photo by Sheri Dixon

Sunday, March 6, 2011

It Ain't As Easy As It Looks From the Pulpit

Since the Republicans who rode the "We hear you, America and will make jobs for the jobless our top priority" bandwagon back into office have decided that the best way to make jobs is to repeal healthcare, outlaw abortions and make damn sure Those Gays never get to marry, I have a few things I'd like to say on the subject of Planned Parenthood, since it seems that's front and foremost on the chopping block of moral vengeance.

Here's the thing.

Planned Parenthood does not = Abortions R Us.

I know, I know- that's not what FOX News says.

But I've been a patient at Planned Parenthood- from the ages of 15-20 and 35-45 during times I had no insurance to cover reproductive health. Fifteen years of Planned Parenthood and not ONCE was I offered an abortion. Not ONCE did the personnel say "Honey, here's a year's worth of pills- if they don't work you just come on back in and we'll fix you up good as new".

Because that's not mainly what they do.

Here's what happens at Planned Parenthood.

You call for an appointment. Just like the doctor.

The office is clean and professional. Just like the doctor.

They take your vitals, do a complete physical exam, pap smear, bloodwork and urinalysis. Just like the doctor.

They ask if you have any questions, concerns, need any counseling for anything or problems. Just like the doctor.

You're asked about your income and they use a sliding scale to figure out what you'll pay for your visit- my total cost for the above services plus a year's worth of birth control pills was about $50. Which is decidedly NOT like the doctor.

If there hadn't been Planned Parenthood available to me, I would not have received ANY routine health care during a large portion of my adult years, and a great many women use it as exactly that- the only health care they can afford. And until we here in the US of A have a single payer option for universal health care, that's not going to change

but that's a whole nuther kettle of worms.

My POINT is that to attack and de-fund Planned Parenthood does not simply mean an attack and de-funding on abortion. It means yanking the only available affordable SAFE care a lot of women have away from them.

Women like me.

I hate to muddy up the whole Right vs. Wrong Black vs. White waters, but here's what I want you to think about for just a minute.

Say you're a 15 year old girl. You go to church every Sunday and your parents raised you strictly but lovingly.

Although you are taught that compassion, forgiveness and love are the basis of your religion and family, you see the actions of your church differently- anyone not toeing the line of morality is not looked upon kindly and frankly not welcome anymore. And your parents agree with that. Because those who don't follow the Word of God when they know otherwise are willful sinners and should not be associated with.

You and your boyfriend get a little carried away, because yanno, you're HUMAN and all. He didn't have a condom and you weren't prepared because if you were so armed, you'd be PLANNING on sinning.

You miss your period. Then another one. Your body tells you things you don't want to hear.

You're scared stiff and when you're alone you spend a lot of time crying and throwing up.

Things your parents have said about other girls "who got into trouble" play over and over in your head- they were sinners, they're going to hell, how could they be so Godless and selfish? How could they bring such SHAME into their family?

You clearly can NOT go to your parents.

Things you've heard thundering out of the pulpit play over and over in your head- the wages of Sin are Death, only the Pure will enter the Kingdom of God, giving into the Pleasures of the Flesh is Evil.

You clearly can NOT go to your pastor.

Every vestige of a support system is unavailable to you when you most need it. You simply cannot endure the anger and disappointment that will show in your parents' eyes, the disapproval and judgment in the eyes of your pastor and the rest of the congregation.

You go to Planned Parenthood and tearfully tell them that no- you cannot have this baby- no one would understand. And you mourn that baby for your entire life.

The End.

What purpose does closing Planned Parenthood serve, what purpose the acres of little white crosses and picketing and harrassing patients and caregivers?

When what NEEDS to be changed is our society- until ALL women have options and support, until they KNOW they have options and support, until young girls grow up seeing those around them literally practicing what they preach and not saying one thing and doing another- not advocating love and submission to God's will and then judging others without knowing their hearts. These are the changes that need to be made, not closing clinics or vilifying women who are very very aware of what they are doing and whose hearts are breaking just fine without your help thank you very much.

The girl in the story- are you angry at her? At the clinic?

Then you don't get it.

And may your God have more mercy on your soul than you have for others.

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