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Nothing But… More of the Same

April 8, 2011

Yesterday was the anniversary of the murder of Du’a Khalil. She was stoned to death in northern Iraq, in 2007.  Some of the participants video taped it, and sent it out.  It made national news because it was a rare glimpse of an actual murder of this kind.   Some of you may remember that I had the privilege of being involved in a self-published anthology written in memory of Ms. Khalil and the many other victims of so-called “honor killings”.  That anthology was called Nothing But Red, and you can still pick one up if you haven’t yet.  All the proceeds have gone to Equality Now, and will still continue to do so.  One of the things that really struck me about her murder, besides the horrible videos that surfaced, was that she was murdered for doing what I have done.  She was of the Yazidi faith and she was stoned for reportedly falling in love with a Muslim boy.  She fell in love with someone of a different faith.   I’ve since married the man whose faith is different from mine, and the stark differences between our experiences will always astound and sadden me.

What has changed since then?  Little.  If anything things have gotten worse, I suppose.  There is so much misogyny going on in the world now, and not just in underdeveloped and/or war-torn countries like Iraq.  The attempt to revoke funding for  Title X is a great example.  Chief among the recipients are the 97% of health services Planned Parenthood offer for the poor and uninsured women in need of health care, right here in the US .  Another is the brave Eman al-Obeidy – a woman who risked death and torture to speak out about what happened to her in Libya.

Ms. al-Obeidy’s situation has struck me in a similar way that Ms Khalil’s did.  Not as strongly, but still really touched a nerve.  I’ve read a lot of comments that have asked “What’s so special about her?” or something to that effect.  The truth is neither of them are more or less special than any of the other victims of rape, murder, and torture.  But having the same response to every case isn’t possible.  We must allow a few cases to touch the deepest parts of our hearts and use these stories as something that pushes us to action.  Refusing to have an emotional response to a particular person who has suffered is refusing our own humanity.  And what right do I have to the freedom’s I have been given, that Ms. Khalil was not, if I don’t allow myself to feel empathy for her?  If I don’t use that empathy to act?

I must speak up for Du’a Khalil.  I  must speak up for Eman al-Obeidy.  I must speak up for a woman in the US with no way of visiting a doctor.

I must speak up, even if no one hears.  Even if nothing changes.  Even if it hurts.  I simply must.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 8, 2011 4:37 pm

    Ok, here goes. =)

    You know where I stand on Planned Parenthood, and you also know where I stand on poor women, having been one for a long time. There are actually places poor women can go for health care other than PP. My own struggles with PP caused me to look for and find these places. Yes, PP provides basic health services, but so do many, many other places. Waco has a great place that we’ve used for years, mainly because that’s where our Dr. works. I know in Tyler the Public Health District provides the same services. In both instances, services are provided on a sliding scale based on income. If PP funds were diverted to places such as these, the gov’t would no longer be funding a for-profit business that also happens to provide abortions that many taxpayers (such as myself) don’t want to fund. Point being, there are other options in that arena. In everything else, I agree completely.

  2. April 8, 2011 6:02 pm

    Planned Parenthood is non-profit business. And your tax dollars do not fund abortions. It’s illegal already. Google the Hyde Amendment. I’m sorry, Amy, but the amount of bad information out there on this is enraging**. I have other opinions on the tax dollar issue as well, but I’ll leave those for another time.

    Most other health service places, like Planned Parenthood, are already overloaded because our health care system is completely screwed up. To defund all the federal funding for family planning is take away all the money going to these other places. It doesn’t matter whether there are other places – many of them will not be able to afford to serve as many as need their service. Additionally, these places are much fewer and far between than PP and while you have access to the internet to research where to find them, many others don’t. Many don’t even read English, so finding things is very difficult. Planned Parenthood is known by a lot of people.
    Finally, defunding Planned Parenthood doesn’t stop abortions. It doesn’t save lives. It will all just go underground and women will die. My great-great-aunt died in a back alley abortion. Every family probably has one or two stories like that.
    I know we will have to agree to disagree, but please know the truth about PP before you decide to judge them. You can find their expense report online. As a non-profit business they have to make all their accounting public knowledge.

    **Edited to add – I’m not referring to your comment, but whatever source you might have read that told you it was a for-profit business.

    • April 10, 2011 5:12 pm

      First, none of my research into where to go was via internet. I’ve actually tried to find stuff online, and it’s just typically not there. Information about where to go if you’re poor comes from word of mouth, phone calls, and information given at the welfare office. I have other things to say, but it gets dangerously close to argumentative, so I’ll just stick to the main point.

      My main point (which I don’t think I made very clear) was that there are better options for government funding than PP. I’m only speaking from my own experiences, of course, but the PP in Tyler (there’s only one I know of) was rather small and the waiting room was never filled with poor people when I was there. The Public Health District, on the other hand, was a much larger facility, able to handle far more people, and was always filled with poor people. They (we) knew where to go to get health services.

      Waco is an even better case study. Roughly 25% of the city’s population lives under the poverty line. There is 1, maybe 2 PP offices, but again, they are very small and not equipped to handle many people. The Family Health Center clinics, on the other hand (the place where we go, the place where the poor can receive health services for reduced prices) have at least 4 centers in our community, and they are all large. I have sat in these waiting rooms many, many times, and this is where the poor people go for services in our area.

      Not only do the non-PP places service more people, they also provide a wider range of services. They don’t just provide basic health services, but they provide any kind of service you would need from a dr, prescription discounts and a pharmacy, and dental care. Even more than that, they don’t just serve poor women, they also serve poor children and men.

      If we claim to care about the poor, we should want them to receive the best, most comprehensive coverage–the most bang for our buck, if you will–and we should care about women AND men and children. So my point is, there are better options for where our funding can go–places that will serve more people with more services. Certainly my opinion is biased against PP, but it also stems from years of personal experience in looking for the best options for my entire family.

      • April 11, 2011 10:58 am

        I’ve e-mailed you about why I think a pro-life person should be for Title X.

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