Saturday, December 13, 2008

Our Bodies, Our Selves

In the craze of the pre- election frenzy George W. Bush was trying to pull a fast one on you. He actually still is, since no one is expecting him to do much in his last days in office. This crap he's trying to throw on us is a proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services. This rule would allow any employee of a health care entity that receives federal funding, to have more of a right over your body than you have. The thing that freaks me out about this is that it would basically change the rights of everyone - its not just about abortion, or plan b, or even birth control. This could even effect your decision as a mother on how you want to give birth to your baby. These are the kind of laws that treat women like children. Hilary Clinton and Cecile Richards wrote a pretty thorough article for the New York Times that exposed the rule for what it was......
"The rule would also allow providers to refuse to participate in unspecified "other medical procedures" that contradict their religious beliefs or moral convictions. This, too, could be interpreted as a free pass to deny access to contraception.Many circumstances unrelated to reproductive health could also fall under the umbrella of "other medical procedures." Could physicians object to helping patients whose sexual orientation they find objectionable? Could a receptionist refuse to book an appointment for an H.I.V. test? What about an emergency room doctor who wishes to deny emergency contraception to a rape victim? Or a pharmacist who prefers not to refill a birth control prescription?"
When I sent out an email about this a couple months ago one of my friends wrote back and said she was conflicted because she didn't thing doctors should have to perform abortions if they didn't want to. However, that law has been on the books for 30 years. No one is making anyone do abortions. There are also laws in many states saying that pharmacies and/or their employees don't have to sell you Plan B if they morally object to it. I remember when I was at school in Rhode Island reading local newspaper articles about girls driving all over late at night, trying to find a pharmacy that would sell them Plan B. So if these rules are already around why are they trying to make more.
This law effects every woman, because even if you don't believe in abortion - do you still believe in birth control? Even if you don't and you want to start a big family, this law could make it okay for a doctor to tell you when, where, and how you would give birth. The National Association of Pregnant Women were fiercely against this rule.
All of this doesn't even touch on the fact that it could mess with your health care and what your provider deemed morally objectionable. This would definitely bring money decisions into the whole thing and you can just imagine how dangerous that is. What if they start having 'moral problems' with things that cost them a lot of money.
This sort of thing scares the shit out of me. I know a lot of people who figure "well it probably won't effect me - I live in New York". Yet, this is how change happens. This is how a nation closes down and starts taking back your rights. They are letting pharmacy employees, receptionists, doctors, health care providers, and others take away your rights so they don't have to catch the blame. George W. Bush would rather let you be pissed at the guy at Duane Reade who won't give you your birth control than be pissed at him. Its a lot easier, and it still vaguely resembles democracy, even though it makes less of your rights than others. This way people don't get all uppity and start protesting.
So on the up side of things plenty of politicians and a surprising amount of states were against this rule - they voted it down. Unfortunately, George just won't let it die, and it is being brought up again and again.

Soooo a couple good things to do are ...
You can tell the Bush administration how you feel here,

Or write an email to your local official. Its easy, just look up the website of your senator and there will usually be a link to their email.

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