Opinion | Leana Wen: Why I Left Planned Parenthood – By Leana S. Wen – The New York Times

By Leana S. Wen

Dr. Wen is an emergency physician.

“This week, I left my position as the president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood.

In my farewell message to colleagues, I cited philosophical differences over the best way to protect reproductive health. While the traditional approach has been through prioritizing advocating for abortion rights, I have long believed that the most effective way to advance reproductive health is to be clear that it is not a political issue but a health care one. I believed we could expand support for Planned Parenthood — and ultimately for abortion access — by finding common ground with the large majority of Americans who can unite behind the goal of improving the health and well-being of women and children.

When the board hired me to chart this new course, I knew that it would be challenging. Few organizations, let alone organizations under constant siege, accept change easily. Indeed, there was immediate criticism that I did not prioritize abortion enough. While I am passionately committed to protecting abortion access, I do not view it as a stand-alone issue. As one of the few national health care organizations with a presence in all 50 states, Planned Parenthood’s mandate should be to promote reproductive health care as part of a wide range of policies that affect women’s health and public health.

Another area of contention was my attempt to depoliticize Planned Parenthood. The organization and the causes it stands for have long been in the cross hairs of political attacks. In the last few months, seven states have passed laws banning abortion before many women even know that they are pregnant. Just this past Monday, the Trump administration announced that it would start enforcing a gag rule that would prohibit doctors and nurses working in federally funded clinics from referring patients to abortion care.

I had been leading our organization’s fights against these attacks, and believe they offer even more reason for Planned Parenthood to emphasize its role in providing essential health care to millions of underserved women and families. People depend on Planned Parenthood for breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, H.I.V. testing and family planning. To counter those who associate the organization with only abortion and use this misconception to attack its mission, I wanted to tell the story of all of its services — and in so doing, to normalize abortion care as the health care it is.”

David Lindsay:  This story makes me sad. I have been a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood since young adulthood, but I am at a loss. I thought Leana Wen had good ideas for making this organization more palatable to some of its enemies. I also fear that a softer, more sophisticated PP would be more helpful in defeating Donald Trump. Tightening up and becoming more narrow and strident, will problably help him by keeping his pro-life supporters galvanized.

Here is a comment I liked:

Billdoc2
Newton, MA
Times Pick

Wen is correct and those within PP who opposed her will regret her loss. As an older physician who went through medical training at a time when abortion was illegal and I watched over the deaths of many young women who died from botched attempted abortions, I know how important Roe is. As a long time observer of the political realities, I know that a different approach by PP made excellent sense. I have been a dedicated financial supporter of PP. My enthusiasm for continuing in that role has been severely diminished. I suspect I am not alone in those feelings.

9 Replies351 Recommended

Melinda Gates on Tech Innovation- Global Health and Her Own Privilege – By David Marchese – The New York Times

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I’m curious about how you decide which strategies you use to try to accomplish your goals. You’re a huge supporter of family planning, but you never explicitly work to get politicians who, say, want to repeal Roe v. Wade voted out of office. Why not?

I have to think about where my voice will help the conversation and where will it hurt. So for today, I have chosen to raise my voice in favor of contraceptives. There are over 200 million women who don’t have them, and it would change their life to have them. They are the greatest antipoverty tool that exists. The minute I speak out, which I may do someday, about where I am on Roe v. Wade, I will be cast into one bucket, and if people disagree with me on that issue, it will be harder for me to build this global coalition for women and their families who don’t have access to contraceptives. I don’t want to damage that. I’m not sure I need to step into the zeitgeist of what’s going on in the United States. I am looking at the long game.

via Melinda Gates on Tech Innovation, Global Health and Her Own Privilege – The New York Times

Serena Williams Spotlights Tennis Inequities, but in the Best Way? – By Juliet Macur – NYT

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“Had I behaved like that on a tennis court, I would have expected to get everything that happened to Serena,” said Martina Navratilova, who won 18 Grand Slam singles titles and a record nine Wimbledon titles, and has been a longtime advocate for equality in the sport. “ It should’ve ended right there with the point warning, but Serena just couldn’t let it go.”

She added, “She completely had the right message about women’s inequality, but it wasn’t the right time to bring it up.”

Ramos officiated with his usual exacting eye. He gave Williams a warning for receiving coaching in the second set. His action was warranted because Williams’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, admitted to coaching her.”

. . .

“Billie Jean King, a pioneer for women’s equality in sports, weighed in on Twitter.

“When a woman is emotional, she’s ‘hysterical’ and she’s penalized for it,’ ” King wrote. “When a man does the same, he’s ‘outspoken’ and there are no such repercussions. Thank you, Serena Williams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.”

Hard to argue with that. But it was disappointing that King said nothing about the poor timing of Williams’s powerful voice. It made me think back to last year’s Open, when the Italian player Fabio Fognini unleashed a barrage of Italian curses upon a female umpire and was kicked out of the tournament.

So sometimes, there are repercussions.

Rafael Nadal feuded with Ramos during last year’s French Open, and Djokovic did so at Wimbledon. “Double standards, my friend, double standards,” Djokovic said to Ramos. Those players vented and moved on without derailing the entire match.”

David Lindsay: Thank you Juliet Macur. I  agree with Martina Navratolova, Serena’s complaint was valid, but her timing and refusal to move on was terrible. A female friend wondered if the relentless anger might have been exaggerated by post partum spirits, or ferocity. I criticize the World Tennis Association, for not have more choices in the rules than, 1,2,3:  1, a warning, 2. dock a point, then 3. dock a game. In the end I fear that, the umpire made a judgement mistake, by taking a whole game away from Serena without a second soft warning. While Serena got what she deserved, it seems that the umpire did a disservice to Naomi Osaka, who was doing fine without his help, even though Serena was completely out of line. In defense of the umpire,  Serena did not appear to respect anything he said.

via Serena Williams Spotlights Tennis Inequities, but in the Best Way? – The New York Times

Thermostats- Locks and Lights: Digital Tools of Domestic Abuse – By Nellie Bowles – NYT

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By Nellie Bowles
June 23, 2018

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SAN FRANCISCO — The people who called into the help hotlines and domestic violence shelters said they felt as if they were going crazy.

One woman had turned on her air-conditioner, but said it then switched off without her touching it. Another said the code numbers of the digital lock at her front door changed every day and she could not figure out why. Still another told an abuse help line that she kept hearing the doorbell ring, but no one was there.

Their stories are part of a new pattern of behavior in domestic abuse cases tied to the rise of smart home technology. Internet-connected locks, speakers, thermostats, lights and cameras that have been marketed as the newest conveniences are now also being used as a means for harassment, monitoring, revenge and control.

In more than 30 interviews with The New York Times, domestic abuse victims, their lawyers, shelter workers and emergency responders described how the technology was becoming an alarming new tool. Abusers — using apps on their smartphones, which are connected to the internet-enabled devices — would remotely control everyday objects in the home, sometimes to watch and listen, other times to scare or show power. Even after a partner had left the home, the devices often stayed and continued to be used to intimidate and confuse.

via Thermostats, Locks and Lights: Digital Tools of Domestic Abuse – The New York Times

Great article. Terrible news. Someone will write a good thriller with this techonology and an abuser that makes a fine movie. I only hope that the movie will have a happy ending. Woman and FBI overcome haunted house.

Here is one of many comments I liked. This one took my breath away:

Nuschler
hopefully on a sailboat

An old fashioned word “Gaslighting” now defines abuse with advanced technology.

As a victim of horrific abuse I was completely unaware of how my reputation and life were being eroded by my late spouse.

My second marriage was to a West Point army officer who was in cybersecurity. I’m an MD so when he retired after 20 yrs (at age 42) I told him he didn’t need to work and he used his GI loan to get his Masters and PhD in IT. He installed a computer in my office along with a home security system that controlled the environment, along with every door and window. Even the coffee maker was digital to start brewing at a specific time.

Then my house keys no longer worked…now we just punched in a number. My Prius had a smart key system.

It started like a drip, drip…I couldn’t start the car…so I took the bus. I had been very independent before meeting him and I had always trusted everyone completely. So why should I suspect subterfuge?

Then it became a waterfall. My friends were upset with me and no longer accepted invites to play tennis or golf. I would come home at 0300 and couldn’t get in the house. The physical abuse started but I lied about injuries–why? Because I thought that there was something wrong with ME!

He committed suicide with a gun; the police arrested ME. Why? He had created Facebook pages in my name and they were racist, bigoted, with entries on killing my husband! He also emptied my savings.

After a terrible yr I left Hawaii. Will never recover.

Where a Taboo Is Leading to the Deaths of Young Girls – Nepal – The New York Times

By Jeffrey Gettleman June 19, 2018

“TURMAKHAND, Nepal — Not long ago, in rural western Nepal, Gauri Kumari Bayak was the spark of her village. Her strong voice echoed across the fields as she husked corn. When she walked down the road at a brisk clip, off to lead classes on birth control, many admired her self-confidence.

But last January, Ms. Bayak’s lifeless body was carried up the hill, a stream of mourners bawling behind her. Her remains were burned, her dresses given away. The little hut where she was pressured to sequester herself during her menstrual period — and where she died — was smashed apart, erasing the last mark of another young life lost to a deadly superstition.

“I still can’t believe she’s not alive,” said Dambar Budha, her father-in-law, full of regret, sitting on a rock, staring off into the hills.

In this corner of Nepal, deep in the Himalayas, women are banished from their homes every month when they get their period. They are considered polluted, even toxic, and an oppressive regime has evolved around this taboo, including the construction of a separate hut for menstruating women to sleep in. Some of the spaces are as tiny as a closet, walls made of mud or rock, basically menstruation foxholes. Ms. Bayak died from smoke inhalation in hers as she tried to keep warm by a small fire in the bitter Himalayan winter.”

Source: Where a Taboo Is Leading to the Deaths of Young Girls – The New York Times

David Lindsay:  I spent a month in Nepal, hiking around the Annapurnas. I had no idea that this was part of the culture I witnessed and visited.  Here are the top comments from the NYT that I recommended:

Carla
Brooklyn Times Pick

Curious the deep seated hatred of women and bodily functions, just as prevelant in western culture from the dark ages, to the Victorian era and now in 2018 where republicans are busy trying to defund women’s health clinics and outlawing abortion and birth control.
Misogyny exists in every culture and I think if boils down to men’s fear of female power given that they procreate. I can’t think of any other reason,

Phyliss Dalmatian commented June 19

Phyliss Dalmatian
Wichita, Kansas

Before anyone comments about a primitive culture, how is this different from the GOP trying their hardest to control Women’s reproductive lives, and health, in THIS Country ??? Just an updated version.

Maura Driscoll commented June 19

Maura Driscoll
California   Times Pick

As long as women and girls are considered “extra mouths to feed”, unwanted burdens on families that only value sons, oppression, forced marriages, underage marriages and condoned rape will continue. The ignorance of those who promote menstrual sequestration is astounding. It is not fear of blood, it’s FEAR of WOMEN and the power of procreation that upsets oppressors world wide. And it’s up to those very women, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, to say NO. (And it crosses my mind that the males in the household are perhaps the ones who should go live in the huts if they are so afraid…)

Opinion | What Happens When Abortion Is Banned? – By Michelle Oberman – NYT

Abortifacient drugs have become so readily available in places like Chile and El Salvador that it has become impossible to enforce abortion bans. That was also the case in Ireland, where by some accounts, before last month’s legalization vote, at least two Irish women a day were self-administering abortions using pills.

The most widely available abortion drug in Latin America, misoprostol, is commonly used to treat ulcers. Although less effective than the combination of mifepristone and misoprostol used in the United States, misoprostol taken in the first trimester causes an abortion in approximately 90 percent of cases. In Brazil, where abortion is all but banned, experts estimate there are about a million illegal abortions each year; around half of them are induced using abortion drugs. Efforts to restrict access to misoprostol will fail not simply because it costs pennies to make, but also because it saves lives. The World Health Organization lists misoprostol as an “essential medicine” for treating miscarriages, and the drug has been credited with reducing deaths from illegal abortions.

via Opinion | What Happens When Abortion Is Banned? – The New York Times

Yes, and, here are the two most recommended comments, I endorsed:

Anne
Portland
Times Pick

There is no ‘good’ or ‘responsible’ way to limit abortion. There are always bad and/or unintended consequences.

No one is in a position to tell a woman whether she is physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially prepared to go through a pregnancy, give birth, and care adequately for a child except for the woman herself. If she is not prepared to be a mother for any reason, she should have the right to a safe legal medical procedure.

And if you’re against abortion, then support comprehensive sex education and ensuring birth control options are readily available to all women.

Anne commented May 31

A
Anne
Portland
Times Pick

If you are a woman who is against abortion, don’t have one. If you’re a man who is against abortion, don’t impregnate anyone.

But don’t dictate what other women should do with their bodies. Birth control sometimes fail, and women are sometimes sexually assaulted. Some women struggle financially or with mental illness or with addiction. It’s not anyone’s job to tell these women that they HAVE to be a mother.

And it’s especially galling when men would disallow abortion as a choice. Because we all know, most women end up as the single mother caring for children when the pregnancy is unintended. Rarely, does the father become the primary caregiver in these situations.

Jemera Rone- Investigator Who Bared Human Rights Abuses- Dies at 71 – NYT

A super woman.

Ms. Rone left a legal career on Wall Street to focus on exposing and seeking justice for human rights violations in El Salvador and Sudan.
nytimes.com

A Rapist’s Nightmare A girl in India resists threats and bribes to pursue the upper-caste men she says gang-raped her. nytimes.com|By Nicholas Kristof

Saint Nicholas: “LUCKNOW, India — FOR as long as anyone can remember, upper-caste men in a village here in northern India preyed on young girls. The rapes continued because there was no risk: The girls were destroyed, but the men faced no repercussions.

Now that may be changing in the area, partly because of the courage of one teenage girl who is fighting back. Indian law doesn’t permit naming rape victims, so she said to call her Bitiya — and she is a rapist’s nightmare. This isn’t one more tragedy of sexual victimization but rather a portrait of an indomitable teenager whose willingness to take on the system inspires us and helps protect other local girls.”

Another great piece by Nicholas Kristof. My only issue, is whether to post it to OnVietnamAndtheWorld.worpress.com before or after I post it to InconvenientNews.wordpress.com. On Vietnam and the World, (blog 2) wins, since its focus is international affairs, and both blogs cover similar topics.

A girl in India resists threats and bribes to pursue the upper-caste men she says gang-raped her.
nytimes.com|By Nicholas Kristof

The Courtesan

Franklenstein

The Courtesan

“A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song”

The Courtesan ~ Alexandra Curry 

There is not one element in this story that a Historical Fiction fan could possibly resist. A true story, China in the 1880’s, a seven year old girl Jinhua is sold into prostitution by her evil step mother. Forced to bind her feet, as per Chinese customs and trained on the technicalities of “bed business” she is eventually taken as a Concubine by a high ranking Chinese diplomat. With him she travels to Europe and experiences a few months of fairytale bliss of friendship and romance; only to return to a changing and tumultuous China. If this story sounds almost too fantastical to be a true account, that’s because it probably is. Jinhua has achieved legendary status in China and nobody can be quite sure of the facts…

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