OxFam International Women's Day
International Women’s Day is every March 8. It falls within the month of March, a month designated as Women’s History Month. It’s a day celebrating women and their contributions to our world … and yet. And yet, I feel like a stranger in a strange land. I am not comfortable with this feeling and I am angry about its sources.
I am angry because I have a daughter who sits at the edge of adulthood and everything that I know about how to keep her healthy and living up to her potential as a human being is under assault here in my own country.
It is well known world wide, that the primary stumbling block to women’s voices coming to the table is lack of adequate family planning. The inability to have even modest control over the number of children/pregnancies is an insurmountable hurdle to education, to all but the most menial jobs, and access to government.
How on earth should I celebrate when here in my own country access to family planning and women’s health care are under assault from nearly every corner. Poor women with 3, 4 and 5 children in Texas are finding their options driven further and further afield (as of this writing, funding has been cut for 90% of Texas’ women’s health care programming) These women often do not have the ability to drive from one city to another in search of preventative medicine that is affordable. Because of federal cut backs their oral contraceptives are being priced out of their reach. These are married women, struggling to feed, clothe and house the children they already have. The jobs they and their spouses have are inadequate to pay for them to have a car, or reliable transportation between cities. This is under the guise of refusing to subsidize abortions.
Federal money does not now and it never has subsidized abortion. There is no insurance policy which covers it.
This fact while true, does not in fact, make providing an abortion illegal. Nor does it give any governmental agency the right to put women’s health or their health care decisions at risk. While the number of abortions that Planned Parenthood “provides” in any given year is high, it still only accounts for a little more than a quarter of all abortions performed nation wide (~27% of the approximately 1.2 million abortions were performed by PP in 2007). It’s not an insignificant statistic, but it does show that (if you’re opposed to allowing women to make their own decisions) PP is not “the root of all evil.” What it does show is that even in the absence of PP, women are going to avail themselves of a legal, medical procedure.
Every reliable study ever done shows a strong correlation between access to health care & education and women being able to care for themselves (and their families) in an economically viable fashion. Removing access to health care for poor women is one more brick in the wall enclosing them in their poverty. Doing it under the guise of loving children is hypocrisy. The best way to love children is to stop demonizing their mothers, and give them healthy mothers who can provide for them.
This post is part of the March Syncroblog – All About Eve. Check out some of the other fabulous writing at the links below:
Michelle Morr Krabill – Why I Love Being a Woman
Marta Layton – The War on Terror and the War on Women
Ellen Haroutounian – March Synchroblog – All About Eve
Jeremy Myers – Women Must Lead the Church
Carol Kuniholm – Rethinking Hupotasso
Wendy McCaig – Fear Letting Junia Fly
Tammy Carter – Pat Summit: Changing the Game & Changing the World
Jeanette Altes – On Being Female
kathy escobar – replacing the f-word with the d-word (no not those ones)
Melody Hanson – Call Me Crazy, But I Talk To Jesus Too
Glenn Hager – Walked Into A Bar
Steve Hayes – St. Christina of Persi
Leah Sophia – March Syncroblog-All About Eve
Liz Dyer – The Problem Is Not That I See Sexism Everywhere…
Sonja Andrews – International Women’s Day
Sonnie Swenston-Forbes – The WomenChristine Sine – It All Begins With Love
K.W. Leslie – Undoing the Subordination of Women
Carie Good – The Math of Mr. Cardinal
Dan Brennan – Ten Women I Want To Honor