Hey everyone! Hope you enjoyed the winter break! I wanted to let everyone know that while I’m not technically on campus this semester (I’m doing IPSS with the Global Fund for Women in SF), I will be in the area. That means that Vox will be active this semester on campus! I’m looking for new members who want to be active in advocating for women’s health and reproductive freedom! I’ll be at the club fair on Thursday Feb. 11 from 12-2 pm. Look for us, and sign up!
I’ve been away from the blog-school is busy as I’m sure you all are feeling too. I wanted to post about some great stuff that’s been going on this semester.
In November Nell Compernolle and I were able to go on a grassroots organizing retreat with Planned Parenthood student leaders from all over California. The retreat was held at the Marin Headlands Institute, which was stunning!
Not only did we have a great time making smores by the bonfire and discovering phosphorescent plankton on the beach, we spent our days learning techniques for grassroots organizing from Wellstone Action. What a great time, and even better-PPMM is considering doing another retreat for campus organizers next year! That’s some incentive for anyone who wants to take over Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood Monterey Bay! This was such a wonderful opportunity, I’d love for someone from MIIS to be able to go next year.
Check out this op-ed from the NYTimes. If the Democrats don’t protect the right to choose-who will? We all have to get involved!!
I think I can speak for a lot of us when I say that I was really excited about the prospect of real health care reform in the country. As graduate students many of us carry overwhelming debt and are no longer eligible to continue health care coverage on our parent’s insurance. Instead we apply for individual plans-which are relatively cheap but offer little coverage. Some of us are denied thanks to pre-existing conditions and are forced to buy the student health plan which is expensive and still offers poor coverage. For years I avoided paying for health insurance and thanks to my local Planned Parenthood Clinic I was able to get my yearly exams. At MIIS we are required to carry health insurance-whether we can afford it or not. We are victims of a confusing, expensive, and discriminatory health care system that some claim is ‘the best in the world’.
It is for the reasons above that I hoped for real change in the proposed health care legislation. The first major blow was the scrapping of the public option. Then came the most recent affront, the Stupack/Pitts Amendment. This amendment would deny coverage for those who receive “affordability credits” to buy their health insurance on the proposed insurance exchange. That means that even if you pay for most of your insurance with your own money you wouldn’t be able to purchase a plan with abortion coverage. If you are covered by your employer or your spouse’s employer and they decided to seek more affordable coverage using the exchange, you would lose abortion coverage. This means that many women who have abortion coverage today would lose it if health care reform is passed with the Stupack/Pitts Amendment. This violates the promise that President Obama gave us when he said that no one would lose coverage they already had.
Not only would the Stupack/Pitts Amendment leave women worse off than before it would complicate their coverage by requiring women who want comprehensive reproductive health coverage to buy an abortion rider. What an absurd concept. Women seek abortion after unplanned pregnancies, that means that they don’t plan for them! I’m a responsible woman and I don’t expect an unplanned pregnancy-yet sometimes women miss their pills, sometimes condoms break, and unfortunately sometimes even a planned pregnancy has complications that threaten a woman’s health. I don’t anticipate the need for an abortion, and I can guess that many other women don’t either. That doesn’t mean that I don’t deserve my insurance to include comprehensive reproductive care.
The Stupack/Pitts Amendment is just a ploy to limit access to abortion-a legal medical procedure. And it really affects women who are disadvantaged to begin with, those who need help getting health insurance coverage. Most private plans today include abortion coverage. Don’t let this new health care reform leave women worse off than they were before. Tell your legislators that you don’t support taking away coverage that women already have. Tell them that you don’t support any legislation that limits women’s access to abortion.
Click here to reach your legislators.
This weekend the Stupack Amendment issued a major blow to women’s access to abortion. Read the Planned Parenthood press release regarding the amendment here. This amendment prohibits the use of public funds for insurance plans (public or private) that cover abortion. Dr. Nancy Snyderman spoke about the Stupak amendment on MSNBC this morning, she said that this is about restricting basic healthcare for women who are marginalized already. Watch video here.
On November 9th 2009 people in 11 countries will protest for sexual and reproductive rights in Muslim Societies. Check it out here. Any ideas on how we can participate or show solidarity? Thanks to Michelle Seivers for bringing this to my attention!
Check out the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Countries (CSBR) here.
I was also reading this article from RH Reality Check. It, and the comments (which are super interesting) are relating to the existential debate regarding abortion-the question of “What if I hadn’t been born”. I remember when I was in the 6th grade a friend of mine mentioned this argument. I countered with a story about my mother who had an abortion prior to having conceived my brother and I. She and my dad were young, just married, and didn’t feel ready to start their family. A few years later and they did, my mother had my brother at 27, and 18 months later, me. Directly following my birth was my dad’s vasectomy. Following this logic, I wouldn’t have been born if my mother hadn’t had that abortion. Two children-then vasectomy. Reading the article reminded me of this debate. All those hypotheticals are a bit much. Let’s stick to the real debate, which is about women’s rights. I really identified with the comment made by Amanda Marcotte, “If I thought my mother was forced to have me, I’d be crushed. I love my mom and wouldn’t have wanted her to suffer that abuse of her basic rights, that transgression of her bodily autonomy.” This debate is about the rights of women to decide their own fates! If my mom had never had me I would never be cognizant of that fact, but if she had me and didn’t want me, I would suffer from that my entire life, not to mention the hardship my mother would have faced.
Check out this article on people fighting the good fight in the Phillipines.
According to a new Guttmacher study increasing global contraceptive rates has led to a significant decline in rates of abortion in the developing and developed world. Duh! Here is an interesting quote, “The report finds that while the incidence of abortion is closely related to that of unintended pregnancy, it does not correlate with abortion’s legal status. Indeed, abortion occurs at roughly equal rates in regions where it is broadly legal and in regions where it is highly restricted. The key difference is safety—illegal, clandestine abortions cause significant harm to women, especially in developing countries.” Read the findings here. At the bottom of the page find links for info on unsafe abortion by region which may be useful in any research you’re doing!
And read the RH Reality Check article here. The comments are particularly interesting. It still confounds me to think that while people claim to be against abortion they are also against the only thing effective in preventing it-contraception. Wake up!
I just wanted to thank everyone who signed my petition this week for REAL Sex Ed! I gathered just under 50 signatures to support legislation for federally funded comprehensive sex ed.
I heard some really great stories, about the failure of abstinence only education, and ‘moral education’ in Ireland! It just reinforced why this is such an important issue for everyone, to keep our young people healthy, safe, and well adjusted!
Your signatures are being sent to Washington as I write this. Thanks for all your support!