Life, Love, and Dirty Diapers

My Thoughts on the Contraception Controversy

So I know I’m in the middle of a series, but I have a few things to post before I go back to my series (I’ve been working on these, which is why I haven’t been posting as much). Because I need to make some things clear.

Mainly because I’m sick of people saying they speak for the women of America. I am a woman of America and I disagree with what they are saying when they say they speak for me, but that’s okay apparently, to make broad blanket statements about speaking for the women of America. They don’t speak for me, so I’m going to speak for me.

I’m not going to talk about the compromise right now, because it’s not really a compromise. Use your brains people – if insurance companies have to pay for it but not the employers, then how do you think the insurance companies are going to pay for it? They’re going to increase premiums for the employers. You can’t just pretend that there isn’t going to be a hidden cost and that we aren’t all going to end up paying for it.

And I’m not even going to talk about how I don’t agree with most things that are considered contraception, like the pill and the IUD.

I guess my problem is the definition of preventative care and defining contraception as preventative care. Because what does it prevent? Pregnancy – and pregnancy is not a disease. It’s a natural, normal part of life. In the great majority of cases, it is not life threatening and even when it is, there are really awesome OB/GYN’s to help you through it. Preventative care should prevent a disease and pregnancy is simply just not a disease. I’m a pregnant woman and I do not have a disease. I do realize that there is a very small percentage of women who are on birth control pills for health conditions that are not fault of their own. BUT, I do think that if we were to stop thinking that a birth control pill is an answer for these health problems, that we might be able to find real answers to them (for example, endometriosis, which is often managed with the birth control pill – there is currently no cure for this condition). Because to be honest, a birth control pill doesn’t really cure these diseases, it just manages the symptoms, at least from my understanding.  It is easy to prescribe a birth control pill and it’s easy to take a birth control pill, but it’s harder to search for a cure.

Examples of real preventative care include screening for diabetes, immunizations, screening for cancers, etc.

Now I want to talk about something that is real preventative care – that is prenatal care. And maybe I know all this because I’m currently pregnant, but it’s something that needs to be talked about.

Here are the benefits of prenatal care and why I consider it preventative. Proper prenatal care reduces maternal deaths, miscarriages, birth defects, low birth rates (3 times more likely without prenatal care), delivery complications (like preeclampsia and placenta previa), infant deaths (of which is near and dear to my heart since Milwaukee has high infant mortality rates – this is 5 times more likely without prenatal care), and premature birth.

Now the new law does cover some services associated with pregnancy. These include:

  • Anemia screening
  • Infection screening  (for certain infections)
  • Breastfeeding related support and in some cases, supplies
  • Folic acid supplements
  • Gestational diabetes screening
  • Rh incompatibility
  • Tobacco counseling

Now, while this seems like a lot, there is so much that is being left out. Regular visits are important, early ultrasounds to rule out ectopic pregnancy (which is life-threatening), anatomy scan (which is not necessary, but helps to discover birth defects, some of which we can now treat in utero and identify conditions like placenta previa which needs to be treated), iron supplements – I could go on.

I’m not looking for a handout, don’t mistake that. Yes, it can get expensive, but I love my child and so we find a way to make it work one way or another. I’m just saying, wouldn’t it make more sense, instead of fighting over contraception, which doesn’t prevent anything, we work on covering more services for pregnant women which has huge preventative effects. Remember how I mentioned one of the downsides to not receiving proper prenatal care was low birth weight? Well, besides the immediate risk to the infant which are very serious, I want to copy and paste something from the March of Dimes website about potential long term risks.

Some studies suggest that individuals who were born with low birthweight may be at increased risk for certain chronic conditions in adulthood. These conditions include high blood pressure, type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes and heart disease. When these conditions occur together, they are called metabolic syndrome. One study found that men who weighed less than 6 1/2 pounds at birth were 10 times more likely to have metabolic syndrome than the men who weighed more than 9 1/2 pounds at birth (10, 11).

It is not yet known how low birthweight contributes to these adult conditions. However, it is possible that growth restriction before birth may cause lasting changes in certain insulin-sensitive organs like the liver, skeletal muscles and pancreas. Before birth, these changes may help the malnourished fetus use all available nutrients. However, after birth these changes may contribute to health problems.

So why are we focusing on contraception which will not make us a healthier society as a whole, when we could focus on making sure every pregnant woman gets proper prenatal care and make society healthier overall? That’s true preventative care.

Just my two cents, because no, those people tv don’t speak for me. I speak for me.

Here are my sources by the way:

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Maternal Mortality in the US

I read this really interesting article on how Maternal Mortality in the US is a human rights failure and I agree, it is a human rights failure. They even point to some parts that I think contribute to it – including an overuse of inductions and an overuse of c-sections. However, they fail to touch on another thing I think contributes – abortion. They talk a little bit about certain complications, like placenta previa, which they list as a common cause of death among pregnant women, but fail to mention that the risk of placenta previa is 50 percent higher after an abortion. So while they fail to mention these facts, I think there is a lot of truth in this article and you can check it out here.

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Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Do you know what Female Genital Mutilation is? I’m about to tell you and I’m going to tell you right up front, it will probably be graphic and not for the faint of heart, but I think it is very necessary to know what this is all about.

First it’s important that know that you may have heard of it before – it goes by a lot of names. Female Genital Mutilation, Female Genital Cutting, Female Genital Circumcision, Female Genital Alteration, Female Genital Excision, and Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting to name a few. For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to refer to it as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The controversy over what to call it stems from the fact that people who practice FGM feel that mutilation is too strong of a word, but the people against FGM feel that it is mutilation and it brings attention to that. Some prefer circumcision, but many people this is drawing an unfair comparison between this and male circumcision (which I will admit will probably never be talked about on my blog and I am not very knowledgable about it, but it’s done – at the very least – for very different reasons. I feel it is outside of the scope of my blog, but for your awareness, there are people who feel that because there is such an outcry against FGM that there should be equal amounts of outcry against male circumcision). The World Health Organization (WHO) defines this as, “”all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” There are four different types. Warning Graphic descriptions.  “Type 1, excision of the clitoral hood, the skin around the clitoris, with or without partial or complete removal of the clitoris (clitoridectomy); Type 2, excision of the clitoris with partial or complete removal of the labia minora; Type 3 (infibulation), excision of all or part of the labia minora and labia majora, and the stitching of a seal across the vagina, leaving only a small opening for the passage of urine and menstrual blood; and Type 4, miscellaneous acts, including burning or cauterization of the clitoris, scraping and cutting of the vagina (gishiri cutting [where it is cut to make it larger]), and introducing corrosive substances into the vagina to tighten it.” (From Wikipedia)

To me, while they are all horrible, I think type three is definitely the most harmful and painful so I’m going to talk a little more about that one. In this one, sometimes the girl’s legs are even tied together for 2 to 6 weeks so that she can’t move and to basically allow the two cut sides to seal together. These two sides are usually stitched or glued together with things like thorns as stitches or eggs, sugar, and animal waste as a glue. Not only that, but this one is often cut open repeatedly as it is needed, either when she gets married so she can have sex or when she gives birth to children so that there is room for the baby to be born and it is sometimes sealed up again afterwards. Where people have this, the women speak of three feminine sorrows: “the first sorrow is the procedure itself, followed by the wedding night when a woman with Type III FGM has to be cut open, then childbirth when she may have to be cut again.” Type three carries the most risk of complications, which I’ll talk about further down.

“There were two circumcisers – they moved quickly from one girl to the next, cutting their labia. It was horrendous. And none of the girls cried out, because they’d had it drilled into them that they had to bear it without making a sound.” – Cath Holland

It can happen in hospitals under general anesthesia or it can happen by people referred to as “traditional circumcisers” typically with little to no anesthesia using unsterilized things (not even worth calling instruments) like broken glass, tin lids, razor blades, knives, and scissors to name a few examples. It can happen to girls all the way from infants to 15 years old or sometimes women right before they married or give birth to their first child. It happens in 28 countries and also in some immigrant groups in places like America and Europe (though until the 1950s, it was practiced in England and America to “cure” women of “female deviances”). It happens to singular girls and it happens to groups of girls at the same time. There are reports of girls being held down and struggling against the people holding them down so much that their bones are broken. The estimations of women who have been subject to this around the world range from 60 million to 140 million women. (Estimates work this out to about 4 girls a minute). An estimated three million more girls every year face the potential that this will happen to them.

“These families do not do this out of spite or hatred; they believe this will give their daughters the best opportunities in life. We would like a conviction, not against the parents, but against a cutter, someone who makes a living from this.” – Jackie Mathers

Why is this so bad? Besides the obvious, FGM has a lot of risky side effects: often times a lot of pain, shock, hemorrhaging (severe bleeding, sometimes enough that the girls die), infections (including tetanus and UTIs), urine retention (where you can’t pee), ulceration, fever, and septicemia. Long term you can face things like chronic pain, recurring infections, recurring cysts, difficulty giving birth, more likely to have a C-section, anemia, keloid scars (I do not know how to explain this – check the Wikipedia article on it if you’re interested), urinary incontinence, pain having sex, sexual dysfunction, menstrual disorders, fistulae (again, Wikipedia article), infertility, increased risk of HIV infection (though the jury is out on this – there are mixed results), chronic anxiety, depression, other psychiatric problems, kidney stones, other kidney problems, failure to heal, increased risk of hepatitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, bladder stones, increased chance of episiotomy in labor, increased chance of extended hospital stays with labor, psychological effects that are similar to PTSD, Dysmenorrhoea (extremely painful periods), pelvic and back pain, the need for more “surgeries” later, and increased newborn death. The rates on the birth statistics for example are so shockingly high it’s clear to see this has very little benefit. For example, with Type III (which carries the most risks, but certainly not all – the others do too), the infant mortality rate is 55% high and the mother is 70% more likely to suffer dangerous hemorrhaging. I think if we focused on eliminating FGM, we could make huge strides in infant and maternal mortality. FGM is a huge factor in maternal/infant mortality in the areas where it is practiced. This is a real solution to help end the problem.

“Why would anyone want to go and cut up a seven- or eight-year-old child? People need to wake up — you are hurting your child, you are hurting your daughter, you’re not going to have a grandchild, so wake up.” – Miriam, a victim of FGM

Then the question is to ask why? Why would something like this be done? It seems so awful, so unbearable. There are many reasons. Some people think it is just part of how parents raise their child “right.” The women are often seen as “cleaner” after the procedure. It is said to “ensure” that women remain virgins before marriage and during marriage don’t have affairs and is also supposed to help if a much older man marries a younger woman so that she doesn’t have a higher sex drive than him. It is also believed to lower women’s libido (which goes back to making sure that women remain virgins before marriage and don’t have affairs during marriage). Sometimes, they even try to sell it as rape protection (though this is twisted – here, let’s cut you up so that no man tries to rape you). Sometimes the labia and clitoris are viewed as parts of a man, so taking these away makes someone more feminine. Tied up with that is the belief in some places that if a man or a baby touches the clitoris they will die and/or it will make the woman’s breast milk poisonous. Sometimes they think this procedure makes a woman fertile (even though the exact opposite is true) or that it will take away bad odors or that it will prevent vaginal cancer (all fictitious “health” benefits). It is also sometimes believed that if the clitoris isn’t cut off, it will grow so big that it drags on the ground (again, another falsity). Some places think it keeps a woman’s face from turning yellow or makes it more beautiful. It is often viewed as a right of passage – something that turns a girl into a woman and women who are never mutilated are often seen perpetually as a child in their society. In fact, there is a story from Kenya of a woman who chose not to have FGM done to her and then later on when she decided to run office, the people running against her used this as something to attack about her. Often, it is not men pushing and promoting this like one would think, but older women or women themselves wanting it, being taught these things about how it is good for you. Though, the men play into this as well as they will often times not marry a girl unless she has had this done to her. Both men and women play into the idea that it is for the family’s honor and reputation. And even if the parents decide not to have this for their daughters, they still have to be wary of their relatives who believe in FGM, who may kidnap the children and forcibly perform this. There is a lot of back and forth over whether or not it is a cultural practice or if it is a religious practice. I don’t have the answer but I think the answer is that it can be both – it is a cultural practice in some places and some religions include it in their practices in other places. Some Muslims practice it, but they aren’t the only religious group to practice it and not all Muslims do (there is a lot of people who I think associate FGM with Islam, but it definitely should not be the case since many don’t and many communities practice it without religious associations and there have been Christian and Animist groups that practice it as well). In fact, it is believed that FGM was happening before Islam even existed and a lot of Muslims argue that there is no grounds for FGM in Islam.

“Human rights transcend cultural relativism by definition, but the cultural-religious argument has to be taken into consideration for implementation of policy.” – Stephan Isaacs

It’s not hopeless – people are really trying to bring an end to this. February  6th every year is the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. I think also it goes to having a cultural change. I think that those people need to be taught that women can control themselves sexually and just be abstinent before marriage and then during marriage be faithful without someone needing to mutilate them. There is also evidence that this change will come from NGOs helping communities make these cultural changes more than laws, since in many countries, laws by overarching bodies seem to be resisted or not enforced. Indeed, many countries where FGM is practiced has laws making it illegal. Some Western countries help further by granting asylum to women who will have to go through forced FGM (though of course, they must be able to prove this). It is clear that the laws are doing very little, so the change needs to come from other places and there are many NGO’s actively working on it. Holding community meetings is another strategy that is being tried.  Educating people about the harmful effects is also being tried (and what I like about this is they often have respected women already in the community teaching younger women and girls about it – a much more sustainable and viable solution in my opinion). They also are trying to introduce alternative rights of passage and have had some success with replacing FGM with a separate right of passage ceremony. I believe, as do many people, that a harm-elimination strategy is best, as opposed to a harm-reducation strategy (one example would be moving it so it happens in hospitals so it’s “safer” – making the harm less, but not at all reducing it). That means completely eliminating the danger of FGM that women and girls face, not just making it less. Surgeons have also recently developed reversal techniques for this procedure. Of course, it’s not going to be completely like it was, but something is better than nothing for the women who have already gone through this.

This is another youtube video but embedding has been disabled. It is very graphic in nature and there is some nudity, but it does speak to two women who were mutilated at a young age.

Further Reading (Note, I haven’t read them, just found them):

Sources:

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The Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights Agenda

About a week ago this time, I was in New York City. It was my first time ever in the Big Apple. And what was I doing? Living my dream of being at the United Nations (UN). Not only being there, but participating as a youth representative for National Right to Life for the UN High Level Meeting (HLM) on Youth. And while I loved being there and the experience was really great, at the same time, I came away feeling frustrated and discouraged. Why, you ask? Mainly because of organizations like International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and their extreme Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (hereafter referred to as SRHR as their own abbreviation) agenda.

If you had asked me, I’d have to be honest. I have probably always known that IPPF and other organizations don’t just allow abortion, they encourage it. But, I had no idea it was so bad, to tell you the truth. I almost titled this post – Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights: The Bad and the Ugly, but I changed my mind at the last minute. But to me, it was truly sad and disheartening to witness how taken in by this idea (and in my opinion, lie) that some people are.

These are some of the things that I heard and that some people said and my comments in parantheses.

  • “Abstinence leads to greater infections of HIV and AIDS.” (This is one I really don’t understand. Back in the day, people could get it from blood transfusions, but now that we can and do test for it, one of the main ways to get it is to have unprotected sex or to share needles for drugs. And I don’t think there’s any correlation like ‘People who abstain are more likely to do drugs.’ Abstinence is the best way to prevent HIV.)
  • After having stated that the purpose of Y-PEER (an arm of IPPF) is to “empower youth to make their own health choices” I asked “Isn’t it our responsibility to protect youth sometimes? I mean, we don’t let them smoke, we discourage them from doing drugs, we don’t let them drink alcohol. Isn’t it our responsibility to protect youth from certain health choices?” To which the answer was (one sentence) “As a progressive education organization, we don’t believe in telling youth what to do and what not to do.” (This to me is really scary – it sounds like they would let young people do anything as long as young people were educated to me. Say I had a ten year old and my ten year old wanted to do drugs and he had been educated about what they did and how they work. By their own reasoning, my ten year old should be allowed to do drugs. That kind of reasoning is such a slippery slope.)
  • “Abstinence is impossible!” (To which I say false. I know for a fact that I am not the only person who was abstinent until marriage. And if I did it, clearly it’s not impossible. I am far from superhuman, trust me.)
  • “When the sexual and reproductive health rights of youth are upheld, they have greater access to education.” (This seems all backwards to me. How does knowing how to have safe sex teach you how to read? Someone explain please.)
  • “There is a huge problem in my country that people think children are a blessing from God so they keep having more of them.”  (First of all, children ARE a blessing from God. Second of all, if you are all about choices, how can you tell people that they are having too many children?)
  • One speaker implied that women who marry young are uneducated. (This really upset me because I married at 20 and I am almost finished with my Bachelor’s degree – early at that – and considering getting my Master’s. Even if I don’t get my Master’s, it would be because I have never felt strongly about getting a Master’s degree and I have other goals and dreams, not because I got married.)
  • After hearing a man talk about how it was time to listen to the young people all evening long, afterwards I approached him and the following exchange took place (I think it speaks for itself).
    “You keep saying you want to listen to the young people, but the truth is, you don’t want to listen to the young people who disagree with you.”
    “Well when all the choices are available, if you disagree, you don’t have to make that choice.”
    “But we know some things are bad for people, that’s why we try not to let people make those choices, like we make some drugs illegal.”
    “It’s just that our society was founded on the basis of freedom.”
    “But we restrict some freedoms for the protection of other people, like if I wanted to murder you, I couldn’t do that, because there are laws limiting my freedom for your protection.”
    “That may be so.”

We also saw blatant attempts to censor us. In their earlier events, they took questions from the audience. After getting many, many pro-life questions that they fumbled through the answers on, in their last event, they only took written questions so they could pick and choose which ones to ask. There were many questions we submitted that were never asked or answered.

They are trying to put all of this in under Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 which is on improving maternal health. However, when you listen to them and see their publications, it’s pretty clear that they don’t want to improve maternal health, they just want guaranteed access to contraception and abortion for everyone.

But abortion and contraception are not the answer to solving maternal health. Contraception doesn’t fix maternal health because it allows people to have more sex, thus increasing their risk of becoming pregnant, since no contraception works 100 percent. The reasons for that are two fold. First because abortions  actually hurt maternal health and second because it doesn’t address some of the real causes of maternal mortality.

There is a LOT of evidence to support these two points (By the way, don’t feel like you need to read them all – just a sampling will give you an idea of what is out there. I include them in case you are like ” I can’t get enough of this” as I sometime am) .

There are other ways to end the problem of maternal mortality. More hospitals, that are sterile and clean. Educating women about proper prenatal care. Having more trained doctors and midwives. Having the supplies and drugs on hand that are needed. Basically, providing women with the adequate care. Because women are dying from things we know how to treat and prevent. So we should channel our energy and funds into treating and preventing, not into abortion.

It’s my hope that after reading this, you’ve learned a little bit about why increasing access to abortion does nothing to reduce maternal mortality. I think the agenda they’re pushing – sex for anyone, with anyone, any time you want and if an oops happens then you should get an abortion, is healthy, normal, or good for society.

Further more, here are some links to read by others who were there or who reported on it. I’ll star the ones that talk about one or more events that I witnessed or pamphlets that I have seen and in some cases have in my possession and will be going over with a fine tooth comb to blog about when I get a chance that I can back up and say, yes, that really did happen.

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Women in History: Jeannette Rankin

Let me introduce you to another woman. Jeannette Rankin. It’s a name I had never heard before a few days ago.

She

  • lived from 1880 – 1973.
  • graduated from college with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology.
  • was the first woman to speak in front of Montana’s legislature.
  • was the first woman in U.S. Congress.
  • was the first woman elected in a Western democracy to a national government body.
  • was a Republican
  • represented Montana – twice (once from 1917-1919, then again from 1941-1943).
  • lobbied Congress in between her two terms.
  • ran as an independent once in between to prove that she wasn’t being bribed to step down, even though she knew she would lose.
  • is the only woman to have ever represented Montana in Congress.
  • was a pacifist.
  • voted against entering both World War I, living out her pacifist beliefs.
  • was hated by the press for these votes and it lost her some support.
  • still supported the war effort anyway through Liberty Bonds.
  • was the only Congress member voting against entering World War II.
  • needed a police escort after that vote.
  • killed her own political career by standing so firm to her pacifist beliefs, but she stood her ground.
  • opposed the Korean War.
  • opposed the Vietnam War and let a march of the Jeannette Rankin Brigade on Washington to this effect.
  • almost ran again to work against the Vietnam War, but died before she had the chance.
  • introduced a bill to give women their own citizenship, apart from their husbands.
  • helped to get a Committee on Woman Suffrage started in Congress and was then made a part of it.
  • worked as a school teacher for a little while.
  • entered social work after she saw how people lived in the slums of Boston.
  • argued that by not allowing women to vote that they were being taxed without representation (sound familiar?).
  • wrote a weekly newspaper column.
  • worked, at one point, for the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
  • was involved in the passage of women’s suffrage in Montana.
  • was elected before the 19th amendment passed.
  • attempted to get funding for health clinics, midwife education (awesome!), and visiting nurse programs.
  • wanted to reduce infant mortality, reduce maternal mortality, see prohibition enacted, and end child labor.
  • campaigned for and helped to get the following bills passed the Child Labour Amendment, Independent Citizenship, and the Maternity and Infancy Protection Act.
  • was the first person who introduced the GI Bill.
  • was a founding member of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
  • was accused of being a communist.
  • founded the Georgia Peace Society.
  • travelled to India seven times.
  • subscribed to Ghandi’s philosophy of non-violence.
  • was awarded the The World’s Outstanding Living Feminist.
  • formed the Jeannette Rankin Foundation, a non-profit that gives scholarships to low-income women to further their education, with the money from her property after her death.
  • has a statue in the United State’s Capitol’s Statuary Hall.

Others’ remarks

She said

I knew that we were asked to vote for a commercial war, that none of the idealistic hopes would be carried out, and I was aware of the falseness of much of the propaganda. It was easy to stand against the pressure of the militarists, but very difficult to go against the friends and dear ones who felt that I was making a needless sacrifice by voting against the war, since my vote would not be a decisive one…. I said I would listen to those who wanted war and would not vote until the last opportunity and if I could see any reason for going to war I would change it. (Gale – Free Resources – Women’s History – Biographies – Jeannette Rankin)

The peace problem is a woman’s problem. Disarmament will not be won without their aid. So long as they shirk…something will be radically wanting in the peace activities of the public and the state…I am aware that men are disposed to look down on the temperamental pacifism of women (which in spite of all the exceptions is a psychological fact) as something that the manly man would scorn to imitate. However, there is no other way that I can see in which peace can be realized except through forbearance from fighting on the part of men as well as women…Therefore peace is a woman’s job. (Peace is a Woman’s Job: Who Was Jeanette Rankin, History and Bio)

American mothers’ sons have died on foreign battlefields to support profiteers in their luxury living. All the businesses that engage in war profiteering should be made to pay each employee, owner, director, trustee or what have you, the minimum soldier’s wage. And everyone should be given a tin cup and a bread card and subsist on the same food the soldier does. The same goes for the President and all the representatives in Congress, and they should also be given the honor of carrying the flag in battle so they can feel they’re doing their bit. (Jeannette Rankin, Suffragist and Pacifist: She Speaks for Me by Jeanmarie Simpson)

Books about her (Note, I haven’t read any of these, these are just some of the books I’ve found):

You can learn more about the Jeannette Rankin Foundation and the scholarships they offer at this website.

If you believe in peace and want to continue to work, the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center was founded in her honor and memory.

The United States Institute for Peace also has a Jeannette Rankin Library Program.

I think what she did is very important because without her, it’s likely that many of the elected women we see today would not be in office. As it is, Congress doesn’t have enough women, but they had to start somewhere. I think Jeannette did a fine job for being the first.

Sources:

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Maternal Health: A Human Right?

So, my professor handed me a disk from Amnesty International about Maternal Health as a human right. So I thought, okay, I’ll take a look at it and see what sort of information I can find. Because I am, for the most part, on board with this. I think that health care, in general, is a human right because we should have a right to live and to have a life, but I think that maternal health care is one of those areas that should be a right because it is so preventable. A lot of complications of child birth we do know how to treat. Giving women the right to maternal health care is giving women the right to life. My only hesitation is that sometimes this includes “family planning” a blanket term often used to cover abortion and the birth control pill, which I wrote about earlier as being bad for women.

According to Amnesty International, “more than 350,000 women die from complications pregnancy and childbirth – that’s one woman every ninety seconds. Most of these deaths could have been easily prevented if women had timely access to quality maternal and reproductive health care services.” – Source (This will be my source for everything in this post since I’m taking my information off of their disk). If you do the math, that’s more than 350,000 in one year. Can you even fathom that? It is hard for women in rural areas to reach health facilities. More than 95 percent of women and girls who die from this are from less-developed countries, but plenty die in marginalized or poor communities in rich countries. Two examples of less-developed countries would be in Sierra Leone where 1 in every 21 women dies in childbirth and Burkina Faso where 4,000 women die every year. I think, however, these are more the stories we are familiar with, so I won’t spend much time on them. We know that women in underdeveloped countries die, but we forget about the ones who are dying in our own backyards. Not that it is less tragic, I just want to remind you that this isn’t something that happens to “other people.” Because certainly, 1 in 21 women, like in Sierra Leone is truly tragic and something definitely needs to be done about that.

But I want to spend a little time on the US, just so you understand this isn’t just a “poor country” problem. Did you know (and I find this shocking) that in 1987 6.6 women per 100,000 live births died in the US. That seems like a low number. And albeit, it is an admittedly low number. But then you look at in 2006, it was 13.3 per 100,000 live births. That’s a low number also comparatively, but that’s not the shocking part to me. The shocking part is that even though medical technology has increased since 1987, more women die. If technology is increasing, shouldn’t the number of deaths go down? In 1998, under the Healthy People 2010 goals the United States wanted to drop that number to 4.3, but instead it has gone up and only five states have met that goal. 5 out of 50. And, lest you think it’s because we’re not investing enough money, we spend more on health care than any other country and more on maternal health care than any other type of health care. In a woman’s risk of death from pregnancy and complications, we 41st in the world. If you want to see how we stack up, a woman in childbirth is three times less likely to die in Spain, four times less likely to die in Germany, and five times less likely to die in Greece. And that’s only looking at deaths. The number of women who suffer a severe pregnancy complication in terms of the woman’s health is 1.7 million in a single year. 1.7 million. And there is also a race divide – African-American women? 5.6 times more likely to die when compared to white women in the US; in New York City their ratio is 83.6 per 100,000 live births. Here, in the US. Amnesty International places the blame for this on poverty, but I think there are more factors (I’m just not sure what they are yet – possibly the medicalization of childbirth as the system is set up to make women birth in very unnatural ways). Some other potential factors are the cost of health care and the fact that many insurance companies either don’t cover pregnant women or exclude maternal care. That’s if you even have insurance in the first place. There is also the fact that many women lack the needed prenatal care, which makes you three or four times more likely to die in childbirth. This hits minority women the hardest as they are even more unlikely to receive prenatal care (including Native Americans and Alaska Natives). Amnesty International also feels that women in the US receive inadequate postpartum care. Another potential problem is that maternal health care isn’t up to speed. One example cited is that medical science has shown that blood clot risk can be reduced after surgery with compression stockings or drugs but this isn’t always done after a c-section. Another fact that I personally believe has a lot to do with it is our use of C-sections. 1 in 3 women in America give birth via c-section, higher than WHO’s recommended guidelines (at max, 15 percent), which gives them a risk of death that is three times higher than having the baby the natural way.

This is a problem that is happening in our own backyard. Wisconsin’s rate is 7.2 per 100,000, so less than national average, but still not great. Compared to the other states, we rank 13th, so not horrible, but not that great either. Our state doesn’t mandate that employer plans cover care for pregnant women nor do they mandate reporting maternal deaths. 15.1 percent of women across the board and 27.4 percent of women of color don’t get prenatal care until late in their pregnancy or even at all. Granted, our c-section rate is a little bit lower than national average, but at 25 percent even it is still higher than recommended.

Like I said before, women deserve a right to life, especially pregnant women. That right to life is a human right and it doesn’t and shouldn’t disappear just because you are pregnant and a woman.

Once again, this is my source Source

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Abortion: A Woman’s Right?

I want to write this post and first off, I want to say that I know people who have had abortions and I know what tough situations people have been in. I have nothing but mercy and love and compassion and a desire to help women. That’s why I also think that abortion is wrong. I refuse to be called anti-woman and I refuse to be a person who says, “I’m personally opposed, but it’s their choice.” I am a feminist and I hope after reading this blog article you will understand why. I believe that being a feminist is not about making women equal with men because equal would mean that we had no differences, but celebrating what makes women unique and never turning down a woman because she is a woman. Equality is not always the best way because it doesn’t recognize that there are genuine differences between men and women.

And I think that abortion is not a woman’s right. On top of what it does to the baby, there is a lot of evidence that abortion is harmful to women. I’m going to lay out some of the facts, just know that this won’t be the last time I blog about this issue and know that I will bring it up again periodically with new information.

Here is my proof that shows that abortion is bad for women – in easy to read bullet format.

1) Among women with unintended pregnancies, those who abort versus those who carry their pregnancy to term, 30 percent of these women (who abort) have all the symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, according to the Journal of Anxiety Disorders.(Source)

2) According to the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, when they study the California health care system, women who aborted who made mental health claims was 17 percent higher than those who carried their children to term. (Source)

3) Another two articles from the British Medical Journal and the Southern Medical Journal, the death by suicide risk is 2-6 times higher for women who chose to abort versus those who have given birth. (Source

4)Abortion, according to the Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey increases the risk of Placenta Previa by 50 percent in future pregnancies. What’s Placenta Previa, you ask? It is a condition where the placenta attaches to your cervix, covering it either in part or in whole. It is a risk to both baby AND mother, since it can cause uncontrollable, heavy bleeding. (Source 1 2)

5)The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1 in 100,000 women dies as a result of abortion. Now this, overall seems low. Except for the fact that Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey found that they were largely underreported because reporting to the CDC is not mandatory. (Source 1 2)

6) The number of women who have abortions for health reasons? 2 percent. (Source)

7) A study done by the Journal of Social Issues reported 81 percent of women felt victimized by their abortions, along with the fact that they felt coerced or that they felt not informed about alternatives and/or the procedure. (Source)

8.) Another way it harms women is that it gives men more power over them. One study found that 40 percent of women reported their boyfriends/husbands/partners pressured them into the abortions. Another has found as high as 80 percent of women felt pressure from people in their lives (parents included). (Source Source 2 Source 3)

9) Early feminists knew that abortion would oppress women – and fought hard against it! (Source)

10) The rate of ectopic pregnancies has risen dramatically since abortion was made legal and that the risk is twice as high in women who have had an abortion and increases with more abortions. 12 percent of all maternal related pregnancy deaths are because of ectopic pregnancies. (Source)

11) A woman has a 30 percent chance of developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease after an abortion. This can lead to fever and infertility among other things (Source)

12) Abortion increases a woman’s risk of cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, and liver cancer. (Source)

13) Above and beyond that, abortion increases the risk of breast cancer. (Source 1 Source 2)

14) “Dozens of studies tie abortion to a rise in sexual dysfunction, aversion to sex, loss of intimacy, unexpected guilt, extramarital affairs, traumatic stress syndrome, personality fragmentation, grief responses, child abuse and neglect, and increase in alcohol and drug abuse. An Elliot Institute study indicates that women who abort are five times more likely to abuse drugs.” (Source)

15) “Post-abortion specialist David Reardon writes, “In a study of post-abortion patients only 8 weeks after their abortion, researchers found that 44% complained of nervous disorders, 36% had experienced sleep disturbances, 31% had regrets about their decision, and 11% had been prescribed psychotropic medicine by their family doctor.” (Source)

16) Mortality is 2.95 higher in abortions than in full term pregnancies (Source)

17) 154 percent higher risk of death by suicide after abortion (Source)

18) According to a New Zealand Study, “women who have abortions were twice as likely to drink alcohol at dangerous levels and three times as likely to be addicted to illegal drugs” after an abortion. (Source)

19) 4 Words: Post Abortion Stress Syndrome. Find out more here and here and here and here and here.

One notable person who is speaking out about abortion is Abby Johnson.

Canada is defunding Planned Parenthood.

I want to sum up with a quote from one of the sources that I listed. “If a nation as rich as ours were truly committed to women’s well-being and equality, we would look for real solutions to the underlying causes of abortion – including the serious challenge women face of balancing work or school and family, the disrespect for motherhood, the feminization of poverty, and society’s eugenic distaste for the imperfection and vulnerability of the disabled.” (Source)

Lastly, if you have had an abortion and you are suffering the negative consequences of it, there is hope and help. Check it out.

After Abortion
Victims of Abortion Speak Out
Silent No More
Victims of Choice
Project Rachel

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