Monthly Archives: April 2011

Really Mitch?

Mitch Daniels. Anti-choice governor of Indiana.

Governor Mitch Daniels released a statement today saying that he plans to sign legislation stripping federal funds from Indiana Planned Parenthoods.

“I will sign HEA 1210 when it reaches my desk a week or so from now. I supported this bill from the outset, and the recent addition of language guarding against the spending of tax dollars to support abortions creates no reason to alter my position. “

First of all, this is kind of illegal. I say “kind of” because there’s been some discussion that if he outright rejects the funds that would go to PP rather than, say, diverting funds to more conservative friendly groups, it would technically be legal. If he gives those funds to other groups, then he’s definitely going against federal law. I’m trying to figure out what the situation is, but am currently not 100% sure.

Secondly, he’s clearly pandering to his base so that he can run in 2012. Preventing women from receiving health care services to please the conservatives he hopes will vote for him? Pathetic. Daniels has stated before that there should be a “truce” on social issues while we get the economy back on track. It’s interesting how quickly he is able to sell out both his constituents and his morals to gain popularity amongst conservative groups.

Thirdly, I don’t know how many times we need to point out that abortions make up 3% of Planned Parenthood’s provided services. The other 97% of what they do includes pap smears, breast exams, cancer screening, std testing, birth control, and more. 

This is what they’ll be cutting. Health care. Health care that, despite ‘ole Mitch’s reassurances, will not longer be available to everyone who needs it. Planned Parenthood plays a huge role in the health care system across the U.S. Cutting their funding means knocking down a huge portion of the health industry. Planned Parenthood’s patients can’t just be absorbed into the remaining infrastructure. There isn’t room. And considering the huge chunk of funding that would have to be rejected, there aren’t any funds. 

The statement that I find the most chilling is this:

“Any organization affected by this provision can resume receiving taxpayer dollars immediately by ceasing or separating its operations that perform abortions.”

Oh, well I guess if it’s that easy. Just stop providing those damned abortions Planned Parenthood and you can receive your precious funding! This sort of coercion is terrifying to see. It’s frightening to watch conservative groups slowly chip away at Roe vs. Wade. I don’t want to see an America where, hey, abortions are legal! But only in the first trimester. And only if you were a victim of rape or incest. And only then if you’re under 18. And only then if it was forcible rape. So really, not incest. And if you didn’t struggle enough for the court’s taste and you dressed like a slut, well you were kind of asking for it anyways so it’s not really forcible…

The ever increasing limitations placed on abortion, and on clinics that provide abortions, are the new fight. Sell-out tools like Mitch Daniels aren’t going to outright ban abortions, they’d love to, but they’re scared that would finally be too extreme for their voters. Instead they’re going to limit the whens, and the wheres, and force you to get sonograms and go to crisis pregnancy centers. By heavily restricting abortion, they’re still destroying our ability to control our own bodies.

So screw you Mitch Daniels. I’d almost feel sorry for your close-minded misogyny if you weren’t trying to hurt the health and bodily autonomy of an entire state of women.

Anyone know for sure whether his actions are legal?

Update: Mitch Daniels signed the bill into law. By cutting funding to Planned Parenthood yet still funding hospitals which provide abortions he is likely violating the constitution and PPIN and the ACLU are currently challenging the law’s constitutionality. There’s an excellent post outlining recent events over at Feministe. You can email Governor Mitch Daniels to explain the importance of family planning in fiscal policy  here

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Stress, School, and a Vox Chapter on Campus

First of all, I apologize for the lack of posts on this site. There have been so many things going on, of the fun and work variety, that have drawn my attention away from this project. I’ve been working on a truly, horribly bad animation for my 2D design class (which I may post here if I can figure out how to format it as well as if I’m not feeling too embarrassed about the whole thing), posing for friend’s photo assignments (For some reason her teacher thinks that “inebriation” is an emotion. I don’t quite understand that, but it’s fun to act out), illustrating for the Reporter, all of that good stuff. On top of it all, I’ve been all pumped up with energy! I’m excited about the future, and excited to play a role in the political and social turmoil that’s rapidly spreading throughout our country.

This is kind of a fist? It relates to social justice? No, really, I just wanted an image to accompany this post and I had this drawing of a hand I did the other day "on hand". Sorry for the pun. That was shameful.

You all know what I’m talking about.

Anti-choice groups are becoming increasingly aggressive. Pushing unreasonable and misogynistic legislation such as forcing women seeking abortions to visit crisis pregnancy centers, notorious for coercing women into pregnancies through misinformation and outright lies (I had a discussion with one woman who claims that abortion leads to breast cancer, a myth that is rebuked by every credible cancer association out there. I really shouldn’t respond to those types of posts. It always ends with people trying to reach out to my obviously lost soul!), forcing women to pay for and view sonograms before abortion, creating 72 hour waiting periods in some states, tightening restrictions on when and where abortions can be obtained, trying to push “personhood” laws, heartbeat bills, the list goes on and on…

The situation has long been ridiculous, but recent events are so mind-splittingly ridiculous they’re difficult to even comprehend. I think that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If you don’t agree with abortion, don’t have one, you are allowed to believe it is “immoral”. I may disagree with you, but I think that you should be allowed to believe what you want to believe. But when those opinions are then forced upon me? Family and friends? Strangers in the streets? Placing one group’s ideological beliefs above the personal health of women across the nation is not ok.

I wanted to know what I could do to help, beyond just attending rallies and protests and generally making my opinions clear, and a number of people on the DC bus were eager to help. Via their suggestions, I’m excited to say that I’m starting a Vox group on campus!

Vox is Latin for Voice, a great choice of name, since Vox groups provide a way for young college women and men to have their voices heard on campus. Vox groups promote sexual education and health, as well as championing reproductive rights. I have my women/gender/health professor from last quarter and the director of RIT’s Women Center signed on to act as the club’s advisors, there are a number of people who have indicated interest in participating in the group, and I met with the Rochester Planned Parenthood’s director. Everything is on its way, and I couldn’t be more happy about it.

As a group we’ll be raising awareness of reproductive issues, writing legislators, attending an annual Vox conference, and possibly even having fun scavenger hunts where the prizes are sex toys (stealing the idea from SUNY Geneseo!). It’s a great way to meet people with similar interests, who are passionate about reproductive rights, and who really want to make a difference.

Right now we’re working to find members who would like to play a large role in the group, and we’re planning on hitting the ground running next year in time for the club fair!

If there’s anyone on the RIT campus who would be interested in joining, you’re more than welcome! We’d love to have you as part of the Vox group.

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Awakening the Sleeping Giants: National Rally and Lobby Day for Planned Parenthood

I went to Planned Parenthood’s national rally and lobby day in DC yesterday. After weeks of hopeful planning and unfounded worries, I had arranged a ride to the Planned Parenthood bus, registered a seat, and prepared a bag full of snacks and a pillow pet for the eight hour ride. I was prepared.

I went into this hoping to meet new people who were enthusiastic about protecting women’s reproductive rights and access to health care, and I found them! From KaeLyn, the former community affairs coordinator at Rochester’s Planned Parenthood and current NYCLU’s chapter director for Genessee Valley, to Marisa, a frequent PP volunteer, to Laura, a mother of a thirteen year old daughter also looking to meet women’s rights activists, I met a host of interesting and inspiring people!

We left Rochester at 1:30 in the morning. Through bleary eyes and the increasingly frequent yawns escaping our lips we located “buddies” for the day and exchanged contact information. Then we slept for the eight hours there. When we finally arrived, we were excited! We were pumped! We were ready to take on the world! (Or at least the GOP…)

We were given t-shirts, posters, and buttons, and as a group we walked to the main area. There were so many people there! I don’t have the numbers, and I’m bad at estimating, but here’s a photo of some of the crowd.

A sea of Planned Parenthood pink.

We heard from a number of pro-choice senators, the leaders of Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the ACLU, as well as a few “celebrity” speakers. The only one I recognized played Steve on Sex and the City (he had a great speech. I never liked him much on the show, but now I love him as a person!). A few people commented on how they would have expect higher profile celebs to be there, but I’m fairly certain they invited people who were very active in speaking out for women’s rights, not just people who were well known. From their speeches it seemed as though they did this frequently. One woman commented on how she did this forty years ago, and there was no way in hell that she had ever expected to be doing it again today!

One of the speakers at the rally.

One of the themes heard throughout the speeches was that more and more college and high school students were present than usually seen at rallies and protests. They compared it to awakening a sleeping giant. So many of us young women and young men had been content to sit quietly and think, “Hey, things are pretty good now. There are some misogynist nutjobs out there, but things are ok. And they’re only going to get better”. How wrong we were! The recent and increasingly harmful attacks on women’s rights to choose, some states requiring ultrasounds and visits to crisis pregnancy centers before allowing women to have an abortion, banning abortion no matter the situation after 21 weeks, requiring doctors to tell patients that life begins at contraception and that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer?! Some states are trying to limit our control over our own bodies through misinformation and limiting laws and we are waking up. The sleeping giant is stirring, and I think that these attacks are creating one of the most proud, loud, and pissed off generation of pro-choice activists we’ve had in a long time!

More after the Jump!

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