Tag Archives: birth control

I am afraid, or, 2017: Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here

I am afraid on the basis of all of my identities. That fear is not just of Trump himself, but of unchecked Republican control of the executive and legislative branches of our government, and likely soon the top level of the judicial branch as well.

As a black person, I’m afraid that Republican power will continue to deny that my and my people’s lives matter. That there will be no push from the federal government to hold police who kill unarmed black men and women accountable. That we will continue incarcerating absurd proportions of black and brown communities. That the fact that a businessman who was openly supported by the KKK was elected will give racists and white supremacists a larger platform, a stronger foothold, or even just make them more likely to take action in support of their beliefs.

As a woman, particularly as a sexually active woman of childbearing age who does not want to become a mother now or ever, I am worried about what full Republican leadership at the federal level means for reproductive rights. I have an IUD right now, that was made possible by the stipulation in Obamacare that requires all insurance companies to cover the cost of all forms of birth control. If (it pains me too much to say when) Obamacare is repealed, I will be required to pay for the medically necessary removal of my current IUD in 2018 and for the cost of inserting a new one, which can be upwards of $1000, if I choose to stick with this birth control option that has worked very well for me. If I choose to go with a lower cost, but also easier to misuse option, like the pill, I am scared that I’ll mess up and forget to take it one day, or forget to bring it with me on a trip, and then be faced with a potential unwanted pregnancy under an anti-abortion federal government. I am afraid of catcallers and other predatory men feeling emboldened by a president who has bragged about grabbing women by the pussy.

As a queer person, I am afraid that Trump himself doesn’t care about us, as he has released no policy plans for LGBT rights or HIV/AIDS. But I know how anti-LGBT the Republican party generally is: 2016 has seen pushback on marriage equality and adoption rights for same-sex couples, bathroom bills that have devastating consequences beyond just where we pee, endorsements of gay conversion therapy for minors, and a resurgence of “religious freedom” bills designed to allow businesses the ‘right’ to refuse to serve us. Trans women, especially trans women of color, are being killed every week in this country, and I have no hope that they will be protected under our new president-elect’s leadership. In fact, as the people who oppose QTPOCs very existence see how strong their numbers are, it’s hard to do anything other than expect the violence to get worse.

And speaking of the twisting of “religious freedom,” as a non-Christian, I am worried that a conservative majority in all branches of the federal government de facto pushes church and state closer together. I have extended family members who are Muslim (of the black power, Nation of Islam variety, but that didn’t matter to folks who abused and discriminated against them post-9/11). I am afraid for their safety in the red states of Georgia and Florida under a Trump administration.

As the daughter and granddaughter and niece and sister of people who have worked in the casino industry, literally for Trump himself and/or for people like him, I am worried that Republican control means even further erosion of what little safety net is there for our senior citizens who didn’t work fancy desk jobs with 401ks or pensions and now depend on Social Security and Medicare to literally feed, clothe, house, and care for themselves. I am afraid of what will happen to my father and my grandmother. I am worried that people who don’t make living wages will lose the scraps of support they are currently able to receive from programs like SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid, and won’t be able to literally feed, clothe, house, and care for their children. I am afraid that this administration will do nothing but widen the gap between the rich and the poor in this country, and further marginalize the voices of those being trampled upon.

As the daughter of a woman who has held down a full-time teaching job through multiple rounds of chemotherapy in order to keep her healthcare coverage, I am afraid that people will literally die as a result of this election. Obama was able to bring health insurance (albeit imperfect) to hundreds of thousands of people who did not have it before, and made it so that people couldn’t be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. I am afraid that if my mom gets too sick to work, a post-Obamacare America will be one in which she cannot be insured, and my family will have to watch a disease she beat once before overcome her because we can’t afford the treatments.

I feel America’s distaste for people like me, a distaste that ranges from a lack of empathy to a straight-up hatred, writ large this morning, feel it in my bones and in my spirit more heavily than I’ve ever felt it before. This place was built by us, but not for us, and is about to be run by people who aggressively don’t support us. I feel unsafe and unwanted here on the deepest of levels. If I joke or even more genuinely consider fleeing, don’t tell me it’s my responsibility to fight through and fix this. I didn’t break it. I don’t know how to heal the divide between rural America and urban America, between white America and diverse America, between people who legitimately support Trump’s platform and ideas and people like me. I don’t know if it can be healed. I am not hopeful this morning.

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Today, in IUDs are weird.

Me, at work: *stomach area feels kind of weird *

Me: *goes to bathroom *

Me: *wipes *

Me: *sees blood on tissue *

Me: WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING?! AM I DYING?! *repeats emotions of first period in 4th grade *

Me: …Wait a minute. This is normal. This is a normal thing that happened to me monthly for upwards of 15 years. This stomachache is probably cramps.

Me: *digs around in desk until she finds a pad *

Me: *takes extra strength Tylenol *

Me, at home: *feels unbearably tired, passes out waiting for chicken to defrost to cook dinner *

Me: *reallllllllllllllllllllllllllly fucking hopes this isn’t gonna become a thing again *

GO HOME, MENSTRUAL CYCLE. NOBODY MISSED YOU.

When conservatives talk about their idea of a woman who needs access to contraception and/or abortion services, she is always poor, uneducated, promiscuous, and irresponsible. By painting this image, they make it easy for women to distance themselves from each other. Not only is the debate around restrictions on birth control and abortion gendered, it also becomes classed. We stop caring that these restrictions impact all women on some level because we tell ourselves, “Well, I am not like ‘that’, so I do not care if that woman has access to the services she needs.” Furthermore, this picture of the woman who is “poor, uneducated, promiscuous, and irresponsible” is also how conservatives have historically stereotyped Black Women. Thus, this image is gendered, class-specific, and racialized. And I would argue that so are their restrictions on reproductive health services.

Conservatives’ obsession with limiting access to birth control and abortion is one that affects all women. But their reasoning also lets me know they are, indeed, targeting Black Women. It is time that Black Women become more vocal about our right to make decisions about our bodies, sexualities, and reproductive choices without interference or regulation from others. In the same way that we are speaking up about their right to define ourselves and narrate our own lives, we must also be vocal about reproductive justice.

Get Out My Uterus: The Lies Conservatives Tell About Black Women & Reproductive Health

(via because i am a woman)

This idea — that women can always find another way to get the coverage or care they need — underpins just about every recent restriction on women’s health. What’s another 24-hour mandatory abortion waiting period? To a woman who lives 25 miles from the nearest provider, it’s everything. What’s one more tweak to a law about the width of clinic doors? To a clinic that can’t afford to remodel, it’s everything. What’s a minor policy change that means you have to pay full price for that IUD? To a woman who makes $14 an hour, it’s everything.

What a Woman’s Choice Means to the Supreme Court – NYmag.com

(via She Who Shall Not be Linked to)

If [someone] has reproductive choice but can’t afford it, with all practical intents and purposes, [they] do not have reproductive choice. A right on paper is not a right.

–Katherine Cross

(via spinsterette)

I still marvel at how amazing a thing insurance is. I’m getting an IUD on Monday. For those of you to whom those letters mean nothing, it’s basically a little plastic device chock full of super low-dose hormones that will be inserted into my uterus and make it basically impossible for me to get pregnant for the next 5 years. 5 years of birth control, in one afternoon, with nothing I have to remember to do or take regularly…and it’s only going to cost me my normal $10 co-pay for going to the gynecologist. I couldn’t believe it when my doctor told me that. 

I recognize that I’m incredibly privileged, a) to have a job that gives me such comprehensive health insurance, and b) to be healthy and in control of my sexual life enough that I could sit in ignorance of this for the past year and a half. But I really wish we as a country could get to a point where everyone could walk into their doctor’s office, wanting to get expensive and not medically necessary but generally life-improving procedures done, and basically hear the doctor say “yo, it’s taken care of.” Because that shit was awesome. 

Abortion is often framed as a mercy bestowed upon a woman who has committed the “crime” of having had sex. Mercy is something that someone else grants you, however, and not something you can simply decide for yourself that you deserve. That’s what people are stabbing at when they say they don’t want women to use abortion “as birth control.” The fear is that a woman might get an abortion without feeling remorseful or may, gasp, even feel like she’s entitled to it without having to apologize or grovel. Basically, people are uneasy with leaving the decision of whether or not an abortion is deserved to the woman seeking it herself. What a lot of people in the gray area between pro- and anti-choice want is for women to have to justify themselves in order to get abortions, even if it’s something as simple as making women feel ashamed of themselves for what they supposedly did wrong.

The problem with that, beyond the inherent sexism of it, is that there’s no real legal way to make women justify themselves, besides maybe making them sign a piece of paper that says, “I’m sorry I was a naughty girl who had sex. Can I please have my abortion now?” Roe v Wade sets things like time limits and Planned Parenthood v Casey says that there can be no “undue burden” to access, but the court decisions that shape abortion law don’t speak to “good” vs. “bad” reasons to have abortions, and for good reason. Abortion is medical treatment. It goes against basic medical ethics to require a patient to argue their moral worth before they are permitted access to health care they require.

Every Reason for an Abortion Is a Good Reason

(via Lavender Labia)