Monday, November 26, 2012

War Against Women and Thanksgiving


So I hope you all had a happy, fulfilling and productive Thanksgiving. I sure did. There may have been some drama, but what holiday is complete without it.

Now there has been a ton of talk in the news about the War on Women and I for one totally think that it’s the truth. Never before have I seen so much propaganda and so many laws making things difficult for women... mainly their vaginas

This past year the United States has seen many laws regarding women’s health care issues. There have been laws on abortion, birth control and covering preventive care. These laws have ranged from making preventative care covered at 100 % and free birth control to forcing women to have transvaginal ultra sounds before getting an abortion. Abortion has been one of the most controversial topics to come up in court house and law cases.
There have been 40 lawsuits and different types of regulations in only 15 states trying to make abortions either illegal or harder for women to have access too.  These laws are coming into play almost 40 years after the U.S Supreme Court’s decision in Roe versus Wade. Roe versus Wade made abortions legal, now it seems most of the laws coming up are trying to reverse this famous case.

In July the House Committee approved the ban on abortions in the District of Columbia if the pregnancy has reached twenty weeks. The bill passed with votes 18 to 14 because of the Republican majority. This bill seemed off because it only targeted the District of Columbia where abortion used to be legal up until the birth of the child. The support for this bill came in the form of medical experts stating that fetuses begin to feel pain after the 20th weeks.  Amendments to the bill to have exceptions in the event of health risks to the mother failed.

Also in July the Center for Reproductive Rights disputed the constitutionality of a law in Mississippi which makes abortion providers have to be certified in obstetrics and gynecology as well as have hospital admitting privileges. This will leave no functioning abortion clinics in Mississippi. Which begs the questions, when does it stop being law? Law by definition means a binding or enforceable rule and while it is a normative social practice to guide human behavior, it is not about imposing personal, political or religious beliefs on a race, community, sex or ethnic group. When does it become an attack and going against constitutional protection of a woman’s right to choose? Other normative domains in society are things like culture, religion, etiquette etc…etc… but the law differs from these.

Again, in July of 2012 legislation was put into place in Texas to drop funding of organizations like Planned Parenthood and other facilities that provided abortions. Many clinics had major funding cut and 15 clinics closed. The function of the law is to protect the people, maintain social control and outlines what the government can and cannot do.  That means keeping those who live in the United States healthy and safe, which all these anti abortion laws go against. The clinics that had funding cut and had to close were not abortion only clinics, most gave many other services. Such as mammograms, birth control, STD testing and other low cost, sliding scale and free services. It seems in many ways these law cases and legislation is doing more harm than good.

At the beginning of 2012 Arizona also tried to enforce many anti-abortion laws. This was coincidentally during an election year.  Arizona passed a bill that stops abortion in the 18th week of pregnancy and one that states one cannot sue a doctor if they do not tell the patient that the baby has something wrong with it, information that may convince a woman to have an abortion. The 18th week bill also created a new definition for pregnancy stating that gestation begins the day of a women’s last menstrual period cough cough bull shit This bill violates Supreme Court Rulings already in place. The “wrongful birth, wrongful life” bill also goes against the function of the law to protect citizens, stating that a doctor can withhold information from a patient and cannot be held liable for said information.

The law is supposed to guide people and protect them, it is supposed to separate from church and personal view points.  Many of these new laws and legislation do the exact opposite. Will new definitions of the nature, function and source of law need to be considered? Possibly, hopefully now that the election season is over the law can go back to actually creating rules and regulations that are practical and actually needed by the American people.

Here are some fun articles about the things I discussed here today:


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/10/az-abortion-bills-arizona-gestational-age_n_1415715.html

http://www.abort73.com/abortion_facts/us_abortion_law/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/11/21/usa-abortion-rate/1719583/


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/30/mississippi-abortion-clinic-law_n_1640185.html



Monday, November 19, 2012

I am Pro Choice, yes I am talking about abortion

Okay so abortion… I have a lot to say on this topic but for this blog I am going to limit it to a few talking points. The first is I am pro choice. I believe a woman has the right to choose. It is her body and her life. I do not believe in abortion (for myself) after 13 weeks. I do, however, think it is a woman’s choice. Sometimes shit happens, rape, incest, a forgotten birth control pill, a broken condom, a random drunken encounter. Sure maybe some of these are not so grown up, but it happens. One in three women in the USA will have an abortion, that’s just a proven statistic.


While yes I feel that if you are going to have sex you need to take responsibility for your actions. Use protection and if that fails then take the morning after pill. I do not think abortion should be used as a form of birth control, “oh yeah! I can have tons of unprotected sex because I can always have an abortion.” Ummmm. No… I don’t think that’s how it should work.

Even the most responsible and mature of us have accidents. I believe being responsible for your actions means making the choice that is right for you. Whether that means having the baby and keeping it, having it and giving it up for adoption or having an abortion. What is NOT responsible is leaving it in a garbage can, on the stairs of an orphanage or smothering it to death and putting it in a shoe box. (Yup true story). Or not making a decision at all.

Women that have abortions or are thinking of having abortions should not be looked down upon. They are not sluts or horrible people…. They may even been Christian for goodness sake! They are not drug users or filthy awful immature women (well maybe SOME are, but not the majority). They are mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, friends, co workers… They are just women, making their own informed choice.

If you take away legal abortions then you will have women still getting them, but doing so illegally, which will raise the maternal death rate in America more than it already is. Plus some women have abortions for medical reasons. If the baby has something seriously wrong with it or if keeping the baby will have detrimental effects to the mother’s health… Or what if it is a child that was created through rape or incest? Taking away legal abortions takes away the options and choices of so many women. Making abortions harder to get doesn’t mean women stop getting them. It just means it stops being a safe and protected alternative.

Oh and abortion should be covered by health insurance, it is a medical procedure and in many countries with Universal Health Care you can have an abortion with your normal doctor and for little or no charge. You don’t want your taxes paying for my abortion? I don’t want my taxes paying for you to destroy the environment or the other ridiculous things taxes pay for right now. Taxes are taxes, pay them shut the fuck up and don’t complain about where they go. This is another ranty topic so I am stopping it right now.


I have had an abortion. I am not proud of it, but I do not regret it. It was a choice I made that at the time was right for me. I am tired of feeling shame over this and tired of the fact that I have to keep it hidden or people judge me. Fuck People! That is not my shame but theirs, I will not conform to what people think I should, feel, do or say. I had an abortion it was my right and my choice. It was not an easy decision, it was painful and I cried throughout the whole thing. I loved the little embryo in my uterus, but I knew that it was not the right time for us to be together. You want to judge me? Go for it, but know when you look around your church, office, neighborhood, grocery store etc….That one out of every three women has probably been where I have been and you are judging us
  Helpful Links:   http://www.womenscenter.com/abortion_stats.html   Abortion statistics  

http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/abortion-4260.asp   Methods of Abortion

  http://www.religioustolerance.org/abortion.htm  

Religious Tolerance of abortion, all points of view   http://www.aisfor.org/our-ribbon/  

A is for.... women's reproductive rights 

 http://exhaleprovoice.org/ 

 If someone you know has had an abortion show them support. It is never too late to tell someone you understand and are there to talk.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Vampires in America

In celebration of Twilight Break Dawn Part Two coming out I wanted to talk a little bit about vampires and the Twilight Saga. First off I want to point out from an amusement and entertainment point of view I do enjoy the Twilight movies...I enjoy making fun of them more, however. I have read the books, more than once and I normally get a kick out of them. This being said I have some HUGE issues with how vampires are now perceived in America. With things like The Vampire Diaries, True Blood and the billions on YA vampire paranormal romances and adult paranormal romances women and men are vampire crazy.

Thankfully vampires have toned down a bit in the last few years, but it left an opening for people to swarm around shape shifters, mermaids, faries, zombies and barf angels.

So here I go.... With the starting words of "I have loved vampires since I was ten, so bite me if you have problems with my opinion. I am now 29, if you say you love vampires and have never read Dracula you are a poser."

On August 6, 2007, I was standing outside a Barnes and Noble bookstore at 11:55 pm, awaiting the release of the new Stephanie Meyer book Eclipse. Having enjoyed the two previous novels (Twilight and New Moon), I was excited. That is until midnight struck and a horde of screaming girls, with fangs, glitter on their faces and lust in their eyes, almost trampled me. This was my introduction into the world of crazed Twilight fans. When Breaking Dawn, the last book in the series hit the stores, I was in the book store several weeks later buying a different novel and nearly collided with a group of “TEAM EDWARD” shirt wearing, teeny bopper girls discussing how romantic it would be to have a vampire baby; AT EIGHTEEN!! When teenagers emulate the events in the Twilight series their health is affected.
I have read articles about students drawing each other’s blood and wearing it, which leaves most parents concerned about the spread of blood born diseases. It is not just physical health adults are concerned with. In many schools across the United States, teenagers believe biting someone is the only way to show affection, what is worse, teens also bite to show that one belongs to someone else. A sophomore by the name of Pao Hernandez was quoted as saying, “It's a way to belong to somebody, and mark their territory.” Teenagers should not believe that the type of possessiveness found in Twilight and other teen vampire novels is normal or acceptable behavior.

Many of the actions found in Twilight are just the workings of the author, Stephanie Meyer, and not meant to be a model for actual behavior. Some teenagers are not able to distinguish fact from the fantasy world Ms. Meyer has created. Parents of many teenagers worry that their children, especially teenage daughters, have been given unrealistic expectations from the books about love, sex, marriage, and having a baby. Parents do not want their children believing that marriage at 18 and starting a family right away is always a good idea. While yes, the abstinence message has a positive ring to it, teens must remember that in real life boys that get 18 year-old-girls pregnant do not usually marry them or stick around.

Teenagers forget that while Edward is living in the body of a 17- year- old male, he is 104 years old, much older than Bella and his values are from a time period rather out dated. Teens need to be able to rescue themselves and not expect to be “saved” by an overly romanticized hero, or heroine. Bella spends her whole time in Twilight co-dependent on Edward; all her hopes and dreams revolve around him. On a number of levels, this is an unhealthy attitude.

Bella’s deep emotional attachments and co-dependency on Edward are just some of the ways that clearly reflect the anti-feminism sway within the novel. In Twilight, when Bella finds out Edward is a vampire she says, “About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was part of him — and I didn’t know how potent that part might be — that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.” Right there Bella clearly states that it does not matter if Edward wants to kill her, she will love him anyway. What sort of message does this send to other teenagers?

Not to mention Bella has no hobbies or interests outside of cooking for her father and being with her “one true love.” Her favorite books are Romeo and Juliet and Wuthering Heights. Neither are novels I would call romantic. In both cases the “romance” is sick, twisted and disturbing. She cannot take care of herself in any challenging moment and must constantly be “rescued.” Even before she met Edward she had no thoughts of college or any other future plans.

She is quiet to a point of being boring and her character is a stereotypical female with low self-esteem with 1950s views of the roles of men and women. In New Moon, Meyer writes about Bella taking a motorcycle to her friend Jacob Black to fix; Bella says, “I figured I’d have to have a Y chromosome to understand the excitement.” As if a GIRL could not possibly like or be capable of repairing a motorcycle. Bella, like many other times, does not even CONSIDER the possibility of doing it on her own.

But even with all her problems it seems EVERY guy wants to bang her. She is clumsy, not that pretty and dull, but hey… All the hot guys want her and fight over her? That’s TOTALLY what girls should understand when it comes to relationships. Insert my hate of love triangles here.

Not only can Bella not function without a man “saving” her, she chooses to give up her whole world just for the sake of being with a vampire she has known less than a year. In this day and age, how many females have a goal that only consists of serving one man? Sure would I like to marry someone who can afford for me to be a stay at home mom? Hell Yes! But I would also have my writing, my kids, and all my other millions of hobbies and passions. Fuck no would I give up my family or friends.

While most parents do not want their daughters to mimic Bella’s attitude or habits, they also do not want their daughters, or sons, acting like Edward. Edward is plain and simple, a stalker, and the worst kind of boyfriend; one that has to restrain himself from killing his own love interest. He sneaks into her bedroom and watches her sleep without her knowledge, forbids her from seeing her friends, is controlling, and follows her wherever she goes to make sure she stays out of “trouble.” “Edward’s attention to Bella mirrors disturbingly a relationship that would be called abusive in the real world.”

Meyer writes: “I wrestled all night, while watching you sleep, with the chasm between what I knew was right, moral, ethical, and what I wanted. I knew that if I continued to ignore you as I should, or if I left for a few years, till you were gone, that someday you would say yes to Mike, or someone like him. It made me angry.” (p. 303.) These words alone are red flags screaming about Edward’s stalker-like and controlling behavior.

With more than 1,000 women murdered in the United States every year by an intimate partner. Plus more than three million stalked by someone they know, it is not a surprise that parents are becoming anti-Twilight and anti-vampire. Even those who have always enjoyed vampires are becoming disenchanted with them.

Twilight is giving vampires a bad reputation. Vampires are not a new concept to America, but because of the Twilight hype people are either in love with the sparkly Stephanie Meyer version or just sick of them all together, deeming them a bad influence. The American literary field has had many novels about vampires that have been quite famous. Many authors have written about vampires and become renowned for their works. This list includes well-known names such as Anne Rice, Laurell K Hamilton and P.N Elrod. All of whom began writing vampire novels before 2000.

Vampire movies are not new to our culture either. Most people who have enjoyed movies about vampires have seen films like: Dracula, Interview with a Vampire and Lost Boys. All these classic vampire movies were released more than 10 years ago.

People forget that the book that truly made vampires famous is Dracula by Bram Stoker. His book and other classics like Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, and I Vampire by John Polidori is where Americans get the stereotypes about vampires. Vampires are first and foremost, dark creatures of the night and in most cultures and mythology, demons from the underworld. They are not just beautiful teenagers that are just trying to find love.

Now if you read Rose Blossom, my self published novel you will see some of the tropes that follow most paranormal vampire romance of the YA variety. It is a shame I carry within me. But at least I read Dracula and loved it, plus I started it before Twilight was published but whatever. Stephanie Meyer has not even READ Dracula and is now considered a queen of the vampire genre. She was even quoted as saying she was embarrassed to tell people she was writing about vampires to begin with. How many vampire authors are embarrassed to speak about what made them famous?

Many other vampire writers are upset with this new version of the myth Meyer has created. Quite a few old school vampire fans do not care much for her or the Twilight books at all, seeing them as an affront to all good vampire literature. Laurell K Hamilton, who writes the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, is put off by the Twilight phenomenon. She finds the idea that a woman must wait to find the right guy instead of controlling their own life exceedingly scary. Five famous female vampire writers, including Anne Rice and Charlaine Harris, were asked who their favorite vampire was and who was the first vampire to inspire their writing. Not one chose anything from Twilight or a vampire similar to any found in the Twilight books.

But why? Why are vampires so popular? Why did America latch onto them and refuse to let them slink back into the coffins when the sun rose?

Well because vampires are the literary equivalent to sex and drugs. The love of vampires being like a drug one gets addicted to and is a metaphor for Americans wanting a little more weirdness in their own mundane lives, or perhaps sexual revolution. Vampires also make a superb love interest. They have great stamina and great strength; they are almost always portrayed as rich, beautiful, passionate, protective and dangerous. They fit into the fantasy of most men and women, teen or not, and take it to the next level. Lastly, vampires are supernatural beings. They have magical powers and defy logic, reason and sometimes faith. They live forever and are eternally young. Who wouldn’t want all of that, right?

So yes, vampires CAN BE sexy, aloof, dangerous and mysterious. However Twilight fans must remember that the book IS still a piece of fiction. The characters are not real. There is NO Edward to come to one’s rescue at the end of one’s own personal story. Twilight fans must also realize the possessiveness seen in most young adult vampire novels. Enjoy vampires, but expand from that series into the many great vampire novels and movies that have been produced throughout the years. Take it from this writer, who has read not only classic vampire literature, but more than a dozen teen vampire novels that include the WHOLE Twilight saga.

This is only the beginning.


If you would like to know where some of the information for the blog came from here you go!:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/07/07/earlyshow/main6653999.shtml

Twilight and Philosophy: Vampires, Vegetarians, and the Pursuit of Immortality. By R Housel and  J. Wisnewski





Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Birth Control




“If men got pregnant, there would be safe, reliable methods of birth control. They’d be inexpensive too.”
With the subject of birth control becoming such a big issue in the United States people over look just how many women, adults and teens actually use birth control. Women use birth control to stop unwanted pregnancy, regulate their menstrual cycles, reduce the pain of cramps and even get rid of acne. There is a huge demographic of females using birth control and being over looked in favor of religious fervor and politics.

As of March 2011 it was estimated 62 % of women able to have children used some form of birth control. Of these women 28% use the pill, 5.5 % an IUD, 3.2 the Depo shot and 2.4 a vaginal ring. All of these types of birth control require a doctor to either prescribe them or insert the contraceptive. Less than 20 % of the 62 % chose a method that did not require a trip to clinic or doctor’s office.

There are whole clinics, like Planned Parenthood who make their money from reproductive health services, including providing birth control to those without health insurance. In fact 33.5 % of Planned Parenthood services were birth control related in 2009/2010, only out done by STD testing and treatment at 38 % . In fact the amount og money Planned Parenthood makes from abortions is less than half those amounts.

It is also ridiculous how much time it takes to get birth control at a normal doctor's office. At the Westridge Clinic in Kearns Utah a doctor requires an hour long appointment for the first time birth control is prescribed. If a patient needs birth control right away he/she is more likely to get a same day appointment at a clinic, like the Utah Women’s Clinic. Clinics are easier than waiting days to see a regular doctor.

Of late we have seen a lot politically in regards to birth control legislation. In August of 2011 the Department of Health and Human Services required that all new health insurance companies cover birth control without any cost; however religious institutes, such as Deseret Industries, do not have to cover birth control since it would go against their religious beliefs. Again, stupid, just because you are a religious organization doesn't mean birth control should not be covered. What they are saying here is even MARRIED people should just keep popping out babies that they probably cannot afford because a church still will not have birth control coverage on their super special "privledged" insurance. Nope now you must "sully" yourself by going to a clinic and paying out of pocket. If you think I am being harsh I apoligized. I have spoken to religious women who have had SO much tude while talking about visiting a clinic.

Now while this new legislation does allow many women who before would not be able to afford birth control access to it like I said before many still require places like Planned Parenthood for the majority of their reproductive health services.

Another piece of legislation being thrown around is Defunding Planned Parenthood, which would make birth control out of reach for millions of American women, changing the demographic of women on birth control, tipping them into the demographic of women who have unplanned pregnancies. Thankfully this got over turned, but many states are still trying similar things to get rid of clinics that offer abortions.

Clinics that provide free or low cost birth control are essential to women’s health and the health care industry, which includes the patients. Especially since in February of 2012 Obama declared that while churches and other explicit religious institutions would be excused from the birth control legislation, religiously affiliated business would be required to provide contraception to their employees. After this was announced two senators then put in motion a reversal bill. The fact that birth control has become a huge controversy is a great challenge to the women who actually use and require such services. And it begs the questions... Who cares? Really? Whose business is it if you take birth control? The answer? No one but the woman taking it and perhaps her partner.

Women in the United States benefit greatly from programs that provide information on birth control as well as STD’s, and other women’s health issues. While wellness programs may not decrease cost, educational programs do. When people are educated on STD’s and how their bodies actually work they spend less money on health care. Informing a woman on how to prevent pregnancy means that in the long run the government or her health insurance will spend less money on an unplanned pregnancy and any complications that may come from it. The women herself will also have less costs. Going to the a clinic and spending sixty dollars on a birth control pill prescription is thousands of dollars less than a c-section ten months later.

What women need are more service providers that handle women’s health issues. There need to be more clinics in hospitals and major health care companies that will take insurance but also offer sliding scale, reduce cost or free birth control options. The need for birth control can come up at any time, having to either a) wait days for an appointment or b) rush down to a clinic one is not familiar with can be stressful options. Women need other safe, welcoming options in the health care community for these issues.

As a whole birth control needs to stop being a taboo topic. If everyone was able to openly discuss the need for birth control and see it as a safe and good method for reducing the risk of unwanted pregnancy then there would be fewer challenges. Birth control is a personal option, as a society it needs to be accepted as such and women who take birth control should not be discriminated against, gossiped about or looked down upon. Everyone knows someone who takes birth control whether they are married, single, promiscuous, or virginal. When birth control stops being something debated politically and socially only then will women be able to feel empowered.


Helpful links for birth control:
Planned Parenthood

http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control-4211.htm

Womens Health
http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/birth-control-methods.cfm

Birth Control Stats as of March 2012
http://statisticbrain.com/birth-control-statistics/
Obamacare Says Insurance Must Cover Birth Control
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/01/obama-birth-control-health-insurance_n_914818.html







Thursday, November 8, 2012

Spiritual Midwifery and Natural Child Birth




Last night I went to a beautiful movie called Birth Story it was all about awesome Midwife Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives. I am not ashamed to say I cried at the beauty and blessing of watching amazing women help other women give life to their babies.



My best friend is graduating in December to be a nurse and one her goals is to study midwifery under legendary Ina May. I am so proud of my Mary and hope that with the birth on my next child she will be present. I also pray she gets to live her dream and study to be a midwife on The Farm.



Ina May prescribes to the belief that a woman can have a natural childbirth, free of medications and unnecessary c sections and other medical procedures. She has personally attended over 1200 natural births. She speaks about how birth is natural and can be a wonderful experience. Women’s bodies can do it! Too often women are told they cannot do a natural child birth, it is too hard, and it will be too painful. And we believe it, because our OBGYN, a doctor, is telling us this. A doctor is telling us that a c section is the best answer, even though women and other mammals have been birthing babies for thousands of years.



Too often now women schedule c sections and all this surgery and interference has caused the maternal and fetal death statistics to jump up in crazy ways. Midwives believe that pregnancy and birth are normal stages in a woman’s life. They believe that unless there are complications intervention is not needed. They think that birth and pregnancy should be family centered and that as a midwife their responsibility is giving guidance and support throughout the pregnancy and birth. Women should make their own informed choices.



I am an advocate of Natural Child Birth for many reasons. My first daughter was born without an epidermal with three of my best friends supporting and surrounding me. It didn’t go perfectly but I did it. My own body pushed out my daughter and I would not trade that experience for the world. I had a Doula and a Midwife as well.



My second daughter was a c section. I only had the support of my husband at the time and my doctor scared me into it saying the baby was too large for my pelvis to birth her. With more research after wards and listening to midwives and reading I learned what utter crap that was. What I needed was a good support system and to stay at home until the last possible second with people I love cheering me on and telling me I could do it. I hated every second of the c section and every minute after wards. I had no interest in my daughter for at least an hour because I was tired, hungry, sore and freezing.



Needless to say my next baby with be as natural as I can make it and possibly at home if I can swing it. I think everyone woman should at least TRY natural birth before resorting to pain killers. You are supposed to feel something during the giving of life. And there are so many hormones rushing through your system it can feel amazing as well as painful at the same time.



Here are some great links I hope you will look at, even if you think this is all bull shit and you want a “real” doctor and a sterile hospital environment, please please educate yourself, your husband, partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, wife and friends first.



www.mymidwife.org



(Certified Nurse Midwives that are recognized by the American Medical Association)



www.bradleybirth.com



(The Bradley Method, focusing on partner supported child birth)



www.birthpartners.com



(A directory of natural birth related service providers)



www.nwhalliance.org



( The National Women’s Health Alliance which will give you important information about your health care options. This includes medical procedures, devices, medications etc…etc..)



www.dona.org



(Doulas of North America, doulas are trained to give mothers emotional, physical and education support)



www.vbac.com



(Support for women who would like a vaginal birth after a c section)



http://www.inamay.com/



( Ina May’s Website)



http://thefarmmidwives.org/



(The Farm Midwives.)



http://www.amazon.com/Spiritual-Midwifery-Ina-May-Gaskin/dp/1570671044



(Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May’s first book, a must read)



http://birthstorymovie.com/



(This is Birth Story, the documentary I saw last night. Check it out.)





Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Proof that Abstinence Only Programs Do Not Work



 
 Teen pregnancy rates are high in most areas of the United States, high because of uniformed teenagers growing up without family involvement, with abstinence only programs and without the availability of safe and confidential birth control options. A pregnant teen is only one step in the ladder of sexual activity in children ages 15-19 it is a ladder that also contains abortion rates, sexually transmitted diseases, fetal and maternal death rates.

The U.S Department of Health has a section called Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) which will give the reproductive health facts on a state by state basis. Utah (for example since it IS my state) in 2010 6 percent of all births were teen pregnancies versus the national average of 9 percent. Utah is one of the higher states for teen pregnancy, especially in non Hispanic whites. (Curiouser and Curiouser) 

More than half of the pregnancies between girls ages 15-19 were outside of marriage. This does not mean I think you should wait to have sex before marriage. But I do think you should wait until you are at least 18 and out of high school... You know, a grown up. The statistics are not that surprising, however, when one considers that four school districts teach abstinence only. Yeah Yeah Yeah, harping, whatever.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also has a department called The Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH). It covers HIV, STD and teen pregnancy prevention in students.  The Risk Behavior Survey done in 2011 shows that many students had sexual intercourse without protection. Those that did have sex without protection did so because they did not know about birth control or did not know where to obtain birth control. Not to mention that 16 percent were not taught about HIV and AIDS. These statistics match up with the OAH statistics.  DASH states that the solutions to the teen pregnancy issues  are for better health education, more family participation, better policies and more comprehensive health plans.

A DASH 2010 pole about Utah’s high schools showed that only 11 percent taught condom information and use, 8 percent has a nurse on duty, less than half had supportive services and that only 37 percent had information to give to parents to make sure that families are reinforcing STD and pregnancy prevention. These statistics are very similar in other conservative states, check it out.

The Utah Health Department put together a report on Adolescent Pregnancy in Utah looking at trends over the last twenty years. The report is from 1997 but the Utah Health Department states that the trends, laws, policies and statistics have not changed much.  They show as did DASH and OAH that many Utah students were sexually active between the ages of 15-19.  That many of these teens waited up to a year after they had become sexually active before seeking any kind of birth control and that over half of the pregnancies from teens were because of the non use of contraception.

The Utah Health Department attributes this to the fact that the laws in Utah states that abstinence only should be pushed in sexual education classes and contraceptives may be talked about but the use of not encouraged. Parents also must give written consent to have their children in classes which discuss birth control.  

This is stupid. When I was in Middle School I had the worlds best Sex Ed teacher. She showed giant pictures of STD's talked about how "no one is too big for a condom, wear one!" and answered all our questions honestly and openly. I didn't have sex until I was 18 because a) she scared the crap out of me b) I didn't want a baby or a disease and c) my mom and I could talk about sex without an issue.

Please just talk to your children. Allow your children to be taught sexual education, I promise it won't make them sluts.

Here are some handy resources:




 



Obama and Teen Pregnancy

So I am very excited that president Obama won.  Now my vagina and other civil rights can stay safe and happy. I saw a lot of negativity though. People saying how if their friends voted for the wrong canidate they should "lose their number" and people saying "I am moving to .... now that Obama has won."  Isn't what an election is all about is the freedom to vote and make your own decisions and say what you want to say? Telling people you can no longer be associated with them because of the person they want to be president makes you just as bad as those people you do not like. Open mindedness is on all sides and understanding that EVERYONE is entitled to their own opinion. Just because you do not agree with it or believe in it doesn't make it WRONG. It just makes it different.

And for those of you who think America is going to hell in a hand basket because of Obama check this out... Things Obama did for the good ole US of A.

1. Saved the collapse of the American automotive industry by making GM restructure before bailing them out, and putting incentive money to help the industry

2. •Froze the salaries for top White House staff members. This is a largely symbolic act, but might be an important one.


3.•Lifted a ban on giving federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide abortion information.


4.Launched Business.gov - enabling conversation and online collaboration between small business owners, government representatives and industry experts in discussion forums relevant to starting and managing a business

5..Lowered drug costs for seniors

I could go on, or you could do the research yourself and fucking look.


Now, teen pregnancy:

Teenage pregnancy is a concern in many states in the U.S; in fact it is a problem in many countries all over the world. Governments try to crack down on the rising rates of teen pregnancy with sexual education classes and programs in public health services to provide contraception and STD testing to those teens who choose not to abstain from having sex. If a teenager does get pregnant most states in the US have other programs installed like The Pregnancy Resource Center in Salt Lake City or Planned Parenthood.

In Salt Lake City, Utah teen pregnancy rates are three times higher than the national average.  Teen pregnancy has been rising steadily since 2004 and most of the communities feel that education of teens is the only way to stop the number from climbing any further.  Information suggests that teens in Utah, more so than in other places, have a harder time accessing birth control, thought that their partner was sterile or did not think they could get pregnant. There are at least four school districts that only promote abstinence and state legislation requires teachers to endorse abstinence and not support the use of contraception. In America we have parents who think sexual education and the giving of birth control to minors as wrong, and then those who will fight to keep such programs in the community.

As well as educating on sex in the classroom, the general consensus in is that parents need to take a more active role with their children. The state PTA has information workshops where parents can be given “Ready to Talk” kits.  Parents need to openly talk to their children about sex and birth control.  Utah law forbids government health clinics to give teens birth control without parental consent and only Planned Parenthoods in Salt Lake, which gets federal Title X funding, is allowed to over look that law. It would be easier if teens felt they could go to their parents to ask for help in obtaining birth control.

Parents need to accept the fact that teenagers have sex and being aware of how to prevent pregnancy and what causes pregnancy are the best tools against it. Ignorance is truly the cause of this issue in Utah and every where else.

If you have a child who asks you about birth control and you either a) won't discuss it or b) won't take them to go get it. Then you cannot complain if your child comes home pregnant or gets someone pregnant. Teens need safe confidential places to get birth control. I have two daughters. If they did not feel they could talk to me then I would hope they would have a health care provider they could openly  talk to about these things. I would rather my 15 year old was on the pill then pregnant. Sure in a perfect world I would rather that she waited. But thats bull shit and unrealistic. Parents need to be prepared.











Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting and HPV

I hope you will all be out there today voting. Even if you vote for Mitt Romney (who I personally think is a Republican Puppet and will set back women's right 40 years or more) it is a good idea to allow your voice to be heard. I voted for Obama, I am not ashamed of this. I feel that expecting a man to clean up the mess it took Bush 8 years to saddle us with is unrealistic. My life has been improved since Obama became president and the lives of my children as well. So I am praying that Obama wins this election. Since everyone else is trying to tell women what their vaginas should be doing here is my contribution.




If you have a vagina vote OBAMA 2012!



Now. I want to talk about HPV. A really good friend of mine recently got diagnosed with HPV and had to have a LEEP look it up I don't have time to really explain just know its painful performed because her yearly physical showed abnormal cells on her cervix. My friend isn't a slut, she is an educated adult female who probably contracted it unknowingly from a partner who already had it, and also didn't know.



Human Papillomavirus (or Genital Human Papillomavirus) is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. There are more than 40 different types of HPV and both men and women can get it. HPV is transmitted through sexual intercourse.



Many women and men are not as well informed about HPV as they should be. HPV can have little or no symptoms and, if lucky, ones immune system will cure the HPV in a few years. If not other things may appear as a result of the virus. HPV can develop into genital warts, and cancer. The type of HPV that becomes genital warts does not cause cancer as well; there is no cure for HPV, though there are vaccines.



Every year around twelve thousand women get cervical cancer in the USA; most of these are HPV related. This number does not count the women who contract other HPV associated cancers like anal, vulva and throat, or the men that have it too. There is an estimated 20 million people in America who have HPV and 6 million newly infected people every year. With these numbers it is safe to say that half of all sexually active men and women get HPV at some point.



There are several ways to prevent HPV. The most common ways are to wear a condom during all types of sexual intercourse and to limit the amount of sexual partners one has. The main way to prevent HPV is to receive the vaccination. There are two different vaccinations for HPV. Both vaccines require three shots and both work against the HPV that causes cancer. However, only one of the shots protects against HPV that causes genital warts.



There are some issues with the vaccine, however. For the vaccine to work the best it should be given to children between the ages of 11 and 12 and can only be given up to the age of 26. So, basically, if you are over 26 and either a) did not have the resources or knowledge to get the HPV vaccine, or b) it was not around when you were younger then you are out of luck with being vaccinated against this common STD. Other preventative measures that should be taken with HPV are, for women, to have their regular pap tests and do HPV DNA testing.



There is no cure for HPV. If one gets HPV there are treatment options. Genital warts can be removed and certain medication can be prescribed. Most doctors just recommend waiting; they usually will go away on their own. Since HPV is a virus, genital warts can return. Developing abnormal cells on the cervix is a different matter. Most treatments include freezing the abnormal tissue off, undergoing a LEEP, where a hot wire loop is used, laser treatment or a cone biopsy, all of which are painful, invasive procedures.



In the United State where HPV is so common it is depressing that there are not more large support groups for people who have contracted HPV. A major group is ASHA (American Social Health Association). They give information on not only dealing with HPV, but how ones boyfriend, husband, wife or girlfriend should handle a loved one being diagnosed with this STD. Many people feel that it is a sign of a partner being unfaithful, but this is inaccurate since it can take a long time for HPV symptoms to appear. ASHA also has links to personal stories of HPV to give hope and allow people with HPV to understand they are not the only ones. ASHA also has links to other state support groups like the Washington HPV Hope group.



Another large group that deals with HPV is the National Cervical Cancer Coalition. On the website one can learn even more about HPV, starting with the fact that January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month and how one can contribute to increasing awareness for this type of cancer. The NCCC stresses how 70 % of all women will come in contact with HPV. One can also find all the latest information regarding HPV.



In Utah, aside from ones personal doctor and the women’s clinics, there is not much in the way of information about HPV. There have not been any new screening requirements put in place and there is only 25 thousands dollars a year allocated to public awareness of cervical cancer. Utah Medicaid does cover HPV screening and the vaccination at 100 percent. Since Utah is a conservative state there have been many who try to link young girls getting the HPV vaccination with them becoming sexually active younger. Again, this is bull shit.



With the old fashioned abstinence only laws in Utah many parents do not get their children vaccinated. This correlates with the fact that state legislation ensured that any public awareness campaign had to include that “information about abstinence before and fidelity after marriage being the surest prevention of sexually transmitted diseases including the human papillomavirus." Ridiculous, again just because the vaccine has to do with something that is sexually transmitted does NOT mean it isn't as important as other vaccinations.



HPV is a serious threat to women, and men. In all communities there need to be more programs talking about sexual education and the use of birth control. Children need to be informed on how one contracts an STD and how to prevent it from happening. Abstinence only programs do not work. More funds need to be assigned for HPV prevention and awareness without conservatives becoming upset about whether giving a child a vaccine for an STD will make him or her deicide promiscuity is the way to go. STDs like HPV do not just go away without public health intervention. People need to take an interest in their own health care and the health care of their community.



Links about HPV:



American Social Health Association.
http://www.ashastd.org/std-sti/hpv.html

Centers for Disease Control
http://www.cdc.gov/STD/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm

National Cervical Cancer Coalition
http://www.nccc-online.org/index.php/overview















Monday, November 5, 2012

Websites, People and Links you May want to take a look at

Below are a list of people, websites and things I endorse, love and recommend you take a look at.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-womack/

Larry Womack, personal friend, totally AWESOME writer and fellow liberal.



https://www.batconservancy.org/
Bats are totally misunderstood creatures. This is the Lubee Bat Conservation. They are trying to educate people about bats and save them. This will be a constant theme since I love bats.

http://www.aisfor.org/our-ribbon/


A is For... This is a GREAT organization promoting women's rights in healthcare. It also is talking about not being shamed into silence. Whether because you have sex outside of marriage, have had an abortion or if you have needed Plan B. The idea is based on the Scarlet Letter. I donated and will be getting my red A ribbon asap. I will post a picture of myself wearing it.
What does YOUR A mean to you?


http://projectvoice.org/
Stories of REAL women who have had abortions. These stories range from relief to sadness, from anger and frustration to gratitude and encouragement. Maybe if people read the words from women who have dealt with this medical procedure they would understand no abortion decision is made simply or easily.

http://twitter.com/MochaPeach


Peach Braxton, she is also on youtube. Check her out, her opinions are in video blogs form normally and are priceless. She is in the same league with Cristina Rad.


http://cristinarad.blogspot.com/

Cristina Rad. She is great; you can see her video blogs on youtube.com as well. She is particularly awesome if you are looking for pro atheism and women's rights view points. She is funny too.

http://www.twloha.com/


To Write Love on Her Arms. This organization is all about the understanding, treatment and prevention of self mutilation, self harm and suicide.

http://www.fatgirlsguidetoliving.com/
I love this blog, excellent tips and advice for plus size ladies.


http://www.plannedparenthood.org/


Planned Parenthood. Enough said


That’s all for now. I am sure I have more but these are the most important. If you have any feel free to comment.

An Introduction, Or as I like to call it: Something to Think about.

After scouring the internet for something that relates to me and to many women I know I found it came up relatively short. So I decided to take it upon myself to start a blog. A blog for things that I believe in, things that I want to see changed, things I have questions about, things that I don’t feel women talk about nearly enough and things that have too much stigma surrounding them.


This is all very new to me. The criticism and conflict this blog may cause might be huge, it might be insignificant. Maybe no one will ever read these things or maybe everyone will and I will become an internet super star. One never knows what path life will take you.


There are so many topics I want to discuss from a woman’s point of view; Abortion, birth control, teen pregnancy, Paganism, being over weight, eating disorders, adultery, parenting and Universal Health Care. Not to mention writing, books and relationships. I want to know how many women out there have the same concerns that I do, especially with the fact that the United States looks to be becoming so conservative and so anti women.


Many things I want to talk about on here are things that I either a)have kept to myself and don’t feel like I should have to and b) are things only my close family and friends know about me.


But how can I expect people to understand my points of view and maybe change things if I can’t even say some of it out loud? How can I expect other women to talk to me, to know I understand them if I am not willing to say it out loud. Will I take heat for this? Sure. Will it be worth it? Goddess I hope so.


So before I do anything else allow me to introduce myself.


I am a plus size recently re married mom. I live in Utah, I am pagan. I take birth control, vote liberal (read democrat) believe in sexual education classes over abstinence only programs, that the USA needs Universal Health Care, think that schools and the government should crack down on bullying, and that marijuana should be made legal.

I am pro choice and all about keeping abortion safe and legal. I believe in the death penalty, separation of church and state, that everyone should be treated fairly and equally, that you have the right to marry anyone you choose and it is no one’s business but your own. I think you should spay and neuter your damn pets, that natural birth is the way to go and midwives are the best bet with a normal pregnancy. I think that welfare is greatly needed and appreciated, that Americans are way too judgmental and people need to be even more involved in suicide and self harm awareness. I am sure I have left things out, but you get the gist of it.

I work full time, in health care, and have been a practicing pagan for 15 years. Basically I don’t give a shit if you don’t like my views or opinions. I don’t care what God you pray to, if you are Atheist or Worships Ya Ya the Tree God from the Kingdom of Forest High. Yeah I made that up. You are entitled to your own thoughts and beliefs, but like a penis, don’t shove them down anyone’s throat, unless they ask you for it.