This morning, I sat in on a hearing about House Bill 154, which would limit a woman’s access to health care. I testified against the bill. It is intrusive. It does not raise the medical standard of care but interferes with access to health care, which is a real problem in a rural state that needs more doctors.
The lowest point of the questioning was when Rep. Vito Barbieri asked a doctor if women could have a gynecological exam by swallowing a camera. She replied, “No, they cannot. If you swallow something, it will not end up in the vagina.” This man, who doesn’t even understand how the human body works, gets to pass legislation about the medical care my body is to receive!
It was sent on to the house by a straight party line vote (the same people who voted against Add the Words were all about adding these restrictions against women’s access to healthcare). It is so depressing to live in a state where the elected representatives of one particular party consistently vote against the health, safety, and flourishing of Idahoans.
Please contact your elected representatives and let them know this kind of legislative meddling is not okay. It seems they only want government to be small so it will fit comfortably in a women’s uterus.
Here’s the post from my Jesus Take the Wheel blog:
Once upon a time, I was 19 years old and pregnant.
It was not my plan.
Baby Daddy and I were not deeply in love or planning on starting a family.
We just had sex one time. Turns out, that’s all it takes. (Don’t worry, conservative Christians—we weren’t using birth control. I know how much you hate that!)
Immediately, I contacted the Pope. Because when you’re making important medical and life decisions about a pregnancy, the first person to contact is a celibate man who lives in Rome. Was I Catholic? No. But the Pope was, and I knew he and all of the other men who made decisions with him had very strong ideas about the medical choices young women like me should be making. Why would a young woman not want the advice of men who self refer as “cardinals”?!
We had a delightful conversation, in which the Pope and his cardinals told me that not only should I have the baby, but also I should marry Baby Daddy or would risk judgment. Isn’t it great when people who don’t know anything about you are willing to give you important life coaching?! Thanks, Pope! Good poping!
I decided I still needed more advice about my predicament. So I called the men on the Supreme Court. Again, none of them knew me, nor were they familiar with my particular circumstances, but they had read the Law and surely the founding fathers had something to say about how women should make their medical choices?
Turns out, the men on the Supreme Court had all sorts of opinions for me. The oddest, yet it seems the most prescient, idea came about when one of them mused, “you know, we don’t really care about women’s opinions on their own medical care, but if she were a corporation! Now there’s an idea! Young lady, you should incorporate and then when your sales hit $500 million a year, call us back. We’ll care about your opinions then.”
From there, you might think I would have spoken with Baby Daddy, or my friends, or my family, or even my own pastor, about what to do.
I hadn’t checked with my employer yet! What would the owner of BuyMore CheapCrap HobbyMart think if I just started making my own medical decisions without consulting him? How ungrateful a minion would I be?!
So, I called my employer and asked what I should do. He told me God had told him I should have the baby. He also mentioned, before he hung up the phone, that I better not plan on taking any sick days or maternity leave or else I’d lose my job. So grateful for people who value life!
And then all of those men applauded me because I made the right decision! And they told people to stop judging me for being a pregnant teen and welcomed me in their churches! And they worked hard for fair employment practices and affordable childcare for single, working women! And they made sure to make health care accessible and affordable for women and children!
And we all lived happily ever after. The end?
Friends, as you might be able to guess, much of this story is not true. Instead of seeking advice from a bunch of men who didn’t know one damn thing about me, I spoke with my closest friends. I talked with Baby Daddy. I flew home and talked with my family. I prayed. I sought counsel from the Dean of Students at my university. I talked to my pastor.
And then do you know what I did?
I made my own decision.
Why is that so hard to understand? Why do so many people think their “deeply held religious beliefs” are more important than any decision I might want or need to make about my health care, my life, or my body?
And how have we created a society where men believe they can tell women what choices they can make?
In an ideal world, there would be no unplanned pregnancies. In an ideal world, men and women would decide to get pregnant at the right time. In an ideal world, women would be able to afford contraception and have access to it (without judgment!) so they could make sure abortion was unnecessary.
We don’t live in an ideal world. We live in this one, where economics and politics and lusty, messy humanity all come crashing together in women’s lives. And unless it is your body, your life, your future, your family that we’re talking about, the opinions of employers, the Supreme Court, the legislature, or religious doctrine need to shut the hell up and get out of the way.