Planned Parenthood and Feminist Porn Awards

I just got back from a long overdue visit to genderqueer porn star Jiz Lee’s blog, which is fabulous, and it got me thinking about a few things:

1) I’m going to the Feminist Porn Awards, too! Yes, dearies, I will be in Toronto from April 14-16, geeking out about all my favorite porn peeps being nearby. I may get all shy and ridiculous, so bear with me. I’ll try to cover the madness as best I can!

2) Planned Parenthood. I have avoided this topic for a while because, as so often happens with me, I got too upset when the news about Congress voting to reduce funding to the family planning and sexual health clinic came out to really write intelligently about it. But I’ve been thinking, and Jiz got me thinking more.

That House Republicans seem to be out to destroy the reproductive rights of women is a fairly well-established fact at this point, and it pisses me off that so many people could be so small minded. But it pisses me off even more that as part of their tyrannical desire to control the female body, they have brought about a slash in the budget of the nation’s biggest and best sexual health clinic, on the grounds that “some of the Federal funding” that went to it might have been indirectly used to support facilities that perform abortions. Which is bullshit. It’s always been a rule that federal money is not allowed to fund abortions, period. Planned Parenthood may be a vocal advocate of women’s rights, but it’s not staffed by stupid people: if their rules said “no federal money for abortions,” I feel totally confident that they were not, in fact, using any federal money on abortions.

Which brings up two further points: a) it’s riDONKulous that the federal government should be so concerned with whether I try to have or not have a baby. Really. I mean, honestly, isn’t one of the things that Republicans have their dowdy panties all up in a bunch about the fact that there are too many gosh-darn people who want too much gosh-darn government oversight and social welfare to support them? So, shouldn’t Republicans be somewhat more invested in the idea of controlling the population to avoid further burdening Social Security and the health care system and what not? I mean, logically, doesn’t that make sense? And furthermore, Federal Government, I’m ok if you don’t want to be specifically funding what goes on up in my biz if I want to have an abortion–I mean, frankly, I’m ok if you stay out of my nether regions, period–but I don’t feel comfortable with you trying to tell me, in a roundabout way, that I shouldn’t be controlling what does go on up in my biz. How the hell is that any concern of yours? If I have a baby, you’re gonna damn well tax me for it, and then tax that baby. Can we leave your involvement at that?

And b) as I mentioned before, I do have confidence in Planned Parenthood being an upstanding example of a respectable business operation. I believe them when they say they follow the rules that Federal funding demands. I believe them whey they say they do just about anything. Why? Because I used to go to Planned Parenthood, for years in and after college. As a young person from a very conservative family with no access to enough money to pay medical bills out of pocket, I decided I wanted to take control over my reproductive health and thus my career and my future, so I went to the Planned Parenthood in the Bronx one scary Saturday morning and got my pelvis examined, my hoo-hah tested for everything, and a bunch of birth control options. I also go some of the friendliest, most attentive gynecological care I’ve ever received. The people at Planned Parenthood were caring, open to listening to my questions and concerns, in no hurry to rush off to the next patient, and so kind that I was actually at ease while a middle-aged woman felt me up in front of a nurse. She actually put me at my ease, so good was her bedside manner. I was young and terrified. I was in an unfamiliar neighborhood, alone, and broke. Yet I felt comfortable.

In years since, I’ve switched over to private gynecological practices, and you know what? I’ve never had an experience as good as the many I had at Planned Parenthood. I don’t know if it’s because a lot of the people who work for PP are actually just there on their days off their private practices, or if it’s just the general attitude of good will and service that hangs over the place, but PP was far and away more fun and relaxing to visit than any doctor’s office I’ve been in since. The gynecologists I’ve visited in recent years have been rushed, impatient to answer my questions before I even ask them, seemingly annoyed when I ask for STD tests, unhelpful about discussing possible birth control options, and totally freaked out by my sexual history. In comparison, the Planned Parenthood people were patient, knowledgeable, courteous, and non-judgmental. They had time to listen to my freakouts and assure me that my situation was normal. They were just there, after all, to help me and other people like me who needed a hand to guide them in difficult times.

If it hadn’t been for Planned Parenthood’s counseling and cheap-to-free services, I have no idea where I’d be right now. I might very well be a very poor, very overwhelmed mother with no career or prospects. I might never have learned about human sexuality to the degree that I have, and I might have never gotten into the blogosphere. I might have diseases I’ve avoided because I knew how to. I might be unhealthy, unhappy, and un-Lags. The only thing I have for Planned Parenthood is gratitude, and I’m sure that thousands, if not millions, of other women around the country share that same appreciation for the understanding and treatment that they received. I’m outraged that some people who have never had to consider their reproductive health in the same way that we all did think they have a right to interfere in one of the finest institutions American Federal money supports. I hope we can get our collective shit together soon and undo this wrong, but in lieu of that, I hope we can all at least remind PP how much we love them. Go here, peeps. Stand with them.

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