Wednesday, March 21, 2012

On erectile dysfunction and ultrasounds

Hey, guys with a certain problem,  
Need treatment for erectile dysfunction?  How would you feel if your partner had to sign an affidavit first, swearing that you really can’t … ? And how would you feel if you were forced to see a video of the side-effects of medication?
Pennsylvania State Sen. Larry Farnese of Philadelphia says he’ll propose just such a bill.
Absurd? Yes.
It’s his way of ridiculing a bill being considered by the state House of Representatives which would require women to undergo ultrasounds – likely, transvaginally --  before getting an abortion.
Hey, women (and men) of a certain age:  Isn’t it time we speak out loudly to protect the reproductive rights we fought so hard to win? At the very least, talk to our daughters, granddaughters, sons and grandsons about the way things once were?  They take so much for granted. After all, abortion has been legal now for nearly 40 years
Even so, states have whittled away at that right by throwing up obstacles —24 hour waiting periods, counseling, denial of abortion funding for poor women even for medical necessity, parental notice or consent for minors.  
And now, mandated ultrasounds, to which Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett said, “You just have to close your eyes.”
According to a new Guttmacher Institute report, “55 percent of all reproductive-age American women lived in a state hostile to abortion rights in 2011, up significantly from 31percent in 2000. The increase is the result of a dramatic shift in abortion policy at the state level, including a record number of abortion restrictions that were enacted in 2011."
Even contraceptive rights are being made to seem dirty.
Witness Rush Limbaugh calling a young woman advocating for contraception  coverage a “slut.” And Presidential aspirant Rick Santorum,  last fall telling a blogger that contraception is  “a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."

This week, I talked with a Philadelphia woman whose mother bravely advocated for abortion rights in the era before Roe v. Wade. The mother, let’s call her Dora, was also a go-to person because she knew of a doctor whose name she was willing to share.
“Abortions were illegal, secretive, dark and scary,” Dora's daughter said. In one instance, her parents paid for the abortion of a desperate and broke young woman who was getting married. The young bride paid them back with her wedding money. “I remember at the wedding, her slipping an envelope to me and saying, ‘Please give this to your mother.’
I don’t think my mother set out to be an intermediary but my mother never lost sight of what was important.”
Hearing Santorum talk about contraception, the daughter, now in her 60s,  said,  “I felt like I was put in a capsule and whooshed back in time.”
Still, she said, “I’m glad it’s come up as an issue. It was in the background for a lot of people. A lot of women don’t pay attention to the chipping away.”


Wendy Lee said...

Thanks for your post on this still important topic. I'd be interested in hearing other readers' opinions and concerns.

Dotty Brown said...

A number of other women I know tell me similar stories from the old days. Let's share them with our daughters.