Tuesday, December 20, 2016

We cannot compete with Planned Parenthood. 
It's time we admit that.

     There are thousands of pro-life groups who are doing great things individually and offering pieces of what PP does, but I've yet to come across one nationwide entity that is offering comparable services, sans abortion.

     Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are the closest thing we have to that, and let's be honest, they're more like the DMV than PP. So if a woman does not have a strong conviction against going to an abortion provider for her healthcare she is going to pick Planned Parenthood every time. She can schedule an appointment there, get all of her well woman services in one place, and get in and out in a timely manner.

     I can hardly blame women for being defensive when we talk about taking that away, without replacing it with something better.

     That said, I wonder what would happen if we stopped putting all of our efforts into "defunding" Planned Parenthood and instead started actively working to create an alternative. Pregnancy Centers are great resources for PREGNANT women, but guess what, women still need healthcare even when they're not pregnant. And letting uninsured, low income women go without annual breast exams and cervical screenings is not pro-life.

     I say this as an uninsured woman myself. I've been able to experience this lack of options first hand.

     However, I'm not one to complain about a problem without offering a solution. And it's worth noting that it took Planned Parenthood 100 years and millions of dollars in blood money to create the monopoly they currently have on women's "healthcare."

     Pro-life outreach usually COSTS us money, so we're going to have to get creative. The services already exist, the main thing we're missing is the network that links these resources together.

     Five years ago I felt called to start an app that would help uninsured and underinsured women find healthcare.

     It would be similar to "Around Me," but instead of showing you nearby bars and coffee shops, it would drop pins for Maternity Homes, Pregnancy Resource Centers, Pro-life Doctors who offer free/low cost services, FQHC, WIC offices, Free Sonograms, etc.

     The fact that this type of app doesn't already exist honestly blows my mind, and as a movement we should be ashamed that we haven't created it yet.

     THIS is how we take down Planned Parenthood. We offer COMPARABLE alternatives through a vast network of pro-life resources, in turn giving women real options and practical support.

     It would not be as easy as "Around Me" since we couldn't simply hook it up to a Google algorithm. The resources would have to be vetted, up-to-date, and entered into the network manually in order to guarantee that they are all life-affirming facilities. But it could be done if different pro-life groups adopted cities or states and committed to do this for the women and unborn children (and born children!) in their communities.

     Most sidewalk counselors already have this information gathered. It's usually in a big, bulky box that they haul around when offering alternatives outside of the clinics. But could you imagine being able to offer those same resources to women not just at the clinic, and from the palm of your hand?

     For me this is personal because I encountered a young woman 3-years-ago and wasn't able to help. I had already had this idea when I found myself in a Walmart bathroom, washing my daughter's hands over the sink. I looked up into the mirror and noticed an empty pregnancy test box on the floor of the stall behind us.

     You aren't in a good place when you're taking a pregnancy test in a Walmart bathroom. I knew I could help her but I didn't know how to without invading her privacy. I knew what the resources in my area were but I didn't know how to get them to this complete stranger locked in the stall behind me, without crossing quite a few boundaries.

     Could you imagine if I had a simple business card that read, "Help Assist Her - Women's Healthcare Resources In The Palm Of Your Hand" that I could've slipped under the stall door?

     I can, because I imagine it quite frequently. Such a simple act could've saved a life. I don't know whatever happened to that woman or her child, but I want to make this app for her and all of the women like her that we could reach.

     I don't know how this is going to happen, but I know there are enough of us here who are sick and tired of being against Planned Parenthood and are ready to be FOR something better.

     So if you think you can help, or know someone who could, please contact us. It's high time that Help Assist Her became a reality.


  1. Why do you assert that a woman taking a pregnancy test in a Walmart can't be in a good place? Could she have been excited and anxious to take the test so much so that during her shopping or perhaps a work shift, she wanted to take the test?

  2. I love this idea!!! I've been so impressed with "40 days for life" and would think they would be all over helping make this a reality.
    I am encouraged that tides are changing and PP is weakening and people are really starting to take a stand for those who can't. Just found your site when reading an article about you being uninvited from a top spot in the women's march. I think the following Fridays March for life is going to be a much better March anyway :)

  3. I haven't been able to find concrete answers anywhere to this question - is NWF against birth control?

    I thought this was a train I could jump on, but if you're against birth control then I really can't.

    I use PP for pelvic exams and for birth control. Do I like that they provide abortions? No. But I'm uninsured. I don't want kids. It's much cheaper and much more accessible to go to PP.

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    2. Hi Bekah I hope NWF answers you as I'm just an occasional follower but from the tone of them I don't believe they are against birth control. Please understand though that the reason some pro life groups-or individuals are against birth control is that SOME birth control is questionable in the way it works (mainly hormonal forms and the copper IUD). It is NOT 100% known if these types of birth control prevent the uterine lining from building up -which is what the human embryo implants itself into to thrive. It is not 100% known because from my understanding it simply can't be tested in a way to definitively state HOW it works.

      The best I have heard is that it probably doesn't work this way, but for some like myself that isn't a good enough answer since we are talking about human life. And like you I want to be very careful about risking pregnancy (and let's be honest, condoms just aren't the same as au natural) so I scoured the internet looking for a solid answer to this issue. I WANTED to find absolute proof that it was ok and not against my ethics but there just wasn't. But there are many self proclaimed pro lifers out there that have decided some or all bc is ok and we just respectfully agree to disagree with each other. We come together though in our fight to end what we all know absolutely kills: abortion.

      So I just hope I gave you something to consider if the birth control issue is the only thing holding you back from deciding to be involved with NWF or the Pro Life cause in general. I know some religious groups that are pro life may be against birth control because they think it's against God's plan or a similar reason, but other pro life groups(I mostly follow Secular Pro Life) are quite supportive of birth control and see it as a responsible way to space children or mitigate the risk of unexpected pregnancy. We just take qualms with someone thinking that using bc gives them a free pass to still kill their offspring if it fails.

      Whatever you decide in regards to birth control I want to thank you for considering supporting or continuing to support the Pro Life cause and hope to see you around the blogs. :)

      ( ps. I'm going to find some of the papers I read on birth control and link them in a separate reply.)

    3. Here's Secular Pro Life's statement on birth control.

      They actually link a paper I read that I recall being easy to understand, but again admitted it's not known with 100% certainty if birth control pills can cause early miscarriage /be abortifacient.
      That paper is here:http://lti-blog.blogspot.com/2008/06/does-thin-uterine-lining-support-pill.html

      There's another paper I recall reading from the AAPLOG (American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists) but I'm not sure if it's this one. And it's very difficult to read both in the layout and word usages. It's very technical and I honestly only understood half of it, but what I understood was what I said about us not having the science to truly know how hormonal contraception (the pill in this case) works.


      And here's the AAPLOG's stance (or non stance rather): http://aaplog.org/oral-contraceptive-controversy/

      So as you can see in general the subject is kind of open because of where we are in the science and unless the group is also religious, they probably take a neutral stance at this time.

  4. I don't think NWF are against birth control...I don't recall reading anything about it in this article. Birth control is how you prevent a pregnancy from happening in the first place.

    1. Yes, they VERY carefully avoid the issue of birth control on all of their pages. This combined with the fact that they want to divert funds from Planned Parenthood to pro-life centers shows that the care offered by that organization means little to them, and they choose the potential life inside of a woman over that of the actual woman. It seems that preventing the abortion is more important than preventing the physical, mental, and economic stress of pregnancy.

      This is why you were not suitable to partner with the Women's March on Washington, NWF. Pro-lifers can be feminists and can fight for the rights of women, but not when that includes taking away knowledge and resources from women in safeguarding their health.

  5. When civil rights organizers are selective about who is good enough to join their ranks, they devolve from civil rights advocates to discriminating bigots. How awful that the organizers of the women's march thought they were better, more righteous, or more pro- woman than this or any other group. "We are pro-women, just not if they have different values than us" is what their actions say. Disgraceful!

  6. They never said they weren't allowed to attend, only that they were not comfortable partnering with them. Looking at this website had me feeling the same way. They are not the message of peace and love they claim to be, and are not committed to supporting women at all stages of their lives or reproductive choices. You can be pro life and feminost, but you still need to support women's options.

  7. What kind of support do you need to make this app happen? I don't have much in the way of computer skills, but I have friends who do who I hope would be excited about helping. But I would need to know what help specifically to ask them for. How should I contact you?

  8. The App does sound great, but there is an international organization that supports pregnant woman: Birthright. http://birthright.org/en/

  9. This is an excellent idea. I think if we pro-lifers put their money where out mouth is we will all get a lot more respect from the pro-choice groups and they might be more open to dialogue.

  10. I really do feel like you should address the birth control issue (whether or not you are for it) because that and accurate sex education prevents pregnancy. It can also prevent STDs. And also you guys know we don't have paid parental leave in the US, which makes it hard for working parents, but I didn't see you guys mention that here on your website. And if you are prolife and want to make it easier and affordable to provide good childcare, you should petition to have workplaces offer daycare, which is something else I didn't see on your website. Planned parenthood really offers a lot of other services than abortions, which is only a tiny percentage of what they do. So how can you be a feminist and prolife and not address these things? Besides teaching boys to be responsible and accountable human beings, how the hell do you think you're going to hold them accountable for pregnancies? You guys are grouping yourselves, when you March in prolife marches, with a bunch of right wingers who think "boys will be boys", and they can pass off the responsibility of being fathers or rape a woman without even giving it another thought. Try to improve on the things I have mentioned and work towards having equality in the workplace, so that women aren't looked down upon for having children.

    1. I appreciate you asking NWF these questions (and I too would appreciate a response) but you come off as a bit presumptuous. I feel like you aren't so much asking questions as accusing NWF (and possible the pro life movement in general) of NOT doing the things you mention as opposed to actually asking them what their plans to help end abortion are.

      And what basis to do you have to suggest NWF agrees that "boys will be boys?" I don't follow their blog a lot but I know that is NOT how they think! As far as how to hold men accountable for the children they help sire? It's called child support, court ordered.

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  12. I think the app is an awesome idea ( I especially would love to be able to find pro life doctors ) and would really help people find the help they need and in a private way. I understand what you mean about there not being a "nationwide"/chain place that offers preventative health care for low income people but I think you should give more credit to the services that ARE out there.

    For a number of years now I've seen more and more health clinics pop up. I myself have gone to one for a leg infection. Sure they can have long wait times, but they take cash patience (I believe I payed $50 for the visit). Obviously you would need to call each one to find out what services they offered and what kind of payment plans they had, but it's quite possible they offer basic health care exams including pelvic and breast exams for women.

    Personally I get my pelvic exams from my Gynecologist at Henry Ford, whom I only started seeing when I was able to get on a Medicaid Program called "Plan First". It does not exist now because the Affordable Health Care Act combined a bunch of Medicaid programs but it's how I was able to get birth control pills (I no longer use them for ethical and health reasons) and I believe had my first pap smear before transitioning to "Obamacare" (basically it was a part of medicaid JUST for family planning services, I didn't qualify for full Medicaid).

    As I said now I have Obamacare. I'll go ahead and give away my state and say I'm on the Healthy Michigan plan which is like Straight medicaid (unless it replaced Medicaid all together but I don't know that). I pay nothing for any services and I know people who pay very little copays, like $20. I have medical supplies I need for daily living and Healthy Michigan has been a 'godsend'. And what I'm getting at it if you are really low income you should qualify for zero or very low copay health care so I don't understand why pro life groups (or PP supporters even) seem to imply that there is some major epidemic of women not being able to afford preventative health care.

    I know there are some caveats with the system (my best friend should qualify for EBT but her family doesn't because they don't consider bills which I think isn't fair) but help IS out there for low income people , you just may have to do a lot of internet research to find it. Maybe I'm lucky to live where I do, but are there really that many women who can't afford basic health care?

    And don't misunderstand me, I certainly want everyone human being to have what they need but I just mean is this really a major issue as some make it seem or is this something that is currently being addressed (like the clinics I said were popping up in my area) and just needs more time to roll out?

  13. Oh and a tip. I heard that dollar store pregnancy tests are just as accurate as brand name. I forgot where though (somewhere online) so obviously do your own research but do it and see for yourself. The info is out there just have to look! I actually buy bulk ovulation test strips from a company called Clinical Guard; the kit I buy happens to come with pregnancy tests also so that's another way to get either cheaper.

    Another tip: See if your dr or hospital has a program for low income people to help pay their medical bills. My hospital waved bills for me twice because I wrote statements explaining my financial situation.

    Last Tip: Basic Breast exams can be done at home. Put your hand behind your head taut and use your other hand to check your breast for lumps. For example, if your left hand is bend your head your check your left breast with your free hand. Repeat for other side. I actually learned that from a pamphlet my mom had.

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