What Will I Do?

I’ve been putting off my piece for Blog For Choice Day because I’m not entirely sure what to say. I know. Shut up. This year’s question is, “What will you do to help elect pro-choice candidates in 2012?” The problem is that a lot of times, I think I’m doing it just by voting for someone.

We had a bit of an issue here in Shelby County in the fall. I wrote about it here, but the gist of it is that Shelby County has been contracting with Planned Parenthood for many years. Planned Parenthood has used federal Title X money to provide such services as breast cancer screening, family planning information, pelvic exams, and STD screening. Because it is government money, it is not used for abortions. The problem was that back in the fall,  Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell caved in to pressure from state Republicans such as Hizzoner The Gubner Lite, Ron Ramsey, and decided the Godless Satan that is Planned Parenthood should not get the contract. It was awarded to Christ Community Health Services. Christ Community is staffed with good people doing good things–unless you need an abortion or birth control. Despite Christ Community’s inability to comply with the terms of the Title X grant, the Shelby County Commission sent the money there anyway. A commissioner I supported, Steve Mulroy, made an eleventh hour decision to vote to award the contract to Christ Community because, as he wrote on his Facebook page,

” I KNEW there were almost certainly 7 votes to support CCHS, regardless of what I did.  Even after Commissioner Bailey changed back to PPGMR, I KNEW there were 7 votes (or more) for CCHS without me .  Since the outcome was a foregone conclusion, I decided to at least get assurances re: compliance monitoring, so that at the end of the contract period, we would have hard data to decide whether opponents’ concerns re: proselytization, abortion counseling, and emergency contraception were warranted. If they are, we can revisit the contract. Some in the audience may have thought I was the crucial 7th vote, because they saw the voting screen light up with 6 names in green, then a pause, and then my name in green.  Not so.  Newly appointed Commissioner Taylor, too new to be able to vote using the computer system, had already indicated his support.  I knew there were already 7 votes, and I knew an 8th was on its way.  I was either the 8th or 9th vote for this, depending on how you count it.”

So, what am I going to do? I’m going to pay more attention. It’s more than a question of whether or not a particular candidate is pro-choice. Wearing a pink ribbon on your lapel in October does not make you a champion of women’s health issues. The issue, for me, is what will you do to respect my privacy? What will you do to ensure equal access to health care? What will you do to make abortion safe and rare? If you reduce your campaign to a single issue–even if it is women’s health–you are not my candidate. The problem is that we, as voters, have allowed ourselves to be single-issue voters. And that stops for me this year.

I’m taking the old saying about all politics being local to heart this year. I’m concentrating on local and state issues first, national issues second. I figure if we get the local solved, the national will soon follow. I’m going to support public servants rather than politicians. I’m going to keep pushing the idea that one’s personal religious views do not get to dictate public policy.

I will be a politician’s worst nightmare: An informed voter.


9 Comments Add yours

  1. debbie says:

    More power to anyone who has the patience to work through the lies and misinformation that people like Jerry desperately proffer. Jerry’s b.s. draws a bold line between what I can and cannot tolerate in political discourse. My impulse is to throw up my hands and shout, “What’s the gotdammed point?!?”Jerry and his/her kind are impervious to reason. They will obstinately dismiss medically established facts, and they are incapable of showing empathy for anything that walks on two legs.

    For me, the best defense is a good offense. I will continue to educate young people about their rights as human beings to manage their own health care. I will demonstrate respect for those service providers that really care about the sanctity of life. Also, as Susan noted, I will stay informed and vote accordingly.

    I stand with Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and everyone else who works to provide women and families the health care they need.

  2. vvixen says:


    Where do you get your evidence for this: “Try calling a few PP clinics and ask about breast cancer screening, pelvic exams, etc and see how helpful they are. Some will come right out and say that they focus on “surgeries”, and many others will just point you to non-PP clinics.”

    Planned Parenthood in Memphis provides family planning services (exams, Pap tests, birth control) to more women than the Shelby County health department does. The vast majority of Planned Parenthood patients do not have abortions–they go there to get birth control with the intent to avoid unplanned pregnancies.

    Planned Parenthood provides basic preventive gynecological health care. They also provide safe abortions. It’s a legal medical procedure and I thank God that women have a safe place to go to get abortions rather than attempting to do it themselves.

    And by the way, this statement is also false: “And abortion has nothing to do with a woman’s health. A woman’s life is rarely endangered by pregnancy, but hundreds of thousands of women have suffered physical damage to their reproductive systems and/or long term psychological damage arising from guilt and depression after undergoing an abortion.”

    Yes, sometimes abortion has everything to do with a woman’s health. Pregnancy is not a neutral condition like carrying a sack of flour around for 9 months. It affects every organ system in a woman’s body. A woman’s risk of suffering stroke, diabetes and dangerously high blood pressure is elevated throughout the 9 months of pregnancy. Even in the U.S., with advanced medical care available to most people, women still die from pregnancy and childbirth. In contrast, abortion conducted by a reputable provider is actually safer for a woman than giving birth. As for psychological impacts, most women do not suffer any long term negative emotions because of abortion. For those who do, it’s very likely that the stigma that is unfairly attached to abortion is the cause of lingering shame or guilt some women feel. Many women feel they can’t tell their friends or relatives about abortion without being judged or ostracized. What does that say about how loving and forgiving Christians are?

  3. Jerry, it’s not US who are misinformed. Those of you in the FORCED CHILDBIRTH movement – and clearly, that’s what it is – use religion as an excuse to support your inaccurate views.

    Simply put, no fetus is VIABLE on its own until very late in the term – when the heaviest regulations occur any way. To say that a POTENTIAL human being is more important that the the ACTUAL, FULLY-FORMED human being carrying suggests that you believe that women are mere birth vessels and not full citizens.

    Oh, and Jerry, did you know the Catholic Church was very late to the FORCED CHILDBIRTH bandwagon? Like, not until the 1800s?

    Nice try, thanks for playing.

  4. Jerry says:

    When you get your information from Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry you are not an informed voter, you are a misinformed voter

    Try calling a few PP clinics and ask about breast cancer screening, pelvic exams, etc and see how helpful they are. Some will come right out and say that they focus on “surgeries”, and many others will just point you to non-PP clinics. And there are thousands of non-PP federally subsidized clinics for Medicaid recipients across the nation. Read PP’s financial statements and you will see that most of their income is derived primarily from abortions

    And undercover videos taken at PP clinics in numerous states have shown them to be willing to provide abortions to underage girls and teenage victims of statutory rape or sex traffickers in order to keep the cash register ringing

    It is really difficult to give credibility to feminists who howl that women should have control over their own bodies and then hear one say they “need” an abortion in this day and age

    Women are indeed in control of their reproductive choices – prior to conceiving. Dismembering, decapitating or poisoning a pre-born baby girl or boy, and disposing of the body or pieces in a garbage pail, because a woman is unhappy with the use of her reproductive capabilities is not akin to using a condom or the pill

    And abortion has nothing to do with a woman’s health. A woman’s life is rarely endangered by pregnancy, but hundreds of thousands of women have suffered physical damage to their reproductive systems and/or long term psychological damage arising from guilt and depression after undergoing an abortion

    “Choice” is not just a political slogan, it is a euphemism for the merciless inhumanity of abortion. Here is a link to demonstrations of the three basic abortion procedures – http://radiantcross.org/radiant-cross-home-on-abortion-videos.htm.

    This is the “choice” you are blogging on in behalf of NARAL

    Please open your heart to God and reflect upon what you are actually supporting

    And please reply to this comment

    1. Jerry, I am assuming you are a man. If I am correct, SHUT UP! This is a woman’s issue. As for your masculine view, I could care less. Stop trolling and spreading disgusting videos. Do you honestly think we as women don’t know what an abortion looks like?

    2. Susan says:

      I have read your points and it is with great restraint that I allow your amazingly ignorant assumptions to remain published on my blog. But I think it is important that people see exactly to what lengths the anti-choice, forced-birth cartel will go to in its campaign to deprive women the right to choose.

      I can tell you, as someone who relied on Planned Parenthood as an uninsured student, that at no time was I given an abortion rather than the pap smear I went in for. Never did I try to make an appointment for a routine exam, but was told the facility only did “surgeries”. My recommendation to you is if that is happening at your local Planned Parenthood, you document it and talk to local Planned Parenthood officials who will be happy to counsel their employees.

      Here’s the great thing about being a feminist. You know what, it’s not just the great thing about being a feminist. It’s the great thing about this country. Your ignorant, baseless, and completely unfounded assumptions do not have to control my decisions. You choose to wage war on women with fear. I find that cowardly. Rather than focusing on something most people would probably agree with you on–that abortion should become unnecessary– you’ve decided to slut shame. Rather than using your faith to educate rationally, you’ve used your religion as a cudgel. You know why no one listens or takes what you’re saying seriously here? Because you, like most of the anti-choice movement, are still relying on ridiculous statements like, “…disposing of the body or pieces in a garbage pail…” If you really cared about women’s health, you would spend less time resorting to B-movie horror tactics like body pieces in garbage pails, and more time working to make abortion unnecessary.

      A survey of 5,000 teen mothers has just come out. About a quarter of them said they did not use contraception because their partner did not want to. You want to do something about abortion? Work on fixing that statistic.

      1. Jerry says:

        Thank you for publishing my comment Susan. You and only one other pro-choice blog, of the many I posted comments on in the pro-life response to Blog For Choice Day, had the firmness of conviction to publish an opposing view

        Though I am sure some Planned Parenthood clinics do some breast cancer screening, pap smears, etc, PP’s own financial records show that they are primarily an abortion provider. There is a need for Title X Funding for Medicaid recipients and the uninsured, and I am happy that you got the services you needed at the time, but most of these do patients access non-PP clinics

        And numerous published undercover videos have shown PP to be an exploiter of women, especially the most helpless, frightened and disenfranchised

        The videos are horrible, but they are not a tactic nor a cudgel, but simply the reality of “choice”. If they change the mind of at least one woman contemplating abortion who might access them from your blog, you will have saved a life because you were classy enough to post the comment

  5. I think that’s what it’s going to take … every one of us becoming an “informed voter”! And we need to inform OURSELVES … we can’t learn from television commercials or the preacher on Sunday mornings. We must make an EFFORT to learn about the candidates and their views of the issues tha are important to us and to those that we love.

Just spit it out, already!

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