Friday, August 7, 2015

The Attack on Planned Parenthood

If you want to witness an angry U.S. Senator speak to Senate Republicans, listen to Elizabeth Warren’s recent speech about the possible defunding of Planned Parenthood:  In that video, you will hear some pretty strong words about how there has been a focused, long term attack on the rights of women by the extreme right wing in our country.
Senator Warren asks: Why are we fighting a battle that belongs in the 1950’s or the 1890’s?  She describes the many bills  throughout the nation, including Tennessee, designed to banish legal abortions by making them extremely hard to access. Most people, especially the poor and disadvantaged, may be thwarted from terminating a pregnancy thereby increasing welfare rolls, which also annoys these right wing zealots. One day, many marginalized people may not have access to the range of medical services that Planned Parenthood provides, services like cancer and STD screenings, treatment, and birth control.

Katha Pollitt, in How to Really Defend Planned Parenthood (New York Times, 8/05/2015), wrote that “The whole society benefits when motherhood is voluntary.”  She also reports that, “according to the Guttmacher Institute, nearly one in three women will have had at least one abortion by the time she reaches menopause.”  

Why don’t more prochoice people  speak out about their beliefs in the rights for all people to make medical decisions for themselves without governmental interference?  “Silence, fear, shame, stigma,” Ms. Pollitt answers. 

Senator Warren points out that 1 in 5 women have used Planned Parenthood at some time in their lives, and why: because their doors are open to all genders and income levels. I myself used Planned Parenthood as a young adult.

 The fact is that federal funds do not even fund abortions. Rather, they are earmarked for other medical services.

Why the continued attack on women in our nation and in Tennessee?

There are some leaders who fight this battle against women for political gain.  Some are acting out age old issues they have with women, beginning with their mothers. Some who preach and advocate for celibacy or abstinence are sometimes themselves adulterers. Some of these hypocrites have amassed vast political power.

Sometimes, people who protest so much about certain issues have some deep fear, rage, or conflict about the issue rooted in their lives. Trauma of any sort, even emotional trauma and neglect, occurring in a child’s early years, can lead to all sorts of dysfunctional behaviors, including protesting against an issue that relates intimately to the person who has been hurt.  Such abuse happens in many forms ranging from rigid church dogma to strict, fearful, stressed, and/or substance abusing parents.

I support the rights of all people to use excellent and comprehensive medical services.  If we defund Planned Parenthood, we are once again separating the rich from the poor, reinforcing income inequality where rich people can obtain such services but poverty-stricken people cannot.  Our current type of capitalistic society is directly linked to income inequality which abuses the poor and disadvantaged.

For now, we need to stop our Congress and our state from continuing to pass legislation that prohibits so many people from receiving excellent medical care at Planned Parenthood. Please talk with your legislators frequently and consistently about this issue.