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The Komen challenge has already brought a huge number of diaries. It’s clear this is a serious blow to women's health. But I'd like to make the case that this was a serious blow to men's health, as well. One of the best and easiest places to get STD testing and birth control services is at Planned Parenthood, which is just as critical for men as for women.

For those of us with an open sex life STD testing is an important component of keeping ourselves and our partners safe. But going to your regular doctor for testing can be embarrassing. A great alternative is Planned Parenthood, which has inexpensive and anonymous testing. This provides a reasonable way to maintain both privacy and safety.

Now, I'm not the world's expert on sex. However, my girlfriend is, and thus I've had the pleasure and privilege of learning a great deal about the subject. I've even participated in some of her ESO lectures* (where I, naturally, played the part of the penis). As a result of her efforts to promote a positive view of sexuality I’ve probably been exposed to more real sex in America than the typical American.

Even so I know that I’m reticent to talk about sex with anyone except my most intimate friends. I worry about what can happen to my health insurance and other important resources if I disclose too much. Being proactive about birth control and preventing disease transmission can seem crass and overly optimistic at times. But it’s necessary part of a safe and active sex life. So, I’ve learned about safe sex techniques** and I’ve gone to get STD testing when appropriate.

It was obvious to me fairly early in life that I did not want to limit my sexual experience to just one partner. But if you are going to have multiple partners then you must address the issue of disease transmission. There are two practical ways to do that. You can ignore the issue or you can learn and use safe sex. I chose the latter (although not as quickly as I would like to tell you). Having an expert on sex handy meant that, at a point I couldn't avoid the issue.

Taking responsibility might sound like a drag, but what I found was that safe sex turns out to be quite a lot of fun. Besides, it gives you something to do with your hands in those moments when you might otherwise be tense or nervous. But, it isn't enough to make you completely safe. Nothing can really do that, but you can get closer with testing. And, I've gotten my testing from Planned Parenthood. I think it’s the best option. Aside from confidentiality, one big advantage is that they do enough of it to know what's current and what's reasonable.

And so, when I got a call from Planned Parenthood a couple weeks ago, asking for a donation, you might think that I'd immediately get out my wallet and give them something. Well, not exactly.

You see, their pitch was that I should donate because our opponents were planning more attacks on abortion rights. And that's true. In fact, we just saw a nasty fight in the south over a so-called personhood initiative. And, I know that our opponents are planning more attempts like that.

It’s not that I’m hardhearted. I just think it's time for Planned Parenthood, and other progressive groups, to stop defending these various rights--and go on the offensive to expand them. When is Planned Parenthood going to have a campaign to open a bunch of new clinics in Mississippi, for instance? When is someone going to call me up and ask me for money to do that? Quite frankly, an appeal to hold back the tide once again isn’t that appealing, if you’ll pardon the expression.

But, if anti-abortionists were trying to prevent the opening of new clinics, they couldn't afford to mount attacks to take away women's rights. They'd be too busy trying to stop their expansion. And that's where we need to be as a strategy.

So, my initial response when I got this call was to say "No, I'm sorry, but I don't want to hear about how they are trying to take away women's rights. I want to hear that you guys are out there on the offensive making them respond to our initiatives."

After I got that off my chest, though, I thought about the times that Planned Parenthood had been there for me. I'm fortunate to have never needed them for an abortion. I've never needed them for anything more serious than an STD test. So, I contributed. I actually contributed a little more than I was readily comfortable with, but it is such a deserving cause. It's a cause I believe in, which is about more than abortion and more than women's health and more than men's health. It's really about a nation's health.

I was unprepared and stunned, then, the following week when Susan G. Komen pulled their funding. After all the other attacks, here was one from what should be our friends. Thankfully, everyone opened up the lines to help out Planned Parenthood. It turns out that I'm not alone in caring about this organization. It turns out that Planned Parenthood has broad national support. The Komen challenge really made it brilliantly clear how much support there really is. That’s a bit of a silver lining in a very dark cloud.

It also turned out that they needed more than what I'd given them the week before. I have to say that I was not enthusiastic about making another contribution. I'd already given at the office, so to speak. But, here's the thing. They were there for me when I needed them. And so, I gave to them a second time. I doubled my contribution. And since this went through the Daily Kos link, I'm expecting it will get matching funds, as well.

I'm not going to provide a link here for you to contribute because I think it's easy enough for you to find one. But I want to make this appeal to other men. This is about more than women’s health. Join me in making this a men’s cause. They're there for you, too.

* ESO means "Extended Sexual Orgasm". STD is short for "sexually transmitted disease".
** I use the term "safe sex" here even though there is some controversy as to whether it should be "safer sex" or some other term. But for the sake of brevity and optimism, I've chosen "safe sex", which means generally the use of barriers such as condoms, medical gloves, and plastic or rubber items to prevent exchange of bodily fluids.

Poll

Had you given to Planned Parenthood this year before the Komen challenge came up?

44%8 votes
55%10 votes

| 18 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  extended sexual orgasms? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Liberal Thinking, glorificus

    For real?  

    I guess I could Google it, but I'm afraid of the inevitable Google ads based on my previous searches.

  •  I was working on a vanagon for some ladies (11+ / 0-)

    I was at the point where I was redoing the axles and I stabbed myself badly with a screwdriver while trying to remove the constant velocity joint C clip . I called around for a quote on a tetanus booster shot that a lady nurse at a coffee shop said she would recommend . Every place I called wanted hundreds , then I called P.P. , they wanted next to nothing . When I went in they were out of the plain tetanus shot but they had the super Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis shot , they asked if it would be ok if they gave me the super shot . I asked what it would cost , they said a price that was far less than their competition wanted for the tetanus shot alone . I jumped all over it . I got the shot and then went to pay , I didn't have enough for the super shot , I gave them what I had and said I would be back , they said that was ok with them . I went to an atm and got some cash and went back and paid them the rest of the money .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 08:06:26 PM PST

  •  planned parenthood (5+ / 0-)

    is a place for anyone needing good, safe, reality-based reproductive health care (and men get breast cancer, too, of course)
    Thanks.

  •  You said one true thing (6+ / 0-)

    I get really turned off by "the sky is falling, they're attacking us —help!" emails. They make me feel helpless and weak. You tell me the Koch Brothers are planning to spend $100 million and you want $15 from ME? Nope. I want to hear just what you said: we are taking the fight to the bastards and standing up for the rights of all Americans to decide what to do with their bodies and their ability to be safe and healthy while they are doing it.

    Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

    by anastasia p on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 08:27:03 PM PST

    •  I Hope It Was More Than That (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Agent99, Quequeg, kyril, glorificus

      I hope I said more than one true thing! I suppose that was not an exclusive OR.

      Yes, we really need our progressive groups and organizations to go after these people. I'd like to see a whole campaign going into what we think of as "red states" and expanding liberalism there. I want to see a campaign around increasing respect for women, for example. I want to see people talking about rescinding the Hyde Amendment and fully funding abortions for any women that need them.

      This is how we stop them from taking away our rights. We have to demand that they give more. If we work on the right things we can bankrupt them. But it takes a complete change of thinking to make that happen.

      That's kind of why I talk about it incessantly.

    •  KOMEN'S CORPORATE SPONSORS: (0+ / 0-)

      KOMEN'S CORPORATE SPONSORS:

      http://ww5.komen.org/...

      You know what to do.

  •  It's only a POOR man's cause. (5+ / 0-)

    Rich men will always be able to support their multiple wives/mistresses and ensure that they not only have perfectly coiffed hair, but also access to any and all health care needs.  

    While simultaneously talking about the virtues of self-restraint and living a "Christian" life of course.

    /snark

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 08:32:44 PM PST

    •  Yes (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, Cedwyn, detroitmechworks, Sue B

      That's exactly it. If you have enough money you can get exactly the things you would deny to the poor.

      Of course, if they outlaw abortion again you'll have to pay a lot higher price to correct planning mistakes. So, at some point, everyone pays the piper.

      The sad truth though is that the definition of "poor man" in this case probably reaches to about the $100K/year level. It's a very large part of the U.S. that's "poor" these days.

  •  To be fair, PP has been defending out of necessity (3+ / 0-)

    What other health office has to be aware every day that some raging religious right murderer might gun down their doctors, patients,and staff, as has happened so often?

    What other health office has gangs of thugs harrassing patients on their way in the door, no matter if they are there for a breast cancer screening or a well-baby checkup?

    I completely agree with your sentiment that we need to expand our rights, not just defend them. But maybe WE need to do that. Planned Parenthood is a place for health and wellness for everyone, as you point out, and I'm so grateful for the work they do.

    After so many bombings and shootings and threats to PP staff, WE need to be the allies who step to the fore, go on the offensive as you suggest, to expand our rights to affordable health care.

    Thanks for the thoughtful diary.

    "Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope." ~Robert F. Kennedy

    by Agent99 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:42:06 PM PST

    •  That's a Good Point (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, Odysseus

      I think we need to be the proactive ones and go to bat for them.

      However, I also think that they need to hear from the rest of us that we want them to be more on the offensive. Sometimes when you are under attack you can get into the habit of just defending. You might get comfortable at it. You might not see the opportunities.

      But, the best defense is a good offense. It is in their best interest to re-evaluate that and maybe go on the offensive. Be public about it. Take the heat in an area, but one where they have the advantage. Being on the attack creates an advantage because you can pick your battle ground. You can pick the direction. You can sometimes look out and crush the opposition where they are weak.

      I have a lot of sympathy for their defensive posture. But what I'm saying to them is that it may be a more effective defense to go on the attack. They are going to have people marching on their clinics and trying to dissuade patients from showing up and targeting their doctors no matter what. Okay. Then set the terms of that battle. Buy buildings for clinics instead of renting them. Put non-abortion services into areas to soften them up. Sponsor healthcare days for people to come in and get check ups. Expand operations in purple states (at least) or put them on the borders of red states where they are relatively protected but you can provide services across the border.

      There are many ways to take a much more aggressive posture on this that will wear out the opposition. The key is to make them expend a disproportionate amount of their resources while negating or minimizing any gain they can get.

      We are in an entrenched cold war with our opponents. So, I think we have to think accordingly.

      Thanks for your kind comments on my diary. I appreciate what you're saying. I totally agree that they have a very dangerous and difficult task, and I respect that.

  •  I agree with LT's writing. I thinnk it would (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Liberal Thinking

    be great if there was a capitol campaign to build more clinics. However, as long as the RWNJs are out, security will be a huge, but essential, money suck.

    If life gives you melons, you may be dyslexic.

    by glorificus on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 09:03:00 AM PST

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