exiled in Gilead…um, Arizona.

So, I keep having this horrible nightmare, where I am suddenly in the middle of Gilead, Margaret Atwood’s Biblical wasteland in The Handmaid’s Tale.  And then I wake up, and realize I’m in Arizona, which ain’t too far behind, thanks to legislation that would require me, if so asked by my employer, to tell said employer why I wanted my health insurance to cover my birth control. If I refused, I could be fired.

This post isn’t about politics, not really. This post is why, for me, using contraception is medically necessary to prevent conception. Yep, you read that right. I use birth control so I don’t get pregnant, because getting pregnant again could mean I could die, my child could die, and I would most certainly become a burden to society.

Let’s start with the icky medical part, shall we? I have what’s called a septate uterus. It looks a little like a bunny rabbit, to be honest (this one isn’t mine, but mine looks like this):


See that dark spot between the bunny ears? That’s the septate. In most cases, it contains few, if any, blood vessels. So if an embryo attaches there, it doesn’t grow. The miscarriage rate for women with my condition runs somewhere between 30 and 50%. And most of us have more than one miscarriage. Now me, I was lucky. I had very few complications with my pregnancy, and my daughter was born at term and healthy. The odds of that? 1 in 37,000.

Read that again. 1 in 37,000 chances of her being born at term, healthy, and mentally normal. Now, tell me again that my using birth control so that I don’t get pregnant and miscarry multiple times is a problem. Even if I don’t miscarry, I would be on modified bed rest from the 4th month on, and full bed rest, possibly in a hospital, from the 7th month. Birth would have to be (as my daughter was) by C-section. Did I mention I’m an adjunct, and if I don’t work, I don’t get paid? So that bed rest would have to be paid for by state medical assistance. You know, *gasp* welfare. Not to mention the fetal monitoring, the testing, and oh yeah, who’s gonna pay my rent?

So yeah, I’m on birth control so I don’t get pregnant. Tell me again why that’s not okay?

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 10:36 am  Leave a Comment  

wanna make abortion go away? it’s called contraception.

To those of you who are anti-abortion…look, I get it. You really don’t like abortion, and you want it to go away. You really, really want it to go away. So you pass laws that you think will stop abortions, like making women wait 24 hours before going through with the procedure, force them into getting ultrasounds, listening to fetal heartbeats, forcing them to listen to a long list of possible complications (some of which, like the connection between abortion and breast cancer, are actually, you know, not true), blah blah blah. You seem to think that a woman seeking an abortion will be shamed/guilted into changing her mind and going through with it.

And you might be right. Some women will be deterred by these barriers. Some of them might change their minds. But for the vast majority of women seeking abortions, who are *gasp* intelligent and believe strongly in their own autonomy, both bodily and mentally, all you’re doing is trying to score political points.

And I’m guessing that’s where you’re going with this personhood thing, too. Because you do realize what that will do to state budgets, right? When some 15-20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, you’re going to be spending a lot of time chasing down women who miscarried, trying to determine why that fetus didn’t come to term. Let’s do a little math, shall we? Arizona has right around 6.5 million people in it.  A smidge over 50% of the population of Arizona are women, so right around 3.25 million. Let’s say that 10% of those women are pregnant (on purpose, and with no plans to end the pregnancy), making it what? 325,000 women are pregnant. Okay, now, somewhere between 4900 and 6500 of those women will miscarry. Do you really think Arizona has the police manpower to go investigating every single one of those? And what will constitute criminally liable miscarriage? Falling down? Getting into a car accident? Are we really expecting women to confine themselves, much as upper class women did in the past, just in case? Who is going to pay for all those investigations?

But you know, I digress. I really wanted to speak to those of you who want abortion to go away. It’s called contraception, and even more radically, sex ed that actually teaches people about sex. There’s a long history of people in this country thinking that sex ed in middle and high schools somehow leads to more sex. Let me take an example from my own life to explain to you why that isn’t the case. Two girls I know (friends of my daughter’s). One has parents who have constantly talked to her about sex, have been very open about the issue, provided books such as Where Did I Come From and Our Bodies, Our Selves to their daughter. The other parents, not so much. They have told her sex is a dirty necessity, something for marriage only, and within that restriction, for procreation only. Guess which girl is actually sexually active? If you said the former, you’d be wrong. Nope, she’s still a virgin. Sex education — and the open and honest dialogue about sex — are what prevents pregnancy, STD/STIs, and keeps both men and women safer.  Not talking about sex doesn’t make it go away, people.

And this is where I just don’t get you. I really don’t. I had issues back in the 80s, when anti-choice legislators were trying to restrict abortion access AND cut family help (I still maintain that if you want to say you’re pro-life, you have to care about that fetus AFTER it’s born too, or you’re just a damned hypocrite), but this whole going after contraception thing…it really needs to stop. And unless you’re some troglodite like Rush Limbaugh, who seems to think that a woman has to take a birth control pill every time she has sex (hint, Rush, it’s a prescription, and you’re supposed to take one a day, or a shot every 3 months, or insert a ring once a month, or the IUD once every 5 years or so…only condoms are 1 act players here), you’re probably aware (or at least I hope you are) that 98% of American women are using, or have used, contraception. 98%. Why? Because it works. And funnily enough, it prevents abortion. So for all of you out there who believe abortion is a bad thing (and I’m very Clintonesque in this regard…safe and legal and RARE), stop beating up on contraception. It works. It’s there. And you should support the hell out of it, because contraception is what makes the rate of abortions drop like a stone.

Now you know. Course, this won’t matter a lick to you if your issue isn’t actually being anti-abortion, but being anti-sex at all. Which is a whole ‘nother ball of wax. And I would dare to suggest, a mental issue. Just saying.

Published in: on March 4, 2012 at 9:33 am  Comments (4)