When I was an E-3 in California I began to experience several strange symptoms that had frustrate entire teams of doctors and my Chain of Command (CoC). I was living in Military Housing (which was costing all of my Basic Allowance for Housing) w/ my at the time three year old daughter. Being sick was not easy on us. Finally my General Practitioner (a full bird) made the recommendation that I discontinue the BC I was currently on and use a non hormonal IUD instead. Her theory was that the hormones in my current BC were aggravating whatever was ailing me (which still wasn’t diagnosed, and actually still isn’t “officially” in my record) She made me a recommendation to the on base OB/GYN.
To see the OB/GYN at the TMAC I had to first see the nurse practitioner for the referral. It was her job to review the case, order the prerequisite pregnancy test, and set up the appointment w/ the OB/GYN. When the nurse walked in very pregnant I had a feeling I was in for a rough time. The nurse informed me that she could not in good conscience refer a single woman for an IUD, and that she would not refer me out b/c she had moral objections to abortion, and KNEW that IUDs caused abortion. That was that. I tried reasoning w/ her. I tried talking to the head nurse, but she was the ONLY OB/GYN nurse practitioner at that facility. The best solution they could give to me was that I could get the device and take it to a doctor “out in town” (which meant a civilian doctor not covered by my TRICARE) for insertion. Oh, but the pharmacist told me they didn’t have them and wouldn’t be getting them.
So, my option was to purchase one out of pocket from another pharmacy, which at the time would have been about $400, or over one third of my monthly income as an E-3. Then, I would have to find an OB/GYN who was accepting new patients, schedule an initial appointment (b/c understandably a good doctor isn’t just going to perform any procedure on someone they have just met), get another pregnancy test done, a BC consult, and the procedure. All out of pocket. There was no way I could afford that.
And the IUD was recommended by my GP. Recommended as the best possible choice for someone w/ my medical issues.
I ended up having to wait over a month to PCS to Hawaii, and be assigned a new GP. Then I had to wait two weeks to see that doctor, and then wait for the appointment w/ the OB/GYN at Pearl Harbor. I had to have another pregnancy test, wait almost a full month for my next period (b/c IUDs are only insertable during your period) and then finally, finally I got my IUD.
And I had good insurance.
It is easy to say that everyone should have their rights protected, that they should not be prevented from employment or penalized based on a moral or religious beliefs. At face value it seems the right and progressive thing to do…allow people their choice, don’t discriminate. But when you look at it a little more allowing someone w/ a moral objection into a field where that objection might conflict w/ their job just doesn’t make sense. If I am a vegan and a waitress I can not refuse to serve filet mignon to a customer b/c I think killing animals for food is wrong. If I am a bartender I can not refuse to serve a pregnant woman a glass of wine. I can ask someone else to do it, but as long as she is of the proper age and not visibly intoxicated and is able to pay I can not refuse her service. I can not refuse to cell cigarettes to someone of age if I work at the local gas station. I can not imagine a Jehovah’s Witness surgeon being allowed to refuse to give a blood transfusion, and I can not be Mormon and refuse to serve coffee. Please explain to me why it is that a doctor, pharmacist, nurse or other medical professional is allowed to refuse to give me BC, Plan B, an abortion, a referral for an abortion or anything else they find objectionable. It doesn’t make sense.
And now the Bush Administration wants to pass regulations that say that employers may not refuse to hire or discriminate in the hiring of medical professionals who would possibly refuse to do parts of those jobs. They want to make sure that we can not discriminate against those who discriminate against us. The pen holders and law makers want to make sure that these people maintain their right to hold moral beliefs and still be able to get a job. I suppose I need someone to spell this one out for me b/c it totally doesn’t make sense to my teeny tiny girl brain.
The best I can do is to point you to discussions already happening. I can direct you to the Planned Parenthood form (but I can’t link to it b/c it has my name and address on it) that will allow you to tell law makers that you think this proposed is a total and huge crock of shit.
But I can not stress enough that the loose definition of abortion being used in this proposal is what they want to use to stop women from making informed choices about their own bodies. I can not stress enough that this is less about protecting the rights of some medical professionals and all about the rights of people to place their own moral restrictions on the bodies of whomever they choose.
It is not as simple as “find another doctor” or “go to another pharmacy”. Insurance doesn’t always cover repeat visits to doctors for the same thing. Not everyone lives in an area where there is another doctor near by to provide the care they need or want. There is not always an affordable option to find another pharmacy (if the pharmacist gives you back the script in the first place), and time is not always a luxury that can be afforded (as in the case w/ Plan B where time is an important factor, and a delay in receiving it can mean the difference between it’s effectiveness and the tough choice to stay pregnant or have an abortion).
It is not as simple as that at all.
But the choice we have to make is simple. The choice to protect our choice.
It is one thing to object to something. You have the choice to participate in the thing you object to. If you don’t like abortion don’t have one. If you don’t support gay marriage don’t do it. But taking away that choice from other people puts your morals over them and pushes your solution as right and their morals wrong. We the pro-choicers are not taking away the choice of the anit-choicers. Can they say the same?
Please. Use the PP form letter. Let your appropriate officials know that our choice is not something that can be morally objected away. We are not willing to negotiate on our right to retain autonomy over our own bodies.
Thanks to whomever had the good sense to leak this story to the NYT.