Friday, October 19, 2007

NARAL's panties in a twist. Here's a suggestion.

I am on the email list for NARAL Pro-Choice (sic) America, and they've got their panties all in a twist because on Halloween, Congress is gonna decide if we can go back to giving US tax dollars to organizations that push abortion in other countires. And, of course, they expect that even if Congress does go for the funding, Bush will of course veto it, so they want your congresscritter girded to override the veto.

Ya know, it's kind of ironic that organizations filled with people who sport buttons saying "End US Involvement in Women's Wombs" are all wanting to fund US involvement in women's wombs -- even if it's totally against the wishes of the women in question.

Now of course, according to the email, the best way to "restore vital reproductive health care to" (i.e. throw lots of pills and condoms at) poor women around the world is to send NARAL money.

I'd like to point out that even if, like NARAL, you're an enthusiastic fan of treating the word's poor and oppressed people like so many stray cats to be spayed and neutered, you don't have to fork over your hard-earned cash to NARAL to tell your congresscritter. You can email him or her right here.

Personally I'd recomend that you tell your congresscritter to keep our tax money out of poor people's crotches. But you may beg to differ. Either way, you can eliminate the middle man, then do something else with the money NARAL wants you to send. You can provide real help and health care to poor women (and children and men) through Mercy Ships.

NARAL is asking for certain amounts. I'll suggest what you might send directly to the poor women of the world instead:

  • $35: For just $25, you can provide a "New Life Kit" to a woman Mercy Ships has treated for her obstetric fistula. Or you can provide the thorough eye exam that is the first step toward restroring sight to a blind woman, man, or child.
  • $50: Provide vital dental care to a desperately poor child. Just $45 will provide agricultural training to help a family gain the life-sustaining, healtful benefits of enough to eat. And that person can pass his or her training on to the entire community.
  • $75: Can provide a "New Life Kit", and an thorough eye exam, and bandages for surgery patients
  • $100: Provide a case of surgical gowns for the surgeons who are underwriting their own volunteer work, providing life-changing, often life-saving, surgery to the poorest of the poor.
  • Other: $200 will keep a ship's engines running for an hour, allowing Mercy Ships to reach people in need. $360 will underwrite surgery for a suffering woman, child, or man. $3,000 (not that much if you're well-to-do, or a modest fundraising project for a small church or club) will provide safe drinking water to a village. Or, if you're rich, or if you're part of a church or club or civic organization looking to make a difference, you can donate $10,000 to underwrite the cost of a tray of surgical instruments to provide cataract operations and restore sight.

    These are just a few things that I think would be a far more fruitful use of money than to send it to NARAL to underwrite their PR campaigns. (And don't take my word for it that these "family planning funds" are doing harm to poor people. Read Betsy Hartmann's excellent book, Reproductive Rights and Wrongs. Hartmann is adamantly prochoice so you can't dismiss her research as so much antichoice agitprop.)

    JacqueFromTexas said...

    I love you, Christina. You are both poignant and amusing.

    I also love Mercy Ships. I love their vocational programs for women to teach them how to be self-sufficient (in the case of AIDS widows, for example). Teaching women how to raise and sell bunnies for food and extra income is pretty friggin' awesome.

    You know, my mother taught a group of Mexican woman in the Yucatan how to make soap from household items (stove ash and lard), and determined how the measurements of the items with household things (a coke bottle, for example). Since soap costs 4 dollars a bar down there (a week's wages for most women), being able to make and sell soap opened up a world of opportunities. And whilst I'm bragging on my mom- she also vaccinated the island with a group of nurses, did diabetic testing, and designed a UV light water-filtration system to purify water for drinking after Hurricane Pauline. She's a badass, eh?

    She just told me last night that she used to treat illegal immigrants on the streets on her own time when she was a charge nurse and they weren't allowed in the hospital. Man, that woman is awesome. She amazes me daily.

    But I digress...

    Christina Dunigan said...

    That is so awesome, Jackie!

    How could I go do likewise? I haven't a clue what to do with myself now that my kids are grown. I just wander back and forth across the globe, and now that the novelty has worn off I really need something more purposeful.

    JacqueFromTexas said...

    I assumed you were overwhelmed with your work in the movement! You give me hope of someday having a life beyond pro-life work. :)

    My mom has slowed down due to health issues, but she has a ton of opportunities for people to go and do...especially in Mexico, where I did a lot of growing up.

    If you're looking for something to do- COME BACK TO TEXAS. I'm moving to Denton. We'd all love to see you.