I wrote about a visit to a Planned Parenthood in Denver, some time back. I don’t know why, but I was thinking about it again last night and I remembered something that I neglected to talk about before.
“If you were the one in danger of being killed, wouldn’t you want someone to step in and help?”
That’s what one anti, who would just not leave me alone, said to me when I called her out for being a bully, harassing women. At the time, I think, I said something to the effect of “if you really thought that people were being killed in there, I’d like to think that you’d be doing a lot more than just standing around outside, yelling at people.” I wasn’t buying her bullshit for a second.
But it occurred to me last night that I, along with every other woman, actually am , on a regular basis, in danger of being killed. And that, thankfully, there is someone steeping in to help me. This “someone,” however, is not that screaming anti or any of her ilk. No, they’re people who are really endangering my life by being antis and harassing people outside clinics and attacking women’s human rights at every turn – people like that awful woman who followed me that day. Meanwhile, this “someone” stepping in to defend me is actually a whole population of people – the pro-choice movement, and specifically Planned Parenthood itself (and clinics like it.)
I regret now that I did not have the presence of mind, at the time, to say all that. I can only imagine what her stammering, misogynistic excuse would have been. She probably would have dismissed the deaths she’s caused as “suicides,” as was her young protegé’s method of deflecting responsibility and pissing on her victim’s graves.
But it is true. Blocking access to women’s reproductive rights, particularly abortion rights as was the topic of “conversation” (if you can call it that) at the time, kills women. 67-68 thousand every year, according to the World Health Organization’s estimates. And the people responsible for those deaths are the antis. They are the ones killing people. And with the audacity to say things like, “If you were the one in danger of being killed, wouldn’t you want someone to step in and help?”
Fuck you, you anti-choice, anti-life fucks. Only pro-choice can honestly claim to be pro-life.
Thankfully, these monsters aren’t as powerful as they think they are. As was the case here in Colorado last year with amendment 62, Initiative 26 Mississippi failed to strip women of personhood status by robbing us of our rights to prevent or end pregnancies. Make no mistake, that’s what these so-called “personhood amendments” are really about.
On 2 July 2009, I had my sex reassignment surgery. In Bangkok, Thailand. And it wasn’t just because it was cheaper (although that did help make the decision easier). It’s because in order to have sex reassignment surgery in the United States, you must have two referral letters from two different psychotherapists (and at least one of them must have a Ph.D). To get hormone therapy, officially – you need one letter and these guidelines are not just something that’s taken off the cuff by several different surgeons across the country – it was created by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), formerly known as the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA) and these standards are codified in the Standards of Care. They were created by a board of people who are so mentally stable, like Anne Lawrence. Yes, THIS Anne Lawrence, the one that believes that transsexual women are just men who are sexually attracted to the idea of themselves as women (autogynephilia, which is about as real as post-abortion stress syndrome) and who sides with J. Michael Bailey, author of the deeply transphobic, unscientific and offensive book “The Man Who Would Be Queen”.
I can definitely sympathize with the argument to expand access to birth control and reproductive health, especially since I have seen so much hurt and suffering in my own community because of those Standards of Care. I have seen women who, when they have no other option, take a razor blade and cut off their own testicles in the bathroom at a hospital. I did something a lot less drastic but extreme none the less. I flew halfway across the world to get health care that I should have been able to get in the same state that I’m living in – if not for the fact that all of the doctors here charge highly expensive fees and require the damned Harry Benjamin standards. It’s actually cheaper to stay in Thailand for three weeks, buy a round trip ticket and pay for the surgery than it would be to be here and get the surgery. ESPECIALLY under the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care. Hell, it’s cheaper buying a first class ticket and staying in a luxury hotel in Thailand while getting the surgery than it is to get it here.
I believe in choice because today, I’m seeing an epidemic of mentally ill transgender people who are doing their own surgeries. Settling for orchiectomy because the cost of vaginoplasty is prohibitively high in the United States. That and the fact that the medical establishment saddles us with the label of “Gender Identity Disorder” when it’s not our identities that are disordered, it’s our bodies. Take the “Biased Counselling” laws that many states have and stretch it out over months, or in many cases, years. That is what transgender people have to go through to get competent health care. With that in mind, is it any wonder why women resort to self-surgery, especially ones who are low-income and cannot afford the therapy, let alone the surgery? So I see the pain and suffering of back alley abortions in the eyes of my transsexual sisters who tell me that they consider cutting off their own genitals. And the ones that actually do it scare me the most.
Today was my first day calling patients to remind them of their appointment at Planned Parenthood throughout Colorado and I have to say, the claim that Planned Parenthood makes that most of their services provided have nothing to do with abortions is actually correct. I mean, when you look at the call list – you can see what the patient is going into their appointment for, although you are not to say over the phone (after all, I’m not even allowed to reschedule the appointments, I have to transfer them to the call centre to do that). But one thing that is rare in their call list (yes, even rarer than the people who don’t want us to identify ourselves as Planned Parenthood and yes, there is an acronym on the call list to indicate this) is people coming in for abortions. Most are coming in for check ups, birth control, STD testing or other things.
So, I wonder where the anti-choice movement gets the weird idea that Planned Parenthood is all about abortion…