Left In Lowell

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July 12, 2011

This is Another Edition of Why NH Sucks

by at 4:00 pm.

Longtime readers of the blog know that I have a peculiar dislike of our neighbors to the north. I was born there, so I’m allowed. ;) There has been some progress there, like the passage of same-sex marriage in 2009 (though that’s in danger of repeal next year). But by and large, I wasn’t impressed with their education system…I was angered by the near-loss of all music and art programs in Manchester schools in my last year of high school…and I was furious when the NH legislature yanked funding out from under UNH, my alma mater, mid-year (ie after the budget had been passed and UNH started their fiscal year) which caused no end of chaos for departments, professors, and administrators, and the year after I left, their tight budgeting caused the loss of some of the best teachers in the departments of my major and minor. That was all between the years 1994 and 1999. You know. The boom years of our economy. *rolls eyes*

So the fact that New Hampshire (which I like to call “New Hamster” because the state is about as dumb as one) has managed to one-up the stupidity of its past actions, believe you me, is quite a feat. But it has. By defunding Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNE) (bold mine).

Planned Parenthood has stopped providing birth control pills and other contraception in New Hampshire after the state’s executive council rejected up to $1.8 million in funding for the group” because it also provides privately-funded abortions. After losing its contract — which paid for education, distributing contraception, and the testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections — the centers have “turned away 20 to 30 patients a day who have arrived to refill their birth control prescriptions.
[…]
Some women have told the center that the will likely “stop taking birth control because they cannot afford the higher prices charged by pharmacies” and an estimated 70 percent don’t have insurance to cover the prescriptions.

Did I emphasize enough that the public funding is not for abortions in any way, shape or form? PPNE does privately funded abortions. The public money helps them deliver other services, particularly for the underprivileged.

Let me tell you a little story as to why this makes me even madder than seeing my favorite Brit Lit professor laid off.

I’ve mentioned before that there was a period of time my husband and I were uninsured. Due to the great, fabulous “employer-based” system we have, we were employed by people who don’t give insurance - ie contracting and temp agencies. Yay for the American work environment.

Those same temp jobs (at the time) didn’t pay well (before we started working in MA, where the real jobs are). So we didn’t go to any GPs, desperately afraid of finding preexisting conditions, and not really in the fiscal situation to afford out-of-pocket expenses, anyway.

Except for Planned Parenthood. You see, I qualified for their sliding fee scale. In doing so, I could get heavily discounted birth control and GYN exams. In the case of birth control, it was a godsend.

Ever since those lowly days as a temp administrative assistant in NH, I have felt a profound gratitude to Planned Parenthood, so much so that I still use their services, as a full-paying insured client, so I can at least support them in that way. I have to hike to Boston to do it but it’s worth it to me. I do not know what we would have done without those services, and the fee help, during the first years of our life together. I would have been one of those women who would have lost access to birth control, which could have been devastating.

This is why New Hampshire is one of the stupidest, most backwards, idiotic states in the union. I will never live there again, you couldn’t pay me to educate my kids (if I had any) there, and if you are a woman, they’ll screw with your access to safe, legal birth control.

And just to kick women when they’re down:

“I am opposed to abortion,” said Raymond Wieczorek, a council member who voted against the contract. “I am opposed to providing condoms to someone. If you want to have a party, have a party, but don’t ask me to pay for it.”

Go fuck yourself, Raymond Wieczorek. No really, go and have an unwanted pregnancy because you couldn’t afford birth control, you whiny tiny-minded privileged old white asshole. Go back to the eighteenth century when you were born and get a leech treatment for your warts. The rest of us want progress, not old moldy assholes dragging us back to the Dark Ages.

New Hamster or Florida, both compete for Redneck Stupid State of the Year. By the by, Wieczorek is the former mayor of Manchester. Guess which years he was in charge??

23 Responses to “This is Another Edition of Why NH Sucks”

  1. Mill Girl Says:

    Preaching to the choir here Lynne. As soon as all these anti-choice types start adopting all the crack babies and special needs kids in foster care and there are none left in the system, I’ll start listening to their crap. Until then, they are just a bunch of hypocrites.

  2. Lola Says:

    Cokie Roberts made some interesting comments regarding Betty Ford’s timing in passing away. She referenced the way things used to be in Washington and bemoaned the current situation. She was a “good Republican wife” who found a way to enlighten the world about some important women’s issues.

    Thanks, Betty.

  3. Mr. Lynne Says:

    The big cultural shift was in 94. When the contract-with-America crowd got in they immediately went out of their way to destroy any part of the culture that made people listen to each other, all the way down to making sure that the two partied didn’t eat together. They did this because their strategy for governing depended on lock-step thinking and top-down direction.

  4. Lynne Says:

    The thing that gets me, is the amount of judgment. “If you have sex, then live with the consequences.” Never mind that that sex might, just MIGHT, be, say, between a hard-working married couple just starting out in life with jobs that don’t pay for insurance and wages that don’t cover it for yourself. Or that a pregnancy in that situation might be devastating for both the couple AND for that potential child.

    Never mind that we shouldn’t even be judging people’s personal lives, in the first place. Stop worrying what people do in the bedroom and give people access to what they NEED to be responsible.

    I know for myself at the time, this cut would have been devastating, I would have lost my access to birth control.

  5. joe from Lowell Says:

    The “anti-abortion” movement is not about abortion.

    It’s about the role of women and norms of sexuality in our society.

    This is why they are so completely uninterested in preventing unwanted pregnancies.

  6. Shawn Says:

    “Never mind that we shouldn’t even be judging people’s personal lives, in the first place. Stop worrying what people do in the bedroom and give people access to what they NEED to be responsible.”

    No judgement here. You want to have sex and not have kids, deal with it yourself. Stop asking everyone else to pay for it.

    Condoms are cheap at CVS and given away for free all over the place.

    We’ve got bigger problems out there than you wanting us to pay for people to have risk-free sex.

    And Joe, I’m sorry, but the “anti-abortion” movement has nothing to do with a woman’s role in society. Maybe you just can’t accept that some people consider abortion to be murder of an innocent child, so you must find some way to re-define it to meet your talking points.

  7. joe from Lowell Says:

    People who consider abortion to be the murder of an innocent child and wish to stop it don’t consider avoiding the cost of covering poor people’s birth control to be a higher priority than the reductions in unwanted pregnancies that paying that cost will produce.

    For you to blithely dismiss that benefit by invoking stinginess and sex is as clear a demonstration of my point as I could have ever asked for.

    “Sure, I’d like to stop what I consider to be an ongoing campaign of mass murder, but we’re talking about people paying a very small amount of money to do so! Money that would be used to make sex carry a lower risk of pregnancy for women! I can’t go along with that.”

  8. Right in Lowell Says:

    What happened to personal responsibility. We’re a society that wants to be taken care of by the government from birth to death. Start making unmarried pregnancies something to celebrate and be sure there are no benefits involved and we’ll see the illegitimate birth rate drop like a stone. Anyone who thinks planned parenthood is not an abortion mill is sadly mistaken.

  9. Mr. Lynne Says:

    I knew RIL was divorced from reality, but I think he just set a new benchmark.

  10. Shawn Says:

    RIL++

    With all the money that goes to the poor via food stamps and welfare, there seems to be plenty for condoms.

    “consider avoiding the cost of covering poor people’s birth control to be a higher priority than the reductions in unwanted pregnancies that paying that cost will produce.”

    If I wrote that, those on the left would call me racist for encouraging “eugenics” and keeping the poor from reproducing.

    Of course, there are also the states where “poor people” are rewarded to go on norplant.. but of course that’s considered wrong.

    Its all a fun argument.. either way, the original post gave no respect for people with other opinions than hers and was pretty offensive. It did not encourage discussion of the issue, but just attacked the people with opposing thoughts.

    Luckily, those people are actually in office making decisions of value, based on values.

  11. Mr. Lynne Says:

    “Anyone who thinks planned parenthood is not an abortion mill is sadly mistaken. ”

    Divorce from reality and plainly obvious to anyone who’s ever used PP services.

  12. joe from Lowell Says:

    What happened to personal responsibility.

    Darned tootin’. Those fetuses should pack heat, like the Founders intended.

    Anyone who thinks planned parenthood is not an abortion mill is sadly mistaken.

    Abortion services represent 3% of Planned Parenthood’s activities.

    With all the money that goes to the poor via food stamps and welfare, there seems to be plenty for condoms.

    Is that your experience as a recipient of food stamps and welfare? Shawn was born a poor black chile….

    If I wrote that, those on the left would call me racist for encouraging “eugenics” and keeping the poor from reproducing.

    Um, no. You just didn’t understand what you read. I accused you of placing a higher value on saving a few bucks than on stopping the “murder” you claim to oppose.

  13. Shawn Says:

    Joe.. I would say that I work more day to day with the poor and those on welfare and food stamps than most people you know.

    My opinions are based on observation and experience.. not on academic beliefs. Anyone who knows me personally, knows of my experience with these issues.

    And I did not say that I claimed that abortion was seen as murder, but that there are people who do believe that, and that I respect their opinion.. in that it is based on a moral code that I can understand and support.

    If you can speak to the opposite, with similar moral and value laden support, I would support your opinion as well, but I would not publicly post “fuck yourself” to someone that I disagreed with.

  14. joe from Lowell Says:

    An interestingly vague term, “working with.” The muscle that a slum lord hires “works with” poor people, too. So does a repo man, or just a clerk in a grocery store. That doesn’t mean he understands their situation. Understanding isn’t something you gain through proximity.

    but that there are people who do believe that, and that I respect their opinion

    My comment wasn’t about “people who do believe that,” but about “the anti-abortion movement.” I do not respect, or even have very much of a reason to believe the existence of, the principled beliefs of those in the so-called anti-abortion movement, like the “pro-life” New Hampshire conservatives who voted for cutting off Planned Parenthood, who treat pregnancy-prevention efforts as their enemy.

  15. Lynne Says:

    Hey boys, guess what? Condoms are NOT the best birth control. Nevermind the physical aspects of why they are not great in a marriage or committed relationship in regards to how the actual act of using one makes for not so great sex. But they are also NOT the best way to prevent pregnancy - the pill, and other estrogen/progesterone applications - are. By huge percentage points, even beyond “do they happen to be in the drawer right now” or what have you. If you want to prevent unwanted pregnancies, your best bet is to give equal access to the pill, Mirena, etc.

    Now, if you’re a heartless Republican who thinks that if you are poor it’s because you suck, not because of an accident of your birth (they think that magically, all people who work hard OBVIOUSLY won’t end up poor, they magically get transported upwards in class status, and damn the statistics that say otherwise), sure, I guess you could say “go buy your own damn health insurance, and go buy your own damn condoms, or pill prescription.” But those of us who live IN THE REAL WORLD know that access to birth control medicine is THE practical, compassionate, and less costly solution than saying “oh go get some cheap ass condoms and hope to god they work right 100% of the time.”

    If most anti-abortionists were consistent in advocating for good prevention, and/or not for an exception for rape/incest (which is a dead giveaway it’s not because they believe abortion = murder) and/or could tell me that a woman who gets an abortion should go to jail for 25 years to life, then I will believe they are actually more anti-abortion because they believe it’s murder, rather than a mere condemning of the action that brought the unwanted pregnancy into being (”you careless wench, live with the results of your unprotected wanton sex…oh wait, you were raped? Never mind then!”). *rolls eyes*

    Either it’s murder, and that tiny little ball of cells is a full person, and a woman who, through reckless negligence, miscarries her pregnancy, should get charged with manslaughter…or STFU.

    Men should not be telling me WTF birth control to choose or have fair access to, until the day they can become pregnant and stuck with holding the bag (aka a child). And until you’ve been there, uninsured, broke, and staring down at an expensive prescription in order to be in a relationship but not have children, do not presume to think you have a clue.

  16. Shawn Says:

    I love that.. what you can get you don’t “prefer,” so you expect everyone else to pay for what you want. f that. Its a tough world.

    And I don’t fall for the “you’re not a woman so you just don’t know” gig. You want equal rights, you get to equally challenged. You want everyone else to have to pay for your entertainment, make a valid argument, otherwise deal with what is available. Its been that way for millions of years.

    Forcing other people to support something they are morally against is a valid discussion.

  17. joe from Lowell Says:

    f that. Its a tough world.

    Is that your answer to the extra abortions caused by unwanted pregnancies, too?

    You want everyone else to have to pay for your entertainment

    Remember everyone, this is about preventing murder! No way it’s a front for an agenda involving gender roles and sexuality.

  18. Lynne Says:

    Right, so it’s entertainment, now, the relationship between couples. RIIIIIGHT. Are you married?? I feel really bad for your wife if so. The poor woman!

    I repeat, BESIDES the it’s-not-the-fun-solution to avoiding pregnancy in a relationship, it is ALSO the LEAST useful birth control out there. So either you’re all right with more legal abortions happening, or you want people to be the most responsible they can be and prevent abortions by using the best birth control out there - which is MEDICINAL, 99.5% or more effective, which prevents way more unwanted pregnancies than condomn use, and that HAS to include helping out the poorer folk who can’t afford the meds on their own. But then, that’s what I’d expect from a so-called “compassionate conservative.” It’s never about helping people out with you folks. It’s all about you.

    Joe’s right, your arguments give you away. It’s about the behavior, NOT the end result (abortion).

  19. Tim Little Says:

    Shawn:

    There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Either we pay now by providing comprehensive health care — including reproductive services — to those who need it, or way pay down the line in terms of things like police, prisons, etc., etc., which end up being far more expensive for everyone.

    Of course this is not to say that all unplanned pregnancies will wind up being a “burden on society,” but as was pointed out in Freakonomics there is a distinct correlation between reproductive choice and crime. Generally speaking, women without access to family planning services end up having children they cannot properly care for, who in turn lack the kind of supportive family environment that allows them to develop into well-adjusted teens and adults, which leads to behavioral problems, crime, etc., etc.

    Bringing this topic back to the personal for a moment, my wife and I are very fortunate to have health coverage that will pay for birth control. For us it’s not a luxury, it’s very literally a matter of life and death. And if we were to become pregnant, we would have to terminate the pregnancy — or neither my wife nor the foetus would survive. Still, this is not a “decision” we would take lightly, for sure.

    Not all families are as lucky as we are, and Planned Parenthood is one of the few organizations that is able to cover the gap. We all benefit as a result.

  20. Lynne Says:

    As usual, Tim says it about 1000 times better than me. :)

  21. Tim Little Says:

    It’s also worth noting that this week a special committee of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine strongly urged the inclusion of free contraceptive services under virtually all health insurance plans.

    Currently, health plans are not required

    … to cover contraception without copayments or other forms of cost-sharing. And there is evidence that the out-of-pocket cost may discourage many women from using birth control as consistently as they would like: About half of all pregnancies are unplanned, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

    The rules on preventive services for women complement a broader provision in the new health care law that already requires plans to offer free preventive care for men, women, and children from lists drafted by other panels of independent scientific specialists, most prominently the US Preventive Services Task Force.

    However, because that task force has historically paid less attention to gender-specific recommendations, the law’s drafters required that the Department of Health and Human Services issue a supplementary list for women.

    Women’s health advocates said they were delighted that the Institute of Medicine committee had chosen to recommend not only the widest possible range of contraceptive services, but also an expansive spectrum of other preventive services.

    These include screening for gestational diabetes in pregnant women; more sophisticated testing for a virus, known as HPV, that is associated with cervical cancer; annual counseling for sexually active women on sexually transmitted infections; and multiple visits to obtain preventive services if they cannot be provided in one annual examination.

  22. Tim Little Says:

    Sorry, here’s the link

  23. Susan Haley Says:

    LOVE this blog posting.

    This is exactly the way we need to speak to those that would take rights away and make it harder for women to do their family planning, regardless of income.

    Well done Lynne!

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