Writing about what I have been reading and encountering in the media.
|Growing up, we had neighbors with large families who received public assistance. Other neighbors gossiped “they had all those kids so they could get more welfare money.” I knew those families were not profiting from welfare. I had been in their overcrowded homes and had seen the sparse furnishings, lack of decoration, and lack of privacy. I had way too much information to believe the gossip. In 1970, I moved to Connecticut. There, I noticed that the youngest child in my public welfare caseload was age 6, no matter how many children there were in the family. One day I asked one of those mothers how that could be. Her reply: “Birth control wasn’t legal here until 1964. Do you think I would have had all these children if I could have stopped it?”
I have been a member of Planned Parenthood since they provided health care that I could not otherwise afford in my early twenties. Later, they provided education about STD that my gynecologist did not provide: Unfortunately, too late to preserve my fertility. They provided unbiased counseling about my reproductive health choices about surgery because they wouldn’t profit from unnecessary surgery. Their medical care has made a significant contribution to bringing the AIDS epidemic under control. I have no idea how many pregnancies they have prevented. I have no way of knowing how many unplanned pregnancies I prevented in my life with their help.
I am greatly troubled by the attack on Planned Parenthood. They work to prevent abortion by preventing pregnancy. The largest number of requests for abortion come from peri-menopausal women whose families are grown, who are worried about the many challenges presented by a late pregnancy including much increased risk of birth defect and miscarriage. This is a difficult problem for a family, for a woman to face. They provide healthy support, help women think it through without pushing them one way or another, and continue to provide the care no matter what choice the woman makes.
This attack on Planned Parenthood is an attack on birth control, on prevention and treatment of Sexually Transmitted Disease, on appropriate reproductive health education for teens, and on other prevention and health care activities. The complaint is thinly cloaked as a problem with abortion. If people really cared about abortion, they would strengthen supports to families who experience unplanned pregnancy. No. There is a billboard I often pass that says “babies: God’s economic growth package.” This is the consumer economy gone wrong.
Think about this: your support of the attack on Planned Parenthood supports the kind of spying and twisted editing that results in creation of, and dissemination of inaccurate political “information” (propaganda). This could happen to you, to your interest groups. Is this how you want your Democracy to function?
Finally, Planned Parenthood is a private, not-for-profit organization. The effort to “de-fund” simply restricts options for health care of people who use Medicare and/or Medicaid. We pay lots more for pregnancy and raising of a child than for prevention of the pregnancy in the first place. We will spend much more for the care and treatment of each case of STD than to prevent it.
Please, everyone who agrees, make a donation to Planned Parenthood today. www.plannedparenthood.org Please write to your Congressional representative against de-funding of Planned Parenthood.