Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Why I’m Pro-Choice (Part 1 of 3)

The Republican dominated Supreme Court chose to ignore the supposedly core GOP value of “keep government out of people’s lives” when, last month, it upheld a law making a specific late-term abortion procedure illegal. By refusing to take on the case, the Court once again inserted itself between a woman and her doctor when it comes to determining what the best course of treatment should be if a fetus is found the have severe medical complications in the third trimester, or if a late term pregnancy threatens the well-being of the woman. (This law contains no provision to protect the physical or mental health of the woman).

I have always been pro-choice, but I have personal experience that validated my position. When I lived in Ann Arbor, MI, one of the most liberal cities in America, I went to the University of Michigan clinic with the hopes of setting an appointment to get my tubes tied. I have never wanted to have children, and at 23 with a host of other medical issues affecting my choices for birth control, it seems like it should be no problem.

Wrong! The all male team of doctors on duty that day decided that I was too young to possibly know what I wanted, and refused to even discuss tubal ligation. Their reason? "Oh, you'll change your mind when you're 30 and come back to us begging to have it reversed." (Can you say pa-ter-nal-ism?) This same doc insisted that I had no idea what I was talking about when I told him my anatomy prevented the use of a diaphragm, and that he would show me otherwise. (Can you say pa-ter-nal-ism again?) He changed his tune pretty quickly after he examined me, but still refused to talk surgery. Instead, I agreed to try an IUD. After five months of sheer hell caused by the IUD, I went back to have it removed and go back on the pill.

That one clinic visit was more than enough to permanently cement me in the pro-choice camp. I had no idea at the time that there were even more experiences with paternalistic doctors ahead.

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