Monday, January 23, 2017

Contraceptive Deceptions

On January 21st, one day after the inauguration of Donald Trump, millions of women, girls, and their male-counterpart allies worldwide took to the streets to march and protest for Women's Rights, along with the human rights issues of ethnic minorities and LGBTs piggy-backing on the movement. I couldn't make the march myself, but I kept a close eye on the videos and photos streaming through my Facebook news feed, and teared up at the overwhelming and impassioned global response. This was one of the most historic events I have ever had the privilege to witness, and hope and inspiration for our future flooded my heart.

Everyone marched for various reasons: some marched for educational rights for girls throughout the world; some marched for equal pay; some marched for pro-choice rights and contraception; some marched for pro-life; some marched against the rape culture. Others' reasons weren't directly related to women's rights, but they marched for climate change, for marriage equality, for Black Lives, and for refugees and Muslims. But the underlying motive for many on this day was the swearing in of who is probably one of the most blatantly misogynistic presidents the US has ever known. With derogatory and brutal ad hominems attacking any woman who challenged him, with locker room admissions of sexual harassment and assaults, with promises to defund organizations that work to ensure women's health, Trump became the biggest liability to the Women's Rights movement in the western world when he became the leader of the most powerful country on the planet.

I have seen many people from various countries comment on the election and the ensuing danger that Trump's inauguration would bring. Many trolls on the internet often told these people to shut up, mind their own business, and stop sticking their noses in our politics. What they don't understand is the monstrous influence our country has on the global community and how our international relations, our foreign policies, our social issues trickle down and impact other countries and our fellow (wo)man. This is why multiple protests took place around the world, not just in our backyards. But, as if to perfectly demonstrate this point, Trump's first Monday in office tackled women around the world to the ground as he flipped a giant middle finger to us all.

In spite of the sea of protesters that packed into the streets and subways to demand their protection, Trump moved forward with his first blow to Women's Rights when he signed the Mexico City policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule. The Global Gag Rule is an international law which cuts funding to family planning organizations all over the world that utilize, promote, or even discuss abortions as options for expectant mothers. Even if the organizations continue these practices with alternate funding, they will be disqualified from receiving any US funds. This was no secret plan and really no shock, as Trump and Pence had been fighting Planned Parenthood from the beginning and promised to demolish the agency, but, as with most of his misinformed platform, Trump jumped without looking, without thinking, and the effects are going to backfire on a global scale.

During the presidential campaign, in order to garner more support for shutting down Planned Parenthood, the GOP fed a colossal lie to the public when it alleged that 95% of services provided by PP were abortions. Pro-Lifers ate this up and immediately joined the cause to level the murderous bastards by any means necessary, which of course meant electing a giant narcissistic carrot. But when actual facts come into play, the story is drastically different, making this move with the Global Gag Rule that much more detrimental.

The irrefutable truth is that organizations like Planned Parenthood provide a wide array of services to lower income and uninsured families, including STI/STD testing and treatment, providing contraception and sterilization procedures, pregnancy tests and prenatal care, and various forms of cancer screenings. All of these bypass abortions significantly, as they account for roughly 97% of the services provided by PP, and the remaining 3% is pregnancy terminations.

So what does it really mean when you close a Planned Parenthood down? By stopping free pregnancy tests and prenatal care, you eliminate early pregnancy detection, critical prenatal care, and you significantly increase the risk for unsafe labors. By shutting down STI/STD testing, you accelerate the spread of of HIV/AIDS worldwide, and shave years off the lives of those who test positive, since they can no longer receive the medications that save their lives. By ending cancer screening, early detection is non-existent, therefore factors that extend their lifespan are too. By refusing to provide free contraception, you will dramatically increase unwanted pregnancies, which will in turn, increase abortions. Yup, just because you shut down a clinic that does abortions on occasion does not mean you will end abortion. In fact, abortions will grow exponentially. How do we know this? Because it's been done before.

Though there is a long standing law that the US cannot use taxpayer money to fund any form of abortions, various presidents have toyed with it and signed the Mexico City policy in and out of activity with every change in office. Originally enacted by Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton lifted the policy when he entered office. George W. Bush re-enacted it when he took over, and Obama lifted it once more when he moved into the big house. Now Trump has signed it back in  just one day after the 44th anniversary of the passing of Roe vs Wade. According to the World Health Organization, when Bush signed the policy back in, abortions increased by 40% worldwide. Imagine that, if you take away birth control pills, condoms, and IUDs, people get more kids they don't want and will do anything to get rid of them, including risking their own lives. During this same period, the majority of the abortions that took place were illegal and unsafe, which ended in several maternal deaths. If the past is any indication, estimates are reporting that abortions will likely rise by 2.2 million internationally, and maternal deaths are estimated to increase by 13%.

During the election, I was appalled by the 44% of female voters who elected Trump into office. Hadn't they been listening? Hadn't they been paying attention? They rationalized away his horrific statements as being "misquoted," "edited by liberal news outlets," or just denying anything was said at all. This made it so much easier for them to look past this impending danger and allow the vicious beast past the gates. Even during these marches, women continued to berate other women from the comfort of their own computer chairs, not comprehending the significance of this moment or the benefits they already reap from so many marches that took place before this to secure the rights they enjoy today.

So many Trump supporters urge us to unite, and too often the abyss is too wide for us to bridge the gap, but finally this is something we can work together on, because right now we're all losing. If you're appalled by maternal deaths and unsafe abortions, this should scare the shit out of you. If you are pro-life, you should be infuriated that the GOP lied to you and enacted a law that will cause abortion rates to explode across the globe. This is the beginning of a long road of lies and bullshit that you will have to fight right alongside us to stop this giant farting T.Rex from not only hurting us, but destroying women's lives all over the world. Stand with us.

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