Thursday, September 20, 2012
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I’m beyond disappointed in the announcement today from the United States’ leading breast cancer foundation Susan G. Komen who has severed its partnership with Planned Parenthood. In fact, I’m raging and furious. This “break up” means that hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants for breast exams will no longer be available to Planned Parenthood. There is a he-said, she-said battle waging on the reason for the rift between Susan G Komen and Planned Parenthood, most of it centered on anti-abortion Republicans pressuring the breast cancer charity to pull support for Planned Parenthood. Regardless of the political bickering, the real losers are low-income women across the country that rely on Planned Parenthood for reproductive health and other women’s health services.
First, let me dispel the myth that Planned Parenthood is just an abortion organization. I recently read that an estimated 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are in abortion care. Over 90 percent of its services support preventative care. For many decades, Planned Parenthood has provided reproductive health care to millions of women, men and young people not only across the country but also throughout the world. Planned Parenthood promotes a woman’s health and well being and believes in an individual’s right to make informed, independent decisions about their health, sex and family planning. Planned Parenthood offers services for cancer screenings to help with early detection of breast cancer and cervical cancer.
One in five women turns to Planned Parenthood for services at some point in her life. They are typically not your women shopping in Nordstrom but rather your low-income woman struggling to make ends meet. What politicians and now Susan G. Komen are doing is taking away vital reproductive health services for women with lower incomes.
Too, state governments are enacting legislation further hampering women’s health. Rick Perry cut funding in Texas that would have provided low-income women with cervical cancer screenings, birth control and STD prevention and treatment (most of the cuts were to Planned Parenthood). Too, Chris Christie cut $7.5 million in family planning funding in New Jersey.
The brilliant actress and women’s health activist Maggie Gyllenhaal recently said, “I believe very strongly that every woman has the right to decide what she can do with her body.” She continues, “I’ve been a Planned Parenthood supporter my whole life – since my mom took me to a rally when I was in sixth grade.” Gyllenhaal says she’ll take her own children to events her mother took her to, concluding, “I hope we’ll be celebrating our freedoms and rights, not fighting for them once again as we are now.”
I wonder what Maggie has to say about today’s announcement.
To support Planned Parenthood, visit www.plannedparenthood.org
Thursday, January 19, 2012
My apologies for the blog drought! The holidays, work, life – it all has been busy the past few weeks. I do have so much to write about but for this post, I want to play the role of book review blogger.
I am an avid reader. From the Hunger Games trilogy to multiple readings of Wuthering Heights, I inherited my love of reading from my mother. I have just finished reading a book written by an acquaintance of mine, Doc Hendley, and let me tell you, Katniss and her defiance against the “Capital” doesn’t hold a candle to his story.
In 2004/2005, Doc moved to Sudan to help bring clean water to the men, women and children living in Dafur. The book tells Doc’s story – from his days to bartending in Raleigh to what motivated him to live and work where reputable international aid organizations wouldn’t send their own staff. Despite being shot at by the Janjaweed, he did not give up on providing clean water and subsequently healthier lives for many Sudanese. Doc’s depiction of how he connected with the people of Africa echoes many of my sentiments that are often difficult to put into words yet he has done so honestly and poetically.
Clean water is public health 101. I’ve seen first hand the children in East Africa walking barefoot down dirt roads with their yellow canteens, searching for water to bring home. While they are out filling up those buckets, they are missing school, faced with whatever perils they encounter along the way, only to return home to drink that water, that if not properly boiled or treated, could easily give them a deadly bacterial virus. What Doc and his organization have so expertly done is not only build and repair wells for communities across the globe, but truly grasped that NGO buzz word, sustainability, and taught locals how to repair wells themselves.
Doc’s story continues – he persists raising money and awareness to bring clean water to the billion people on the planet without access. Despite his accolades, including an impressive nomination for CNN Hero of the Year, he is just a good ole Southern boy who has worked, and continues to work hard for our fellow global citizens.
Whether you are a public health professional like myself, or just someone who likes an inspiring story, please read this book. You’ll find yourself laughing and crying the whole way through. And when you finish, donate a few bucks to Wine to Water!
Amazon link to the book: http://www.amazon.com/Wine-Water-Bartenders-Quest-Bring/dp/1583334629
Organization website: http://winetowater.org/