You don’t mess with my heart (Komen et al)

This post is in part about the Komen debacle;  if you aren’t familiar with it,start here. Otherwise read on:

See this? This is my heart. My HEART.

Although this is just one of my three children, for the sake of this post, it doesn’t matter which. Let this baby stand for them all. My children, my heart.

I have been spitting mad since I first heard about Komen’s disastrous decision, and, like many others on hearing the news, I went promptly to Planned Parenthood’s fundraising page to make a donation. In concert with so many, our swift and decisive actions made a difference. Komen is well aware of the magnitude of its mistake; I’ve nothing to add to that.

But I can’t let it go- I’m seething–  and maybe, maybe, I can help shed some light on the depth and breadth of furious response to the Komen decision to defund Planned Parenthood.  Because I am a woman of a certain age.  And I suspect that a great number of the Planned Parenthood defenders came of age, as I did, in the 1970’s.

We were young during a pre-HIV, post Sexual-Revolution decade. Our parents weren’t ready to provide education and contraceptives, so Planned Parenthood became our place to go. We trusted them and we counted on them.  And they were there for us.

At first, we went in groups- five or six at a time. We went for contraception, mostly, but we got so much more. We were 14, 15, 16 years old, and here was a place where we were treated with dignity and compassion. Here was a place we could get truthful answers and straightforward advice. Any teenager will tell you that in the world of adults, to be treated in this way is rare.

We got pap smears and breast exams, condoms and the pill. We got information and advice, hand-holding and occasional scoldings. We got abortions, and we got pre-natal care. Planned Parenthood was our primary caregiver well into our twenties or later, until (or if) we graduated to jobs (or marriages) with medical insurance.

I was 20 years old and uninsured when my first baby was born.  My healthy pregnancy and delivery was due in part to the affordable pre-natal care I received at Planned Parenthood.  Long after I stopped using P.P. for my own medical care I counted on them to be there for my younger friends and relatives, and those who were uninsured.  I assumed they would be there for my own children and my children’s children too.

I’m 51 years old now and my children, my heart, are all grown up.  It’s been a lot of years since I’ve needed P.P., but I’ll always be grateful for the good start they gave to me, my friends, and our families.  Planned Parenthood, we will ALWAYS support you.

Lately there have been near daily attacks on our reproductive freedom, our access to health-care, to safe abortions, and to affordable and effective contraception.   It is incomprehensible.  If we have been taking what we have of these things for granted, we will no longer. Let the Komen debacle remind us of our strength, our numbers, and of what we have to lose.

It was heartening to see women of all ages stand up for Planned Parenthood; to know that there are many more of us than there are of those misguided fanatics- religious and political- who would have us bear children we couldn’t afford to feed or face a payday choice between groceries and contraception.

I have good health insurance these days and am grateful that I can go to the doctor whenever the need arises. Grateful enough that I’ve decided to make a donation to a fund that benefits women each time I use my insurance. Today I had a routine yearly physical. And I will make a donation to Planned Parenthood.  I am on the lookout for a cancer-specific fund to replace Komen on my list of favored charities, and am considering theAvon Walk for Breast Cancer.  (If anyone can give me a yay or nay on this one I’d appreciate it).

I’m also on the lookout for a good political organization.  I’d like to donate where my money will be used effectively to help shape policy which benefits women and children. Please leave your suggestions here.

I’m grateful to my brilliant children and the brilliant and beautiful people they have brought into my life; all of them (ALL of them) give me hope and a sense of calm amid so much turmoil, amid the public disagreements and vehement disrespect rampant among our so called leaders.  I feel like a child living with parents who don’t get along; it leaves me with a near-constant stomach ache.  Or heartache, perhaps.  It’s stressful.  I don’t need it.

Implicit in the job of parenting is the promise, the responsibility even, to leave the world a better place for our children. Oh, my hearts, I’m trying!

I think it is inevitable that the uber right who are trying to make or keep bad policy, or to prevent good, will eventually stupid themselves off the radar.  My hope is that we can hurry the process up a bit. Maybe spitting mad is exactly where I need to be.

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Today is my 50th Birthday

Today is my 50th birthday. And this is the blog I promised myself I’d create, and maintain, through my 5oth year.  I have 49 more things I need to do before the year is out, but I’ve already done a few of them.  One was to take a cross country trip, which I did in February.  I’m counting my 50th year from January to January.  Another was to attend my high school class’ 50th birthday bash, which I did, in March.  I also ran to the top of Sparta mountain.  It’s really just a hill, as far as mountains go.  But for me it was a goal and so, along with this blog, that makes 4 of my 50 things done.  I also opened a brick and morter retail paint store, so I’m counting that as number 5.  Even though it will probably close soon. But more on that later.  I opened an Etsy online vintage  shop too, and that brings the count to 6. In October I am going to be best man at my friend Charlie’s wedding.  That counts, but it’s not done yet so I can’t cross it off.  This leaves me with more than 40 things to do in celebration of reaching this milestone in my life.  I have some ideas, some hopes and goals and mad desires.  But I have 365 days to fill so more tomorrow.  Happy Birthday me!

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