Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Our Most Benevolent Overlords Take Care of Our Medical Needs

If you're a reproductive age female patient, the state-imposed indignities [I'm too perturbed to come up with a better term] just keep on coming.

First, the government has decreed that women of childbearing age, in consultation with their physicians, are incapable of properly using acne medication. So, starting March 1, the only way for you to receive adequate medical care [and, in some cases, avoid disfiguring scaring], is to a) register your personal, medical information with the government, and b) submit to forced pregnancy tests.

The American Academy of Dermatology has some concerns.

I, on the other hand, have nothing but helpful observations.

This forced registration/pregnancy testing outrage program is run by the publicly-traded, independent company Covance, a spin off of Corning. Both Covance and Corning are nongovernmental companies, run by private [male] citizens.

Since the government has unequivocally indicated that private [female] people, in consultation with their private [female/male] physicians, cannot be trusted to manage their health, clearly companies run by private [male] people cannot be trusted to manage the health of citizens.

No, what is needed here, according to the government's own standard--only the state can, and should, make medical decisions for private citizens--is a state-owned business to force patients to disclose their medical histories, and undergo pregnancy tests. Hey, on the bright side, state-owned business are good enough to run our ports, so they're undoubtedly more than adequate to run our health.

Second, the Supreme Court has

agreed to decide whether the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act that Bush signed into law in 2003 is unconstitutional because it lacks an exception to protect the health of a pregnant woman.

Feministing has already noted the prevailing concerns:

Outside of the fact that the legislation has no health exception--which is generally why women obtain late-term abortions--the language of the act is deliberately vague and could potentially ban all abortions.

Except, I can't even get that far. For me, it is incomprehensible that the Supreme Court has agreed to consider a law about a nonexistent, made up medical procedure.

To refresh your memory, this is how our beloved overlords define the nonexistent "partial-birth" abortion:

(a) Any physician who, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly performs a partial -birth abortion and thereby kills a human fetus shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both. This subsection does not apply to a partial -birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself. This subsection takes effect 1 day after the date of enactment of this chapter.

`(b) As used in this section--

`(1) the term `partial -birth abortion' means an abortion in which--

`(A) the person performing the abortion deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus; and

`(B) performs the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus;

My vocabulary isn't adequate enough to convey to you the absurdity of the quoted text [...the person performing the abortion deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus... So, if I'm doing the delivery abdominally, I'm all set? The procedure is no longer an abortion; it's what now, a hernia repair?] So I'll let ACOG speak for me. From their statement on so-called "partial birth abortion" laws (emphasis mine):

...terms -- such as "partial birth abortion" -- that are not recognized by the very constituency (physicians) whose conduct the law would criminalize, and that purport to address a single procedure yet describe elements of other procedures used in obstetrics and gynecology...

Regardless of your sex, politics, maturity of your reproductive system, religion, or beliefs, take a moment to reflect on the enormity, as well as future impact, of the government dictating your medical care [not to mention length of prison sentences] based on a politically-crafted fantasy. Even if this particular legislation doesn't affect you directly, or it makes you feel all fuzzy inside, you must realize that those in power come and go. There is no way of insuring you won't find yourself on the short end of a future governmental health care fantasy.

And on a related note, coming soon to a legislative body, or court near you: have a primary C/S, go to jail. Or, if you live in Canada: report cases of pharmacists who pose inappropriate sexual questions to women seeking to buy emergency contraception, lose your job. [Insert evil laugh here.]


At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Sarah said...

You might want to fix your second-from-last link, it's got an extra "http" so isn't clickable.

As for the repro rights issues, just let me say I'm more relieved every day not to live in the US...

At 3:16 PM, Blogger ema said...

Thank you, fixed.

At 8:01 AM, Blogger Hissy Cat said...

The Accutane thing is recent? I remember a friend of mine, several years ago, had been about to go on Accutane when she was told than in order to get the prescription she had to agree to taking pregnancy tests and going on the Pill. Said friend is a lesbian, and explained, quite reasonably, to her doctor, that since she does not have sex with men, pregnancy would not be a problem. But the doctor insisted she be on the pill "just in case." My friend was outraged, and after about a week, decided the Accutane wasn't worth the indignity of obtaining it.

Also, the pills themselves were each stamped on one side with an illustration of a pregnant woman with a big cross-out NO! circle over her. Anti-Woman Pills, those things are.

At 3:18 AM, Blogger David Toub said...

Nice post! Since I don't have your e-mail address, I did want to apprise you of something I recently posted on my blog regarding the misconceptions (unintentional pun) of emergency contraception. Thought it might be of interest.


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