It was very hard to watch and listen to the Congressional Hearing with Cecile Richards. The whole thing was reminiscent of the videos I have seen of the McCarthy Hollywood communist trials. Ms. Richards was badgered, derided, accused and verbally assaulted for five hours. Granted, there were many who came to her defense, to the defense of Planned Parenthood and women’s right to choose their health provider. I am glad for that as I felt that did help in giving her strength.
One of the things that resonated strongly in my mind as I listened to these people grilling and commenting was the complete lack of understanding of women’s needs and healthcare they seemed to possess. She was accused of lying because the Planned Parenthood site says mammograms is an offered service and they send women who need them to an imaging center. I was stunned over this one. Every clinic that I know of sends you out to an imaging center. Same for ultrasound and CAT scans. Its not financially feasible for them to have those expensive units. They won’t pay for themselves. The ignorance of this fact was just mind boggling.
Then there was the diatribe from Mia Love of Utah where she said she didn’t see any reason the dollars sent to Planned Parenthood couldn’t be sent somewhere else instead. I guess she doesn’t think it matters that women trust Planned Parenthood, trust their work, their history, their care. That many doctors and clinics will turn patients away that are on Medicaid because they don’t want to deal with it. That many don’t even trust those establishments. It really and truly pains me to see women also stepping up on this bandwagon. I suppose the flaw is in me in that I expect a woman to understand such matters better.
One of the larger contentions many had with Ms. Richards was the salary she receives. There are many instances when I have an issue with the massive salaries a CEO receives. Cecile is one of a handful of exceptions. She has fought tirelessly for the rights of people to free or low cost reproductive care. She has fought the media, the legal system. I am sure that there are few places where she can go and not fear for her life. I can’t imagine there are very many people who would have hung in with such a position given the climate she is forced to work in. She is worth every . . . . single . . . . penny of that salary.
And I must make note of one of the most shining, though highly under-reported aspect of this hearing/witchhunt. During all the badgering, all the verbal assaults, all the irrelevant questions and interrogations, Cecile remained calm. She remained polite. She remained well spoken. And she remained honest. There were times when you could see the wear it was having on her. But, she drew from an inner strength that I would lay money few, if any, of her accusers possessed. She didn’t waver, she didn’t cower, she didn’t wave the white flag. She was a champion. She was our champion.
I do understand that there are people that have moral and personal issues with abortion, with birth control, with reproductive freedom and sexuality choices. I also understand and know first hand that there are at least as many that will have moral and personal issues with many of those people’s choices and beliefs. Its called personal freedom. Yes, as voters you should have a say in how your tax dollars are spent. However, and somewhere this seems to be getting lost from the discussion, YOU are NOT the only ones that pay taxes. There are at least as many that pay taxes that stand in support of organizations such as Planned Parenthood. Your choices do not cancel their’s. And even if your taxes have a greater total, I am sure that their’s are sufficient to pay the 500 million that PP gets in Medicaid reimbursement. Not for abortions, but for Medicaid approved procedures.
The major claim of fury in these so called investigations is due to the fact that a small percentage of facilities allowed the women to donate the fetal tissue. For this, Planned Parenthood received a minimal payment ranging from $30 to $100 that barely covered the cost of obtaining, preserving, transporting and providing the proper paperwork. I don’t even need to understand the full work involved in the transport of these tissues to realize there was no money made off of these transactions at these prices. I am willing to bet that there was actually a loss.
The reality is that all of our lives are what they are today as a result of fetal tissue research. “This tissue has helped to develop vaccines for a wide range of diseases, including polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A and B,shingles and rabies.” (http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20150929/fetal-tissue-research) We have been using them since the 1930’s. Its only an issue now because Planned Parenthood’s name has been attached to it in an illegal effort to discredit them and put them out of business. The interesting thing is that many Republicans, these same people interrogating Cecile, passed, by large majorities bills allowing embryonic stem cell research. But then, those cells did not come from Planned Parenthood, they came from fertility centers and surplus fetuses.
Oh, do read that again. Surplus fetuses. Those are okay to destroy and use for research. Because they were created for the purpose of making more babies. Mostly for the wealthy. War veterans who come home injured in ways that prevent them from reproducing are denied fertility benefits from their military medical insurance. There’s an awful lot of hypocrisy going on here, don’t you think?
They scream about life being “sacred”, all lives matter, etc. They show this by not mandating paid maternity leave (We are the ONLY industrialized nation that does not, and the other two that do not are Papua New Guinea and Suriname). We deny women equal pay for equal work. We cut early childhood education, free lunches, etc. We deride “welfare moms”, yet will allow her employer to deny her the right to be covered for birth control on her insurance. 61% of women who have an abortion already have 1 or 2 children. They understand the cost, the responsibility, the burden that comes with bringing a child into the world. They understand that once that child is born, they will be the ONLY one looking out for it. Many understand that they will be the only source of support for that child. They know these same people who are fighting so hard to take their reproductive freedoms away will do nothing to help them shoulder this responsibility.
We live in a world where 1 in 4 women is sexually assaulted in her lifetime, and estimated 20% of women were molested as a child, a country where 31 states in which a rapist can sue for visitation and custody. Women are fed drugs in their drinks at parties, dinners, restaurants to make them compliant or unable to resist. A world where, even with all the strides that have been made, we still only make 77 cents on the dollar a man makes.
Without the basic ability to control our reproductive freedom, we become trapped. The few doors of opportunity open to us begin to close. The inability to receive health care within our means endangers our lives, our health. And it should never be up to the lawmakers to decide whom we confide in for our healthcare decisions. No man has his choices made by the lawmakers.
The lawmakers say that there are alternative places to get our health care. True. And many will not take Medicaid. And then there is the change in the ownership of our hospitals and clinics. It is estimated that 1 in 9 hospitals and clinics are now owned by the Catholic Church. They are allowed to refuse medical options that are our constitutional right to have because they are a “religious organization”. Which mean, we cannot have a tubal ligation when we have a C-section. Men cannot get a vasectomy. We cannot get the morning after pill if we have been raped. We cannot get an abortion. We can’t even get a prescription for birth control. If we have cancer and are pregnant, they can refuse to terminate the pregnancy to save our life. Yes, we can take them to court over this, but by the time it is heard, the cancer would have done its job. Our family can’t even pull the plug if we are terminally ill. And those numbers are growing. And it is only a matter of time if the tide doesn’t shift till they carry those rules to also include their homophobic beliefs. Suddenly, our choices are reduced. Unless we give up our rights. Unless we allow others to control our bodies.
Cecile Richards is one of the best warriors we have defending our rights as women. Our rights over our bodies. She does not bend to the establishment. She fights at every turn to protect the rights we have. To keep open the doors of an establishment that promises, has always promised to believe in women to be able to make their own choices.
The reality is that there is no biblical standing to back this anti choice stance. Even if there was, we have that separation of church and state. They have no more right to impose the dictates of their imaginary friends or gods on me than I have to impose the dictates of my imaginary friends and gods on them. And I can promise, mine can be pretty scary! At any rate, there is nothing to back up their claims other than the desire to control over half the population. For it is a fact that that controlling women’s sexuality is the biggest key factor to the subjugation of those women. There really is no high moral ground involved here. Its a base attempt to put women in their place. Its a witch hunt against one of our greatest champions.
I think I shall end this post at this time. Though I am sure this will be far from the end of what I have to say on this subject. That said, I shall finish with this. I will and have always stood with Planned Parenthood. As we all should.