@ TMD: I know the Equal Rights Ammendment (ERA) went down in flames there some time ago (don't get me started on *that* topic or I know I'll start breathing fire), so I'm wondering if such sexist and restrictive practices regarding birth control are perhaps one result of this? Even so, I'm still having a h*ll of a time trying to wrap my little, feminine mind (jk, of course!) around the fact that you can *LEGALLY* be denied birth control if your husband objects.
@ nola: You hit the nail on the head. I'll try to explain in a nutshell. About 30 years ago, some politicians *insert genius meme* had the bright idea to "de-institutionalise" a majority of mental health patients, assuring everyone that there would be plenty of "supports" for them in the community. Only the sickest of the sick remained in the mental hospital, all others were released into the community.
These supports never materialised to the full extent that was required, leaving these unfortunate souls without any sort of "safety nets", and they were forced to exist as best they could on their own. This is why there is an increased, noticeable presence of "street-entrenched" people today. What a bloody crime. Of course this is a hugely complicated issue, but the gist is that while there are gov't.-based health teams that do outreach to street people and those in the infamously scummy "Single Room Occupancy" ("SRO") hotels in the poorest, most decrepit area of Vancouver, but the need FAR outpaces the limited resources allocated. Social service non-profits and church groups step in to pick up the slack, but even they are forced at times to turn people away. Of course, many of these street-entrenched folks with serious mental issues come into conflict with the law. Police units in this area (I truly feel sorry for them, as they're not social workers/mental health experts) have a great deal of contact with these unfortunates for a huge array of reasons. Police are also essentially a "taxi service" - taking those with DTs/delusions, suicidal - you name it - to the nearest hospital, St. Paul's.
There was a newspaper article not too long ago about the complicated "challenges" (a polite choice of word) St. Paul's staff regularly faces with these types of patients. I also feel sorry for this hospital's staff - it must at times be hell working there. For example, the hospital has an ongoing issue with street people stealing the hand sanitizer containers placed on the walls throughout the hospital. They drink the hand sanitizer for the alcohol content.
Sadly, those persons who would have been fairly stable in the institution - where it was certain they would get the medication and counselling help they so desperately required - once outside, were unable to care for themselves and unable to stick to a medication schedule. The side effects of some of these medications are often worse than the symptoms they're supposed to treat, so many (understandably) don't want to take their meds. Living on the street, they didn't have to, thus opening the door for the full blown symptoms to appear. Then add alcohol and drugs - as the unfortunate patient will self medicate - and the problems grow exponentially. For the women, they face the terrible realities of survival prostitution - and the real potential of getting murdered by a john. You might have heard of the serial murderer Robert Picton http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Pickton
- who murdered prostitutes and dismembered them? He admitted to killing 49 women. His hunting grounds for his victims was the infamous Downtown Eastside of Vancouver - the same area where this mentally ill woman gave birth to her twins.
Before I meander on, I'll stop.