I am a Jesus-loving, Catechism-following, pro-life feminist.
It appears that by simply being my own contrary self, I have done something most people regard as impossible. I have brought the polar opposites of our cultural divide together.
The polar righties see pro-life feminists in much the same way bumper stickers describe pro-choice Catholics: as Vegans for Meat. The polar lefties agree with them. To polar lefties, feminism is abortion. In their myopic view, abortion equals human rights for women in an exact and all-encompassing equation that admits no exceptions.
I am a feminist, and I am pro-life. I believe what my Church teaches. I love God and Jesus and I have yet to find anything in that which requires me to hate myself because I was born female.
It would follow that I must, by definition, be in favor of “Women’s Health.” What kind of feminist would not favor women’s health? In fact, what kind of Christian would oppose women’s health?
The truth is, I do favor women’s health care. It took me two years to pass a bill requiring insurance companies to cover pap smears for women. I spent five years passing another bill to make it a crime to beat up a pregnant woman. I got yelled at by members of both parties for advocating prenatal care for illegal immigrants.
I could go on. And on.
However, none of these things qualifies as “Women’s Health” according to those who have taken this noble concern and co-opted it for their own purposes. I believe their misuse of the term is deliberate.
It took decades for “I Vote Pro Life” to become just another way for party power brokers to encourage blind allegiance to a political party, even when that party killed pro-life legislation. Most pro-life people side-stepped into it because they felt morally blackmailed; unable to see any alternative. I think that the people who push for “Women’s Health” knew what they were doing from the get-go and actively chose it.
“Women’s Health,” as they use the phrase, never meant women’s health. It never pretended except in the most obvious we-don’t-care-if-you-see-what-we’re-doing way to be anything more than what it is: A synonym for abortion on demand and a funding slogan for Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood has become one of the most avaricious of the big-money Welfare Queens. Any attempt to reduce funding for Planned Parenthood is met with wild and inaccurate claims that these moves are, in fact, an attack on women and “Women’s Health.”
This article from Huffington Post is an example. It describes a vote in the United States House of Representatives to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. Rhetoric similar to this is routinely used against those who try to de-fund Planned Parenthood. It says in part:
House Republicans voted on Friday to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood, cutting money for contraceptives, HIV tests, cancer screenings and reproductive health services as part of an attempt to weaken the abortion provider. Planned Parenthood does not currently spend federal money on abortion services.
… In a statement, Planned Parenthood called the amendment “radically out of step with mainstream American values” and called on the Senate to restore their subsidies “Ensuring that millions of women can obtain health care from their trusted provider … (emphasis added)
I will write other posts talking about whether or not I think the claims concerning Planned Parenthood’s services are accurate. The point here is that the article equates government funding for Planned Parenthood with preserving “Women’s Health,” and that it implies that the only possible way that the government can make contraception, cancer screening and HIV tests available to the public is by funding Planned Parenthood. I believe that both these claims are untrue on their face.
“Women’s Health” as a slogan rather than a concern for actual women’s health took a major step forward with the Affordable Health Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) and the HHS Mandate attacking religious freedom that came from it.
In my opinion, the Affordable Health Care Act could be re-named the Planned Parenthood Government Dole Act. The only flaw in that name is that the word dole brings to mind the caricature of a welfare recipient; someone living in government housing, watching tv all day and eating junk food. Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, is a powerful organization whose board members are usually drawn from among the most wealthy and powerful members of our communities. The “dole” that it’s on amounts to 100s of millions of dollars, all flowing into coffers that are linked to abortion on demand.
The Affordable Health Care Act provides funding for Planned Parenthood in many ways. One of the most lucrative for the organization will almost certainly be the provision for grants of government monies to “health care providers,” including grants for health care education. I believe it is inevitable that this will funnel hundreds of millions of tax-payer dollars into Planned Parenthood coffers. This greed for more and more government money on the part of Planned Parenthood appears to be one of the driving forces behind the HHS Mandate.
Many people do not understand that the HHS Mandate which attacks our religious freedom in this country is not a law. It was not passed by any legislative body. I do not believe that a majority of elected officials in any legislative body in this country could have been persuaded to vote for this mandate.
The HHS Mandate is an agency rule which was promulgated by the members of a committee of the Health and Human Services Department. The members of this committee were appointed, not elected, and as such were not answerable to the people of this country. Many of the members of the Health and Human Services committee that gave us the HHS Mandate are supporters of Planned Parenthood. It is, as most things in politics ultimately are, about money.
If this mandate succeeds in forcing the Catholic Church to close its hospitals, universities and social welfare clinics, that will inevitably lead to a huge rise in “need” for money-hungry organizations to target and then demand funds for. It is standard practice for corporate welfare queens to go to legislative bodies and demand “reforms” that will force their small business competitors to shut down. I view this mandate as something akin to that. The only snag in the plan is the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.
As usual, the organizations and the politicians who are backing the HHS Mandate claim that all they care about is “women’s health.” How shutting down hospitals, forcing the closure of many of our finest institutions of higher learning and closing the doors to social welfare agencies who aid women will accomplish this, they do not say. After all, in their narrow lexicon, “Women’s Health” is Planned Parenthood, and little else.
Planned Parenthood and their allies in the media and politics have so warped the issue of women’s health that they have cast the debate entirely around what is good for Planned Parenthood. Anything that is deemed bad for Planned Parenthood is immediately characterized as an “attack on Women’s Health.” In fact, in the current presidential election, this has been broadened to mean that anything that is bad for Planned Parenthood or that even disagrees with one of their objectives, is part of a “War on Women.”
I am not a Republican. I emphatically do not agree with the way that the Republican Party has sold out to corporate interests. In fact, I think Republican corporatism is a danger to our Republic. But I think the so-called “War on Women” is a bogus accusation. I am starting my 17th year as a pro-woman legislator and I can tell you that both parties are indifferent to women’s concerns. However, if anybody is waging war on women, it’s the group of people who have decided that anything that is done to women in the name of funding for Planned Parenthood and the preservation of the “right to choose” is, in fact, “women’s rights.”
When you have people who claim that they own the whole question of “women’s health” but who don’t report sexual abuse and rape of minor children or human trafficking, you know you are dealing with a callous and deliberate lie. When you see people who won’t “judge” attempts to buy an abortion to kill a baby simply because she is a girl, then saying that anyone who wants to reduce their government funding is “waging war on women,” you should be able to see that the real issue is not women and their well-being but government money.
I know that there are good people who support “the right to chose” out of a humanitarian concern for the welfare of women. I believe that many of the issues they raise, such as the horror of rape, legal discriminations against pregnant women, and the health and security of children in our society are actually well-taken. Where I disagree with them is in their assumption that abortion is the best, and maybe even the only, solution for these problems. The answer to legal and social discrimination and violence against women is NOT to give women the right to kill their own child. The answer is to address those problems as the evils that they are and do something about them.
However, an approach like that would also shine the light of reality on the argument that organizations that make huge amounts of money from abortion are in fact the guardians of “Women’s Health.”
The truth of the matter is that Planned Parenthood has become the sole voice for “Women’s Rights” within the Democratic Party, despite the fact that it was never a women’s rights organization. From its founding to the present day, Planned Parenthood has focused on issues of population control to the exclusion of what is in the best interests of women.
While the ability to limit family size clearly can benefit women, Planned Parenthood has focused on methods of contraception that are often dangerous or, in the case of abortion, dehumanizing to women. Dangerous birth control includes drastic chemical interventions in women’s normal body processes such as depo provera, dangerous contraceptive devices such as IUDs and the mass marketing of large-dose hormone interventions such as the so-called morning after pill.
Here in Oklahoma, some of the most vociferous supporters of Planned Parenthood’s so-called “Women’s Health” are former Planned Parenthood board members who also engage in making money by farming women’s bodies for eggs. The fact that these are prominent people is, in my opinion, why the Chamber of Commerce in Oklahoma has played a large part in killing pro-life legislation in the Republican-held legislature.
Real women’s health issues are subverted and essentially buried in a focus on funding things that can destroy a woman’s reproductive health in real life. I have a cousin (now deceased) who suffered repeated blood clots as a result of taking birth control pills. I have personally talked to women who forfeited their own fertility to egg harvesters, and I know women whose menstrual periods ceased and did not re-start after taking depo provera.
Where in any of this is women’s health? And why is the government required to spend hundreds of millions of dollars funding a single organization in order to provide for “Women’s Health?”
I think one of the reasons why is that if they don’t, they will be accused of waging “war” on half the electorate.
I am a feminist. But I believe that “Women’s Health” as it is being used in today’s electioneering is nothing more than slogan-voting. As slogan-voting, it not only doesn’t make women healthier, it endangers their welfare.
The equation is:
Women’s Health = Slogan Voting