Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thoughts on LiveAction's Newest Sting on Planned Parenthood

The first thing I saw when I went online this morning was a sting video from LiveAction on Planned Parenthood. I knew this video was coming for about a month.

The only word I can think of to describe how I felt after I watched video is "icky," and that is for two reasons: this was recorded at the Planned Parenthood I volunteer with, and the "promotion of gendercide." Luckily I had a meeting with Voices for Reproductive Justice where I knew I had a safe place to discuss my thoughts.

So gendercide.... I thought that was an issue in Southeast Asia- China specifically. How could my beloved Planned Parenthood promote gendercide? But after a little discussion and critical watching of this video, this counselor was only nonjudgmental of her client. As a future social worker, I know that as a counselor you are ethically bound to not judge a client who is capable of their own self determination.

Let's start from the beginning. "Planned Parenthood advises waiting until the unborn child is 4-5 months old to detect if it's a girl for a late-term abortion." Actually, that's just how long you have to wait to determine the sex of the baby. The counselor tells the woman she has until her 23rd week of pregnancy to terminate, and then explains "regular doctors have told women you can't terminate after 16 weeks." That's true, because some clinics are legally only allowed to terminate up to 15 weeks 6 days. Later term abortions must be performed at surgical centers per Texas law. (Texas allows termination until the third trimester.) And it's true that some abortion doctors will not terminate pregnancies after a certain gestational age because of their own preference. And that's okay!

Sure, the counselor's personal information was unnecessary, but this video really is not that shocking. Abortion is a decision between a woman and her DOCTOR. And that cleverly repeated bit of the counselor saying, "I hope you get your boy!" wasn't "I hope you terminate your pregnancy if it's a girl!"

I'm a promoter of safe abortion on demand. No woman's abortion is more right or more wrong than another woman's abortion- EVER. Sex selective abortion happens. Maybe we should be focusing more on the patriarchal society we live in that would prompt a family to prefer a male child over a female child rather than clinics protecting a woman's right and ability to plan her family.

Planned Parenthood's Statement

"The world’s leading women’s health and rights organizations, including the World Health Organization, do not believe that curtailing access to abortion services is a legitimate means of addressing sex selection, and have made clear that gender bias can only be resolved by addressing the underlying conditions that lead to it. And we agree. We support efforts that ensure girls and women have access to economic opportunity, including fair wages, basic health care, political participation, education, and a life free of violence and discrimination. Planned Parenthood works to ensure women and their families have access to high-quality nonjudgmental health services free of coercion, supported by information and counseling."

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