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Guest opinion: My tampons are deadly

BY GUEST OPINION | JULY 15, 2013 5:00 AM

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I am Texan.

I was born on the South Side of Dallas, into a home turned poor, in which every dollar was accounted, prayed, and fought for. I came to Iowa for opportunity, so that I could start over and get the education I needed, like my parents hadn’t received. I came here for so much more, and two years later, I am still learning how much was taken from me.

I didn’t learn about birth control in high school; I learned a lot about abstinence and the STDs you would get if you had sex. Health class for me was a lot like it was in the movie Mean Girls — it was a “have sex and you die” type of education. My mother passed away before I even hit puberty, and no one in my family could give me clear, straightforward answers on what I was going through. It wasn’t until I moved to Iowa that I was diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder and then properly treated for it. Going to a women’s health clinic wasn’t necessarily an option for me; consultations were expensive, we didn’t have health insurance (still don’t) and what was going to help me anyway? I didn’t know where to go, and now I can count three women’s health centers off the top of my head in Iowa City alone.

On July 12, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 2, a bill that prevents abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and has effectively shut down all but five of the 42 women’s health clinics because they do not meet the requirements to be a surgical center and do not have the finances to upgrade or relocate. Democrats proposed 20 amendments to the bill. All were rejected. These amendments asked for exceptions for rape and incest victims, exceptions for women whose health is at risk, funds to update abortion clinics, requirement of pregnancy crisis centers to provide accurate and factual information on pregnancy, abortion, and STIs, requirement of said crisis centers to display signs that allow patients to recognize that they are not medical centers. Amendments that would help prevent abortions from happening in the first place. If this was really about pro-life, I would think these measures would have been passed.

When Texas women stood to fight at our Capitol, I wished I was right there with them. Our tampons and maxi pads were confiscated; our voices went unheard by the other side. On Twitter, where #Stand4Life was trending, I read opinions from others that were the opposite of anything that would actually #Stand4Life. No one insisted that we update our sexual education to be based on peer-reviewed and published fact, that our mothers and children should receive subsidized prenatal/neonatal/postnatal care, that sick and parental leave should be fully paid for and capital punishment should be banned. I didn’t see tweets about things that would actually help life.

What I did see were pictures of tampons and maxi pads being confiscated, while the guns were legally let in to the Senate chamber. Women’s uteruses are apparently more of a threat to my senators than bullets to their bodies.

L.C. Graf


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