Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Planned Parenthood Video Explained

Women’s access to safe and affordable healthcare has been under attack for most of history, and within the past few years the political right has tried every fear-mongering trick to get the American public on their side. A couple weeks ago, a heavily edited video surfaced from an anti-abortion group, the Center for Medical Progress, in which a Planned Parenthood representative is seen discussing the alleged illegal “selling” of aborted fetal tissue. The video was incredibly deceptive, and had no journalistic value. It is common for healthcare providers to legally donate fetal tissue to ethical research labs with the absolute consent of the patient, and Planned Parenthood is no different. It is absurd to think that one of the largest women’s healthcare providers in America would do anything illegal to jeopardize the integrity of their organization and the trust of their patients.

As a result, the political right has used this misleading video as their main argument for why Planned Parenthood needs to be defunded. Our country is in a sad state when the majority of our politicians choose to overlook the blatant lies the Center for Medical Progress perpetuated rather than support an organization that has been helping women and men of every class and color since 1916. Planned Parenthood is more than an abortion provider. It is a healthcare provider that empowers women and men to take control of their health. Even so, abortion is a necessary service for many women. Unplanned pregnancies and children are two of the reasons so many women are in poverty or cannot lift themselves out of poverty. Abortion gives women a chance at succeeding and having some control over their destiny. Defunding Planned Parenthood would cause irreversible damage to society, especially women.

The population should not tolerate this vile hatred of women and access to women’s healthcare. Even with all the advancements women have made, society still fears an empowered woman. The greatest path to empowerment is through healthcare. The political right wants women’s progress to halt and they want women to be dependent on politicians who think they know the most about women’s bodies. It is incomprehensible why people still believe this video, which has been proven to be false and deceitful. The circulation of false information has been the biggest hurdle for many women’s rights groups. Biased groups will take anything that resembles their truth to instill fear onto the public. Thankfully, women’s rights groups and many politicians will not stand for this, and there are many women and men who tirelessly work for unhindered access to healthcare.

Written By: Enxhi Liti, Intern- NOW Oakland/Macomb County Chapter

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Politics of Believing Women: Bill Cosby

More than twenty-five women have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault and rape, but the eerily similar and disturbing stories have not been enough to gain enough support for these survivors. Cosby’s success and talents have shielded him from the backlash that should have followed after the first accusation years ago. Cosby supporters used every excuse to deny the accusations from his age to his charity work to the lack of evidence, but finally a few days ago court documents from 2005 showed that Bill Cosby admitted to buying Quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with. That is not exactly an admission of rape in the eyes of the law, but for the victims it is a small victory in gaining back their credibility. 

There is a sickness within our society that prioritizes rapists over their victims. Rape is the only crime that people have a hard time believing with or without definite proof. Why is that? Why does society not believe women? It took a leaked court document to convince people that Bill Cosby is not all what he seems to be. He is not a martyr. Why would twenty-five plus women lie about the same thing? Why would a group of women choose to ruin Bill Cosby’s reputation and career if there was no truth to their accusations? Women do not lie about rape or sexual assault as much as the media makes it seem. Numerous colleagues of Bill Cosby have stood up for him just because they have only experienced his public persona. In public he is a funny, magnanimous social activist who has been a pillar in the black community, but behind closed doors something perverse and despicable has been happening for forty years.

The worst part about the discourse regarding Bill Cosby is the idea that art can be separated from the artist. This way of thinking is inherently wrong because even though the Cosby Show is iconic and transformed the way society viewed black families, at the end of the day the man at the helm of that cultural phenomenon is morally repugnant. Society should demand art be created by those who do not destroy people. It is not a big request to make that society appreciate everything good Bill Cosby did, but to leave it in the past and to see this man for who he really is, and to support the women who have tirelessly fought for the right to share their stories, and who so bravely have persevered despite the media and Bill Cosby’s lawyers using scare tactics to silence them. These women may never get legal justice, but they have survived one of the worst crimes that can befall anyone, and that is something that cannot be taken from them.

Written By: Enxhi Liti, Intern- NOW Oakland/Macomb County Chapter