Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Life and Death" Over Lunch


There was a time when I thought that those deeply personal medical decisions regarding my uterus and the contents thereof was a matter between my doctor, my husband and me. How silly! There are others who believe that they are far better qualified to decide what happens to my body and they are arguing their case before the Supreme Court right now. In fact, they are telling the Court that their religious freedom is being violated if they cannot control women's bodies! 

There are several angles from which we could discuss this case but I want to discuss the most obvious consequence of these people winning their case: that employers and government officials would be making decisions about your body and your family size for you.

Your Employer

You can always have another kid.
Think about that for a minute...the first person who would have control over your family size and family health is your boss. That's right, your boss. You know that obnoxious asshole who is always looking for a reason to write you up. Or that dipshit who isn't smart enough to do half of what you do. Or maybe that lazy fuck who makes you do the work and then s/he takes all the credit. Yeah, that boss...the one you duck and dodge on a daily basis. The one you badmouth as soon as you get home. 

That's the person who gets to make your first choice because s/he decides what your insurance can cover:

  • Catholic or Evangelical boss - no birth control.
  • Jehovah's Witness boss - no blood transfusions - not even to save your own life.
  • Southern Baptist boss - no coverage for smoking- or alcohol-related illnesses (those two "sins" are mentioned in the church covenant; abortion is not). 
  • Christian Scientist - no medicine for any reason.
  • Vegan/Vegetarian boss - no medications or treatments containing animal parts or tested on animals.
  • Scientologist boss - no mental health coverage (no therapy, no medicine)
  • Anti-Vax boss - no vaccinations.

But wait, you say. There aren't many of those folks around like that. You'll just work for a "normal" employer. Good luck with that! Have you seen the job market lately? All those jobs you think people should just grab simply don't exist any more. It's highly likely that you're going to find yourself stuck in the job you hate with insurance that doesn't meet your needs. So when one of your kids gets cancer and you depend on that insurance to pay for it, your boss might just decide that it's too expensive and cancel cancer coverage. Good luck paying for these treatments and medications without that insurance too. American medical costs are high enough to put millions of people in bankruptcy.

Your Politician

Then there's your second obstacle to freedom: your politicians. Yes, those men and women who are mostly professional liars and fundraisers. You know, those guys that you don't trust with any of your other rights. The folks you keep saying are going to take your guns and turn this into a police state...that's the people you're going to turn your medical freedom over to? The same people who show little to no knowledge of basic biology and have a reckless disregard for facts...those are the ones who get to decide what happens next?

But babies are so cute!
Just think, if I had gotten pregnant a few years ago, I could have invited Roger Wicker and my Catholic boss to lunch and they could have told me how I'd be allowed to handle it. Of course, neither of them would know that pregnancy is a fatal condition for me but I'm sure they'd at least have sent flowers to my funeral. 

Close your eyes for a second and imagine yourself at lunch with your boss and your representative (or governor or whomever). Imagine that you are explaining your family's medical needs to them and hoping that they will allow you to have the coverage you need - the coverage that YOU are paying for. When I think of sitting down like this with Phil Bryant and Hillbilly Joe Blow, it makes me sick.

Your Choice

As I said before, there are stronger and better legal arguments that these cases can be decided on. But all too often we focus on the cold, hard facts without adding a dose of reality. This is your dose of reality: that two of the people you likely mistrust most in the world are a stone's throw away from deciding what kind of medical care you can get. It's not a choice between you, your spouse, and your doctor for much longer. It's going to between the "man" and the "machine" and their profit, not your health, will be the deciding factor.

The Supreme Court will rule however it wills and I'm sure further legal battles will ensue. But the real fight is not in the court - it's on the ground among our family and friends. There are a lot of people out there who call themselves "pro-life" but, when confronted with the reality of the forced birth movement, they take 'pro-choice" positions. We need those people to come out of the closet as it were. The only way that's going to happen is for them to hear from us, to see that we aren't monsters but people who value independence and recognize the superiority of quality over mere quantity.

So if you don't want to discuss your family's life and death over lunch with Alan and the Bossman, then you'd best speak up now.