Segregated Medical Care
As per our politicians, you might be a woman if you aren't Dr. Condoleezza Rice, First Lady Laura Bush, Senator Clinton, or one of the millions of reproductive age XX persons unable to become pregnant (e.g., 9.3 million who've ever used some kind of infertility service, over 3 million who've had a hysterectomy, etc.).
Unfortunately, just because the state of the lining of some of your internal organs makes you a woman, that isn't enough for you to receive proper medical care.
It appears* the politicians have also decided that, in order to receive appropriate medical care, those persons fortunate enough to qualify as women must pass one more hurdle.
If a woman is raped, just having an anatomically intact reproductive tract, and a functioning pituitary/ovarian/uterine axis is no longer enough to guarantee she will be treated according to the standard of care. No! Only women raped during the follicular phase of their monthly cycle are to be given adequate medical care:
The protocol of six Catholic hospitals run by Centura calls for rape victims to undergo an ovulation test.
If they have not ovulated, said Centura corporate spokeswoman Dana Berry, doctors tell the victims about emergency contraception and write prescriptions for it if the patient asks.
If, however, the urine test suggests that a rape victim has ovulated, Berry continued, doctors at Centura's Catholic hospitals are not to mention emergency contraception.
Hmm, any chance I might have something to say about this? Well, since you asked:
First, assuming [and this is a big assumption] optimal testing conditions, a urine ovulation test only tells you whether or not you have elevated hormone levels, and that is all. It offers no indication [if a viable egg will be released] about fertilization.
Second, when it comes to rape patients and emergency contraception (EC), what is the medical standard of care? Both the American College of Ob/Gyns**, and the American Medical Association*** recommend that physicians treating rape patients inform women about EC, and offer the patient EC.
Third, the available evidence indicates that the EC pill does not prevent implantation [the burrowing of a fertilized egg into the uterine lining]:
Recently, treatment with either 10 mg mifepristone or 1.5 mg of levonorgestrel [Plan B] has emerged as the most effective hormonal method for emergency contraception...
When summarized, available data from studies in humans indicate that the contraceptive effects of both levonorgestrel and mifepristone, when used in single low doses for emergency contraception, involve either blockade or delay of ovulation, due to either prevention or delay of the LH surge, rather than to inhibition of implantation.
Finally, here are some interesting results from a 2002 survey of 589 Catholic hospitals emergency rooms [scroll to bottom of page]:
If Catholic hospitals may ignore the standard of care, and treat patients based on religious doctrine, any and all hospitals should be able to do the same. This means we abolish the FDA, and any government regulation of hospitals and the practice of medicine, and allow anybody to set up and run a hospital according to whatever criteria they deem acceptable.
Bottom line: It will be most interesting to see what happens when men in this country manage to finally achieve equality with women, and can look forward to hospitals where only, for example, men with a sperm density greater than or equal to 20 million per milliliter are to receive adequate medical care.
[P.S. Despite writing a book about period control, I must admit it hadn't occurred to me that one emerging indication for suppressing the period is to increase your likelihood of receiving proper medical care.]
*I have not personally verified the information in the article, so it's still possible that the article is a joke. [We can only hope.]
**American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 242 Educ. Bull. 3 (Nov. 1997).
***American Medical Association, Strategies for the Treatment and Prevention of Sexual Assault (1995).