I was sitting around with the Missus this afternoon (not my Missus, obviously, but the woman with the nickname “The Missus”) and she was saying that, in the wake of all the HHS stuff and just the general nonsense we face, that she’s not going to worry about framing people’s stances as anti-abortion or pro-choice or whatever, because we’ve moved beyond that at this point, into whether you’re pro-women’s health or anti-women’s health.
I was thinking about that on my way home, going over in my head my own situation. Here I am, thirty-four years old and when I went into Walgreen’s to get my birth control prescription filled, I was momentarily concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get it. That was a strange moment for me, to think that I, a grown woman, who has been responsible for all my own health care choices, might get that far and find I had to justify what I was doing to my own body to a total stranger.
Especially because I’m now on the Pill because of all this PCOS shit and the birth control is just a nice side effect. It’s not just to bring my hormones into line, but it’s also because my endometrium is on the verge of being too thick, which puts me at a risk for cancer. Apparently the Pill will help with that.
But as my doctor and I were discussing that, she said, “Yeah, much thicker and I’d be carting you downstairs for an emergency D&C.”
Yep, that’s right. I was a millimeter or two away from having a D&C.
I think you see where I’m going with this, but let’s walk through it. A D&C is method of medical abortion, but it’s also a necessary medical procedure for women in my position. And as more and more medical students decline to learn abortion methods, you’ve got to wonder, where does that leave women like me, who might need a procedure that can also be used as an abortion procedure?
When anyone at all who works in healthcare and who comes in contact with me can refuse to work with me on the basis of their discomfort with my medical care, it of course impacts my medical care.
This, my friends, is like bizarro world here. I, an actual person, am at risk of having medications and procedures I need denied to me because other women use them in ways that people find objectionable and, apparently, I might hypothetically use them for objectionable purposes.
I cannot stress enough how important it is for women to have control over our own bodies, to plan if and when and how often we get pregnant and if and when and how often we give birth. Without that basic ability–to have just that basic level of autonomy–we aren’t equal to men. Period.