Hosts & Planned Parenthood

I’m the type of person who quickly develops an opinion after seeing or learning something, but when I read the article about the Oklahoma lawmaker, my mind drew a blank. I don’t know what exactly it was, maybe shock, but I just couldn’t think of a response. What the hell kind of person would think, much less express publicly, that a woman is to act as a host if she becomes pregnant? That she has agreed to become a host and she should be forced to comply with the circumstances? I think it’s pretty repulsive to believe that a human being should not be able to choose what to do with her body. I could never support a law that dictates that a woman’s ability to receive a portion is contingent on her sexual partner’s agreement, but at the same time, I have pondered about the rights about the sexual partner– not necessarily in legal terms. Hypothetically, if, in a serious relationship, the woman became pregnant and wanted an abortion without discussing it with her boyfriend, is that morally wrong in any way? I agree that the woman should have the final say in what to do with her body, but does the sexual partner not have any type of right? Such as the right to know that the pregnancy existed? It’s not exactly a legal issue, but it’s something that I’ve wondered from time to time.

I’ve always been aware that Planned Parenthood offered services past abortions, which most critics of Planned Parenthood seem blissfully aware of, but I had never taken the time to visit the website and actually read all the services they provide. I knew that they specialized in women’s healthcare and related issues, but I had no idea that they also provided high blood screening, cholesterol screening, diabetes screening, employment/sports physical examines, flu vaccines, and tetanus vaccines. Although I know that the easy solution is just to raise awareness and spread the information about how much Planned Parenthood really does. At the same time, however, I think that the large debate against Planned Parenthood lies inherently in its name. By naming the organization “Planned Parenthood,” an inherent reference to abortion is made. This might be slightly tangential, but it reminds me of a struggle that I have often had with the word “feminist.” Although I completely agree with the beliefs of feminism and gender equality, I often wonder how much further the social movement could progress if we simply stopped using the word “feminist.” Men feel uncomfortable using a word that associates themselves with “feminine,” and others seem equate the term to the extreme, man-hating “Feminazi.” In terms of race equality during the Civil Rights Movements, people didn’t begin to call themselves “Blackists” to express their belief in racial equality. Although I do believe that the importance of social movements lie in their values, I also believe that in order for a social movement to progress successfully, it must practice proper PR.

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Protesting: Inherently Problematic

Looking at the photos from the YouStink anti-government protests, I can’t help but be reminded of the current ongoing protests in the US and the hordes of commentators that stress that protestors should get a job and behave like adults. The situation is a little different, as the current US protests have not escalated to this degree, but nevertheless, the comparison helps me look at the problem with more perspective. Personally, when I study past events such as the YouStink protests, it becomes very easy to judge things from a “hind sight” point of view. The images of accumulated trash serve as a visual representation of the ineffectual government, and the images of the protests showed the violent escalation of the clash between the people and the government. I used to look at events like this and think that the protesters were clearly right in what they were doing, that they had a duty to protest a government that wasn’t working for them. But amidst the current protests in the US, I’m aware that many look at these actions as shameful and indulgent. It makes me wonder who, at the time, thought that these protests were unnecessary. Furthermore, as Amar notes, many were concerned that the individuals and groups that “came together during these uprisings shared little beyond their slogans” (267). This seems to relate to our discussion of how social media activism boils down to specific phrases, slogans, hashtags, or visceral videos or images. At the time, I questioned the effectiveness of activism based on a simple shared notion. But I think that activism has always kind of been based on some sort of rallying cry and core idea, while the solution and planning of the actual activism takes a back seat. This may be problematic, but I’m starting to consider it as more of a necessary evil. Looking at the photos of the protests, the streets are swarmed with angry people dissatisfied with an ineffectual government. They didn’t all strategize how to fix all the problems, but they all cared enough to show up based on a shared value. And collectively, they produced a movement of resistance.