For my readers, I had to take a moment to say my peace. We will resume our normally gleeful book and cocktail/mocktail banter on later posts. As a woman, a rape survivor, PTSD lifer, and mother of five children that used reproductive technologies(yes, I had some help staying pregnant after pregnancy loss, my rainbow babies), and former nurse I feel it important to take a moment to pursue the matter of women’s reproductive health with you.
Roe vs. Wade has hit the media again via a leaked memo. SCOTUS may be considering a reversal of that landmark decision in 1973. What does it mean for the women you know?
First and foremost, a reversal of Roe vs. Wade would put the decision about whether to offer a safe medical abortion, up to the fetal age of viability, completely in the hands of the individual states, though some states have already been electing to limit access to those services, so some will argue that nothing will change. Phooey! Read on.
Let’s consider this all the way down the ridiculous. Various forms of contraception including ‘the pill’ and IUDs, hormone replacement, even certain chemotherapeutic agents and medications may be withheld or denied to women that are of childbearing age as they can affect fetal growth or hasten demise of fetal tissue. I’m using the word fetus, for several reason, the first being that if a woman and her unborn child are killed you’re not looking at a double homicide but homicide and feticide(if they can manage that), so let’s go with fetus for now.
The Physician’s Desk Reference lists drugs as various categories for pregnancy from basically no known risk to severe risk for the fetus, I’m simplifying it here but stay with me. I’m not going to quote them, you can verify all of this for yourself. There are conditions where a drug may be used to save the life of the mother that may carry risks to the fetus. When those medications are used, it is with the foresight of what could happen but deemed medically necessary. Similarly, let’s consider what happens when a fetus jeopardizes the health of the mother. Should we impose a medical risk on a women that may be carrying a fetus that is or isn’t viable? Where do we draw the line to make that decision?
If a state bans all medical abortions, then any medication that could potentially effect the fetus in a negative way or potentially have a negative outcome could be taken away or withheld until such time as the fetus is delivered. We are looking at everything from antifungal medications used to treat yeast infections, common in pregnancy due to hormone changes, all the way over to anti-seizure medications. and this isn’t even pushing the envelope, but simply following a bad decision to its inevitable conclusion.
By limiting access to lifesaving medications, we are essentially dooming women that have gotten pregnant whether they wanted to carry the fetus to term and send it off to college or not. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, right?
But wait, there’s more. Remember how I said I was going to push the envelope to the ridiculous… well, notwithstanding that a woman that has been raped could potentially have to carry the fetus to term, talk about PTSD, not only did she lack control over her own body at the moment she was raped but lost control of it for the next nine months while she’d be forced to carry a rapist’s progeny, but let’s think about her basic medical needs. She may have been on medication for a pre-existing medical condition that she would have to forgo because she was inseminated against her will that may put her life at risk because an injustice was done to her not only on the part of the rapists but the state courts. Not seeming so ridiculous, right?
Wait, it gets better. If she died and the fetus made it to the age of viability it could, theoretically, be saved to grow up in foster care (a ward of the state) one day finding out that it’s mother was essentially medically terminated for the greater good and its father was a rapist. Lovely family tree.
But we’re not done yet. That’s just one ridiculous, seemingly farfetched scenario, or is it? We are putting the fate of every female in the country, born or unborn, into the hands of states that may agree or disagree with how fetal tissue of any kind may be treated and what restrictions are placed upon the individual in direct possession of such fetal tissue, essentially making the female uterus property of the state and subject to abide by it’s terms. Think about how this will also extend to medical technologies that use fetal stem cells, sorry, off on a tangent.
Now, let’s go back to medication for a second, because how many post menopausal females are on hormone replacement to avoid osteoporosis and other changes associated with low estrogen? Well, that number is probably higher than you’d think. From my recollection, it was over forty percent. Say goodbye to strong bones and an active lifestyle if states decide to take away estrogen because it doesn’t fit into the plan and could prevent pregnancies. Add cancer survivors that have used some chemotherapeutic agents to that number and need hormone replacement, even if they used them as children for conditions like leukemia or non hodgkin’s lymphoma.
How many transwomen are on hormone replacement? Should we venture a guess? Well, what do you think would happen to their access to hormone replacement if states are unchecked? Should we talk big-pharma and health plans, too? The entire shit show teeters down the mountain of imprisonment, depersonalization, and oppression, and we’re not just talking about uteruses here.
Shouldn’t we also bring into this women’s reproductive health and their access to doctors, midwives, medical care and more. What will happen to a doctor or midwife if a fetus dies in utero or during delivery? What will happen to the woman carrying the aforementioned fetus? How many more women are going to be jailed for having a miscarriage? ’cause it’s happened before. Given that around twenty percent of pregnancies can end in miscarriage, I think we’ll see a lot more women incarcerated and probably everyone in the hospital or birthing facility from the janitor up to the board sued at the very least for their involvement however trivial(that’s how it works).
This is just the tip of the iceberg, because we haven’t even traversed down to what lies under the water and how those changes will affect everything else. What about the right to decide you don’t want to have any children and make permanent changes to the body? Are we going to stop tubal ligations and vasectomies next? We’re not just looking at a potential return to back alley abortions, but depriving citizens of their Constitutional rights, something SCOTUS is expected to upheld.
Not trying to sound paranoid here, but in a system that vilifies women for exercising authority over their own bodies and transwomen for doing the same, how can we not act to ensure their safety when the threat of oppression and servitude is so real and so close? Can we sit idly by while women are stripped of their Constitutional right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
I’m not even taking sides about whether this is right or wrong, just stating the obvious. Having choices means you have the freedom to decide for yourself what is right and wrong and live your life accordingly. Taking away someone else’s choices, could be disastrous for everyone.
Before anything else gets leaked from SCOTUS, be ready for the next election. You have power, vote to protect those you love.
#SCOTUS #womenshealth #reproductivehealth #RoevWade #victimrights #oppression #birthcontrol #hormonereplacement #rapeculture