In light of the all out no-holds-barred attacks on women’s health that we’ve been witnessing lately, I’ve been doing a lot of blogging and posting on Facebook lately about the need for Planned Parenthood and the affordable birth control and gynecological exams that it provides to women who are unable to see a regular doctor. When I was Miss Illinois, reproductive health care was my platform issue. I put many years of study into the subject, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the subject, and I still feel very strongly about it even though I am no longer reigning. I still get a lot of fulfillment and purpose from trying to inform and educate my peers on the issue by providing data, my own personal experiences, and alerting them to any new and shocking developments in the media concerning their rights to reproductive health and choices.
Something I’ve been noticing lately since I upped my volume of Facebook postings on the issues of Planned Parenthood and preventative care is the number of my MALE friends who are displaying angry knee-jerk reactions to it. Many of them who are usually pleasant to me any other time have suddenly begun responding with nasty remarks such as “Well maybe women should just be more responsible instead of relying on the government to take care of them” or “I don’t want my tax dollars paying for other people’s abortions” or “We don’t need Planned Parenthood when you can just go see a real doctor” or “You’re making a big deal out of nothing.” Interestingly, it’s never any of my female friends and acquaintances who make these remarks (probably because they know better from their own personal experiences). So I have to wonder, why such the hostility towards women’s health issues from men who never have to experience having a Pap smear, using birth control, or having an abortion?? Where do they get off scoffing at an issue that they obviously know nothing about and that has nothing to do with them?? My biggest guess is that this mostly stems from plain old ignorance and an unwillingness to try to understand the day-to-day issues and experiences that only women deal with. These guys do not have to see a doctor for routine penis/testicle exams every year, use hormonal medication to prevent pregnancy every single day, or worry about getting pregnant. Therefore, they live in a world of blissful ignorance that allows them to ignore and scoff at the health issues that we women must deal with on a daily basis and does not demand that they step out of their own shoes and try to understand something that is outside of their realm.
Before I had the luxury of having a job that provided me with full health insurance coverage, I went through many years uninsured and unable to afford to see my regular gynecologist. I was working my way through college and earning very little money. In order receive the BASIC health care that I needed as a woman, my only option was to turn to Planned Parenthood. They provided me with the simple yearly pelvic and breast exams and my monthly supplies of birth control at a very affordable cost. When I discovered my first ovarian cyst at age 22, Planned Parenthood performed the necessary ultrasound to locate the cyst and provided me with hormonal medication to dissolve it. Had I not been able to utilize these vital services at Planned Parenthood, I would have had to suffer in pain from those cysts and let them grow bigger. And yes, when I had a slip-up like countless other women have had and unexpectedly became pregnant, I went to another Planned Parenthood clinic to obtain an abortion (that I paid for in cash with MY OWN money, NOT anyone else’s tax dollars!). I, like millions of other young women, was just a normal, hard-working, up-and-coming woman with little or no health insurance who didn’t have the big bucks to spend to see a regular gynecologist for my basic health upkeep. In what way does that make me a “hooker”, a “slut”, “irresponsible”, “lazy”, or a “drain on our system”?? Thank God I am no longer in that situation of being underemployed and uninsured and that I now have the privilege of accessing good medical care. But every other female who is in the position that I once was in deserves the same affordable care that I received when I went to Planned Parenthood, and THAT is why I have been so vocal about the attacks on Planned Parenthood as of recent. And I get extremely insulted and disgusted when I hear MEN scoffing at this!!
I have a burning question that just entered into my mind: These men scoff at our need for affordable access to birth control. Yet many of these guys have girlfriends (or a string of one-night-stands) that they have sex with regularly. And their first question to the girl is usually “Are you on birth control?” because many of them do not want to become a father before they are good and ready. Soooo….WHERE DO THEY THINK OUR BIRTH CONTROL COMES FROM?!? Don’t shoot down the source that provides your ladies with the birth control that keeps you from becoming daddies over and over again, fellas! Oh and another thing…to all you men who bitch and moan about how you don’t want YOUR tax dollars paying for OUR abortions (which they don’t), well WE don’t want OUR tax dollars paying for YOUR Viagra, Cialis, and penis pumps!! But none of us get to pick and choose what our tax dollars do and don’t pay for. So buck up and get over it already.