A few days ago I reblogged a post by Dr. Jen Gunter – An OB/GYN’s opinion on the Supreme Court, Hobby Lobby, and contraception
I have been thinking for quite a few days about if and how I wanted to respond to the Supreme Court Decision involving Hobby Lobby.
This decision is so much more than all of the rhetoric and comments being spewed from all directions.
What this decision means to me…
Let me tell you a story… It is a personal story. A story that defined my beliefs about my right as a woman to make choices for myself, especially when it comes to my health.
I was a late bloomer… Somewhere between 14 & 15 years of age before experiencing my first menses.
It was horrible. Very painful. Very uncomfortable. As I aged it got even worse until I spent more days having my period than not.
I started going to gynecologists at a young age. They couldn’t figure out what was going on and on more than one occasion I was told that there is no way I could be in that much pain and I needed to just buck up and deal with it.
On one visit they found a birth defect, supposedly the result of medication my mom was prescribed to prevent miscarriage. They corrected that issue yet nothing changed for me.
I started on hormone treatment (i.e. Birth Control) before the age of 16. Things would improve for a short time and then it would all start again and a new method would be tried.
Have you read the comments about the Hobby Lobby Decision…
What I find most disturbing about all of this is the generalized notion that anyone, other than the woman herself, has a right to dictate what may or may not negatively impact a woman’s health.
What if this decision were allowed when I was experiencing medical issues. The very solutions to my medical problem may not have been available – because an employers religious beliefs excluded the very treatment I needed.
Another disturbing trend in comments has to do with who is paying for what.
I have only worked for one (1) employer in my entire 30+ year career that actually covered the entire cost of my insurance premium. ONE!
During the majority of my employment history I have enjoyed access to employer “sponsored” healthcare – that means that they covered a portion of my premiums, I covered the rest of the cost for the premiums, the co-pay for services, annual deductible and any out-of-pocket expenses not covered by my insurance.
So why is this case so personal to me?
This is the rest of my story.
At one point in my life I wanted to have children. Even though I experienced intense pain and menstruated 28 days per month, I chose to endure that with the hopes of one day bearing children.
At the age of 28 I knew that biological children were not going to be in my future. My husband was sterile as a result of cancer and chemo. I continued to suffer monthly.
This was also the age that I decided that removing the offending organ was a better choice than continuing on hormone (birth control) that would increase my own chances for health complications and cancer.
What was I told when making my request?
I was told that I was too young to make a decision like that. “You may change your mind later” they said… My request was denied.
Five years later I asked again… Same response with an additional comment of “have you talked to your husband about this? Does he approve?”
Are you F’n kidding me?
In 2004 I went to my Ob/GYN, making the request yet again. When I got the same patronizing response that at the age of 38 I may not really know what I wanted in relation to my health I went straight to my primary care doctor and demanded that I be scheduled for a hysterectomy.
I explained that I did not need my husbands permission and that I was absolutely certain that I did not want to try another hormone treatment or procedure. I was DONE!
I did not care if my insurance was going to cover any portion of the procedure (was it medically necessary)… I would pay for it myself if necessary.
In no way should I have been made to beg for a service that I felt was appropriate and necessary.
How is this relevant?
The decision made by the Supreme Court opens (or perpetuates) the belief that women are not capable of making healthcare decisions for themselves.
Access to appropriate treatments is necessary. I am not suggesting that these services be provided for free, only that when people start making broad decisions about access to care and services based on their own beliefs we run a huge risk of these types of decisions impacting other choices.
If you look at the comments about this topic and women’s rights in general, you will see extremist views… Getting more extreme by the moment. I am not even going to validate the biased, paternalistic and vile comments by repeating them. It is actually pretty disgusting.
You can Google those on your own.