Monday, February 28, 2011

Congresswomen speak out

In the debate over defunding Planned Parenthood, two Congresswomen have taken the floor to share personal experiences in a way I found very moving.

First there was Rep. Jackie Speier. Rep. Chris Smith, a Republic from New Jersey, took the floor to read aloud a description of a second-trimester abortion procedure. Rep. Speier stood up immediately after he spoke.

"I really planned to speak about something else. But the gentleman from New Jersey just put my stomach in knots. Because I'm one of those women he spoke about just now."

Rep. Speier:

Brave, honest, amazing.

Then there was Rep. Gwen Moore. From Salon's summary:

[L]ate Thursday night, Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun had trotted out the old canard about Planned Parenthood being a bunch of eugenically motivated abortion enthusiasts, pointing out that "there are more black babies killed through abortion proportionally than there are white babies or any other colored babies."

Responding to Broun's deep concern for the well-being of black babies (a concern that apparently ends when those black babies grow up to need breast exams or cervical screenings) Wisconsin Democrat Gwen Moore said, "I know a lot about having black babies. I’ve had three of them. And I had my first one ... at the ripe old age of 18.
An unplanned pregnancy."

Rep. Moore:

These are not men talking about lives, decisions, and responsibilities that will never ever be theirs. These are women baring difficult parts of their lives to bring some honesty and reality to the discussion. Thank you Congresswomen - for being our voices of women's real, lived experiences in the U.S. Congress, and for standing up for everyone's access to affordable care.


Mama Z said...

My husband always laughs a little when he hears about things like this - he wonders why men are getting involved in women's decisions. He says that if we were ever in a situation where, for some reason, I became pregnant and didn't want the baby but he did (or vice versa), he would want to be heard, but that ultimately he would relinquish the decision wholly to me, as the person most invested in the situation.

On a slightly unrelated note, I thought it was interesting that Congresswoman Moore mentioned "adding water to the formula to make it stretch." I wish there were more education to encourage women, especially young, poor, minority women, to breastfeed. If we ignore everything else good about breastfeeding, if we set it exactly equal to formula feeding - it's still a much more economical option.

Rebecca said...

Susan - Sounds like you have a great husband! Yes, I noticed that too. It's one of the reasons I don't support cutting back formula supplies from WIC (although note that WIC does NOT give women a full month's supply - one of the reasons they end up adding water). But it's also one of the reasons it's frustrating to support WIC's formula distribution, because it would be great if we could promote more breastfeeding.