On the women’s march

On feminism, On politics, On sexuality

Yesterday I participated in the second  annual women’s march. It was powerful, empowering and inspirational, but I didn’t want to be there. A protest for human rights should not be an annual event. Still, we came together and we marched.

Thousands of people gathered around 11 at the Park Strip. After hearing from a few speakers, we moved to Williwaw. On the way we only passed one counter protester, blocked by wall of women’s march organizers. At the end of the march we gathered for chants, music, and information. Organizations supporting women in office, reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, voting, the environment, and gun legislation were handing out sign ups, stickers, and flyers. The amount of people and information was overwhelming.

Compared to last year, the women’s march was less of an event. Palmer hosted one last year, but this year the closest was in Anchorage. Not as many people attended and there was less publicity. Walking back to the car from the march, people asked what all the crowd was about.

While the march was less popular, the issues are growing in importance and number. Silence gets nothing done. This is why I march.

I march for access to affordable birth control, accurate sex ed, the right to choose, and medical screenings. I march so everyone can have access to healthcare. I march for and end to violence against women and trans people, an end to victim blaming, and credibility for male victims. I march against systemic racism, sexism, transphobia, ableism, ageism,  and homophobia. I march for land rights. I march for my right to love who I want and for others to use the bathroom safely. I march for parental leave and baby changing stations in all bathrooms. I march so all can vote. I march for clean water and air. I march against fascism. I march so everyone has equal opportunity and equal rights.

For me the women’s march is not in protest of the president. It’s a march against policies that oppress in the US and worldwide. The problems we are facing are not isolated to January 20th and they are not isolated to this country. We face these problems on the daily and no matter where we are. We must be everyday activists to overcome. Your gender, race, sexuality, political beliefs, religion, age, and ability do not dictate your ability to make a change. The power is with the people.

Get involved with any (or all!) of these organizations:

Register to vote in Alaska here.

The organization listed above are just few of the options available. As always, exercise your rights, stay informed, and stand together.

Every good wish,

Julia

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On pride month

On politics, On sexuality

As most of us know, June is LGBTQ+ Pride month. The first official pride celebrations started in 1970 in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. The first pride march, called the Christopher Street Liberation Day March took place in 1970. Since then, the movement has expanded to week long festivals all over the world. Since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same sex marriage many people question why Pride is still celebrated. For the same reason that there is International Women’s Day and Black History Month, there is Pride Month; groups that have been oppressed and discriminated against rise up to celebrate themselves and to show the world that they will not be silent.

While it is a celebration of sexuality and openness, Pride month is also a political statement. Almost every festival will have a memorial for LGBTQ+ people that have died or been killed because of hate. We honor those who commit suicide because they can’t find acceptance, those who are disowned for their sexuality, those who are attacked because of who they hold hands with, and those who die for who they love.

Pride celebrates the rights that have been won: marriage, workplace rights, military service, adoption. The marches also call for the rights we still don’t have and an end to violence.

The celebrations provide a safe environment for people to be open and comfortable with their sexuality. It gives people of all ages, races, genders, abilities, and orientations resources to be safe and healthy.

Finally, Pride shows that you shouldn’t be ashamed. For people who live in places that aren’t supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, Pride lets them know that they aren’t alone. Their sexuality is normal and valid and doesn’t have to be hidden.

Pride celebrates perseverance in the face of extreme adversity and the freedom to be you.

Whether you are part of the LGBTQ+ community or not, Pride is a wonderful way to show your support, meet inspiring people, and make a stand for what you believe in.

Every good wish,

Julia

Anchorage PrideFest is this week! Schedule here.

On the defunding of Planned Parenthood

On politics

Early this year, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that in addition to repealing the Affordable Care Act, Congress is also working towards defunding Planned Parenthood. While no definitive steps have been shared, it is assumed that this will happen by blocking clinics that provide abortion in addition to general women’s health from receiving federal funds. (http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/does-defunding-planned-parenthood-really-threaten-womens-health-80584/) (https://black.house.gov/issue/defunding-planned-parenthood) This will have a hugely negative effect on millions of Americans.

 

For many people, when they hear the words ‘Planned Parenthood’ they automatically think government-funded abortion clinic. Planned Parenthood clinics are not just abortion clinics. Only about 3% of all services are abortions and half of Planned Parenthood’s partners don’t perform abortions. Not only that, but Title X (federal grant program dedicated to family planning and preventative health) states that funds may not be used for abortion and Medicaid only allows funds to be used for abortions in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother. So what does Planned Parenthood do? Great question. (http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/01/15/509662288/that-vow-to-defund-planned-parenthood-easy-to-say-hard-to-do)

 

Planned Parenthood services include:

  • education on birth control
  • easy access to almost all types of birth control
  • anemia testing
  • cholesterol screening  
  • diabetes screening
  • physical exams (including for employment and sports)
  • flu vaccines
  • help with quitting smoking
  • high blood pressure screening
  • tetanus vaccines
  • thyroid screening
  • checkups for reproductive or sexual health problems
  • colon, prostate, and testicular cancer screenings
  • condoms, vasectomy erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation services
  • general health care and routine physical exams
  • jock itch exam and treatment  
  • male infertility screening and referral  
  • STD testing and treatment
  • urinary tract infections testing and treatment
  • HIV testing
  • Pap Tests
  • HPV Vaccinations
  • Breast Exams/ Breast Care
  • Colposcopy Procedure
  • Female sterilization
  • Vasectomy
  • Pregnancy tests
  • Prenatal care

I could go on, but we’d be here for quite a while.  (https://www.plannedparenthood.org/)

The funding of Planned Parenthood isn’t a specific item in any budget. The funding comes in the form of reimbursements from public health programs (Medicaid and Title X).

It goes something like this:

how-federal-tax-dollars-support-planned-parenthood-patients-png__800x800_q85_subsampling-2https://www.istandwithpp.org/defund-defined/how-federal-funding-works-planned-parenthood

So really what’s going on is that the organization will still be able to operate, but the vast majority of its patient base that rely on Title X and Medicaid won’t be able to afford care anymore.

So big deal, can’t they just go to a different health provider?

Not necessarily.

Planned Parenthood currently provides around 2 million people with birth control, 4 million with STD/STI treatments and test and thousands of other with other services. There’s just not enough providers to pick up all that slack. Two thirds of states already struggle ensuring enough providers for Medicaid, especially ob-gyn, as it is. For those who are in rural communities (the majority of patients) they may not even have access to another provider. Talk about undue burden, am I right? Overall, around 2.5 million people would lose access to health care if defunding goes through, the majority of which are people of color, low-income, or in rural communities. A study in Texas showed that after the state stopped reimbursing Planned Parenthood and instituted cuts on women’s health, the number of pregnancy related deaths almost doubled. Imagine if that same thing happened to the entire country. Its terrifying. Already there is an increase in appointments and IUD implants as people are rushing to get what help they can before it isn’t an option anymore.

All in all, the defunding of Planned Parenthood is a terrifying possibility. Millions of people would lose access to invaluable and often life saving medical care.

So what do we do about it?

Go to: https://www.istandwithpp.org/take-action to sign a petition and get more information

  Contact your Senator

Lisa Murkowski

522 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 244-6665

www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact

Dan Sullivan

702 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-3004

www.sullivan.senate.gov/contact/email

Join Planned Parenthood’s lists to continue getting updates, opportunities, and information.

And above all, use your voice! Get involved in your community. Educate yourself and others. Together we can stand with those in need.

Every good wish,

Julia