Thursday, February 2, 2017

Take Care of Each Other

There is a lot going on in the news these days with our new President and his Administration. "Alternative facts" is now a thing. Okay. Federal agencies are being restricted on news releases and social media updates to the public. That is not good. Not good at all.

I believe strongly that regardless of the political party that holds the majority we should take care of each other. I don't think government should do everything for its people,but that it should at least encourage its citizens to look out for one another and cheer on non profits that want to help. I also believe that many of the social issues that are dominating the air waves and the recent Womens' March are linked together.

I started a list with one thing as the initial item, but I am changing it. I am going where man wants to control, but doesn't really want to do his part in taking responsibility. Contraception.

  • There are many forms of birth control and there are many reasons why women take it.
  • Personally, I have been taking oral contraceptives (The Pill) since 1997. I went off it for a while when my husband and I were trying to have a baby. We were told that having a biological child was next to impossible. With my doctor's suggestion, I stayed on The Pill to help alleviate extremely painful menstrual cramps and mood swings due to my period. It worked like a charm. And the best part is I haven't had to buy feminine hygiene products in fourteen years.
  • I am on my husband's employer provided health insurance. We are blessed to have top notch coverage. Before the Affordable Care Act was passed I was paying $70 a month for my birth control pills. When I started taking the pills in 1997 I was paying about $20 a month. We always had excellent health coverage and the cost of the pills kept going up and up. At one point I considered stop taking them because the cost was getting too high. I wonder how much a woman with less than ideal health coverage or none at all, pays for the pills?
This is a scenario I imagine if contraception is no longer covered by the government's replacement health care plan or if it is no longer covered at all by insurance.
  • Women who do not want to have children or who are not ready to have children could get pregnant. And if anyone suggests abstinence as an answer to that, you need to survey the men of this country. Because remember, it takes sperm from a man and an egg from a woman to make a baby.
  • If those women do get pregnant, what are they to do? If Trump has his way and gets a new Supreme Court justice appointed there is a good chance Roe v. Wade will be re-tried and it could be overturned. I'm not crazy about the idea of abortion, but there are so many factors involved.
  • Who will help women with these unplanned pregnancies? Who will make sure they get to their pre-natal appointments? Who will be there the day they deliver? If they decide they are not ready to parent who will help them research adoption agencies?
  • If they decide to parent, who will help them tell family? Who will help them find adequate and affordable child care? If they do not have supportive family and friends, who will help them get the items needed for a baby? You know, throw them a baby shower - to get a crib, car seat, bottles, diapers, wipes, etc.
  • If finances are a concern, who will help them fill out the paperwork to get assistance? Did you know that diapers, wipes and feminine hygiene products are not covered under government assistance? If parents cannot provide enough diapers and wipes to the day care then the baby cannot stay. Which means then the parent cannot go to back. Which means lost pay. You see a pattern here?
  • It is time for delivery. Who will be there holding their hand? Who will help them settle into home with a newborn? Who will go over when mom calls and the baby hasn't slept in two days and cries all the time? Who will go over and just hold the baby or sit in the room while baby sleeps so mom can take a shower longer than two minutes?
These are just some of the questions that pop into my mind whenever the conversation about contraception becomes public fodder. And some other thoughts pop into my mind...
  • Why is the responsibility for birth control largely fall on the woman's shoulder? Yes, she carries the baby, but she didn't create that baby alone. Men don't want to do their part and wear condoms during sex, but they certainly have plenty of opinions about the character of women who use birth control and what a woman should do if she becomes pregnant.
  • Over the years I have heard "pundits" suggest that women who want coverage of birth control are sluts, promiscuous, irresponsible. I wonder, who do these pundits think these women are sleeping with? Men are involved too. But there is never any comment on their personal character.
  • Men have their little blue pills covered. You know the one. So, if birth control loses coverage, those little buggers need to be removed too. I mean it, kind of works with the whole abstinence solution, right?
And for those that say a child is not a choice, I disagree. The context I am using is sex between two consenting adults. If both parties agree to it, then both parties are equally responsible. You choose to have sex, you are choosing to do something that may result in the creation of another human life. Both parties better be ready to accept that responsibility. 

We need to look out for each other. We need to listen to each other. We need to listen to hear each other, to understand each other. Just because we disagree doesn't mean we don't care about each other. Remember that. No matter what, we need to look out for each other. Reach out a hand and pull someone along.

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