The election results are in, and women are becoming outraged and fearful at the initiation of a Trump “dictatorship,”. One of the biggest concerns is the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the defunding of Planned Parenthood (PP). This mania of fear and loss of control can be helped.
It would be a true disappointment if the Roe v. Wade ruling were overturned. I believe it is highly unlikely; however, even if it were to happen, we could still save PP and protect abortion and reproductive rights by reclaiming them into the woman’s own hands and restructuring our reproductive strategies.
In order to do so, PP supporters need to evaluate their own thinking and values. If it is truly a woman’s concern to support and protect reproductive health, then women should prioritize their money and contribute to offset the $400 million deficit that defunding would cause (Washington Post).
People—and a large percentage is women—spend roughly $62 billion on the cosmetic industry, as well as an additional $225 billion on new clothing and textiles. I have written previously about the detrimental effects of the fast fashion industry. A bulk of these industry concepts are unnecessary.
Beauty is not the value to be tossed away, but lack of critique is. Many people can achieve the same goals of the cosmetic industry by switching to healthy lifestyle habits: a daily routine of exercise, adequate nutrition, and a simple line of basic skincare and beauty products either prescribed or not. While the consumption of lifestyle and vanity products may vary from person to person—make up, clothing, fitness club memberships, etc.—there is no reason to stop critically analyzing the industries and one’s own personal spending habits to prevent unnecessary purchases. If more people started thinking about their products, then the need for more innovative and less wasteful products and spending would come around faster. And more money would be free to spend on important organizations.
The second piece to this plan consists of the push to move away from the mentality of the traditional healthcare model. PP and its advocators want to maintain dependency-type treatments given by its organization. PP asserts that they provide preventive strategies as well as education, but it is fraudulent ideology.
It is similar to the traditional medicine mentality, prescribing pills to cover up symptoms. Whereas traditional MDs push pills to cover up depression, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and pretty much everything else (which all have been shown to be complex issues that cannot be treated with mere pills), Planned Parenthood and the existing reproductive healthcare framework pushes pills and fancy inventions that claim to regulate a woman’s body’s ability to prevent pregnancy.
I do not discredit the importance of PP. But I do think that some of the services that the organization claims are needed are not actually needed , and that we should move away from relying on PP into relying on ourselves in the long term. PP should only be reserved for emergency treatment.
My prime belief in the concept of independent women’s reproductive control stems from the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM)—a completely autonomous, scientific approach to creating or avoiding pregnancy that does not strip a woman of her money or independence.
This method is also offered at PP, and some doctors’ offices, but it is often brushed aside and denigrated, regarded as a method that is “too much work.” Doctors I have mentioned it to lump it in with the religious rhythm method and Natural Family Planning, both of which are actually disputed and lacking evidence, ultimately telling me to “not waste my time.”
The goals of the method are this: To prevent pregnancy. To induce pregnancy.
The methodology is this: Track three body signs daily—temperature, cervical fluid, and an optional (but strongly encouraged third), cervix position.
The long term effects are this: full education and understanding of a woman’s body, a relationship with her body, the overcoming of disgust and detachment from her body, and initiation into the critical inquiry of how this information has been withheld from her in the first place—and why it still is being withheld.
The method is completely independent of government control. The research has already been done. There are plenty of articles quoting the extremely high success rate of this method—and even some that suggest it may actually be more effective than the pill. Implementation of this method in the communities that Planned Parenthood treats should be the goal. This method is cheaper—in fact, it is practically free. There are no side effects. This method equips the woman to take care of herself through thorough knowledge of her own body. This is ultimately a woman’s dream!
Accurately educating young women will protect them in the long run. A relationship to her body creates a trust, and by that trust, she will learn to stick up for herself against harmful men. This is not a solve all strategy, but a step in the direction of complete autonomy, independence, and self-respect in reproductive rights.
Critics of FAM will argue that it is just not realistic for women to have the discipline to do what is necessary in order to create its success. Well, that is what the medical community and government have been saying to us for years, and yet there are people who devote their time to exercise and change their diet to remove diabetes and heart disease. I do not doubt that other services—abortion, sex education—can also be implemented non-invasively and with long term effects . Increasingly, people are seeing the false promises of the existing healthcare system, and they are leaving it. Reproductive health is a big component. But it will not change without critical thought and confidence in the independence of women.
For more information read Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler.
And secular Our Whole Lives sex education program put together by the Unitarian Church.
Planned parenthood website
Google FAM effectiveness
Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler