Y’all might remember us mentioning a couple weeks back about Oklahoma’s WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program breaking up with Planned Parenthood clinics statewide. We can only assume that cutting down on access to things that people literally need to survive was done for the greater good of Oklahomans! Because adhering to far-right extremism in order to gain two ounces of political standing benefits everyone! But look, all those other well-staffed, highly-competent, and community-minded local clinics that are open regularly on weekends are JUST WAITING to step up to fill the needs of Tulsa County’s not-decreasing population of low-income pregnant people, recently pregnant people, and children under the age of 5.
Except those clinics don’t exist. And now lots and lots of people’s lives are looking less and less manageable.
Where WIC represents the ability of the state to provide for vulnerable citizens, Planned Parenthood indisputably fits the bill of “brand you can trust.” Capitalism figured out awhile ago how to exploit humans’ love of consistency. We love the safe feeling of putting two American dollars in our little pockets and walking to the open-all-the-time QuikTrip and knowing we have enough to buy a Coca-Cola that tastes the same each and every time we drink a Coca-Cola. Except in this case, it would go more like this: We love the safe feeling of having secured consistent transportation to our regular appointments at the open-outside-business-hours Planned Parenthood clinic and knowing there will be compassionate and efficient personnel there who will immediately enable us to keep ourselves and our children healthy using 100% federal funding.
These clinics have been many folks’ primary WIC services provider not necessarily because of “convenience” – relating to transportation, work hours, and income level – but because they know the personnel are trained to serve the community in many ways, not just by providing nuts-and-bolts care and services. Folks who access WIC services at these clinics often experience a variety of intersecting oppressive forces, including race, class, ethnicity, and ability and have found a place that is capable of providing for their very specific needs.
The state department has, ludicrously, denied that they acted from political interests. So I guess that while they purposefully decimated the amount of essential services available in Tulsa (do we need to say the word “evil” outright here or?), they accidentally did the most self-interested and fashionable thing in recently political history. Snubbing Planned Parenthood at the State Capitol is so Fall 2012, y’all!
CEO and president of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland Jill June responded to their claim Friday with an editorial in the Oklahoman, vowing to keep fighting for the funding they need to provide their clients with the care and services they deserve. In my very wildest fantasies I’ve never dreamed of an Oklahoma whose politicians gave a single fuck about the survival of poor women of color or Planned Parenthood, but perhaps we could ask them to care about the survival of a full half of the infants born in this state. If you keep up with the blog, you probably know that we don’t take kindly to the idea that any person’s needs are more or less important than anyone else’s, and that Oklahomans’ needs are worth defending fiercely. Cutting ties with Planned Parenthood in red states might be conservative-hip, but the slow, cold burn of cruelty has never looked good.
Pearl is getting her leftovers under control.
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