Trump’s signature has (once again) ignited global concern about the state of women. Today, Thursday 4/13, President Trump signed a bill that gives states the option of defunding their Planned Parenthood programs (New York Times). Planned Parenthood is a global healthcare provider that offers medical services associated with reproductive health. It has become a symbol for women’s health and women’s rights.
This symbolic bill essentially establishes that it’s up to states to decide whether or not they should fund their Planned Parenthood programs. It is no longer a federally enforced obligation for a state to financially support Planned Parenthood. The effects of defunding Planned Parenthood on women is significantly emphasized in the media. The public concern for women’s health in particular is obviously admirable and merited, however this gender specific concern has two faces.
It’s name, “Planned Parenthood,” labels it as a refuge for parents, aka two people; categorizing this healthcare service as a women’s issue overshadows the crucial healthcare it provides for men. Lesser known are the many services Planned Parenthood offers men and couples. Rather than stress the negative effects of defunding Planned Parenthood on one gender, it is much more lucrative to focus on both genders, both parents. Men rely on this healthcare service as much as women directly and indirectly.
In a very direct way, Planned Parenthood supplies vital medical services for males. These are just some of the health services: checkups for reproductive or sexual health problems; colon, prostate, and testicular cancer screenings; condoms and vasectomy erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation services, including education, exams, treatment, and referral 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 (Planned Parenthood). Planned Parenthood also offers emotional support and sex education. It is a significant part of the men’s healthcare system.
Bill Gates is the last man one might associate with Planned Parenthood. The program is usually associated with lower income communities. However, even the extremely influential Bill Gates once explained the major role Planned Parenthood played in his life, “when I was growing up, my parents were always involved in various volunteer things. My dad was head of Planned Parenthood. And it was very controversial to be involved with that.” Planned Parenthood supports women and low income neighbors; but it also supports men and a diverse range of communities. Defunding Planned Parenthood damages both men’s and women’s health.
I’m so pleased to announce that three of my poems, “Slots,” “Scraping” and “Make a Decision” have been published in Barking Sycamores Literary Magazine Issue 13. Barking Sycamores is dedicated to neurodivergent literature and its craft. I’m so honored to be a part of this project. Barking Sycamores Issue 13
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