Guest Blogger Laura Bergerol on Planned Parenthood

Why this is personal; I stand with Planned Parenthood!
Congressional leaders and President Obama headed off a shutdown of the government with less than two hours to spare Friday night under a tentative budget deal that would cut $38 billion from federal spending this year. I am grateful that they figured out a way to avert government shutdown and not hurt Planned Parenthood in the process. But I AM REALISTIC; this battle is not over; this was simply the first skirmish in the war on women’s health.  So I ask you to please support Planned Parenthood and women’s health issues; it has never been so needed especially in a time where there is an all out assault on women’s health.  Please read the post that follows; it was written yesterday and it is my personal story on why this matters!

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Friday April 8, 2011; Today I received emails from Planned Parenthood that actually make me sick; due to the stupid GOP who have decided that Planned Parenthood is a bad thing, so they plan to shut down the government and hold the Democrats and all women hostage in order to prove their point because they have decided that Planned Parenthood is ONLY about abortion.  The truth could not be farther from this!

I will cite articles, but what I want to do is to relate my own experience with abortion and a woman’s right to choose.  The beautiful girl that you see below in the photo is my sister Brenda; I lost her when she was twenty seven years old and the world lost a great crusader for the underdog.  It is because I was lucky enough to have her in my life, that I have the strength to speak out against what the GOP is doing; it is fundamentally wrong and it has to be overturned.  Here is her story (and mine.)

When Brenda was 25, she found out that she was pregnant.  It should have been a moment that most women who are in love and engaged to be married would cherish; the chance to have a child with the man that they love. Instead it was a time of terror for Brenda; you see, Brenda had severe epilepsy, and she could not be taken off of the medicines that kept her safe, in order to carry a child to term, and the medicines that already caused her significant side effects would have caused severe side effects to a child.  If she was taken off the anti-convulsive medicines, it was highly probable that she would have died from a seizure.

Additionally, she had a hard time taking birth control, since the pill caused her to have seizures. So after much heartache, pain, and discussion with her fiance to make her decision, she chose to have an abortion, and asked me to accompany her to Planned Parenthood in Santa Clara, California.  The year was 1982, and thank goodness, we had good facilities at that time that performed safe abortions. This had NOT always been the case as I was growing up, and indeed many deaths were attributed to back street abortion clinics.  When they called her back for the procedure, they had her talk to several counselors before taking her back to the room.  She explained over and over why she had no choice and I could see she was getting more and more upset; why couldn’t they just understand was written across her face.  Finally they began the procedure; it seemed an interminably long time, though in reality, it probably was over in less than a half hour.  BUT not before, my beloved sister suffered a Grand Mal seizure;  I stayed with her, never leaving her side and I tried to protect her from the seizure, and to simply be there for her.  She was terrified, as she always was when she had a seizure, and once the procedure was finally over, I took her home and put her to bed where she slept for 14 hours straight. She often felt guilt about that act, but I know in my heart that she would not have survived pregnancy, and that she had made the right decision.  If the GOP gets their way, the Brenda’s of the world, will have no where to turn.  Please do not let this happen!

To finish my story, about two summers later, Brenda married her sweetheart in June of 1984.  They began their married life together, but it was to be short-lived. On October 4, 1984, my sister had a Grand Mal seizure while driving and was killed instantly when her car ran into the piling for an overpass on Highway 101 in Santa Clara, CA.

The one thing that I know about my sister Brenda, is that she would not mind me telling you this story; indeed knowing Brenda, she would be on the picket lines in DC marching with Planned Parenthood.  Please do not force women to go back to a terrible time where contraception, family planning, and abortions are difficult to obtain.  Please stand with Brenda and me; we support and stand with Planned Parenthood and we believe in the rights of all women to get the medical help they need, no matter their financial situation.

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Links;

Today’s (4/9/11)  New York Times; http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/09/us/politics/09fiscal.html?_r=1&hp

From the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/what-planned-parenthood-a… “Though the fight over Planned Parenthood might be about abortion, Planned Parenthood itself isn’t about abortion. It’s primarily about contraception and reproductive health. And if Planned Parenthood loses funding, what will mainly happen is that cancer screenings and contraception and STD testing will become less available to poorer people. Folks with more money, of course, have many other ways to receive all these services, and tend to get them elsewhere already. The fight also isn’t about cutting spending. The services Planned Parenthood provides save the federal government a lot of money. It’s somewhat cold to put it in these terms, but taxpayers end up bearing a lot of the expense for unintended pregnancies among people without the means to care for their children. The same goes for preventable cancers and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS.”

From Planned Parenthood; I stand with Planned Parenthood; https://secure.ppaction.org/site/SPageServer?pagename=pp_ppol_urgent

From US Dept of Health and Human Services; http://www.hhs.gov/opa/familyplanning/index.html

From the New York Times; http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/09/us/politics/09fiscal.html?_r=1&hp

Shutdown Near, No Sign of Compromise; After the nightlong negotiations that ended before dawn on Friday yielded no agreement, Senator Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat and majority leader, went on the offensive. He told reporters and said on the Senate floor that Mr. Boehner, the Senate Democrats and President Obama had essentially settled on $38 billion in cuts from current spending. But he said that Republicans were refusing to abandon a policy provision that would withhold federal financing for family planning and other health services for poor women from Planned Parenthood and other providers.“This is indefensible, and everyone should be outraged,” Mr. Reid said on the Senate floor. “The Republican House leadership have only a couple of hours to look in the mirror, snap out of it and realize how truly shameful they have been.”

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Laura Bergerol is a professional photographer in New Orleans and blogs on Posterous and at Time Captured.net. Laura also was a major contributor to our Katrina Photo Project for the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. This essay was cross-posted from her personal blog.

Advancing Women in Academia

From Tulane’s New Wave

Advancing Women in Academia

November 10, 2009

New Wave staff
newwave@tulane.edu

The impacts of prejudice and bias on leadership advancement in academic institutions will be the focus of Dr. Molly Carnes’ talk at the 2009 Women’s Health Research Day on Friday (Nov. 13) co-sponsored by the Tulane-Xavier National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health.

Dr. Molly Carnes, director of the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Women’s Health Research, will lead a faculty workshop and give a public talk examining bias in academic leadership.

The keynote speech, “Forewarned is Forearmed: An Evidence-Based Approach to Advancing Women in Academia,” will be delivered by Carnes, professor of medicine, psychiatry and industrial and systems engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is director of the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Women’s Health Research.

Carnes’ presentation, from 9:30–10:30 a.m., which is open to the public, will be held in the J. Bennett Johnston Health and Environmental Research Building, 1324 Tulane Ave.

She also will present a workshop for faculty on “Breaking the Prejudice Habit through Bias Literacy” from 11:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., also in the J. Bennett Johnston Building. Preregistration is required.

“Carnes is committed to transforming the academic culture to be more welcoming of minorities and women and supportive of their career advancement, and increasing the development of a diverse cadre of future leaders in academic medicine, science and engineering,” says Dr. Jeanette H. Magnus, Cecile Usdin Professor in Women’s Health and chair of the Department of Community Health Sciences.

From 8:30–9:30 a.m. there will be a poster presentation by Tulane faculty working in the fields of sex, gender and women’s health.

The research day is sponsored by the Tulane-Xavier National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health and the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health program, funded by the National Institutes of Health. Additional support comes from the Maternal and Child Public Health Leadership Training Program, the Tulane Department of Community Health Sciences and the Mary Amelia Douglas-Whited Community Women’s Health Education Center.

For more information contact Gail Rome or call 504-988-9835.

(Thanks to Jen Sachs of Katrina Warriors for the info!)