This past week was a mix of emotions. I saw the "dreamers" camping out so that they could apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals permit. I read online about what's going on in Pennsylvania, where Puerto Rican voters who don't already have a photo ID, cannot now register to vote, due to their birth certificate (issued before 2010) considered to be invalid. More reasons to feel lucky that I can (and will) vote. Whether it's the economy, immigration, education - every issue is important regardless if it affects me directly or not. As a woman though, I'm terrified to even imagine what might happen should the Romney/Ryan team win the upcoming elections. We, as human beings, as citizens of this country, have failed for so many years to provide basic healthcare coverage to all of our citizens. Many of us are left gambling with our health. Rolling the dice that we wake up healthy and hoping nothing happens to us or our kids today. Preventative care costs much less in the long run, and yet the reality for many of us is still emergency room care. We wait, and then wait some more until we finally can't ignore our symptoms anymore. Then we hold our breaths in anticipation that the news we hear won't be so bad. Very stressful, and certainly not how I want to live my life.
My body, my choice. Regardless if I'm pro-life or pro-choice, any healthcare decisions should be left for me to decide. Not a politician, and definitely not the self-proclaimed moral police. It's also not about judging what's ok, and what's not. Whether a woman chooses to have an abortion because of incest, rape, she made a "poor decision", or is just not ready to become a mother - please stop the judgments. We need to stop chastising women for choosing what's right for her body and for her life. Why would you propose a federal ban on abortion, and then also vote against affordable contraception? Birth control is basic preventative healthcare. Are we to go back to the old, "quarter between the knees" trick? Why not be proactive and productive and increase our efforts on education on all types of birth control, including abstinence, instead of just turning a blind eye. Educating a person on all their available choices and consequences, does not demean - it empowers. In-vitro fertilization. Infertility affects close to 15 percent of all couples in the US. Even Mitt Romney's son became a father to twin boys thanks to IVF (and a surrogate). No, we don't want to be the next Octomom, but we do wish to hear the word "mom" coming from the mouth of our own child. We envision play dates, graduations, and maybe even our child growing up to be the future president. We want to be a mom. Instead of giving up, we choose to go through In vitro fertilization (IVF). It's time consuming, expensive and doesn't even come with a guarantee that it will actually take. And yet, so many of us choose to go through this arduous process, sometimes for a couple of cycles, because to us it's worth it. It's the first choice we make as mothers, the choice to bring life into this world.
Medicaid/Medicare I've heard lots of rumble about the proposed cuts to Medicare (for seniors), but what about Medicaid? Medicaid assists about 60 million people. Recipients include the disabled and low-income families and women. Fifty percent of Planned Parenthood health visits are paid for by Medicaid. These are visits that include breast and cervical cancer screening, well woman exams and birth control. Cervical cancer especially, disproportionately affects Latina women more than any other group of women (2:1). What about healthcare for immigrant women? Immigrant women (documented and undocumented) make up more than half of all immigrants in the US. They face violence at work and within their own homes. Most suffer silently in fear of being deported. Do we now also deny them healthcare because of their legal status? When did we become such a cold country that we do not seek to protect all women?
How will I decide who gets my vote? For me the choice is crystal clear.