My Planned Parenthood: Planned Parenthood is me

My Planned Parenthood: raise your voice. tell your story. July 7.

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My story is different. At least, that’s what I tell myself, because I don’t know if I could deal with it otherwise.

[Trigger Warning for following content: rape, sexual assault, “pro-life” protesters]

I started going to Planned Parenthood when I moved to Washington, had no insurance, and needed birth control for my horrible periods and because I wanted to have safe sex with my boyfriend. The providers at my local clinic were, and have always been, professional, helpful, informative, and trustworthy. That last part is key.

It was key because I could trust them. I could trust them to insert my IUD properly, and help me deal with the aftermath of an expulsion. Another IUD insert, and the aftermath of a contaminated insertion leading to PID. They helped me understand that PID is not just from STIs, and that there was no shame in it, no matter how you got it. They helped me heal the infection that would have killed me had it stayed untreated.

And during that treatment, my life changed. I walked through the gantlet of protesters, eyes hidden behind sunglasses yet body language betraying my fear and anxiety. I was not there to get an abortion, yet they treated me as if I were – offering pamphlets, little baby dolls, prayers, “help.” I was called a baby killer. I was treated as a murderer. I was none of these things: I was trying to save my life, Planned Parenthood was helping me, and because I could not go to a “regular” doctor, I was the target of harassment.

That experience galvanized me, gave me purpose. When I was recovered enough, I contacted the clinic and told them that I wanted to volunteer, to escort. Thrilled, they got me in touch with the coordinator, I went through training, and found myself on the sidewalk wearing a garish orange vest and terrified out of my mind. The protesters know when “abortion days” are [our system is so underfunded and understaffed that the team rotates through the state at different clinics] and show up in force. Most of them are middle-class soccer moms, with some older men as well. 99% of them were white, while the clientele was not.

I helped so many people during my time escorting, before I had to “retire” due to medical problems. I shielded them from the scorn, the hatred, the accusations and pointing fingers. I watched so many people walk in those doors, uncomfortable with the protesters but with their minds made up.

I wonder how many lives I helped to save or turn around. I don’t think I’ll ever know, really, but that’s ok.

What most people don’t know is that Planned Parenthood helped me in ways beyond gynecological care. At a time when I was struggling to come to terms with my worsening disabilities, with my assaults, with my sexuality, purpose in the world, and other things, they gave me a chance to help others. They trusted me to help them help others. In so doing, they helped to pull me out of the increasing depression I was in, gave me something to focus my nervous energy on.

Now, I’m still a volunteer with them. I staff the table at local fairs – if you go to a fair in upper Washington state and see a Planned Parenthood table, there’s a good likelihood I know the people there. Tabling is a different sort of thing. Instead of protecting patients from potentially violent protesters, I help spread the word about Planned Parenthood and our campaigns. Right now we’re trying to get “crisis pregnancy centers” regulated under HIPPA, and that involves getting the signatures of voters.

Being able to see people change their minds, to sign the petition, and walk away proudly wearing a Planned Parenthood button or sticker, is an amazing feeling. Seeing parents encourage their children to talk to us, to get swag, is so encouraging.

Sometimes I think about where I would have been if there were not a Planned Parenthood in my area, and I cringe at the thought. They have helped me grow, change, and heal from the abuse, assaults, and the rape. They’ve let me help others who desperately needed it, and in so doing they helped me when I most desperately needed it, although I didn’t realize it at the time.

My Planned Parenthood is me.

shittiest day ever

I’ve had a bad day. A bad day for many reasons, including but not limited to finding out about this. The state of Washington, where I live, has decided to cut “non-essential” programs to fix the budget woes [instead of, say, passing a fucking income tax — we tried, the ballot initiative failed to pass in November].

Let’s look at this list, shall we?

From the top, “adult pharmacy benefits.” Right. So patients with diabetes don’t get their insulin. Patients with high blood pressure don’t get those meds, and psych patients [HI!] don’t get their psychotropics. This is such a clusterfuck and we’re only on the first point.

“Medical for Disability Lifeline (formerly GA-U)” — they’re cutting the entire lowest tier of DSHS support for those unable to work. And it’s not like it’s … was… easy to get on that tier at all — it took me six months to get approved, and that was after three hospitalizations for various issues, including a psychotic break.

“Eligibility reduction in Apple Health for Kids” — so kids at the very, very bottom of the barrel likely won’t get anything, any help in getting healthy. For all the whining and complaining and drama about ~the obesity epidemic~ [booga booga booga!], they sure don’t like helping kids. Making sure that kids don’t have any sort of health care is a surefire way to make sure they’re not as healthy as they could be.

“State-only Alien Emergency Medical” — well, we all know what this is, THEM FUCKING ILLEGALS, TAKING OUR JERBS AND OUR HEALTHCARE. I guess it doesn’t matter that undocumented workers pay much more into the system than out of it. Oh, no, it’s just “them dirty brown furr’ners.”

“Adult Dental Services” — so despite the fact that dental problems can rapidly turn into “real” health problems [an untreated mouth infection can and will spread to either the brain or the heart, or both], apparently us poor folks don’t deserve to keep the teeth in their mouths. Great.

“First Steps/Maternity Support Services/Infant Case Management” — even in a completely healthy woman, pregnancy can and does kill, especially during birth. And it’s been proven that getting a healthy start, even in the womb, can help children get a fighting start on the rest of their lives. I’m not talking about “don’t let fat women have kids,” or “how dare them disableds procreate,” but simple things like proper vitamins and enough water.

“Adult Hospice” — so people don’t deserve to die in comfort now? I mean, obviously it’s a good thing that they’re dying, but how dare they expect that it’ll be easy?!

“Interpreter Services” — I don’t have any words for this that aren’t profane. Last I checked, being able to understand your doctor was a fucking RIGHT protected by the state if not the federal government. ugh.

“School-based Medical Services” — I’m unsure if this is college-based or more elementary and secondary schools, but either way, it’s … kinda gross that they’re cutting services to vulnerable populations. If Neighborhood Elementary School A has five children with specific needs that can only be helped by a trained nurse [diabetes, asthma, heart issues, anything like that], those children are now at risk of dying if they don’t get the care they need.

“Medicare Part D Co-Pays” — this ties in with the donut hole thing. Medicare is so fucked up in this country right now that we expect people to pay for all their medications after a certain amount and until a different certain amount. Medicaid in Washington is … or rather, was, set up to cover the co-pays for these medications to help people get through the hole. No more.

“Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy” — yay! now the only thing helping some people be productive members of society is being taken away! or, in my case, the only thing that’s sortakinda helping to relieve the GODSAWFUL PAIN at bay is getting yanked.

“Take Charge/Family Planning” — so instead of helping people with birth control [which is what Take Charge does], we’re going to possibly create a huge group of people that we need to pay for [eg children born because their parents didn’t have reliable access to birth control]! brilliant, people. great way to save money.

“Adult Vision” — because being able to see is TOTES not necessary. TOTES.

“Adult Podiatry” — and feet aren’t needed either!

“Adult Hearing Services/Devices” — and hearing isn’t important at all as well.

As a kicker, at the bottom of the page, it says “DSHS does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.”

But no mention of economic status. This group of cuts is going to impact primarily one group: poor people. As a poor person myself, someone who is going to be badly affected by these cuts, my first impression is one of despair. There are so, so many other things that could have been done, things less important than the health of hundreds of thousands of people. There have been calls for activism for months, nearly a year, by organizations like Planned Parenthood and other health providers.

There is only so much one person can do. There is only so much fighting one can do before they get tired, before they get discouraged, before they give up.

I just passed that line, and I’m so scared.

Lady Gaga and homosexual Nazis

Yes, I know exactly how odd that title sounds.  Because yeah, it is.  I mean, hell, the Nazis killed homosexuals. A lot. Happily.  The pink triangle has been, for some time, a symbol [a mostly forgotten symbol at that] of oppression and homophobia and utter hatred.

And now, we have a music video featuring… well, homosexual Nazis.

Wait, what?

Look, a lot of the time I absolutely love Lady Gaga [Bad Romance is currently one of my favorites], but this is ridiculous.  Utterly and totally ridiculous, absurd, and [dare I say] REALLY FUCKING OFFENSIVE.  Nazis, or at least men wearing stereotypical SS/uniform hats… wearing high heels and playing with each other.  Oh, and then apparently trying to gang rape her.

Man, I am so sick of this bullshit.  I know there’s a lot of drama surrounding “retaking” a word: cunt, for example.  Or nigger.  Whatever.  But when you take something that is so utterly horrifying [the systematic planned destruction of the “subhumans” — Jews, Poles, Romani, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, sexologists, all of them] and use it… in a music video… I just can’t … I don’t honestly know what to say about it.

Yeah, there’s a time and a place to use history in entertainment [The Longest Day, Stories from Iwo Jima], even something as atrocious as the Holocaust, like in Schindler’s List.  But generally those are done with respect towards the victims, to the dead that did not deserve to die.  Not something glorifying their murderers.

Some would argue that showing them as homosexual men would be to humiliate their memory, thus reducing them to a pitiful pile of rubble.  I call bullshit.  Because according to the Nazis, homosexuals weren’t men at all.  They were … disgusting.

Suprema lex salus populi!

Communal welfare before personal welfare!

Those who are considering love between men or between women are our enemies. Anything that emasculates our people and that makes us fair game for our enemies we reject, because we know that life is a struggle and that it is insanity to believe that all human beings will one day embrace each other as brothers. Natural history teaches us a different lesson. Might makes right. And the stronger will always prevail against the weaker. Today we are the weaker. Let us make sure that we will become the stronger again! This we can do only if we exercise moral restraint. Therefore we reject all immorality, especially love between men, because it deprives us of our last chance to free our people from the chains of slavery which are keeping it fettered today.

That’s the official party line of the National Socialist Party.  As in, the Nazi party.  And in my opinion, glorifying them, their uniform, their … whatever, is absolutely appalling.  It’s disrespectful to those that died, and to those who gave everything they could to stop the murder and torture and rape and war perpetrated by them.

The Nazis weren’t gay.  Or, some of the ranking elite may have been, but it was secret, hidden, never to be spoken of around anybody.  To do so would have been a death sentence.  It was the official line that gay men were … not men, to be eliminated, rejected, “cured.”

I have so much more to say but I’m not sure how to say it right now.  It’s still very new being on “this side” instead of “an ally,” and I’ve got so much to learn.  But I don’t think I could have just stayed silent about this.  It was offensive.  Just utterly offensive, and I’m also not sure how to deal with the people… the gay and bi people that I know who are saying it’s an amazing video!  I just… don’t get it.  ugh.  Still, comments, feedback, whatever, please let me know.

Time to return

I’d like to once again apologize for my sudden absence.  Again, my health went down the drain for some time and I’m still trying to recover.  But, life goes on, and so does the blogaround.

Things to go “yay!” about:

  • HCR.  YAY!
  • President Obama signing an executive order… well, ordering hospitals that accept Medicare and/or Medicaid to allow same-sex partners to be in the room and make decisions based on the patient’s living will.  YAY!
  • Good cheese from the store.  YAY!
  • Holy cow, I won two books!  From Katherine Gilraine for writing up a blurb. YAY!
  • Holy cow, I’m going to school!  My financial aid came in and YEP it covers everything.  YAY!
  • Holy crap, I organized my iTunes!  YAY!
  • Oh my gods, my room is clean!  YAY!

Things that are “meh!”:

  • my body hates me!  MEH!
  • apparently my Luddite [immediate] family finally found Facebook.  MEH! [though this could be classified as either a meh or a bah, so.]
  • Twitter is both a blessing and a curse.  MEH!
  • So is Facebook.  MEH!

Things that suck and are “bah!”

  • fibromyalgia.  BAH!
  • Ovarian cysts.  Lots and lots of them.  BAH!
  • Bleeding, unexpectedly [I’m sure that my female readers don’t need any sort of translation].  BAH!
  • Oh look!  Today’s the third anniversary of my assault.  FUCKING BAH!
  • Damn it, the meetup I was planning on attending in June got canceled.  BAH!
  • HCR [yes, this is both a yay and a bah] — see: women’s health rights and gay/transgendered rights.
  • Nebraska is being stupid about abortion too.
  • So is Kansas, although that comes without saying.
  • ENDA stuff getting bogged down in … well, everything
  • “fat rights” is also bogged down.  Not surprising since apparently fat-hate and/or fat shaming is the last officially recognized “phobia” in the civilized world.
  • Medicaid, apparently, has decided that when you’re due for an ~evaluation~ your fate gets decided by someone you’ve never met.  How strange.
  • The SSA is being stupid as well.

There’s a lot more stuff I need to cover, but that’s a short list for now.  I definitely will be updating more in the days and weeks to come, so watch this space!

Fail, again [straight from Oklahoma]

As you may remember, on Feb. 19th of this year, the Oklahoma Supreme Court handed down a decision declaring an “information collecting” law to be unconstitutional.  Feminists and Pro-Choicers across the nation rejoiced, glad that such blatantly illegal procedures wouldn’t be implemented.

Until yesterday. More on this after the jump.

Victory in Oklahoma!

Late last year Oklahoma voted into law a measure that would force doctors to collect private medical information about women who have abortions. This was widely decried and protested by pro-choice organizations around the country, such as Feminists for Choice and the fine people at Jezebel.

This law would have collected forms that gathered the following information

Oh, Texas…

Texas appears to be gearing up for the election season, which seems a tad early given that it’s still mid-February.  I am aware that primary races are held early in the year, but that’s not what I’m referring to.  What I am talking about is the Republican party’s proposed ballot propositions.

More on that, including a rundown of the propositions, after the jump.