Friday, January 19, 2007

Preparing the pallet...

A bitch looks at learning opportunities the same way I look at a plate of smothered soul food goodness...with anticipation and joy. I knew that this was going to be one hell of an intellectual meal when I read the session titles...and when a certain Matrice (did a bitch spell that right?) of NAPW fame greeted me with a warm hug and smile (wink).

Preparing the pallet...
Lynn Paltrow, JD, Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) gave the opening keynote address to begin the summit this morning.

What a bitch took away from the keynote address...
As an volunteer and activist I have personally experienced the transformation of thought that often comes from applying theory. What we once were so sure as shit about we apply to a real situation and then are forced to adjust...only to become sure as shit about the adjusted theoretical certainty until the next opportunity to apply comes about.

Whew!

There are important questions being asked here. What is the role of law and what role is it currently playing in the lives of pregnant and birthing women? Who is considered a legitimate producer and who is not? What is the role of the individual as opposed to the law? If we advocate for pregnant and birthing women do we in some way "take away" from working women?

Are we really at cross purposes...pro-choice and life, working women and stay at home mothers, affluently educated and the working poor or those that have and those who have not...or do we have a common path yet discovered? Does that common path head towards mutual empowerment or more inequality?

I hope to explore these and the many other questions being asked here in Atlanta over the next several days.

However, I come here carrying the belief that there is a disconnect between public policy and the law and between what actually empowers and protects people...a disconnect that is clearly seen in the lives of pregnant and birthing women.

As a shelter volunteer, I have come to know women who have endured substandard housing because they fear what the system might do if they report that their house is unsafe...and a bitch has met women who have experienced the vengeance of the system towards teen mothers without housing.

I know women who did not seek treatment for substance abuse problems because they feared a system that is quick to take your child away and slow to fund treatment programs...women who have not reported violence because they know the system as weak and aren't willing to risk the backhanded slap they know for the potential safety they can only speculate about.

Public policy can not benefit the public if it fails to benefit women and children...shit, it can't even be termed public policy if huge portions of the public are marginalized by it. To address that flaw we must dive into the muck and influence policy makers.

So, we are gathered here to discuss and debate how to move forward...how to work together to advance the health and human rights of pregnant and birthing women.

In advancing the rights of one you advance the rights of many.

More to come...

2 comments:

Maya's Granny said...

I worked for years helping mothers get their children back from or keep their children out of the system. It is amazing how much these women put up with when they don't know that there is anything that can help them and their children.

Celeste said...

On the topic of who is a legitimate producer and who is not...consider that there is zero sympathy or assistance for a poor woman who suffers from infertility. A lot of attitude is given to a poor woman who wants a child that would never, EVER be given to somebody else with the same medical diagnosis--but who has more money.