Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Abortion debate

I would never advocate abortion, but there are situations in which it is necessary. There are many reasons. Check out this website: (http://lilithfund.blogspot.com/) for examples.

There may be a case where a woman's life is at risk, her baby has severe health problems, she was a victim of rape or abuse etc.

In our society NO ONE is running around advocating abortion as a form of birth control. Abortion is a medical procedure that carries risk and it can leave women emotionally scarred. And yet-- with all that, women still get abortions, just as they have been doing for thousands of years. Why? Because they believe it is their best option. If you take away this right, not only will women turn to back alley abortions but you also devalue a woman as a person, making the fetus, not the woman the important factor and you also make grave assumptions about a woman's ability to rightly govern her own life.

By revoking Roe, we tell women...

We don't trust you. Nor do we find you morally capable to make this important decision about your life and body. Since you have clearly demonstrated your inferiority by getting yourself into "this situation" we are going to take over now. We will impose our best judgment so we can make sure the correct decisions are made.

Do you not see the problem in telling a woman she is not mentally or morally equipped to make the best decision? What else are these people going to decide for us? When to fulfill our birth control (that's already happening). When our cry of rape is really justified (senator in Rapid City already has a great method for discering real victims... see post on "The war on sex").

And not just women should be worried...

Are people suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease going to be ignored when stem cell research is available to heighten their quality of life (clearly the answer is yes). What if you are injured so severely that you have no brain function? Is someone in government going to tell your family when it's okay to let you go in peace?

We cannot let our government be bought or bullied by a small minority of ultra-conservative, sex-police. What's next? We come up with ways to medically "reform" homosexuals. How about opening a squad of sex police to patrol our streets? Look out-- no oral sex or god forbid masturbating... can't have anything that doesn't result in a baby! That's not what God intended! Really? Whose God? I don't think my God has met your God.

A woman's pregnancy is a very personal thing. You cannot step in along the way and force her to take certain pre-natal pills or attend "mom-to-be" yoga. You cannot take our pills and force us to pump out children. We will make decisions about what happens in our bedroom and in our womb. And we will give you the courtesty to make your own decisions as well. If you want natural family planning and a bible in every room. If you want to march the street advocating adoption-- please go ahead. It's a wonderful cause.

But keep your laws, your rules, your morality and YOUR GOD off our body.

I will discuss my decisions with my God, not yours.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Protect your pills

People keep telling me I should just be quiet and pay for my pills. Well, first and foremost, this is not about me but about every other women out there. Access to contraception is vital for women's health! And the right to this basic health need is not being met. Pharmacists are refusing and insurance companies are not paying.

Some people have brought up the money issue. But I aim to prove this irrelevant. First of all, if it were about morality- insurance would not cover Viagra, and paying for birth control is much much cheaper than doctors bills, pre-natal work and the cost of delivering a child in the hospital -- not to mention maternity leave. I aim to prove that here...

Here are some facts for the day. This should get us talking...

--Sixty million women living in the U.S. are currently in their childbearing years (age 15 - 44 on average).

--Forty-two million of these women are sexually active and do not wish to become pregnant.

--Half of all indemnity (fee-for-service) insurance plans in the U.S. do not cover any reversible contraception.

--Women of reproductive age pay 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men in the same age group.

--Providing full contraceptive coverage in employment-based health care plans would cost employers, at most, only $21.40 per employee per year.

(Source: The Alan Guttmacher Institute)


This blog is about empowerment.

For men and women.

A great part of that empowerment will happen when women *in or out of relationships* can access contraception and plan their families.

This blog will discuss many aspects of choice and politics and along the way might have some random posts and trivia. Getting off topic is always fun. These are heavy issues, after all.

Please, from here on out be respectful in comments. Passion and convictions are welcome, vulgarity and threats are not.

Thank you

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The war on sex

One reason I get so angry at the pro-life movement is that it seems more about anti-sex - geared specifically at women. The best evidence I can show you of this--- comments from one of the proponents of the abortion ban in South Dakota. According to him, it may be okay for a woman to get an abortion in the case of rape, provided she meets some "standards."

Senator Napoli of Rapid City: "A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life."

So the only real rape is when the girl is "religious" and "virginal." Lovely.

But now the issue isn't just about abortion, it's about having the right to choose our reproductive destiny as women.

I have never understood why the pro-life movement and us pro-choicers could never find common ground... I mean, if we both want to prevent abortions, let's work together. But the anti-choice people want to do more than stop abortion.

Recently I posted about my insurance company and how it would not cover contraception. I have received several comments from people who are angry at women - like myself - who expect this type of coverage. They tell me I should "stop whining.""Giving birth is a miracle. be happy you're a woman" and "it's not sexist because men don't get spermicidal birth control covered."

Most recently I got this comment:

Drugs perscibed to men for birth control (spermicides) are also not covered by most insurance companies. The idea behind this is that you're putting drugs into your body that you could live without.Your blog is very public, and your argument concerning sexism is being ridiculed by more than just me.

Okay, let me explain why this argument is insane!

There is a big difference in birth control for men and birth control for women.

First of all, nothing physically happens to a man if he impregnates a woman. If a woman gets pregnant, her entire physical condition is compromised. Not just for nine months of her life but for months following. There are also extreme health risks involved in pregnancy.

Pregnancy for a womean also means interfering with whatever plans she has. For example: If a married woman is pursuing a difficult career – let’s say - making partner at a law firm, birth control would be essential for her and her partner. Otherwise she could lose career opportunities during maternity leave and in sick time during pregnancy—not to mention doctor visits.

AGAIN: Pregnancy does not effect a man’s health or interfere with his job.

For tens of thousands of women suffering from heart or kidney disease, severe hypertension, sickle-cell anemia and severe diabetes, as well as other illnesses, the availability of contraception is essential to protecting them and ensuring they can continue having healthy, safe sexual relationships without risking their lives.

AGAIN: A man does not have to fear death as a result of having sex and becoming pregnant.

That’s not to say I don’t think men should have their family planning medications covered. I will say it again—insurance companies would save thousands if they put money into family planning--- but as you can see, it’s quite a bit more essential for women. Not only that, birth control pills or patches are WAY more effective than spermicide.
From plannedparenthood.com

Of every 100 women who use the pill, eight will become pregnant during the first year of typical use. Fewer than one will become pregnant with perfect use.


In the case of spermicidal products…
Of 100 women who use it, 29 will become pregnant during the first year of typical use. Fifteen will become pregnant with perfect use.

Therefore these products are not comparable in efficiency. And the price comparison is also self-explanatory…

The pill: $35–$125. The cost depends on your income at some family planning clinics. Whereas spermicidal cream kits are about $8.

So please don’t come on my blog and tell me it’s “public” – I know that. I mean for Lord’s sake, I opened a website! I’m aware. You, however are most certainly NOT aware.

Many women cannot “live without” these drugs. And if you paid attention you’d know that. People who don’t believe in contraceptive coverage – YOU are the minority. The majority of Americans, support a women’s right to affordable access to birth control.
If you watched the news, you would know this.

“Two female plaintiffs, one from Missouri and another from Idaho, won an important victory late Friday when the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska ruled that Union Pacific’s decision to exclude prescription contraception coverage in its health plans for unionized employees is sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

And that was Union Pacific, a Fortune 500 company and the largest railroad in North America!! More than 48,000 employees located throughout the nation will benefit from this new ruling.

So where does that leave your argument?

FOR MORE INFO: http://www.covermypills.org/

Friday, March 10, 2006

Equality-- where the hell is it?

Some of you might think I'm a little obsessed with women's rights.

Believe me, I agree with you. But I'm obsessed because I have to be. Sometimes I'm embarrassed that all I do is send $ to planned parenthood and write on my blog. I should be in the streets marching. Today was supposed to be my day off. I had a midterm and a hair appointment, then I was gonna return home and chill -- the apartment all to myself for spring break! But it seems I just can't escape these issues.

In my quest to find health insurance, I've been calling around different agents getting info. Imagine my shock when I realized, this anti-choice, crazy agenda was effecting ME. No one will cover birth control! Today I was telling my hair stylist this and she said, "Oh, it's probably just because of the risk." But all drugs carry risk. Viagra has been linked with heart problems and THAT is covered. SO THEN... I talked to one of the women I worked with this summer-- she told me that people have been lobbying our state legislature for years to make all insurance companies cover women's contraception. It is always defeated.

So this afternoon I called Blue Cross Blue Shield back. So far, I am NOT IMPRESSED with them. First of all, every time you call you have to listen to 2 minutes of "press one for this, press two for so-and-so" -- I hate that. Then, even though I tell them I just want to ask an agent some questions, they make me give my: name, address, date of birth, phone number and parents health plan ID number. Makes me want to scream. THEN they transfer me to an agent who asks me all the same info AGAIN.

Today I finally got a person to talk to me. Here's our conversation:

ME: Do you have any plans that DO cover birth control?
ME: Okay. Is this because of risks?
B.C.: NO. You can get birth control if you doctor writes a letter to our insurance company stating you have a medical condition that requires birth control. But we won't cover it for contraceptive purposes.
ME: Are you serious?
B.C.: Yes.
ME: That is ridiculous. I need a "doctor's note" stating I'm using a drug for a reason other than family planning.
B.C.: Basically
ME: Okay, my doctor prescribed this drug. Why is it their business if I'm using it for irregular periods or family planning? Family planning is safe and something you SHOULD want your customers doing. I mean, it costs a lot less to buy birth control pills than to pay for maternity costs.
B.C.: Yes, I know. Some businesses offer it as a health insurance "perk" but many do not.
ME: Well I'm not going through a business that offers it as a perk. This is really making me question whether or not I want to take out insurance through Blue Cross. This is not only blatantly sexist but also stupid.
B.C.: I understand. But not many companies in North Dakota will be much better. I'm sorry.

*insert annoyed scream here*

Why do I need a note? Would they ever ask a man for a note? Can you imagine?? "Sir, we just have to prove that you're using this Viagra to have sex with your wife and not have an affair-- standard procedure. Please just go see your doctor and we'll let you know if we can cover your Viagra in 4-6 weeks."

Just now I checked my mailbox. Blue Cross sent me the packet of info I requested two days ago. They had addressed it to "Eric." Oh the irony, if my name were Eric, I wouldn't have to get a doctor's note proving I'm not a whore.

AMAZING article for the day

Religious zeal not conducive to progress

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- All great religions look forward to a better world, driven by their trust in a gracious God and the inquisitive spirit God gives his creation.

Religious institutions, on the other hand, tend to look backward to some imaginary golden age and try to preserve that fantasy -- and the power they derive from it. Signs of the success of such reactionary attitudes are increasingly visible and disturbing. A new Dark Ages triggered by religious conservatives with increasing power could descend on this country, as it has in much of the Muslim world.

Islamic leaders dominated by an unreformed faith have crippled many Muslim countries. As those leaders forced the faithful to practice their faith by looking backward, those countries have suffered enormously in their quality of education, social development, economic prosperity and personal freedom.

The political rise of religious movements in America now threatens our future. Little things add up. Blocking stem cell research for religious reasons, preventing potential medical breakthroughs, is an example. Another is the thinly disguised religious motivation behind the prevention of medicines like the morning after pill from getting to market. The silly attempt to insert a valid faith statement like Intelligent Design into science classes makes research a theological rather than a scientific discipline. Fossilized attitudes toward women and homosexuals retard social development.

The Holy Spirit blowing where he will is at the heart of a vibrant Christianity that looks forward to new things God has promised to do. The resurrection of Jesus opened the future to that graceful opportunity in which the faithful could know God in ever new and powerful ways.

The great gift of the Gospel is the imperative to risk new life, discover -- and serve -- God through heretofore unheard of ways. The disciples did just that, adding gentiles to a Jewish sect, moving into a Greek civilization from a Hebrew backwater and ultimately overcoming the world. Much of western civilization is rooted in the driving energy of an energetic Christianity that too often has had to fend off the church to express the Gospel.

The institution of the church has long been reluctant to greet any new day. It argues that God is already fully known. Such a closed approach to faith shuts down initiative and stifles hope. As religious groups gain political power, they impose their will, enshrine the past and kill the spirit. The descent begins.

 Steve Gushee writes for The Palm Beach Post