Infertility, Artificial insemination, HcG injections, Premature ovarian failure, Fragile-X syndrome, Embryo donation, In-vitro fertilization, Cervical cerclage, Amniotic sac rupture, Miscarriage, Fetal reduction, Induced labor, Caesarean section…
As a guy, none of those terms mean anything to me. I’m not an obstetrician-gynecologist, have zero medical training, and frankly visit a doctor for my own frailties about once every two years. If I suffered from back pain, restless leg syndrome, prostate cancer, sleeplessness, migraines, genital warts, or any other issue, I’m certainly not going to tell the web. You don’t have the right to know.
Do I have the right to know about your medical history? If you knock over a drugstore, can I read about the medicine you stole for your herpes simplex in the police blotter? Can your televised court appearance go into great detail about your IBS?
Of course not. Your medical privacy is an absolute requisite to liberty, in this nation devoted to it. You can’t be free if potential employers or neighbors know about your history of mental instability. Privacy is guaranteed by our Bill of Rights, and is the reason why you don’t have to show an ID to vote, don’t have to register your firearms, and it’s also why women have an absolute right to abortion for any reason whatsoever.
That’s the point.
You don’t get to know when a woman is pregnant. You don’t get to know how it happened. You don’t get to know how far along she is. You don’t get to know what she thinks about it. You don’t get to know what she does about it. You don’t get to know if she wants to terminate it. You don’t get to know if she’s terminated a pregnancy before. You don’t get to know how. You don’t get to know why.
You don’t get a say.
You don’t get a clue about her medical history. No cop can breach that. No teacher can find out about it. No neighbor can discover it. No lawmaker can drag her through the mud about it.
I can’t tell you about it, even if she’s a member of my family, my wife or daughter. That’s their story to tell. Or not.
That’s why abortion is legal. That’s why women don’t need reasons to justify it. You don’t get to know about rape or incest. You don’t get to know if she made the decision because the wind was blowing from the north that day. She has every right to make the decision, as easily as you do about any ailment you might suffer, without anyone but her medical providers knowing about it.
Riddle me this: If your state outlaws abortion, and the Supreme Court allows it, how will she be prosecuted? How will the doctor be investigated without an alarmingly unconstitutional breach of medical privacy? How, without throwing our founding principles to the wind?
You will never outlaw abortion in my state, but that’s not good enough. Every woman needs to know she has the full authority to make her own decision in every single state in this free nation. Cases where she needs an emergency termination procedure in an anti-choice state may seem rare, but they are not unimaginable. She needs the complete availability of options, as well as insurance coverage, no matter her economic status. And she also needs medical providers and legal authorities bound by the same privacy laws she would enjoy in the state most protective of privacy and freedom of choice.
Is it really so difficult to imagine your own wife suffering an ovarian infection and needing a reduction or termination procedure? Is it so difficult to imagine your daughter needing to make the decision for reasons you may not approve of, but you know it’s better for her? Is it impossible that a neighbor struggling financially needs coverage to have the abortion that frankly (if you’re honest) is the right decision?
Are you going to adopt your neighbor’s child? Are you going to raise your son’s fragile-x son while he recovers in rehab? Are you going to let your wife die on the table because one twin miscarried and they can’t save the other?
Life in America is messy. Most of us are a shitshow. We hoard junk, our cars are busted, our bills are four weeks overdue. We’re on the edge of being canned from our jobs if the stock hits a speed bump. We have drug addictions. We have tent cities. Our government is tearing families apart. Our veterans are kicked to the curb. We’re getting shot at in schools. We’re beaten and killed for being the wrong color. We’re addled, poor, shivering, and addicted to the dumbest forms of entertainment since the first proto-simian beat two rocks together and called it art.
Some of us think we’re perfect. But we’re not. We can’t be. Not while we’re brutalizing and judging others for their choices. Choices we can’t imagine ourselves making…until we have to.
When will it be your turn? As a guy, it’s easy to judge. Even for most women, it’s easy to look at all those words in the first paragraph and imagine they can’t happen to you. You can’t imagine what it would be like to have any of those terms in your medical record. Certainly nobody has ever experienced all of them. Right? Not in America.
If you knew somebody who did, would that change your mind? Is that even possible?