The Vajayjay, the Womb, the AIDS test, the Eternal Battle

In a last-minute dick move we may as well have expected from the Bush administration, newly introduced regulations mean that basically anyone can refuse a woman health services now, for as long as their decision is based on nebulous “beliefs.” As Jill points out over on Feministe, this is being framed as an abortion issue, but the fact is, that’s total crap. Legislation protecting medical professionals unwilling to perform abortion already exists.

The vague new regulations essentially mean that anything from receiving emergency contraception to getting rid of a dangerous ectopic pregnancy is now under threat.

Then again, for some of us, this issue is already pretty old. I remember that when I tried to obtain emergency contraception back in Charlotte, North Carolina, about 6 years ago, I was refused at two hospitals. At the first hospital, a nurse called me a “slut,” and at the second hospital, I was told that I needed to claim I was raped in order to get help.

I took my chances. I still remember the morning I went to meet an old teacher of mine for coffee over at a bookshop a few weeks later, and triumphantly announced, “I’m not pregnant!” The woman at the table next to us gave me a dirty look. I scowled right back. I was so happy. I wasn’t going to treat an unplanned pregnancy as anything other than an unplanned pregnancy. The possibility of it was not “joyful” to me, and I was not going to pretend otherwise.

I wonder where the dirty look woman is in the world today. I wonder about the nurse that called me a slut. I wonder why it was so damn important for these two individuals to show their disapproval, try to keep me in line, try to make me feel ashamed: I was not their daughter, I was not even the daughter of a friend. They didn’t know me.

Of course, what they did know is that there were certain roles that women were expected to fulfill – I bet neither one of them had ever asked for Plan B, or was publicly excited at the prospect of not being pregnant. Or, if they had, I bet they had a talk about it with a pastor or another person they trusted, and decided to repent. And who the hell was I, then? Did I think I was better than them, or something? Did I think I could change anything?

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