Friday, August 30, 2013

A PP Patient's view on the West Texas War on Women.

Local women's healthcare centers close in the Permian Basin including the Midland Planned Parenthood and now the San Angelo Planned Parenthood. It would make the most sense to interview women that will be affected or have been affected by previous clinic closures correct? Or maybe interview local medical professionals that could speak to what the centers closure would mean for their practice and for low income women that used Planned Parenthood as their primary health provider. Thats what you would think, however, Newswest 9, a local Midland news station choose to interview a Catholic Bishop. This isn't the first time they have chosen to interview religious leaders in lou of say, citizens that would be affected or medical staff of the clinic or neighboring clinics.

Now I will start this off with saying this isn't about religion or attacking anyone's religion because I believe people should have the right to their own beliefs, and one's faith is a very personal choice. I was also born and raised Catholic myself and am familiar with the views of the Catholic church. However, I don't feel that the person you choose to interview about the closure of a women's health clinic should be a religious leader. I feel people affected by the closures or other medical professionals should be sought for interviews oppose to those with an interest in hotbutton issues on both sides of the abortion argument.

Bishop Michael Pfeifer says in an interview that there are other places women can go for cheap testing and health support.

Link to full story:

So I decided to contact one of these "Life Centers" to ask if I could schedule a pap, a very common test used to test for abnormalities including cervical cancer. Below you can see the response I got on facebook. I have the convo and you can also click on the screen shot below

So I saw a report on TV that the life center provides women's healthcare to low income women so I was wondering when I can schedule a pap and hpv test? Thank you!


11:26am The Life Center Thank you for contacting The Life Center. Our agency is a pregnancy help center. We would like to refer you to the following Texas Women's Health Program Providers: Premier Family Care Inc.(Midland) 432-686-6600 Permian Premier Health Services (Odessa) 432-582-8000

As you can see, they do not provide any medical care. They referred me to the women's healthcare program (which Planned Parenthood cannot accept anymore). And two other healthcare centers. Why would a healthcare center refer me to another healthcare center? Probably because they don't offer any type of healthcare. If you go to their website it's full of pictures of babies and abortion alternatives. Nothing mentioned about paps, or any type of women's healthcare. In fact, I had to try and do some digging on their website because it lacked a general section about their mission. It looks like they might have an ultrasound machine, maybe. But that really doesn't help a woman in my position that needs a annual pap. I mean, it might help, if I'm in a far stage of cancer they might be able to see it using that. I also don't see any mention of contraception besides abstinence, which I don't need someone to explain to me and I'm not a teenager so I don't need a general sex talk about the birds and the bees either.

I finally found on their facebook what they DO offer: Our services include: • Free urine pregnancy testing • Free STI/STD consultation and testing referrals • Free limited obstetrical ultrasound scan • Free prenatal pregnancy and parenting classes • Free life skills training • Free nutrition education • Free consultations with a registered nurse • Free baby care items to clients throughout pregnancy • Adoption information and referrals • Earn while-you-learn incentive program - baby boutique

As you can see they don't do any testing besides the pee-stick pregnancy test and refer you out for any real medical advice or testing.

With all due respect I'm not sure why he would recommend women go to a center that provides no medical care. I'm not sure if he knows what these centers offer or even the services that women need regularly as a pap is recommended for most women every 1 - 3 years. He goes on to say that anything good at Planned Parenthood was outweighed by the bad. I have to disagree.

"We have been asking and asking the Lord for this favor...also to ask forgiveness for the precious little ones, all the thousands and thousands that have been killed, destroyed to abortion," he [Pfifer] said.

Because of Planned Parenthood my mom was able to find out she had cervical cancer through the results of an pap she got at Planned Parenthood. They also helped her through the process of getting the cancer removed and helped her get through the process of getting prenatal care for my sister. Planned Parenthood has been there for me as a young College student for me and my sister. It was the only place we'd go see a doctor regularly because we do not have health insurance. I was comfortable visiting both the Odessa and Midland Planned Parenthood centers when I moved the Basin since I knew they were a place I could trust since I have gone to the Lubbock Clinic for years. I'll also add I've never been pregnant or got an abortion.

He also claims that his prayers have been answered by the closure of these clinics. Mine have not been answered as I have been praying that people would understand that most women use Planned Parenthood for variety of reasons, not just abortion. In fact, most of the Clinics I've visited did NOT preform abortions at all. Most women go in for routine Paps, STD testing, pregnancy tests, and birth control education/ prescriptions. You can even get blood pressure screenings there which are vital to heart health. Many women don't know their blood pressure or what normal blood pressure is (I'll elaborate on that on another post).

Yes there are "other places", but not all women will be able to afford them, or will receive spotty information. I called several centers in the Midland/Odessa area that were listed as providers for WHP and many of them were dead numbers, listed by error meaning they don't cover WHP patients, don't know if they take it, or cannot get you an appointment for weeks. My work schedule comes out once a week, making an appointment weeks in advance doesn't work best for me. At Planned Parenthood I could always get in during the same week I called. My sister recently made an appointment at another clinic and has to make it for three weeks in advance.

Since I was not asked to be interviewed for whatever reason here is what I would say on how I feel about women's health centers in Texas closing: I would never pray or hope that poor women would have one less place to go for healthcare. That would entail more women going without paps, leading to undetected cancer. Someone would lost their friend, sister, mom...or mom and sister in some cases.

Planned Parenthood has been there for me and my family, and countless other women and their families with the great services they provide to them and their communities. I imagine the communities will lose out from the services they provided when they are gone, and they won't realize it until it affects someone they know personally, and the state will not realize it until welfare costs rise in the near future as these clinics helped women prevent pregnancies and decide when the best time was for them to start a family. It also affects others like me and my sister whom have a great place to go for healthcare, or had rather. It also affected my father and our whole family to catch my mother's cervical cancer in time for successful treatment.

I would like to thank the men and women that worked at these clinics for their amazing service to me and the communities they served. I would also like for people to look at the bigger picture instead of focusing on hotbutton issues. I imagine news organizations love to harp on that and overlook the fabulous services Planned Parenthood provides. Maybe it's just me, but I think women's health is pretty important and deserves a story. I also think women affected by clinic closures that affect them deserve a voice. I am doing what I can to be that voice for the women that seemingly don't have one here in West Texas simply because they aren't in Austin or are low income.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Visited Planned Parenthood

As many of you know, many Planned Parenthood clinics have been forced to shut their doors or reduce hours here in Texas. So getting an appointment is difficult. If the ruling stands, it is my understanding that as of November first WHP patients will need to find another clinic to go to. That includes me.

The problem is, there aren't enough providers. My own hometown will suffer, "Lubbock County providers would need to expand by 250% if the Planned Parenthood affiliate was excluded." -GWU study, original story published at reality check.

Having visited this location many times for my annual visits this location was often very busy. There are not enough providers to take in these women. This includes friends and family that I know whom has also relied on the Lubbock Planned Parenthood for services. It is a place they trust. But some people, such as Rick Perry and HHSC think that they should not be allowed to go there and that no care is better than the care Planned Parenthood provided. Will they say that? Of course not, they will sugar coat it and say that women can go to other providers. But there aren't enough. There is also no reason that demonstrates Planned Parenthood as an inept provider. However, Rick Perry seems to think that including Crisis Pregnancy Centers will help. They do not provide medical care. I will talk about this specifically shortly.

I visited a Planned Parenthood today. Like most women who go there, I am enrolled in WHP, and I go there for my annual cancer screenings because otherwise I cannot afford them. I am not lazy, or irresponsible as people might assume since I get WHP. I am a student, working hard to graduate so I can one day afford health insurance. But I will want WHP and Planned Parenthood to be there for women like me when I have health insurance.

As I drove up I saw a bill board that said "take my hand, not my life". I was thinking about how irrelevant this is to passers by. I was just there for my annual visit, hoping I don't have any abnormalities that might be indicators of something wrong, like cervical cancer.

I saw a woman praying outside the gate. I was praying that I have a healthy test and that I won't have to worry about cervical cancer at 25, like my mom had to. Was she praying for me and the other women inside? Probably. But I doubt she was praying that I'd have a healthy pap and no signs of cancer or abnormal cells.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Guest Post: Inside a Crisis Pregnancy Center

As you likely have heard, Rick Perry has stated that he would like to cover crisis pregnancy centers under the women's healthcare program. These centers provide little more than pregnancy tests to women, not cancer screenings, not contraception, no healthcare whatsoever. Many are also run by religious organizations and have no medical staff.

You can sign and share the petition at this link. Remember, if you want to help, sharing is key :)

An awesome member of our "like" page confirmed what crisis pregnancy centers really do as she volunteered while getting her degree. Her name is Kathy and here is her story. Thank you again Kathy for sharing what goes on inside crisis pregnancy centers.

In the Spring of 1999, I was completing my Master's degree in mental health counseling.

"As part of my internship, I began volunteering for two days a week at a Crisis Pregnancy Center in Louisiana.

I was under the direct impression that I would gain needed counseling experience, while helping women who were pregnant and in a crisis.

What was not revealed to the public, however, was that this was not a "crisis counseling agency" at all. It was managed by a local area church, and its real purpose was to divert women from having abortions, and convert them to Christianity.

But we were never to say this on the phone, to anyone who called.

Any questions over the phone about abortion or contraceptives, were to be answered with "We are not a medical facility. Would you like to make an appointment?"

Once they came in for their appointment, a volunteer would take them into a room, supposedly for "counseling."

Now, as I was training to be a mental health counselor, I was trying to do REAL crisis counseling; After all, these women were pregnant, and in a crisis.

But, management didn't like what I was doing. I was supposed to be trying to convert them to Christianity, and check off the box to indicate whether or not I had successfully led them to accept Jesus as their savior during the session.

The counselor who had "achieved" the most salvations for the month, got their name put on a plaque on the wall.

As I was not focusing on "salvations", I had not "achieved" any by the end of the month, so I was told not to volunteer there anymore.

After the "counseling" session, was the mandatory anti-abortion video, which showed a graphic depiction of an abortion being performed. I had to show them this video, whether they wanted to watch it or not.

Then after the video, I would retrieve the pregnancy test, hand it to them, and tell them to administer it and tell us the results.

Note that we could not legally be a part of the pregnancy test in any way, because we were not a licensed medical facility. There was no medical staff on the premises at any time.

At no time were we to give any information on contraceptives. We had to answer any questions with "We are not a medical facility."

I wasn't there for very long, but understandably, I didn't enjoy my time there. And I never did fit in with the other volunteers, with their plastic smiles glued to their faces at all times.

I thought that what they were doing was unethical. But unfortunately, since they were not a licensed medical facility, they were not regulated by any agency, so they could do whatever they wanted."

Monday, September 24, 2012


I decided to make a blog after all. This post is just a brief introduction as to what the blog will feature.

My name is Rene and I also admin the "save the Texas women's healthcare program" facebook and twitter. I am also the Texas graduate student that started two petitions. One to save the women's healthcare program and one to get the public hearing so the public would have a chance to voice their opinions about the ruling to ban planned parenthood from acting as a provider to WHP patients.

Everything posted to this blog will be by me, or I may feature guest bloggers from within the state. I am also open to having my blog posts posted on other websites, just contact me so I can give you permission and also share it with readers.

The name of this blog is from the first petition I started. I listed the creator name as Rainy Dai. I wanted to use an alias at first and remember a cool name a friend gave me at work "Rainy". I found it inspiring because of the old expression that you save the best things for a rainy day or to help you in times of trouble. We are having a few "rainy days" in Texas and its our call to step up to the plate and fight for our rights as women, as citizens, as humans. "Rainy Dai" is also a character I am using in my fictional writing. This blog will be dedicated to women's healthcare issues in Texas, however it will also feature national women's healthcare news that affects us all, and other women's related legislation like fair pay and violence against women issues.

Thank you for reading. I also want to take a moment to thank everyone that's been fighting alongside me, be it that you share a petition, shared a news story, or even told a friend about what's happening here in Texas. We are in this together.

Please save this page or subscribe :)

"There will never be a new world order until women are a part of it." -Alice Paul, women's suffragist.