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Archive for the ‘Abortion Clinics’ Category

AbortionWe all know about the war on women’s health that is being waged by the Republican Presidential candidates.  I will say that Rick Santorum has at least been consistent all of his political life.  He would like to see Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health clinics just disappear.  But then there’s Mitt Romney, who as Governor of Massachusetts used to be pro-choice and supported PPFA’s mission.  And now, of course, he has done a total reversal.

If Romney gets the presidential nomination, consider that he will try to stop PPFA (and the independent clinics) from not just performing abortions but also breast exams, life saving cervical cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and offering birth control.

I urge those of you who support women’s health (and who trust women to make their own decisions) to get involved in the presidential campaign.  There may be no more important one than this one.

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Divorce

Divorce

Are you a “middle aged” woman?   Are you recently divorced?

If so, you might be interested in the observations of one Christopher Coleman, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, who has found that divorced middle aged women are more likely to contract HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

One reason is that they tend to “let their guard down” with new sexual partners and avoid using contraception since they are unafraid of getting pregnant.

Divorce

Divorce

Also, as you get older, physiological changes due to menopause (such as the thinning of vaginal walls) make it more that a woman will contract a virus. Then there is the fact that medications that would be used to treat an STD or HIV become hard for a woman to tolerate because an aging body metabolizes medications differently.

Careful, girls!

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PP Abortion

PP Abortion

Everyone knows that Planned Parenthood does more than abortions.  Well, almost everybody.  If you are an anti-abortion zealot, you’d say that’s all they do.  One of the things the PPFA facilities do is offer breast cancer screenings and over the years, the Susan G. Komen Foundation has provided them with almost $1 million to help women.

Anti Abortion

Anti Abortion

But now, something is fishy.  Citing the fact that a certain Congressman has held a hearing examining PPFA’s operations (an anti-abortion Congressman), the Foundation has just announced that they will no longer provide PPFA with funding!!!    That’s right.  Some nutball decides to hold a sham hearing on PPFA and the folks at the Foundation are now running for cover.

Abortion Donations

Abortion Donations

Shame on the folks at the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a normally great organization for a worthy cause.   Don’t expect any more contributions from me!

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Congress in Session

Today or tomorrow, the U.S. House of Representatives will pass a bill that repeals the Healthcare Reform Act that was signed into law last year.  That, of course, is the law that has generated so much controversy in this country.  I personally support this much needed law.

If you also support this law, don’t worry at all when you hear that the House has repealed it.  It’s all a big show.

The Republican Party campaigned in 2010 promising to repeal the law.  And they will take this first step.  But that’s as far as it will go.  The next step would be for the repeal to be considered by the U.S. Senate and the Democratic Party still runs things over there.  But, let’s think worst case scenario.  Let’s say that the Senate also repeals the law.    In that case, the next step is the repeal legislation would go to the President and guess what he will do?   He’ll veto the bill.

When a bill is vetoed, it goes back to the House and the Senate.  Both of those bodies can override what the President did but they have to get two-thirds of their body to vote for repeal.  And the Republicans don’t have those numbers.

So, you can watch what is going on with interest if you’ve got nothing to do.   The Republicans are just doing this so they can go back to their constituents and tell them that they “fought” to repeal that “horrible law.”

But, relax folks.  It’s all part of the show.

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John Boehner

At this point, I assume you know that a new health care system is being implemented in this country.  If you don’t know this then…..well, there is no sense in reading this cause, honey, you are on another planet.

We’ve heard all the arguing and seen some of the commercials and watched the elections and all.  We’ve heard how the new Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has vowed to repeal the new law.  Well, that’s a total crock because while the House of Representatives will vote to repeal it, it’s unlikely that the Senate will do the same and, if by some chance they do repeal it, well, Obama-Man is sitting there with his ole veto pen.  End of story.

We’re gonna be living with this new law for some time.  That being the case, I thought I would regularly send you a short explanation of what all of this means to you to cut through all of the stuff that you see and don’t have time to sort out.

A number of the provisions of the law will not take effect for quite a while, but some things are already in effect.  So, right now, here’s the deal:

Any health plan that you get through your job or any new individual plan has to let any kids you have under 19 to have coverage.  In other words, they cannot be denied coverage if they are already sick or have some medical condition.

If your health insurance allows you to have coverage for your dependents, then they can be covered until they are 26 years old.  After that, you kick them out of the house and they’re on their own.

Insurance companies cannot drop you from their plans when you get sick just because you made a mistake on your coverage application.

Many insurance companies say that during your lifetime you can only be covered up to a certain point.  Today, there are no limits.

If your employer offers a health plan, you generally can’t be turned away or charged a higher premium because of your health status or disability.  This protection is called “nondiscrimination.”

If family members are eligible but are not currently enrolled under your health plan at work, you may be able to add them during a “special enrollment” opportunity outside of the usual “open enrollment” period.

Not too shabby, huh?

There’s so much more to come!  Stay tuned.

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Teenagers

Okay, girls, it’s time for some basic info.

Let’s start with you youngsters.  Are you between the ages of 13 and 15?  Ah, God bless ya if you are!   I remember those days well.  I can remember cute little Tommy Kosky who sat in front of me in Algebra class.  To this day, I can still smell that cheap cologne that probably cost him $2.00 a gallon.  I remember asking him dumb questions just to get him to notice me…uh, I’m sorry, I’m digressing here.

Okay, earth to Pat.

As I was saying, if you are between the ages of 13 and 15, it’s time you picked up the phone and made your first appointment with an Obstetrician-Gynecologist, otherwise known as an Ob-Gyn.  Don’t know who to call?  Well, ask around, talk to your friends.  Don’t rely on the Google-meister.

The important thing is that this first visit will help you establish a relationship with the doctor of your choice and you’ll be able to talk candidly about your medical and sexual history (even if you have not had sexual intercourse.) This is a good time to ask questions about sexually transmitted diseases and contraceptives.   In many cases, this can become a life-long relationship.

If you are 21 years or older and have not yet had a pelvic exam or a Pap test, what the frig are you waiting for?   Get on your cell phone right now!

Ob-Gyn First Visit

If you have had these tests, then the question is how long has it been since your last Pap smear and pelvic exam? According to the American College of Ob-Gyns, women 21 to 29 should get a Pap smear every year, then every other year (or as often as your doctor recommends) from ages 30 to 64.

Meanwhile you should always see your gynecologist if you experience any bleeding between periods, bleeding after sexual intercourse or an unusual or constant vaginal discharge.

If you are over 30 years old, it is not necessary to get an annual Pap smear but you still should get an annual pelvic exam to check for any other changes or infections. If you’ve had an HPV test that was negative that doesn’t mean you don’t need to have a yearly pelvic exam. And remember that with each new sexual partner your risk of getting HPV increases by 15 percent. According to the ACOG guidelines for Pap testing women diagnosed with HIV or other diseases or conditions that lower immunity should continue having annual Pap smears after age 30.  Indeed, the greatest single reason for the occurrence of cervical cancer is not having Pap smears according to recommended guidelines.

Get with the program.  Don’t be a silly girl.  After all, it’s only your life.

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Today Show

I have been watching the “Today” show for a good thirty years.  I’ve been through dozens of co-hosts and countless funky weathermen.  Unfortunately, in the last few years I’ve watched “Today” morph from a true news show to a morning version of “Entertainment Tonight.”  And I’m tired of it.  So, Matt and Meredith and Al, if you are listening, I need to tell you that I’m gone.

The tipping point came yesterday morning.  Waiting for my coffee to brew, buttering my toast, I switched on the TV to Channel Four and heard that familiar opening theme.  You know the one I’m talking about, the one that starts with the three heavy notes.  I can’t convey that sound in writing, but if you take a second you’ll hear it.  Then, after this dramatic intro, you hear the somber voice of Matt Lauer.

“Soaker,” he announces.

Huh?   Did he say “soaker?”    What the frig does “soaker”  mean?

I glance at the television and see a quick shot of a street and it looks like it is raining.  I am puzzled.

He then gives us the next one word verbal “headline,” which I will get to in a minute.

After this titillating intro, Matt proceeds to give us a little more information on that FIRST story on this NATIONAL television broadcast that is being watched my MILLIONS of Americans.  I have to assume it’s something significant.  I am on the edge of my seat.

He proceeds to tell us that it is raining pretty hard in Florida.  Yep, that’s it.  The first story of the day is that it is raining heavily somewhere in the state of Florida.  People are getting – you guessed it – soaked.  What the heck?  Is that it?  Are you kidding me?

Matt and Meredith

Then, for a live, action-filled report on this breaking story, the camera cuts to some dweeb who is standing in the middle of this “soaker” wearing the obligatory heavy rain gear.  His hood is over his head but, honestly, I don’t see any rain falling on him.   Now, mind you, he is not talking about a hurricane.  No one has mentioned the word “tropical storm.”   Heck, he hasn’t even used the word “tropical depression.”   No, it was just a lot of rain.  It was a “soaker.”

They cut to a street where you can see some water backing up.  I also see cars flying back and forth, zipping right through the puddles.   Meanwhile, this brave reporter, who wants us to think he is risking his life for us, is using the obligatory buzzwords to keep our attention.  “I will add, Matt, that there have been no DEATHS or no SERIOUS INJURIES due to this STORM. “

This was the first story of the day.  This was the hard news that the producers of “Today” thought I just had to know.   Then there was the second most important story of the day.

It seems that there was some beauty contest in Australia or New Zealand or one of those semi-English speaking countries.  After hours of inane interviews and silly talent displays, the field was pared down to two young girls.  The emcee, a woman, took out the card with the winner’s name on it and, in true Ryan Seacrest form, milked the announcement for several minutes.  The tension was palpable.  Finally, she declares the winner and the place goes nuts.  The new Miss Marsupial is screaming her lungs out, jumping all over the place.  The runner-up gives her the obligatory hug while no doubt cursing her under her breath.

But, wait a minute!   The emcee is yelling something over the din.  She is screaming “I made a mistake, I made a mistake!”   Well, it seems that she screwed it up and named the wrong person.  So, she had to suck it up, stop the premature celebration and announce, practically in tears, that the original winner was really the runner up.

A funny story, if you ask me.  Maybe a little sad as well.

But my point is was this really the SECOND MOST IMPORTANT

Anne and Al

NATIONAL story of the day?  I mean, c’mon folks, do I really need to know about this screw up?  Didn’t anything happen somewhere in the rest of the entire world that qualified as real news?   We’re in a war for God’s sakes, didn’t we win some skirmish somewhere or capture some terrorist?   Didn’t some city or state pass some controversial new law?   Believe me, Matt, I can take the hard news if you got it.

But the more I think about it, maybe the “Today” show and other “news” shows are just giving the public want they want.  Maybe most folks don’t want to hear about some boring debate in the U.S. Congress, even if it is about a bill that would reduce carbon emissions and possibly stave off the DESTRUCTION OF OUR PLANET.  Maybe people just don’t want to be too serious and they’re just looking for fluff.  In some ways I guess can’t blame them.  But, for me, I must say adios Matt.

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World Contraception Day

World Contraception Day

Did you know that today has been declared “World Contraception Day?”

I frankly do not know who declared it as such but I don’t care.  It’s a great opportunity to think and opine a little about the important of contraception and how it affects the basic human rights of women all over the world.

It is no secret that contraception is an important tool in helping women make one of the most important decisions of her life – whether or not to bear children.  Now I know there are a bunch of men out there who think bearing a child is no big deal, that it is just a “natural” thing for a woman to want to do.  Well, guys, it really is not that simple.

The fact is that almost 215 million women in this world do not have access to modern birth control.  Obviously, most of them are in the underdeveloped nations of the world.  So, in these often male-dominated societies, where having more children is a sign of the man’s “masculinity”, women are practically being forced to bear more children.  That, of course, then perpetuates the cycle of poverty that has been going on for generations. And it’s not just individual males who are perpetuating this situation.  For example, courts in Chile, Ecuador, and Peru have all recently restricted or banned emergency contraception based on the ridiculous claim that it is the same as performing an abortion.  In places like the Philippines, public clinics and hospitals have been prohibited for years from distributing any kind of contraception.

Emergency Conraception

Emergency Conraception

Here in the United States, while contraception is more readily available than in underdeveloped countries, there are still battles that are being fought on a daily basis.  One of the more aggressive groups trying to make access to contraception easier is the Center for Reproductive Rights.  For example, just last year they won a ruling in federal court which compelled the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to revisit the restrictions it put on the availability of emergency contraception, otherwise known as the morning after pill.  Unfortunately, despite the presence of a pro-choice administration, they still have to press the FDA to comply with the judge’s order.  In addition, the Center is working on the world wide problem.  For example, they recently asked the Human Rights Council on Human Rights to focus on the high rates of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections among low-income women.  They are also working with their local partners in Slovakia to examine how government subsidies can expand access to contraception to low-income Slovak women.

Center for Reproductive Rights and Abortion

Center for Reproductive Rights and Abortion

Kudos to the Center for Reproductive Rights!

Then, of course, in this country there are the persistent legislative efforts to allow healthcare professionals to refuse to provide emergency contraception to women if they personally object to the product.   Don’t even get me started on that one…

And while all this is going on, the anti-abortion movement sits back and refusesd to support providing better access to birth control.  To me, this is the height of hypocrisy.  Here they have the chance to prevent millions of abortions which I thought was their goal.  But, no, they’ve got their head in the sand and refuse to support the only real proven way to prevent abortions.  Indeed, I really believe that they would just rather stand outside of the clinics and scream at women as they enter abortion clinics.  The irony is that they may be yelling at a woman who is going in to get Norplant inserted or to start a new regimen of birth control pills….

And while I’m at it – where the heck is that male birth control pill?

Abortion

Abortion

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Abortion Law

Abortion Law

It’s 5:45 a.m. on a cold, New England, February morning.  I’m in a total coma, surrounded by the warm blankets.  Suddenly, the friggin alarm goes off.  What the hell?  What’s going on here?

My spouse gently kisses me on the check and reminds me that the night before I had promised to go to the 7-11 the minute they opened up to pick up snacks for our son’s 8th grade field trip to the Occuquan Sewage Plant.  I had to get up at 5:45 because, as everyone knows, 7-11 stores now open earlier than 7.  Ours opens at 6:00 a.m.

I throw on some sweatpants, a sweatshirt, socks and sneakers and head out the door.  I am hit with a ridiculously cold blast of wind, numbing my body.  There is a light dusting of snow on the car windshield and when I climb into my Honda my way-too-big butt practically freezes to the driver’s seat.  I crank the ignition several times and it reluctantly engages.  It is dark.  It is cold.  I don’t want to be here.

The 7-11 is only about a mile away, so it takes just a minute or two to get there.  When I pull up, my car clock says it is 5:56.  There are no other cars in the parking lot but I can see that the lights are on and there is some activity inside.  I park the car, brace myself for the cold breeze that will greet me when I open the door, open it and run to the entrance.  I grab the door handle, pull it back and my arm almost falls as I realize the friggin door is locked.

I look inside and see the clerk behind the cash register.  He is sipping a steaming plastic cup of 7-11 coffee.  I wave to him nicely and point to the door as if to say “hey, can you unlock the door?”   He responds by looking at his watch and pointing to it.

It is now 5:58.

Abortion World Community

Abortion World Community

For the love of God, what the hell is this?   This guy is sitting on his stool all comfy and cozy, with his freshly brewed coffee, and I’m outside, staring in like a kid gazing at the toys in the window at Macy’s.  The clerk just won’t budge.  He’s got his rules, he cannot violate them or, or, well, who knows what the hell would happen if he opened them up before 6?

Give me a break guy.

I finally screamed to him:  “HEY, GANDHI, OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR!!”

That, of course, clinches it.  I am forced to wait another minute and a half to get my stupid overpriced snacks.

We see this kind of behavior all the time.  Rules are the rules, you can’t bend them at all.  God forbid a store owner or a bureaucrat or anyone else should go out of their way to show a little humanity.  Nope, I’ve got my instruction manual and that is my Bible.  If I actually interpret it a little, if I use some discretion, I’ll get struck by lightning.  Don’t want that to happen now, do we?

We seem to forget that we live in a community of human beings.  We are too focused on ourselves, on our jobs, on our next recreational activity.  Life is way too short, folks.  The next time someone tries to get attention, remember that there’s another human being at the other end.

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Gout

Abortion not associated with Gout

My doctor just told me that I have gout – and I am disgusted with myself.

Let me first say that I have never experienced more pain in my entire life.  The pain is focused on my left toe and there is no escaping it.  All I keep thinking about is how Ben Franklin, who had gout for years, could have accomplished all that he did because, aside from writing this post, I cannot focus on anything other than the pain.  Fortunately, at night I overdose on Nyquil so I’m sleeping okay.  But the fact that the gout will probably go away in a week or so is no consolation.

There are many causes of gout.  If you eat a lot of rich foods, like shellfish, if you don’t drink enough water, if you don’t exercise, etc.   You can also get gout if you drink “heavily.”   Let’s talk about that one for a second.

My mother was an alcoholic, a mean, nasty one.  I didn’t drink until I got to college, then I went nuts.    To this day, I do not know how I am alive because there were many times when I drove home from a bar totally inebriated.  I don’t remember the rides home.  I’m also lucky I never killed anyone.

Over the years, I continued to drink.  I became what my father used to call his father – a “weekend drunk.”   I would play or work all Friday and Saturday but then around 5 o’clock I’d open up the bottle of Vodka or Rum and start making some sweet drinks.   Every Saturday and Sunday morning was a nightmare, as my head was one giant hangover.

I am now 60 years old and about two years ago – after a gout attack – I vowed to get off the hard stuff.  Since then, I haven’t had any more serious alcohol, the only exception being when I visit my good friend Scott in Del Ray Beach and we share a bottle of Southern Comfort as we sit on the shore, talking about life.  These days, I “only” drink Amaretto, which is not as alcoholic as the hard stuff.   On Friday night at about the same time, I pour a small glass and quietly watch TV.   I have about three glasses, which gives me a nice buzz.  I wake up the next day with no hangover, I’m ready to go.  Then, that Saturday night I do the same.  I just sit there quietly and don’t disturb anybody.  My two older boys know I drink and at times they have found the hidden bottles and they just throw them out.  I don’t say a word to them, but I certainly appreciate their sentiment.

I don’t believe I am an alcoholic.  I don’t crave alcohol in the mornings and it doesn’t affect my work.  It’s just that once I get through the week, I’m ready for my weekend buzz.  Maybe I’m in denial.  Perhaps if I went to a counselor, he would determine I am technically an alcoholic.  I continue to insist that I am not, that I am stronger than those folks who desperately crave a drink.    I really don’t know and I don’t care to find out if I am an alcoholic.

But this gout has really got me to thinking.  I am totally paralyzed and cannot imagine going through this again.

For the sake of my kids, my spouse and myself, I gotta stop.

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