Reproductive Health: ONE KEY QUESTION to BRAVE Responses

By the Rev. Andrea Cano, Ainsworth UCC, Portland, OR

Hobby-LobbyAt my age, well into the post-menopausal 60’s, there’s a lot to embracing cronehood. It is a time to mine experiences for wisdom, continue to learn and deepen my understanding of life, and still be involved in matters of consequence.

One of those matters surfaced in the July 7 issue of Slate Magazine[1] in an article titled “Would you like to become pregnant next year?” This query is the heart of the ONE KEY QUESTION campaign being launched by the Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health.[2]

The initiative aims to assure that during each medical visit, women of child bearing age are asked the question, and the response then “triggers a doctor-patient discussion that will keep women healthier, help eliminate health disparities, and save tax payer dollars.”

If the woman answers ‘yes’, resources, a pre-natal care plan, and counseling are suggested for a healthy pregnancy.  If she does not intend to get pregnant, the discussion focuses on a wide range of contraceptive options to prevent unplanned pregnancy.  If she is uncertain, she is encouraged to take preventive measures until she is sure, because 85% of couples not using contraceptives will become pregnant the next year, whether they intend to or not.

Transgender Awareness Week

The annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) memorializes trans individuals who have died because of anti-transgender discrimination and victimization.  A tradition inspired by the Allston, MA vigil for slain transsexual Rita Hester in 1998, this day has become the worldwide rallying point for a community long under siege.  No one should be subjected to violence simply because of their gender identity or expression.  No one should be denied the basic rights that enable their safety and security.  No one should consider taking their own life to escape harassment and bullying.  Many transgender people experience discrimination on a daily basis in the workplace, healthcare access, public accommodation, etc.

In Oregon, several events are planned for Transgender Awareness Week and can be found here: http://www.basicrights.org/featured/14th-annual-transgender-day-of-remembrance/

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) also has more information about how to be involved in trans-justice and a new video project here: http://www.glaad.org/transawarenessweek.

Women’s Rights in a Man’s World

by Carol Stirling, Boise First Congregational United Church of Christ

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Roe v. Wade that a right to privacy under the 14th Amendment extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion. Anti-abortion legislators have introduced legislation that would make all abortions illegal and essentially overturn Roe v. Wade. In 2011, over 1,000 pieces of legislation have been introduced and 162 bills have been passed at the state level to restrict access to abortion and/or family planning.
During the Idaho 2012 legislative session, Senate bill 1387 was introduced which would require a woman seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound procedure before the abortion. It would require a medical procedure on a woman already burdened with the personal decision of having to continue with the pregnancy or not.
There was a ground swell of opposition to the bill across the state of Idaho. During the public hearing on the bill, Sue Philley of Boise presented to the legislators a petition with 4,000 signatures against the pre-abortion ultrasound bill. She said, “Health care decisions are best made by patients and their medical providers, not politicians.” People felt the bill was a threat to freedom and that personal values of legislators were being forced on women. “Taking away freedom from women to make their own decisions about their own bodies, based on Mr. Winder’s (sponsor of the bill) personal beliefs, is discriminatory and wrong. It is about pursing personal preferences ahead of just treatment for everyone,” said Dan Morrow.