Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dear GOP

So with a GOP majority we had better prepare for unprecedented attacks on issues like abortion, women's health and the legislation of rape. I'm sure many of you have seen the FB petitions circulating about re-defining rape so that a situation where a woman is drugged and raped it would be considered consensual and therefore would limit a woman's access to an abortion. Just wow on that one. I can unconsciously consent to sex. So like, if I don't know someone is asking me or that it is even happening, and can't talk or move, I can give my rapist the thumbs up?  Sounds like a date. And if I don't put up a physical struggle then I must have made the choice to have a baby? Of course! The fertile grounds to start a family.
Did I miss something?
In reality, just until the last few years (thanks to roofies and urinalysis testing) rape was nearly impossible to prove in court without signs of a struggle. A woman in Central Park in NY was thrown from her bicycle by a stranger, choked and raped but was unable to see the perpetrator to jail because there was insufficient evidence to support that a struggle had occurred. A woman in Seattle threatens to jump from a building downtown in the middle of a rape trial in which she was the victim because she can't handle the stress of being cross-examined by the defense. The perpetrator. Who had decided to represent himself.
People erect three-story graphic images of aborted fetuses, tear at their hair, cry out passionately to God, "What is the value of human life?" But what do we really care about? How much can we ignore the inconvenient parts and still have the consideration of life? Don't we have to decide as well about the QUALITY of an individual's life? Can the two exist autonomously?   Fuck. Anything is tantamount to women and their need for sexual and reproductive rights. A cute hedgehog video gets more contemplation on a societal level than what rape REALLY is, or what reproductive choice REALLY means.
It's sad. One step forward three steps backward. There's proposed legislation to eliminate federal funding to Planned Parenthood. The appointed committee committed to getting the task done? You guessed it, mostly white Republican males. It's sad that Republicans would want to revert back to the archaic days before birth control, when women were miserable and children spent their childhood in front of the TV. After all, this is what Planned Parenthood does. Provide birth control, hence the name of the organization. And in low-income situations, an annual pap smear at Planned Parenthood may be the only time a woman sees a doctor. Contrary to popular belief, Planned Parenthood is not a death dispensary. The majority of women they see are there for contraceptives, not abortions. I always wondered when I saw the picketers outside the office on Indiana, why they would have a problem with poor women using birth control, or women whose health insurance refused to pay for their contraceptives. It seemed like they were making the "right" decision to me.
I met a woman on Friday whose life was saved by Planned Parenthood. She was in for her annual, and the nurse discovered lumps on her lymph nodes. She referred her to a specialist who diagnosed the lumps as non-Hodgkins lymphoma. She was treated in 2003, and has since given birth to a beautiful girl and enjoys a normal life. Thanks to Planned Parenthood. The reality is, PP is providing medical services to women (and men for that matter) who may not receive ANY other health services. I think that's worth the funding. I believe a woman's health is vital to our society.
Recently, I spoke with a friend who 6 weeks after giving birth via C-section to her third child was cut off from her DSHS medical benefits. She was unable to go to her 8 week check up because she had no medical coverage. The GOP would paint a picture of a welfare Mom, casually reproducing in order to increase her food stamp benefits. The reality is, she's married to a disabled veteran and managed a coffee shop full-time where she was not offered medical benefits, but not that it would matter to the GOP, after all isn't every sperm sacred? Every life special? Doesn't everyone deserve a chance at existence? Is that valuing family? What is the value placed on her life?
Which leads me to the next issue, the GOP wants to eliminate abortion, honoring the sanctity and sacred life of an unborn child. I would agree that children are special. I should. I've birthed two of them myself, but I just wonder if Focus on the Family is aware of the struggles faced by mothers who choose the "right" thing and raise their children from an unplanned pregnancy? I'm pretty convinced that if all pregnancies were planned, most of us wouldn't be here but that's another story. It seems to me that these conservative anti-choice groups want to place this extreme value on life, right up to the moment a child is born, and then forget about them and their mothers.
The reality is, single parent households are on the rise. It's a complex issue, with complex reasons, but the reality of single parenthood is harsh and appears to have little to do with society's value of life. Women having children are obligated to support them financially, and in order to receive assistance from the State in the form of food stamps or childcare they must return to work sometimes when their babies are as young as twelve weeks old. That's barely enough time to establish breast feeding, let alone an adequate parental bond. What else is there for a twelve-week-old?
I propose if this were truly a family-focused society that we would insist the State give the monies they would spend on child care for a parent with an infant to the PARENT. There are multitudinous studies done mostly by conservative religious think tanks that sending your infants off to daycare creates sociopathy and learning disabilities. I'm not necessarily agreeing with those findings, but these are the same people who say there are no circumstances that would warrant a woman choosing to have an abortion. Including rape.
Obviously, the agenda here is a moralistic and religious one, not a preservation of family one. The GOP means family as defined by extremely rigid terms. It must be defined as a man and a woman, they must embrace fundamentalist Christian values, and they cannot be poor. As long as you fit this criterion you may be considered a family. If you do not, then here's a fire extinguisher, because your kids might get burned the afterlife.
As soon as the GOP can recognize what family really means, adults (or an adult) who's goal it is to prepare our children for the mess we're leaving them, then we may begin to evaluate what a family needs. And as soon as a society we demand that a woman's life is just as important as that of her unborn children, and that the success of both can contribute greater things to the world, we can begin to paint a picture of our future.
Also, I just made my private donation to Planned Parenthood today. You can too:


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