again, ten men discussing womens’ private parts. But as Elizabeth (yes we’re on a first name basis) said, did they fall down and hit their heads and wake up in the 1950s? Because I lived through those years, when young women were butchered in backyard alleys, when they were sent away in shame to deliver a baby and hand it over for adoption, when they were rendered infertile and sometimes died. When women had no voice at all, none. Some women did the “good” thing and married the guy at 17, if he was amenable.

Today, young women are supposedly given condoms in school at a certain age and told how to use them. Of course this is all according to a state-sanctioned sex-ed/health curriculum, that varies from California to New York. Some states prefer to teach about waiting for marriage. But, girls can walk into a drug store and buy a Plan B pill if the condom failed…in fact, they still could walk into a Planned Parenthood clinic and get a shot a patch or a pill to prevent conception. But not if these ten men on stage have their way, clinics will cease to exist for reproductive health care – in other words, it’s the poor, the marginalized, the girls who could never in a million years talk to their parents about sex, these are the girls who will suffer.

Then this morning I read this: “Letter to Our Daughters: Do Not Be Good.”  The author, Megan Bergman, is writing about becoming a teenager to her pre-school daughters: http://blog.pshares.org/index.php/letter-to-my-daughters-do-not-be-good/

You are entitled to the Dark Poetry Stage, and although it’s going to hurt like hell when you push me away, it’s necessary. (I hope I’m there to be pushed, and return doggedly.) I’m raising you to be independent beings, not fleshy basement-dwellers who play video games and pound energy drinks while the sunny world goes by. Or girls who try to appease my ego by being conventionally “good” and who then have to forge a secret rebellion. No! Rebel in the open.

I want you out in the world getting the good stuff. I want sun on your skin and banned books in your backpack, and when I’m old and diapered I want you to walk into my house, turn down the George Michael songs, and tell me about all the incredible discoveries you’ve made about the planet and yourself. I want you to tell me about your mistakes, heartbreaks, dreams, and plans. Those things are your engine. In my life, failure has been a much better engine than success. Artistic and personal.

George Michael doesn’t do it for me, maybe the Stones? My generation of women wrote the Book “Our Bodies Ourselves” because if we can’t control our body, how can we take control of our own lives?  We don’t need to cover our hair, we can dye it blue. We can go to a movie like Trainwreck and celebrate our badasses.

Because being good isn’t all it’s cracked up to be: when it limits our choices; when it keeps us subservient; when it cancels our dreams.

We don’t have to take typing in school and end up in a Mad Men office anymore. We may even get equal pay for equal work soon! I went to Catholic school AND camp. I was taught to be good above all else. And believe me, throwing off those shackles felt amazing. Rubio and his ilk would like to put those chains back on, but he doesn’t know that young women today will never allow that to happen. After years of being dressed in a beanie and uniform, I allowed the Bride to wear whatever she wanted to school. It was the late 80s, think Dirty Dancing, and she was killing it!

Note to my daughter – remember your grandmother was a Flapper, remember this when the Love Bug turns 11, it’s a magical age.  Cute Kids

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Although we may not be caught up with all the news that’s fit to print while four generations cavort in the Florida sunshine, we did manage to see the latest Downton. Some of us watched the Masterpiece special on TV, and some caught PBS online the next day. And just to be safe, Grandma Ada had her son at home in the ice and snow taping last Sunday’s program. Naturally we were all speculating on the birth control device Lady Mary sent poor Anna Bates,her Lady’s maid, out to fetch from the pharmacy. Remember we are now into the 1920s, and Flapper fashion and suffrage is de rigeur!

Still, the same week a period drama wrestles with pre-marital sex, in fact seems to condone Lady Mary’s bohemian idea that 1) women should take charge of their bodies and not leave this messy business to the man, and B) she get to know this guy Tony “in every way” before marriage without having to deal with an unwanted “epilogue,” Pope Francis chimes in with this: “Some think, excuse me if I use the word, that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits – but no,” he said, adding the Church promoted “responsible parenthood”. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/19/us-pope-airplane-idUSKBN0KS1WY20150119

The doctors in the room all speculated Lady Mary was using a diaphragm and whipped out their devices to google this idea! Indeed, cervical caps were used in the 20s and 30s but were very scarce in this country. And just in case you haven’t heard of our modern-day saint Margaret Sanger, she thought ; “…the best method of birth control was a doctor fitted device, either the cervical cap or a diaphragm. Sanger opened North America’s first birth control clinic in New York City in 1916. Sanger and her sister, Ethel Higgins Byrne, did the work themselves, assisted by a receptionist. Sanger claimed to have fitted 488 women with diaphragms in the 10 days before the police shut the down the clinic. Sanger claimed she could not find a doctor willing to work at the clinic.” http://www.case.edu/affil/skuyhistcontraception/online-2012/Cervical-Caps-Diaphragms.html

Enter the Dutch physician, Dr Rebecca Gomperts. She is truly an inspirational woman who travels the globe to educate, enlighten and skirt the regulations and restrictions on a woman’s right to choose her method of birth control. She started Women on Waves where she would induce medical abortions with the morning after pill, mifepristone and/or misoprostol in international waters. In countries where politics restrict access to reproductive health care she is viewed as a villain, for most women she is their savior. In 2006 she started Women on Web https://www.womenonweb.org in order to enlarge her vision and reach more poor and marginalized women.

Using Mifepristone and Misoprostol is no more complicated than using other medications. You will get clear instructions about how to use the drugs, what to expect, and when to go to a doctor. If you have questions about any step of the process, you can contact a helpline. A medical abortion does not need to take place in a hospital or first aid clinic.


Of course today, in this country, we can purchase Plan B over the counter. Whether we call it responsible or planned parenthood, it’s good to know the Pope gets it, even if he has to backtrack to keep the Cardinals happy. And as for Lady Mary, she is more a vixen than a rabbit, don’t you agree?

Rebecca Gomperts, one foxy lady

Rebecca Gomperts, one foxy lady

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