Book Club: Pro – Reclaiming Abortion Rights

Pro PollittPro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt, prize-winning author, poet, essayist, and columnist for The Nation, is a book for people who are in the “muddled middle” of the abortion debate. YOU are a member of this group — more than half of Americans — if you do not want to ban abortion, exactly, but don’t want it to be widely available, either.

Pollitt argues that “muddlers” are clinging to an illogical and ultimately untenable position and need to sit down and examine their reasoning carefully. She does so in a witty, engaging manner, taking us through 218 pages in the following six chapters:

RECLAIMING ABORTION. Pollitt states her case:

“Abortion. We need to talk about it. I know, sometimes it seems as if we talk of little else, so perhaps I should say we need to talk about it differently. Not as something we all agree is a bad thing about which we shake our heads sadly and then debate its precise degree of badness, preening ourselves on our judiciousness and moral seriousness as we argue about this or that restriction on this or that kind of woman. We need to talk about ending a pregnancy as a common, even normal, event in the reproductive lives of women … We need to see abortion as an urgent practical decision that is just as moral as the decision to have a child — indeed, sometimes more moral.”

WHAT DO AMERICANS THINK ABOUT ABORTION? Polls are one thing; voting, another. Voters in even the most conservative states reject extreme abortion restrictions, despite polls predicting passage. Continue reading

Celebrating Motherhood — and Reproductive Freedom

mother babyTwo months ago, a single mother’s ordeal was grabbing headlines. Shanesha Taylor, homeless and desperate for a job, landed an interview at a Scottsdale insurance office. But the 35-year-old mother of two faced a difficult dilemma when she went to her interview on March 21. She couldn’t find child care, but she also couldn’t afford to cancel.

Short on options, Taylor let her two boys, ages 6 months and 2 years, wait alone in her car for 45 minutes while she tried to secure a source of income for her family. Taylor was subsequently arrested for child abuse for leaving her sons unattended in a hot car. Her children were examined at an area hospital and released as uninjured, but Taylor nevertheless faced two felony counts.

The best gift to mothers would be the ability to choose motherhood without suffering tremendous financial blows.

Taylor endangered her children, but she did it because she faced a tough dilemma — a choice between what was best for them in the short term and what was best for them in the long term. She faced this dilemma in the richest nation in the world — a nation that is nonetheless the worst among rich nations in terms of family-friendly policies. Taylor’s unemployment didn’t help matters, but even for the employed, social programs are lacking. As Stephanie Coontz summarized in her interview with us last year, “We are the only rich, industrial country in the world that doesn’t have subsidized parental leave, limits on the work week, some form of national health insurance, and/or strong investments in child care and preschool.”

Consequently, parenting is an almost insurmountable expense for many. In the last 20 years, the cost of maternity care and delivery has swelled in the United States — in fact, tripling in the case of delivery. Pregnancy, delivery, and newborn care now come to $30,000 on average. Add another $20,000 if the delivery is by C-section. It’s far more than what people in other developed nations pay. Americans pay more than twice what people in Switzerland pay for childbirth, and more than three time what people in Britain pay. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

Arizona has had quite an eventful few weeks, y’all. Here’s what’s been happening on the home front …

  • As you’ve probably heard, anti-gay SB1062, vetoed by Gov. Brewer last week, was hugely unpopular to begin with — even among Arizona Republicans. (AZ Capitol Times)
  • Right-wing machine Center for Arizona Policy, which has a storied history of being anti-choice and all-around terrible, wants to implement a modern-day gestapo to make unannounced inspections at the clinic of any abortion provider in the state. Just what you don’t need when you’re lying back with your legs in the stirrups while getting a Pap test at Planned Parenthood. ’Cause, ya know, we do way more of those than abortions. (AZ Central)
  • After two-and-a-half years, Planned Parenthood will again offer medication abortions in Flagstaff. (KNAU)
  • Aaaand medication abortions are in serious danger here as well. Can you guess who’s behind that? It rhymes with “Schmenter for Parizona Folicy.” (WaPo, Fronteras)
  • State Sen. Steve Gallardo, in the wake of the governor’s veto and inspired by the heated dialogue surrounding SB 1062, took the opportunity to come out of the closet. (Advocate)
  • Arizona’s attempts to strip Planned Parenthood of its Medicaid funding continue to be futile. (RH Reality Check)

In the rest of the world …

  • As a black woman, it’s nice to hear about lesser-known black women who’ve championed for reproductive rights throughout history. (Salon)
  • The FDA is increasing access to generic morning-after pills! (NPR)
  • Pro-choice advocates have been playing defense for three long years and it’s time for a change, dammit. (Bloomberg)
  • Abortion clinic protesters continue to be awful in their treatment of women. (Cosmopolitan)
  • Pregnancy and motherhood are physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting endeavors. Sometimes it takes experiencing those things to understand how important it is to be pro-choice. (Feministe)
  • The concept of vegan condoms may strike you as strange, but so will the fact that they were created by a father and his daughter. (ABC News)
  • Birthing center and abortion clinic in one building! Pro-choice is pro-life, folks! (Jezebel)

Motherhood: A Prenatal Guide

momkissingbabyHAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Becoming a mother is a wondrous event. It is also a lifelong commitment to another special human being, your child. To provide your new baby with the best start in life, taking care of yourself in your childbearing years is essential. When you think that half of all pregnancies in the United States each year are unintended, it’s very important to follow a healthy lifestyle every day to ensure a good pregnancy and a good start for your baby.

Sunday is Mother’s Day. To those of you planning a pregnancy or hoping to be a mother someday, this is for you.

The United States does not fare as well as many other industrialized countries when it comes to the health of its newborns. Preterm births and low birth-weight babies are often the result of unhealthy pregnancies and a lack of prenatal care. New information and research has given us lots of good information about what is important to do before and during your pregnancy to increase your chances of having a healthy baby. Having a plan about when you want to start a family and what you intend to do to get yourself in the best health possible is a good start. This is called preconception health care, and it can make a big difference in the well-being of you and your baby.

At Planned Parenthood Arizona, you can see us for preconception health checkups. In addition to pregnancy planning services and fertility awareness education, we provide other services that can help you be in the best health possible before you conceive. We offer physical exams as part of our general health care services. You also might be interested in STD screening, to ensure that you receive treatment before you become pregnant. Additionally, we offer smoking cessation, to help you quit smoking for a tobacco-free pregnancy.

Here are some guidelines for ensuring your preconception health:

  1. Plan when you want to have a family and space your pregnancies. Be sure you are ready for the responsibility and expense of a child. If it’s not your first child, wait 18 to 24 months before having an additional child to allow your body to recover and prepare for another pregnancy. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • More bad news for women in our state: Arizona’s abortion providers are disappearing (Ms. Magazine)
  • The Latest Figures on American Motherhood: Among them: 1 in 4 women who had a baby between June 2007 and June 2008 were living in poverty (Time)
  • The big lie about abortion and mental health (Wa Po)
  • New (and improved!) sex-ed program in Michigan exposes teens to the costs of raising children (Lansing State Journal)
  • Anti-abortion pastor found guilty of stalking NC abortion providers (TPM)
  • Does providing access to Birth Control promote sexual activity among teens? Here’s a hint: Nope. (Sacramento Bee)
  • Notorious, and heroic Nebraska abortion provider moving practice to other states due to Nebraska’s new (and un-improved) abortion restrictions (Reuters)
  • And the “Making Things Up” award goes to…Sarah Palin, who claims the Health Care Act “will cause more abortions” (Dallas News)