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Jun 25 2011

Rights of the Silent majority – Death by a Thousand Cuts

It’s a well known fact that the best form of healthcare is preventative. In medicine there exists the idea of community medicine (an actual field in India) which consists of number crunching and ideas such as immunisation, contraception use, registry of drugs and education.

The majority of diseases are preventable by things we take for granted in the west. Remember one of the major sources of Cholera world wide was once the UK as was Typhoid. These diseases now rarely occur in the west to the point that they have become newsworthy material when they do occur. However cholera, typhoid, amoebic dysentery and all manner of nasty gastroenteric diseases are all facts of life in the third world.

The simple reason is the existence of plumbing and solid universal sewerage in the west. The disease cannot spread as fast as sewage and drinking water are kept separate (indians still think I am lying when I say you can drink tap water in the UK with no ill effects.). We have routine garbage collections and we dispose of it relatively hygenically compared to the piles of garbage left on the streets out in third world countries. All these spread these diseases.

Hygienic conditions came about in the west with improving standards of living, dropping populations and the idea that you can save more lives by these methods than by fire fighting.

Planned Parenthood and the CDC are the bodies responsible for this. Planned Parenthood is a Obstetric/Gynaecological community medicine project. It’s role is to provide and care for women and their children. And like all obstetricians and gynaecologists their roles are varied. They are providers of sexual and reproductive healthcare and that is vital for a healthy population. And it’s worth being free since most of us will probably utilise it’s efforts in one way or another.

Planned Parenthood are not just about the A word. They provide an entire list of services aimed at both genders which help with

Abortion – I am obviously the guy on the left here!
My course does require me to learn how to do the procedure

1. Abortions - The majority of abortions these days are early first trimester abortions. The rise of sex education, the rise of cheap birth control, the morning after pill and the HCG urine test (Clear Blue) have all lead to the drop in the number of abortions. Most abortions are chemical abortions where you take a pill that either prevents implantation or that prevents the foetus from developing. Most pregnancies are terminated in the first trimester (Nearly 80%) with the remainder in the second trimester (usually due to disease, foetal abnormalities and or illness but a few choice abortions do occur in this period). Third trimester abortions or Late term abortions are incredibly rare and are administered for very few reasons. Most doctors wouldn’t perform it without indications. There are no choice late term abortions to my knowledge, most people would chose to keep the child. Those that do terminate usually are victims of abuse, victims of disease or the child has severe congenital abnormalities.

Aaargh! My catholicism is weakening!

2. Birth Control - Another big bugbear of the religious lunatics who plague the USA. Birth control will apparently cheapen sex and encourage promiscuity (because the 300 million people who live in the USA – the third most populous nation on earth got there by binary fission rather than by a short period of meiosis, some muscle contractions and a long period mitosis). I am medically speaking not a fan of abortions. I would rather we had fewer abortions. Which is why I am a big fan of birth control and education. The more birth control we use the fewer abortions we need and the fewer abortions we need the fewer women who suffer from the side effects of abortions that can include permanent sterility and loss of sex life. Abortions are traumatic events both physically and psychologically, we should try and reduce the numbers of them. And the best way to do so is via birth control. Banning abortions actually seems to make them increase because with abortion bans comes birth control bans. 

Add caption

3. Body Image - This is something worth campaigning for. The USA has two attitudes to body image. One that either revels in hyper healthy behaviour or one that revels in gluttonous excess. The normal range is unaccounted for. You are either thin or you are fat. Beautiful or ugly. And that hurts the normal men and women out there. Eating disorders are on the rise in men too. For me poor body image is either a lack of acceptance of your own issues if you have them or a complete hatred for your own body. Some people are fat and do need to lose weight as part of basic health. Some kids are overfed and are obese for that reason. Sometimes the only reason obesity runs in a family is because the habit of eating unhealthily runs in a family. The other part of the problem is normal people thinking they are fat despite all evidence to the contrary and forcing themselves to be like their role models who are only thin by the grace of photography, photoshop and a lifestyle that they can afford. It’s a fine line to walk between encouraging healthy eating with exercise to reducing the obesity rate and good body image. 

I am sorry, it’s
Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.
You only have 3 days left to learn to spell it.

4. General Healthcare – The Planned Parenthood runs a variety of screening services in various areas ranging from anaemia, diabetes, cholesterol, hypertension, hormone function tests. They are also a distribution point for general vaccines. These are things that sound minor but can save lives. A lot of people are endemically anaemic. Black people in the USA are prone to both diabetes and sickle cell anaemia. Vegans as well are prone to anaemia. A lot of people have high cholesterol and hypertension. Thyroid hormone tests can turn a lethargic child with hypothyroid into a healthy happy child. Growth hormone tests are actually one of the reasons there are fewer individuals with dwarfism these days as people simply catch it early and administer the hormone. There are suggestions of deafness clinics being run here as well since we can correct deafness to an extent nowadays and it’s better if we catch it earlier. 

The alternative to Planned Parenthood

5. Men’s Health - Men’s health is a rising field. There are diseases that men are prone to that they rarely seek help for. Planned Parenthood offers testicular screening for men. Testicular cancer is a big killer of young men between the ages of 20 to 40. In the USA roughly 350 men a year die from it and around 8000 are affected. They also offer screening for prostate cancer which is the male equivalent of breast cancer. Regular screening means that it can be caught early which means that it is less likely to have metastasised leading to a 100 percent recovery rate in primary site cancers. Planned parenthood also run fertility clinics for men which fits hand in hand with the reproductive services they offer. They also offer STD clinic support which is vital to reducing the spread of venereal diseases. Their campaigns to spread awareness about contraception is vital to encourage men to be aware of it just as much as women and to reduce the spread of STDs as condoms are vital to that. 

Don’t shake your belly
like a bowl full of jelly.

6. Pregnancy - Most people know the basics of how to get pregnant. We didn’t get to 6 billion people worldwide without knowing how to do the horizontal monster mash. But what people don’t know is how to deal with pregnancy. You do have to tell people not to drink, smoke and do drugs. You do have to tell people not to do things. You do have to screen for anomalies and you do have to treat various conditions. The maternal mortality without medicine is roughly 15 to 20%. The miscarriage rate is around 30%. The infant mortality rate is 25% within the first year. For the most part of human history populations have been stable due to this attrition rate, instead making up for our small numbers with our tools. As we developed society we quickly learnt things that improve our pregnancy survival. Planned Parenthood is just continuing in this trend. They also provide screening for ectopic pregnancy, ultrasound scans and amniocentesis. They also help with prevention of premature births by providing a front line screening for histories of premature births and encouraging progesterone use in women prone to it. Not to mention screening women for foetal blood issues (women with some blood types can produce antibodies to their own foetus), HIV (preventable transfer to children) and addictions (the infamous crack baby). 

Yes. They do come in pink.

7. Women’s Health - The Planned Parenthood offers a huge range of gynaecological help that women require. From the simplest of yearly check ups to pelvic examinations and pap smears. The clinic is also on the frontline of HPV vaccination (which must be given at a young age for maximum protection, not because we want 13 year old girls out turning tricks.) and cervical cancer screening which goes hand in hand. Like all gynaecologists they also provide support for ovarian cancer, breast cancer and yeast infections. They also provide a menopause clinic which is vital for improving lives. We often forget that while men have viagra women have the equivalent in HRT, often forgetting that many older women maintain an active sex life post menopause due to this. 

I looked up sex clinic on google images,
here are some kittens instead.

8. Sex Clinic - Planned Parenthood offers unbiased education about sex and support for sexual outlooks that isn’t tarnished by religious affiliation. They provide healthcare and education to all genders and sexual orientations without bias. They offer STD clinics that provide a huge range of coverage and can help limit the spread of most infections from pubic lice to AIDS. They don’t regard sex as a huge taboo and something dirty and instead encourage a healthy concept of it. And that is something vital for a modern society. And something vital for us to learn to limit the spread of AIDS.

Ultimately it boils down to this. Without Planned Parenthood there is a gap in the provision of these services, one that the private sector cannot or will not fulfil. There will be people who fall between the ga
ps either because they cannot afford it or because it was not convenient enough. It won’t kill many people but a handful more will die because of these gaps in service. Planned parenthood is about family planning at it’s heart and most of that is about ensuring people have as many children as they wish to have. If you wish to fuck like rabbits and join the quiverful movement, then be my guest. However don’t deny the sane people the chance to have two kids and make sure they can feed them.

It won’t be murder, it will be letting people die. It’s not personal like a knife in the heart but it’s still deaths that we could have stopped. And the people most affected will be the poor whose healthcare plans are already being repealed due to the failure of medical socialisation in the USA. The people who die from the lack of service will be anonymous.

This is without factoring in the abortion rates in women who cannot afford private abortions and so must turn to non medical abortions resulting in deaths. That we can never calculate without actually seeing the effect of the ban. But this isn’t just about women, men will be affected too. A lot of what we forget about planned parenthood is that it does offer services to men as well.

Save your Planned Parenthood americans, it’s a lot better than the alternative.

3 comments

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