Talkin’ About a Revolution: The Real Impact of Global Gag Rule


The Global Gag Rule or The Mexico City Policy first took effect under Ronald Reagan in 1985 and stated the following:
“[T]he United States does not consider abortion an acceptable element of family planning programs and will no longer contribute to those of which it is a part. …[T]he United States will no longer contribute to separate nongovernmental organizations which perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.”
The Mexico City Policy expanded existing restrictions that prohibited U.S. funding for abortion internationally. However, before the policy was reinstated under President Trump as the Global Gag Rule, foreign NGOs could use non-U.S. funds for voluntary abortions and abortion counseling. However, “The Trump administration’s presidential memorandum states that the policy will apply to all U.S. global health assistance (to the extent allowable by law), including but not limited to family planning assistance, and extends prior policy to include all agencies and departments. Currently, the agencies and departments that receive direct appropriations for global health include:
  • USAID, the Department of State, including the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, which oversees and coordinates U.S. global HIV funding under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
  • Two operating divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and the Department of Defense (DOD).”
Read the complete Article here 

Roar Magazine

Talkin’ About a Revolution: 

The Vilification of the Female Health Revolution

I was having a conversation about why Planned Parenthood should/should not be defunded and when I couldn’t get anywhere I finally asked “what do you imagine the inside of Planned Parenthood offices look like?” When they asked what I meant, I asked if they saw a fully functioning medical facility or if they thought is was one big conveyor belt system with women strapped down receiving abortions around the clock like some mad science fiction version of a Looney Tunes nightmare and they replied: 
“Well, isn’t that what they do?” 
Then I asked if they knew that Planned Parenthood provided health care, cancer screenings, and yearly medical care for women, men, and the lgbtqqia+ community and was met with a blank stare. I realized that I was having a conversation with someone who did not fully understand the expansive healthcare options provided by Planned Parenthood. 
I also realized that many people are entering this discussion of defunding PP from this place of being taught to react to catch phrases and slogans instead of responding from an informed perspective of the reality of exactly what PP offers to its patients. But instead of seeking information, it is easier or, more to the point, more comfortable for people to respond in terms of the morality of abortion rather than the idea that healthcare issues and pregnancy prevention education as well as other needed medical attention should be paramount to us as a way to remain healthy and in control of our own lives.
And by that, I mean that we all have the right to demand fair, balanced and affordable healthcare for our bodies; whether the need is for cancer, STD or HIV screening, birth control options or abortions. All, I might add, legal, healthy options for anyone’s day-to-day healthcare.
Unfortunately, abortion has been vilified and used as a buzzword by so many with political aspirations. It is used to incite and divide and start a conversation that derails the real needs of healthcare especially to those who can’t afford other insurance coverage. 
If you ask someone what is the first word that pops into their mind when they hear Planned Parenthood most say: abortion. 
Read the rest of the article at roarfeminist.com

Birthing the Book

The Miracle of Mercury (Finishing Line Press) has finally landed in mailboxes and homes and I have to say it's a bit of a stressful feeling. It's like watching your second grader through the back window of a school bus and understanding that, from this moment forward, the path leads away.

Finishing Line PressPoetry is such a cerebral exercise in writing where you are stuck inside a lot of emotion during the process; it's as if the outside world doesn't exist. Then there is this little collection of things that all seemed like a good idea to explore in the quiet space of your writing room but now that it is part of the outside world of real people it takes on a life of its own.

So off my little emotional child goes into the world and I try to objectively read the poems to see how someone will interpret them or, more precisely, interpret me. What will they think of the things I have explored? Too raw? Not raw enough? Too many secrets held up to the light? Or, will it be that rare instance of connectivity when a poem gives someone new words for something very old.

Understand that I am referring to this as a birth and my emotional child because for the first time I have really explored my childhood with as brash an eye on myself as the other characters penned here. I look at my participation, both consensual or otherwise, in these things. I see clearly choices that could have gone another way or things said aloud that should have never been spoken. But I do speak about them here, with very little reserve, and damn, if that is not a frightening thought I don't know what is. Who will you think I am now, once you read my story?

Everyone wants to buy the tee, wear the bracelet, retweet the slogans of the cause, but to actually sit down and read a collection of poems focused on domestic abuse is quite another thing. I have said this before, I wish I had a different story. I wish I had a sunshiny cheery place to bring you to; but I don't. I only have this life I've traveled through: sometimes willing, sometimes not. And I think at some point we have to think about the life we have been handed and do something with it other than just hang on and survive.

So I have done this with it. I have scraped the inside of myself to find the spark of fear, the spearhead of anger and the smoldering aftermath of it to see what has come of it all. I want to say I hope you enjoy it, but what I really want to say is that I hope it rips you apart. I hope it tears down your layers and pulls at your hidden fears and angers you enough to look into those locked away places and pour brilliant light on them. I hope it makes you angry enough to look around you to see that this is not just my story. This is all of our stories.

So there it is,  the plain truth: I want you all in there with me in that damn pit. I want you to know that this is where I began. This is where I learned to fight. This is the beginning of the woman I am today. All of these little clustered pieces gathered here now to testify that they never go away but only crystalize into something else; something more. So welcome the The Miracle of Mercury and "my sheltered layers of truth in all of its imperfection."