A few weeks ago my mom stapled pages of a story in one of her women’s magazines together and handed it to me. She gave it to me pretty much with the tag lines “for your feminist blog” and “something new to consider.” Indeed it was; she knows me well.
The story is titled “I was forced to be pregnant.” With a title like that, reading it was actually not on the top of my to read list. I thought it was about women not exercising their right to choice. I was very, very wrong on that one.
Have you ever heard of Reproductive coercion? It is a term that was quite recently coined by the advocates against domestic violence to describe a certain type of abuse some women face. It occurs when a man pressures their partner to have kids and/or impregnates them against their will. Reproductive coercion comes in three different types:
1. Emotional pressure that turns into verbal and physical abuse.
2. Sabotaging birth control
3. Marital rape
Over 75% of women 19-49 who reported once experiencing domestic violence also endured some type of reproductive control by men. It’s all about control and domination over a woman’s body.
The first story in the magazine is about a woman who got married around 36 years of age. After a few months of dating her boyfriend talked excitedly about having children. After he proposed he began calling her “The Babymaker.” She then confided with him that one of her fallopian tubes was blocked. He in return insisted she see a fertility doctor. She recounts, “I had finally met a great guy who was eager to start a family with me. What woman wouldn’t fall for that?” Soon after her honeymoon he persisted on in an obsessive manner, but his efforts had to be temporarily halted as she had to get emergency back surgery. Alas, 6 months into recovery he was back to pressuring her again. She was in much pain at the time due to her back, but she agreed to In Vitro Fertilization. She then became pregnant, but soon miscarried. In response, her husband grabbed her by the neck, choking her. He apologized, blaming his outburst on his grief and had her sign up for another round of IVF. And then a third round. She tried to put him off with the excuse that she needed to weigh more before she could take treatments, her husband forced her to get on the scale often and filled the fridge with fattening foods. “It hurt that all I was good for was getting pregnant.” She recounts. At the end, he screamed at her, threatening to replace her with a maid if she couldn’t get pregnant and she told him she no longer wanted to have his child. He destroyed bedroom furniture, pushed her down the stairs and threatened her with a gun. She fled to a domestic violence shelter.
The second story was about a woman who faced marital rape. This woman was 40, had a then boyfriend and two children from a previous marriage. After telling her boyfriend she did not want any more children, her boyfriend refused to wear a condom and began to rape her. She then became pregnant with her third child. Birth control was never an option for her because she couldn’t hide pills anywhere for he went through all of her belongings. Three months after giving birth, he raped her again, impregnating her with twins. She lost the twins in a physical fight with him, but soon became pregnant again. During her recovery she begged her obstetrician to remove her ovaries and devise a lie to tell him; that she had cancer. After a decade of sexual abuse and violence she was able to get a job that kept her out of the house and often times traveling.
One in four callers to the National Domestic Abuse hotline said that their partners had tried to force them to become pregnant. Why? As one woman stated, “Its like he wants to own me from the inside out.” Having a baby is the perfect tie that binds. These type of abusers want to create a circumstance in which their partner is dependent on him.
WHAT’S THAT HAVE TO DO WITH PLANNED PARENTHOOD?
Many voters never consider how defunding these clinics could hurt victims of domestic violence who turn to them for counseling as well as pregnancy prevention. Abused women will turn to health care providers long before they will turn to domestic abuse hotlines and organizations. Many women in abusive relationships rely on life saving, affordable care programs such as Title X. It is critical that such places are open and operation when women and children need them so desperately.
Follow Up of the Day: Crafty hackers last night managed to hijack the official website of embattled breast-cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and express their dismay at the organization’s politically expedient decision to pull Planned Parenthood grants funding breast-cancer screenings for uninsured and underinsured low-income patients.
The switch was simple, but the message was clear: A banner previously calling women to join a run aimed at ridding the world of breast cancer now read “help us run over poor women on our way to the bank.”
The hack, which briefly redirected www.komen.org visitors to ww5.komen.org, was only the first in a series of notable developments that have taken place since the charity announced its controversial grant withdrawal on Tuesday.
Planned Parenthood, which called out Komen for bowing to “political pressure,” has managed to raise nearly $1 million from online donations and generous contributions from deep-pocketed supporters such as NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
That number, which is continuing to rise, is nearly as much as Komen gave the nonprofit in 2010 and 2011 combined.
Pressure on Komen to reverse its decision is also mounting. 22 Democratic Senators have reportedly signed a strongly worded letter calling on Komen to resume its partnership with Planned Parenthood.
Additionally, Komen’s top public health official, Mollie Williams, has resigned to protest her employer’s defunding decision. The executive director of Komen’s Los Angeles County chapter has also stated her intention to resign.
For its part, Komen continues to deny anti-abortion links to its decision, despite their anti-choice SVP Karen Handel’s well-established goal to defund Planned Parenthood. (Handel recently retweeted a remark critical of Planned Parenthood that concluded with the phrase “cry me a freaking river.” The retweet was soon deleted.)
The organization is further denying its deletion of pro-Planned Parenthood comments from its Facebook page and message board, claiming it only removes comments for profanity.
One poignant comment Komen couldn’t delete was left by award-winning author Judy Blume on her Twitter feed: ”Susan Komen would not give in to bullies or to fear. Too bad the foundation bearing her name did. Support @PPact. Save lives.”
When even Judy Blume is calling you out, you should probably stop and listen.
This is the most accurate summation possible of this fuckery. Well done, hacking pranksters.
My girlfriend and I are clients.
And I am really, truly grateful for the amazing, extremely affordable health care. If you claim to be (or think you are) a Christian, you should take the time to see what really goes on in their offices.
It is not what you think.
The religious right has a heavy-hand in conservative politics, particularly in an election year. Christian presidential candidates like Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) all tout their Christian credentials and signed the pro-life pledges to court the evangelical vote. But there is one traditional position that even young Christians are abandoning: the purity pledge. According to a recent study, 80 percent of unmarried evangelical young adults have had sex, only 8 percent less than the general unmarried adult population:
One of the biggest surprises was a December 2009 study, conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, which included information on sexual activity.
While the study’s primary report did not explore religion, some additional analysis focusing on sexual activity and religious identification yielded this result: 80 percent of unmarried evangelical young adults (18 to 29) said that they have had sex – slightly less than 88 percent of unmarried adults, according to the teen pregnancy prevention organization.
This surprisingly high percentage should land a blow to the political canon of the religious right-wing. As chief proponents of abstinence-only education, religious right-wing organizations insist that delaying sex until marriage “is the only 100 percent effective way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and out-of-wedlock pregnancy.” Health experts, however, note that evidence suggests such programs “are even harmful and have negative consequences by not providing adequate information for those teens who do become sexually active.” Studies have not found that abstinence-only programs cut pregnancy rates, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or even the age when sexual activity begins.
Without proper sexual education, sexually active young adults are more likely to have unintended pregnancies or contract STDs. Family planning health centers like Planned Parenthood, however, are dedicated to addressing these needs. Indeed, Planned Parenthood’s chief services are sexually transmitted diseases testing and treatment as well as contraception. These services help Planned Parenthood prevent “more than 620,000 unintended pregnancies each year.”
Because unintended pregnancies are the primary reason women seek abortions and at least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by age 45, the religious right might appreciate the important role such centers play helping preventing the chief evil of abortion. Instead, right-wing Christian organizations are dedicated to defunding and demolishing places like Planned Parenthood.
The policies that the religious right and its Republican champions often tout may play well at the pulpit. But, as more and more Christians abandon long-held stances on sexual intercourse, these policies will be an increasingly outdated and even dangerous position for the faithful.
Conservatives are fond of willfully ignorant statements like: Our tax dollars shouldn’t go to abortion, so Planned Parenthood should have its funding stripped. We all know this is a lie. The information to debunk this claim is widely and readily available. Aside from the three percent of PP’s budget that goes to abortion care (and that 3% is privately funded, duh), PP’swide range of health care services include:
- birth control
- emergency contraception
- checkups for reproductive and sexual health problems
- gynecological exams
- pregnancy tests and pre-natal care
- routine physical exams
- checkups for reproductive or sexual health problems
- colon cancer screening
- erectile dysfunction services, including education, exams, treatment, and referral
- jock itch exam and treatment
- male infertility screening and referral
- premature ejaculation services, including education, exams, treatment, and referral
- routine physical exams
- testicular cancer screenings
- prostate cancer screenings
- urinary tract infections testing and treatment
General Health Care
- anemia testing
- cholesterol screening
- diabetes screening
- physical exams, including for employment and sports
- flu vaccines
- help with quitting smoking
- high blood pressure screening
- tetanus vaccines
- thyroid screening
- STD testing, treatment, and vaccines
So conservatives: tell me again why Planned Parenthood’s funding should be eliminated?
This meme of Cantor says:
I want to “eliminate government funding for any and all organizations that perform” cancer screenings. Doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?
But what ultimately won Cantor a standing ovation was a proposal to “eliminate government funding for any and all organizations that perform abortions.” This effort – largely aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood, which receives more than $300 million annually for its family planning and reproductive health services – has already begun with the House’s recent introduction of a controversial Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill (PDF).
It’s Not Just About CHOICE anymore
Look what I got today <3
Viva la Vulva!!
If you live in Virginia, it’s time to make some noise. SIGNAL BOOST!
Go kick up some sand folks.
FLAGSTAFF - Planned Parenthood says it’s ending abortion services in three Arizona cities to comply with state laws that placed restrictions on abortions.
Women [or any person] no longer can get abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics in Prescott Valley, Flagstaff and Yuma, starting Friday. Those clinics had been providing the service through medication.
The move came a week after an Arizona appeals court allowed key parts of a 2009 state law restricting abortions to take effect. That includes a requirement that women see a doctor in person the day before getting an abortion to hear about risks and alternatives.This is what happens, people.
This is unimaginable.
THIS IS BULLSHIT
FUCK YOU ANTI-CHOICERS
When Roe v. Wade becomes a moot point.