If You Have a Vagina, or Care about Someone Who Does, It’s Time to Worry

In a sweeping move the Republican Congress and the Trump administration are moving forward with plans to turn any advancements in women’s health back to the dark ages. The media is trying to keep up with these quickly evolving plans, and in covering the details a larger view of a war on women is getting lost. In just three days since taking office, President Trump has revoked funding for any foreign health service provider that DISCUSSES abortion with patients. His Republican Congress is gearing up to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions as 3 percent of their services, while the majority of their care includes free mammograms, pap smears, std screenings and other female health services. Tomorrow Congress will vote on a bill to revoke ANY insurance coverage of abortion. And the new budget details include illuminating funding to all 25 programs that offer services to victims of domestic and sexual abuse. I will look at each of these, but my point is to have you think about them collectively. This is an attack on our basic right to equal health care, to supportive services and to our right to dignity in matters of reproduction and intimacy.

This assault will be most devastating for poor women who do not have access to any safe alternatives. These women do not have a voice in the form of money or power to lobby on their behalf. It is up to the rest of us to speak up for them.  The time is now.


Find them your elected officials here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/


The Congress is working to pass measure to defund Planned Parenthood, which preforms free mammograms, pap smears and other gyn services for low income women, in what they’re calling an anti abortion effort, but will greatly impact the general health of thousands of American Women. Here’s a great wrap up of what happens if Planned Parenthood goes away.

Yesterday, President Trump revived an old policy that refused to pay for any NGO that discusses abortions with patients. This is not just an affront to free speech, doctor patient privilege, this is an attack on poor women around the world who do not know what options they have

From The New York Times: United States law already prohibits the use of American taxpayer dollars for abortion services anywhere, including in countries where the procedure is legal. But Mr. Trump’s order takes the prohibition further: It freezes funding to nongovernmental organizations in poor countries if they offer abortion counseling or if they advocate the right to seek abortion in their countries.

The freeze applies even if the organizations use other sources of funding for these services.

But HR7 maybe the most aggressive attack on a woman’s right to choose yet. The bill, which the house votes on tomorrow–Jan 25–will make it illegal for insurance to pay for abortions. That’s right, Viagra will still be covered, but your legal right to abortion will not be covered by insurance. Not just medicare or insurance paid for by religious corporations, this will be for everyone. You live in a liberal state, work for a progressive company with a great health plan, doesn’t matter.

We know that most women who have abortions are either young or poor. Despite great efforts, nearly 17 million women lived in poverty last year, according to analysis by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) of data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. More than one in five or 3.1 million, young millennial women (ages 18-24) were poor last year.  The consequences of this legislation are potentially deadly for someone who doesn’t have access to $1,500, the average cost of the procedure. She will be forced to find a cheaper means of stopping the pregnancy which will likely mean  it will be performed by someone without the required skills or tools or she’ll do it herself, putting her life at risk.

We have to ask, what’s the benefit? One argument is premiums will go down, but that seems short sided. If women suffer negative consequences from home abortions, they will be hospitalized and surely end up costing the insurance company more. Likewise, if you force a woman to have a baby the costs are much higher. The average cost of delivering a baby in a hospital is around $15,000, without any complications. Add to the prenatal care and postpartum care for mom and you’ve lost any argument about savings.

If this is about a life starting at conception, then I’d think it would be important to follow that to it’s end conclusion. Are we going to take the millions of fertilized eggs at the IVF centers around the country and force people to give birth to all of the ones they’ve stored. The average couple stores more than dozen fertilized eggs.

What will do with all these forcefully born, unwanted children. We already have an foster care system that cannot handle the amount of children it has. Every 50 seconds, a child in America enters the foster care system. In 2015, there were more than 671,000 children in the system, but that number nearly doubles when you consider the children who pass in and out of foster care in a given year. Fifty-two percent are under the age of 10 and more than 50 percent are African American. We already have a systemic problem of unwanted children.

Congress has already taken away access to birth control through the ACA, which was considered to be an economic booster. Birth control is an empowering tool to allow women to make their own choices about their futures, why would we take this away?

Fatima Goss Graves, NWLC Senior Vice President broke down the impact of the ACA’s coverage of  birth control coverage this way: “This means [meant] that an additional 5.4 million women have health insurance since the law was implemented in 2013. Women’s access to meaningful and affordable health care has been an economic game changer: the birth control benefit alone has saved women more than $1 billion in just one year. The health law plays a pivotal role in bolstering economic security for women and their families.”

Contact your representative and tell them enough is enough. Vote “no” on HR7

Susan Franklin Wood’s testimony on HR7: Wood is an Associate Professor of Health Policy Director, Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health School of Public Health and Health Services George Washington University January 9, 2014 Susan-Wood-HR7-Testimony

If you thought that this administration was somehow just acting in a financially responsible way or that they were only upholding the rights of those with religious convictions that deeply oppose a women’s right to reproductive care, perhaps you can explain to me why Trump is cutting funding to victims of domestic and sexual violence?

From Slate:

That includes [programs the new president is cutting] all 25 of the grant programs managed by the Office on Violence Against Women, housed in the Department of Justice. The grants, established by 1994’s Violence Against Women Act and other federal legislation, go to organizations working to prevent domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and elder abuse.

They also support survivors of assault and abuse—some grants are earmarked for transitional housing assistance, legal aid, and trainings to help civil and criminal justice systems better respond to sexual and domestic violence. There are grants specifically targeted at protecting child victims, residents of tribal lands, women with disabilities, children who’ve witnessed the abuse of a parent, and rural women.

I beg you to please think about this in the context of our democracy. Women need to speak up, but we cannot do this alone. Men need to start fighting for the well being of the their female counterparts. We need to be serious about this, about protecting the health and safety of all Americans.

Find your elected officials here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

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