Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is It Me Or Is The World Exploding?

It seems like everyday some new bombshell rocks the political world, both in the United States and throughout the world at large. There's so much I want to write about that I'm having trouble choosing a topic. Reproductive rights under attack? Labor unions threatened with a complete revocation of rights? The middle east exploding with revolution? Not to mention the continued GOP resistance to EPA proposed reforms and funding cuts to everything from NPR to school funding, and the very real threat of a complete government shutdown. Regretfully, my time is finite, so I'll limit myself to the first of these travesties.

I'm always hesitant to write about issues touching on abortion because it's such a violently divisive and morally ambiguous issue. The Planned Parenthood cuts, though, aren't solely about abortion. Planned Parenthood offers services such as birth control, STD testing, pre and post-natal care, treatment for serious reproductive diseases and, most importantly, information. Information about how women can protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies, how they can take care of themselves throughout pregnancies and how to deal with a host of problems completely unrelated to pregnancy and childcare, problems such as cervical and breast cancer. Check out this video from The Daily Show, where Jon Stewart examines the hyperbolic rhetoric that masks an attack on women's health.

I find it really appalling that female politicians can support measures that completely degrade them to the level of second class citizens undeserving of basic reproductive health care. It's important that politicians avoid tunnel vision.

Planned Parenthood is not about abortion. It's about helping women make educated, healthy decisions about their reproductive rights and physical health. Limiting access to condoms, STD tests and institutional support will not eliminate abortions, it will increase the rate of accidental pregnancy and force women to pursue illegal and highly dangerous alternative options.

The thing is, government money funds an extremely small number of abortions, and only in the case of pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, or pregnancies that endanger the mother's life. In 2006, the last year for which statistics are available, only 191 women used the government program, and abortions represent only 3% of Planned Parenthood's overall business.

I know this is a highly dramatic statement, but cuts to Planned Parenthood are a direct attack to women's rights. Women such as Michelle Bachmann are degrading themselves by denying their sex access to crucial programs. There's so much going on in the world right now to distract us from issues such as these, but we cannot lose focus on the government actions that threaten to set us back decades in the fight for equal rights. This is more than an abortion issue, this is more than a feminist issue. This is an issue of human dignity and equality.


Anonymous said...

also- planned parenthood offers contraception that can prevent the choice of abortion from having to be made! planned parenthood offers a very important service to society

Christian Myers said...

Michelle Bachmann is crazy and not representative of Minnesota.