For the Children

Greetings Kmarekites. I’ve been down with a strained back and watching the news and reading a lot– so much news, so little time.

I’ve still been going to health lectures and panels, hearing interesting things. It’s striking– the level of the discussion among professionals and field workers vs what is floating in the political mainstream. That stream is pretty polluted lately.

Some years ago I was talking to an elderly woman from Liberia. She was a retired midwife, sometimes traveling far into the interior of the country where she was the only medical provider women could look to. She told me that she had an urgent message–“space your children.”

I heard those exact words last week at a talk on maternal-infant health. As part of the support for teen mothers birth control is included. Preventing pregnancy that a woman is not prepared for, physically, socially or emotionally is part of maternal-infant health.

At the same talk, I heard a case worker describe the scores of phone calls and resource-chasing she had to do to get one of these young mothers to a dentist willing to pull a painful, infected tooth. This woman and her husband were uninsured and strained just to deal with the bills they had every month. The reason they even had this help in a crisis is because they were on a limited insurance program for maternal-infant health, and the case worker did not settle for less than helping the whole person.

‘Space your children.’ –ideally at least two years of recovery time. Two years also for a young father and mother to keep on with work and education, so that they can provide for the child they have.

Myself, I’m one of Irish twins. I know that many of us grew up in a world where we did not have the power and responsibility to choose when we are able to best care for another child.

But coming from that world, and seeing the good and the bad, I know we owe this generation a better chance. We should not ration out a vital health resource like birth control to those who have the most money. This is our power and responsibility to apply justice to health care, and to give the best chance to the coming generation.

Yes, birth control for the sake of the children, and for the sake of the men who want to be good fathers.

And please be aware that Gov.Chafee wants to cut dental benefits. People do die of an infected tooth. Let’s not let that happen in RI.

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5 thoughts on “For the Children

  1. Dental benefits?My great government Blue Cross plan which I pay for so my wife can get coverage provides a pittance for two cleanings a year-anything else is out of pocket.
    My VA health care takes care of everything EXCEPT dental-you have to be 100% disabled to get that and I’m not quite there,although I have a high enough rating to not have copays for anything.
    I needed a root canal last year-I can’t believe what it cost.
    Flossing and brushing regularly goes a long way toward avoiding problems.Another thing-I’m a little tired of people on the dole who can still seem to afford cigarettes.-they’re about $9 a pack now.
    THAT is a matter of personal responsibility.
    I think we’re on the same page about birth control-I can’t understand why it’s even a conversation any more.Its use avoids the question of abortion.

    • Yes, birth control is an act of responsibility. I don’t understand why people get away with trying to shame 98% of sexually active adults.
      Lack of dental care is a big gap. Low level infections can cause premature birth and heart disease. I’ve had to try to chase down some dental care for people in emergencies, and it’s difficult to impossible.
      In the good old days, no one had teeth after age 60, but it’s a new millennium. At least when your teeth are in your mouth you won’t end up like my patient. The hospital lost her teeth, hearing aids and glasses.

      • Hey-not for nothing,but did you catch the Newport shooting/stabbing story?Memorial&Bellevue at 10:30AM?Bizarre.

  2. And beware any kind of a public-health dental program that here in California we’ve recently discovered is a scam–dentists get pre-paid to treat low-income patients, collect the money, and then don’t give them appointments.

    Do plenty of cat-cows for that back. Best wishes.

  3. I am shocked by the lack of care available for women in this country. Why can’t politicians understand that health care should be affordable and holistic? Listening to folks with the posh health care insurance tell women that birth control is not important,
    “Just put an pill between your legs honey.” There are many on birth control for hormonal reasons and hey what is wrong with birth control anyway? Shouldn’t people be able to decide for themselves when to conceive a child? Isn’t that the responsible choice?

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