Tag Archives: Reproductive Rights

Its Not a Right if the Doors are Barred

Locked Gates

I got a bit of a reality check this week.  I needed to make an appointment with an OB/Gyn for a procedure my regular physician couldn’t do.  I was annoyed with an unprofessional behavior by the receptionist at this doctor’s office and wanted to look into other doctors that might be an option.  So, I looked through the directory on my insurance company’s page.  What I discovered in this search was quite a bit beyond disturbing.  Shy of driving all the way into either Seattle or Kirkland (both over 60 miles from where I live), the office my doctor referred me to is one of only two OB/Gyn clinic/hospital that is not owned by the Catholic church.   Even Swedish has recently been bought into by the church, though they are stating that the church is allowing them to remain secular in their treatment (though I am sure that will change rapidly).  They are also attempting to buy into UW medicine.

Now granted, I am past my childbearing period of life, so I don’t personally have need of birth control or abortion services.  But, I am a woman and that makes this a vital issue to me.  I do not believe that my medical care should be governed by a religious doctrine I don’t believe in and has absolutely no merit in science or human rights for that matter.  And I also understand that there are far more issues than just birth control and abortion and many fertility treatments, though those two would be enough for me to want to take up the sword and do battle over.

We are in a time when many efforts are underway across the country to curtail and block women’s access to reproductive health options.  One of the more common attempts being waged right now is the demand that an abortion clinic have admitting rights to a hospital within a specified radius.  Even if such a demand had a merit based in medical science or evidence of a need, which there isn’t, such an admitting right would be denied by any religious owned hospital.  I am lucky that there is ONE, count them ONE hospital in a 50 mile radius that is not owned by the Catholic Church.  Most of these hospitals have been purchased by this church in the last handful of years.  Funny how that works out, doesn’t it?

The Catholic church has made a particular focus on buying up hospitals and clinics in areas that have a tolerant and diverse population that is not about to pass legislation limiting a woman’s access to reproductive services nor a gay’s right to marriage and the rights that go with that.  The solution?  Buy the clinics where you can impose the Bishop’s Directives on the staff and the treatment.  Its a fun little read.  Guaranteed to even set the hair on many Christians, nay, even the Catholics on end when they realize how little control they have over their bodies when in the hands of these people (estimated 99% of married Catholic women have used birth control).  You can read it here.
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lcopl_005a (300).tif Children's dining room at Sean Ross Abbey
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Children’s dining room at Sean Ross Abbey

And somehow, in allowing these buy ups to happen, we have once again fallen into the pit of forgetting history.  There was a time when medicine (such as it was then) was under the jurisdiction and iron thumb of the church.  The orphanages as well.  So long as you were born of “legitimate” parents.

British workhouses“And in general, the only provision for illegitimate babies was the parish poorhouses or, from 1722, the workhouses where they frequently died of neglect. Mortality rates were extremely high: over 74% of children born in London died before they were five. In workhouses the death rate increased to over 90%.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/victorians/foundling_01.shtml

Oh, but that was ancient history, you say. (actually not all that ancient, but the really ancient history is far more violent).  But the church has changed and is now a source of goodness and charity and compassion you say?  Remember Mother Teresa, you say?  Alas, she has been shown to be as much of a sham as the rest of the church’s doings.  Seems she collected millions motherteresaand millions in charitable donations to allow the patients in her charge to die in suffering and squalor.  But, she lived as they did, you say.  No, she did not.  When she needed medical care, she got the best there
was.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/04/mother-teresa-myth_n_2805697.html

Then we have the church’s white slavery of young girls.  The Magdalene Laundries.  Again, not so ancient history.  Maybe this is what they have in mind when they are taking over the women’s clinics, hospitals and other medical establishments.  They are getting tired of doing their own dirty laundry.Catholic Magdalene

“The Good Shepherd Sisters, a Roman Catholic religious institute for women, is one of the orders being charged with the enslavement and abuse of thousands of women in what are called “Magdalene Laundries.”  Last one closing in 1996”
http://www.irishcentral.com/news/american-survivor-of-magdalene-laundries-in-the-united-states-speaks-out-190655121-237564601.html

Now, I don’t care what a person believes.  But, I do care when they bully their way into my access to proper medical care and impose their archaic and ignorant beliefs on what treatments I may or may not be allowed to receive.  I take huge issue with their buying up hospitals for what I believe to be the sole purpose of barring me and other women and men for that matter from accessing the care we have a right to.  Care our insurance gives us the coverage for.
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No, I am not of child bearing years and that part does not affect me personally.  But, it does affect my daughter, my friends and their children.  Not only does their doctrine prohibit abortion and contraception, it also prohibits IVF and any fertility treatment that doesn’t include sexual intercourse.  Which really baffles me coming from a church whose priests and nuns take a vow of celibacy.  Not that the priests actually hold to that, unless you disallow it as sex if it involves raping young children.

But, I also live in a state that should I become terminally ill, I have the legal right to have a doctor issue me a lethal dose of medication if I want to end my suffering.  Their “doctrine” will not allow that doctor to grant me my legal rights that were voted in.  Plus, they have the right to decide if the plug is pulled.  Their doctrine does not allow for research with stem cells, fetal tissues.  Their doctrine does not allow for science.  Their doctrine does not allow for progress.  Their doctrine will take us back to leeches and bloodletting (and yes, I know there are some instances where those are used in modern medicine now).

All this coming from a church who claims a “moral high ground” and says their concern is to save lives.  A church who when they held the hospitals and orphanages in their control, threw out orphans into the street if their parents weren’t married.  Imprisoned young women in sweatshop slavery if they got pregnant.  Ran hospitals for the dying where they didn’t even offer them pain relieving medicine or any comforts.  Why?????  Because they believe suffering brings one closer to “God”.  Ya know?  I really don’t want to be close to something that wants me to suffer like that first and I really don’t understand why anyone would.

I am the mother of a  gay son.   A son who is one of the most amazing blessings I have had in my life.  A son who deserves to be treated with the same respect, the same dignity, the same relevance as anyone else.   There is no doubt in my mind that it is only a matter of time until they refuse him and his friends to be at their partner’s dying bedside because it is against their beliefs.  Sooner if one of the Rabid Republicans takes office this election.  Add to that their refusing to offer medical aid to the LGBT community.  If they will turn away children born out of wedlock, they will turn away gays.  They have already begun to petition for this “right”.

Women fought for the right to vote, the right to have control over our bodies, the right to make choices.  Gays have also fought for such rights.  People of color, of different religions, no religion have fought for the right to live free and independent lives.  To have reasonable choices available.It-Votes

When a hospital enters the private sector, accepts patients of different faiths, accepts their insurance payments, the government grants and monies allotted by the government, they are obligated to set aside their religious beliefs.  They must serve the people according to their patient’s beliefs.  Or they must withdraw from the hospitals that serve us.

We have the right to be treated within the law, within our wishes and understanding of our bodies.  We have the right to be treated with science, not superstition.  We have fought for those rights and earned them.  Alas, the rights aren’t worth the paper they are written on when there are those that can bar the doors.

Sephi PiderWitch
02/18/2016
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How can these religious/secular hospital mergers affect patients?

When secular (non-religious) community hospitals merge with religiously-sponsored hospitals and agree to adopt religious restrictions, patients can suddenly discover they have lost access to vital reproductive health care services and may encounter interference with the ability to make decisions about end-of-life care.
http://www.mergerwatch.org/about-hospital-mergers/

Under the directives, the reality for women who find themselves at a Catholic hospital means they have:

  • No access to abortion—even in cases of rape or incest (Directive 45)
  • No access to in-vitro fertilization (Directives 37, 38, 39)
  • No access to contraception (Directive 52)
  • No treatment for ectopic pregnancy (Directive 48)
  • None of the benefits of embryonic stem-cell research (Directive 51)
  • No respect for their advance medical directives (Directive 24)

The sole exception to the ban on contraception falls under Directive 36, which only allows the provision of emergency contraception (EC) in cases of sexual assault when it can be proven that pregnancy has not occurred. This creates an unnecessary restriction, as EC does not interfere with the implantation of a fertilized egg. Evidence also suggests that many Catholic hospitals rarely provide EC even under the circumstances approved by the directives. A 2006 study found that 35 percent of Catholic hospitals did not provide EC under any circumstances, while 47 percent refused to provide referrals to hospitals that did. Of those that provided referrals, only 47 percent of these led to a hospital that actually provided EC.
http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/12/04/how-the-bishops-directives-derail-medical-decisions-at-catholic-hospitals/

 

 

 

The Inquisition of Cecile

720x405-GettyImages-490528966It 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.

RapeWe 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.

Behind BarsWithout 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.

istock_000012424539_full_3The 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.

1327518210_b72f2ccd1cCecile 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.
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