In terms of women and news this entire week has been incredibly disheartening.
I feel so strongly about buffer zones… I have been harassed by protesters in my visits to Planned Parenthood. I have had my car swarmed by people who pushed xeroxed photos of dismembered fetuses onto my windshield and screamed “Girls have died in there! You’re gonna die! You’re going to hell! BABY KILLER! MURDERER!”. The experience was legitimately traumatizing. Another occassion one protester followed me several blocks bellowing scripture and holding up similarly grotesque pictures. On this day, I ended up having to flag down a police officer because the man would not stop following me as I walked away from Planned Parenthood. And these people call themselves Christian.
No one’s freedom of speech should override my right to walk down the street safely without someone getting in my face because I chose to… GO TO THE DOCTOR or for any other choice I might make.
It’s disgusting, but here we are. Buffer zones, intended to keep women like myself safe, are a “violation” of their right to freedom of speech. Their right to harass and intimidate me because they believe I am doing/have done/will do something they believe is wrong.
It’s easy to simply say, “Natasha! Stop going to Planned Parenthood if this is so awful!”, but it’s not that easy. For one, I love and respect Planned Parenthood and what they stand for. I don’t want to be intimidated out of patronizing it. Additionally, before I relocated to California I had actually developed a positive and trusting relationship with the physician I saw there, Dr. Rebecca.
On a practical level, not patronizing Planned Parenthood isn’t really an option because my insurance doesn’t cover birth control and I am low-income. Further, my body responds very drastically to medications, including birth control, and this is only complicated by a blood condition I have to consider when making these choices. Through years of trial and error, I finally arrived at an IUD. It was the only hormone-free form that did not cause weight gain and would not impact my menstruation, these are essential conditions for my health. The problem being that they cost several hundred dollars. Despite having a college degree I still do not have any extra money, and there was no way I could pay for one.
Dr. Rebecca applied for a grant for the IUD, citing the havoc other methods had caused, and I was able to get one by the skin of my teeth. It is worth noting I was able to get one only after I had gone through the weight gain, mood instability, and crippling headaches the others caused, despite knowing in the beginning that this was likely the best option for me.
Now I’m reading in the news that a corporation’s (pretend person’s) beliefs about an IUD or the morning after pill override the health needs of individual women (real persons).
And the reasoning is because the corporation (pretend person) believes these contraceptives are abortions even though science and medicine and real persons know they are not. Yet, they believe it, so…
Predictably, I have read responses along the lines of “It’s not that the women can’t have it, Hobby Lobby just doesn’t have to pay for it”.
Ahem. Like many medicines, (yes, birth control is medicine, and serves many functions aside from preventing pregnancy not that I should really have to justify this) not having coverage in many cases means that you cannot have it. It is expensive. Not a “I just won’t go to the movies ever again and save up” expensive, expensive as in it is impossible to afford.
I have also seen responses like “It’s just the kinds that Hobby Lobby believes are abortive they can’t have, they can still have the other kinds”. As with my experience, this is untrue. I can’t just take a different kind of birth control, a different kind will hurt me. This is not like we’re swapping out ice cream flavors and I just really want the thousand dollar cookie dough but I can only get the five dollar chocolate chip. It’s like there’s a medicine that will help me and I’m allergic to the other medicines.
But, why would my employer ever be involved in this conversation?
It’s hard to be a woman reading this news, watching the media response, and not interpret this as a personal invalidation. That my health, my needs, and my beliefs are inherently less important because I am a woman.
Lord, I am discouraged.