Lynn Wenzel: Judging, always judging
Ms. McLaughlin, there you go again (Oct. 9, The Union). Accompanied by the usual rants against women who wish to maintain their own bodily autonomy, your judgmentalism and criticism shorn of pity, turn your “opinion” pieces into fetal fetishism.
As a writer and a journalist, I recognize cherry-picking when I see it. Just because the new president of Planned Parenthood is identified as being a “renowned social justice leader” does not mean she has nefarious intent. What it does mean is that she has a broad knowledge of social challenges and looks to achieve the goals of reproductive health care for all women, rich or poor. To conclude that Planned Parenthood (and other clinics by association) is committed only to abortion profit and political activity and to claim that is why it refused Title X money is to miss the point entirely.
Telling women’s reproductive clinics that they can have Title X funds only if they agree to not even mention abortion, even to save a life, even if that clinic doesn’t provide abortions, is like telling a doctor who receives funds from the National Institute of Health that she can only use them if she promises not to treat anyone over 65.
And while it might be satisfying to Ms. McLaughlin to moralize to young people, that is exactly why they come to Planned Parenthood — because they cannot talk to their parents or their pastor or even a friend. Being confronted with a young woman who has experimented with sex or who is terrified that she might have a sexually transmitted disease is not an occasion to lecture or penalize. Planned Parenthood’s purpose is to answer questions honestly, without condemnation, understanding that young women want to be informed participants in their own lives, not “victims” as McLaughlin labels them.
Planned Parenthood does not encourage young people to be promiscuous. What it does do is inform clients about the options available to them if they have made the decision to engage in sexual activity.
Another point of fact — the new sex ed curriculum being presented in California’s public schools is not being taught by Planned Parenthood instructors. In Nevada County, these classes are being taught by teachers at the schools who have been trained in that specific curriculum. No doubt you are disappointed that members of “abstinence only” groups are not allowed to teach. There are many reasons for this, the main one being it is neither complete nor correct information and, if taught, sends young adults out into the world with faulty and dangerous half-knowledge.
McLaughlin seems especially angry that Planned Parenthood receives any funds at all. How does a medical clinic or any other nonprofit service organization survive? It takes money as she surely knows. At this point, McLaughlin throws in a horror story of a young woman who, being forced to get a medical abortion by her boyfriend, shows up at a clinic, bleeding and miscarrying. Planned Parenthood steps in to save her life, yet somehow, McLaughlin ends up blaming the organization for the entire incident.
Perhaps Ms. McLaughlin should save her vitriol for the cruel partner of this woman. Accusing Planned Parenthood of refusing to help trafficked women and girls is a lie. Here in Nevada County, the low-or-no-cost clinic run by Citizens 4 Choice and staffed by medical personnel from Women’s Health Specialists communicates closely with organizations in the county that help rape and assault victims and trafficked girls.
You say you are interested in how society treats its children. Then I hope you are speaking up on behalf of the babies and children separated from their parents at the border who will suffer lifelong mental issues due to the trauma, or the one in five children in California who go to bed hungry each night.
Does the pain of living children bother you, or is it only fetuses who get your attention? And how about their mothers?
Right now, there are an estimated two million female victims of rape in California. And, California is one of the largest sites of human trafficking in the U.S. Many of those trafficked are children. Would you force these victims to carry a rapist’s child to term?
I, too, agree with Senator Kamala Harris that “Society is judged on how it treats children.” Right now, millions of living children are suffering. How about we stop judging women, young or old, for choosing governance over their own bodies and start advocating for children among us who are suffering this very minute.
Now that’s an idea I think we can all get behind.
Lynn Wenzel is the director of communications for Nevada County Citizens for Choice. She lives in Grass Valley.
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