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Archive for the ‘Women’s Health’ Category

The Violence Against Women Act is up for re-authorization this year and is currently being debated by Congress.  Originally enacted in 1994, the Act has been re-authorized twice by Congress, once in 2000 and once in 2005.  It has provided important protections to women against domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking.  It covers adult women and teens, enrolled tribe members, the elderly, the disabled, and other minority groups.  Until this year, it has been passed and re-authorized with little fanfare or even debate.

This year, the shit has hit the fan, however.  The Act expired in 2011 and is currently of no force or effect.  Today, the Senate debated re-authorization of the law.  And by debate, I need to explain that there was no debate whatsoever.  Only 7 Senators spoke on the Senate floor about re-authorization.  Every single one of them was a woman; 6 Democrats and 1 Republican.  No man, not one single penis, could be bothered to stand up and demand re-authorization of a law that has uniformly been credited as a success and a dramatic improvement in care and critical services for people victimized by abuse in relationships.

Do you know what makes this re-authorization so unbelievably, shockingly controversial?  The law has been expanded to provide protections to LGBT people and immigrants.  And by immigrants, I mean both legal and undocumented immigrants. Why add these minorities?  Because studies show that, although the incidence of violence is the same for them as it is for straight women, they are turned away in huge numbers from shelters and programs that could otherwise help them.

Nevertheless, Republican Senators won’t support it because they apparently don’t think that LGBT people or immigrants are worthy of protection under the law.  What other explanation is there?  They cannot possibly believe that we aren’t actually the victims of abuse, can they?  Of course not–the Senate judiciary committee took testimony about abuse among same-sex couples (see above).  The reason is simple:  They don’t fucking like us, they don’t see us as equals, and in order to get us to comply with their ideals, they are going to continue to punish us by withholding rights and entitlements given to other people in this country.  They simply refuse to acknowledge that expansion of the protections of VAWA does not cause any reduction in the services and benefits that it has provided to women in this country for nearly 20 years.  There is simply no detriment by including LGBT citizens and immigrants, just like permitting same-sex marriage does nothing to diminish marriages of non-gay couples.  Those who refuse to approve re-authorization are blinded by prejudice against people that they view as inferior to them and over whom they feel compelled to wield their substantial and undeserved power.

But, wait.  It’s not just us.  They are willing to throw every other American woman under the bus in order to assert their ideals and make them the law of this land.  What do I mean?  By refusing to re-authorize VAWA, no woman in this country is protected.  The protections are gone, even though the Act has proven to be so successful over the years.

So, who wants to continue to argue that the war on women is manufactured by the media or the left or aliens?  If you think that conservatives–particularly conservative, rich, white men–are not waging a war on women, then you are dumber than a fucking box of rocks.  WAKE UP!  They won’t re-authorize a law that protects women because it will protect others whom they despise, thereby endangering the lives of women.  They want to make women’s health decisions for them because they think women are incapable of making their own.  They want insurance companies to refuse to pay for contraception for women in order to keep them from acting like “sluts” and “prostitutes,” according to Windbag Limbaugh and his ilk.  They want to overturn Roe. Wade, but until they do, they’ll just try to pass laws that make a woman’s right to choose so onerous, so humiliating, so uncomfortable, that women will not seek medical advice or intervention.  Even if it medical care is a matter of life or death.

Normally, I like to conclude these rants with a call to action, but I honestly am at a loss for words.  I don’t know what to ask you to do.  The policies of the right-wing have become so desperate and so dangerous that they defy logic and reason.  They make no fucking sense.  And yet, the right-wing’s disciples continue to blindly carry the torches that will be used by them to burn their witches at the stake, figuratively speaking (although I wouldn’t put actual witch hunts past these fucking crazies).  So, I guess I will encourage you to call your Senators and Representatives.  Talk to your friends and family.  Support progressive candidates and causes.  Donate money to organizations that have the power to fight back  Speak out.

No.  Scream out.

Please.  Before it is too late.

 

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And Komen is Back!

God damn, I love a happy ending where common sense prevails and two extraordinarily important women’s health organizations can continue to do the unbelievably great work they’ve always done.  Nancy Brinker and the Komen Board of Directors have reversed their decision to de-fund Planned Parenthood.  Text of the press release:

We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.

The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.

Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.

Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.

It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics – anyone’s politics.

Starting this afternoon, we will have calls with our network and key supporters to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work. We ask for the public’s understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.

We extend our deepest thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from so many in the past few days and we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.

Now, let’s get back to saving women’s lives.  Thank you.

Oh, and this year, give to both Komen and Planned Parenthood.  It’s the right thing to do.

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Me neither.  Wait.  It rings a bell.  I do remember that time in 2012 when the Komen Foundation literally destroyed its good name and brand loyalty by denouncing and defunding Planned Parenthood over political differences.

Ok.  That’s a lie.  In fact, I cannot get the Foundation off my mind tonight.  For those of you who have been completely asleep at the wheel (WAKE THE FUCK UP, Jesus) or don’t live in this country (Hey, girl, hey!), the Susan G. Komen Foundation provides untold financial resources to women’s health care organizations for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.

Unless, of course, the health care organization provides services that the Komen Foundation finds politically incorrect.  Like abortion.  Or stem-cell research.  In those cases, the Komen Foundation doesn’t give a damn about preventive medicine for women, let alone cancer treatment, or “the Cure.”

The Komen Foundation has announced that it will no longer make grants to Planned Parenthood.  Why?  Because, in addition to providing a whole host of critical health care services to women–particularly indigent women–including cancer screenings, Planned Parenthood provides abortions.  Oh, and Planned Parenthood is under investigation by the House of Representatives, an investigation started by the extreme right wing (Rep. Cliff “Fucking Crazy” Stearns) because Planned Parenthood provides such services.  And you know how reliable and trustworthy the extreme right wing is on every social issue.  So the combination of choice + providing women with a choice = Congressional investigation + defunding by Komen.  Right.  I get it.

No, really

Seriously. WTF is wrong with you people

Dear Komen People:  Are you telling me that you are going to put politics over your own mission?  Are you going to tell me that, because Planned Parenthood provides a mechanism for women to exercise their legal, Constitutionally-protected right to end an unwanted pregnancy as one small part of the amazing work it does, you are going to stop providing financial resources for them to ALSO provide cancer screening?  You are?  I mean, you can’t possibly believe that a religious nutbag like Sen. Stearns is launching an investigation out of true concern about the services that Planned . . . What?  You do believe that Planned Parenthood should be investigated?

Ok.  Now it’s becoming clear.  You’re run by extreme, right wing conservatives, aren’t you.  Oh, yes you are!  I read that retweet on Twitter that your SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT tried to delete.

Fine.  Fuck you.

You, as a foundation, deserve to die.  You have put politics over the actual needs–desperate needs in many cases–of women.  Not just some women, but all women, because Planned Parenthood will serve every single woman (and man, quite frankly) who walks in the door, regardless of religious belief, economic standing, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability . . . and on and on.  Worse, you have profited from relying upon women who have suffered from and died of cancer-related illnesses and their friends and families by promising to help find “the Cure,” when you really don’t give a damn about “the Cure.”  All you care about is raising money to pay your extreme right wing executives and to further political causes.

This is, however, America, and you get to do with your money as you choose.  But you aren’t going to get any money from me, my friends, or my family.  Our trust in you was misplaced.

Lesson learned:  We should have donated our precious resources of time and money and trust to an organization that provides actual medical treatment to actual patients–organizations and health care providers that are subject to the Hippocratic oath to do no harm.  For example:  PLANNED PARENTHOOD.  You have done women’s health and, sadly, your own mission and raison d’etre, immense harm and you are not to be trusted now or for the foreseeable future.

[Confidential to Planned Parenthood:  Pink is just a color, and we’re done with pink.  I’ll follow you no matter your color and no matter your “race,” because pink was a publicity stunt and the “race” we’ve been running was obviously never about women’s health, medical necessities, or cancer prevention.  Let’s start over, you and me and reasonable people everywhere.  New color, new race, same mission.  xoxo]

UPDATE:  Watch this video.  Blame Andrea Mitchell for not being particularly objective if you must, but she nails this interview and brings the personal relationship that so many women had with Komen and have with Planned Parenthood.  Grant excellence, Komen Foundation?  Then you should be partnering with Planned Parenthood, the largest women’s health organization in this country, to help it meet your grant requirements.  That is, unless you feel its a lost cause because Planned Parenthood won’t kowtow to your political beliefs.

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