Clinical Irony: Obamacare vs. Abortion Rights

Watch the above video with the sound muted.  Until the second title card comes up, what point of view do you think it is advocating?  With elements like the Big Brother-like surveillance of the women’s clinic and the supremely creepy Uncle Sam menacingly approaching the woman waiting for a gynecological appointment, it’s easy to believe that the ad is about the recent inundation of state laws that regulate women’s clinics.  Even the first title card, which reads “Don’t Let The Government Play Doctor” supports this thesis.  Despite state legislators’ statements that the laws are attempts to make clinics and procedures safer for women, studies have shown that not only is there little evidence of the purported dangers, abortion is one of the safest medical procedures available.  Compare this to childbirth, which, despite being natural and vital to the continuation of the human race, remains extremely dangerous (maybe we should try to make contraceptive methods readily available to ensure that women who are not physically or emotionally ready for pregnancy need not get pregnant).  If these are the laws the government chooses to enact, I too would be wary of the government “playing doctor.”

But no.  This ad encourages people to opt out of the Affordable Care Act, which conservatives still feel compelled to call Obamacare (possibly the least effective derogatory nickname ever conceived).  In other words, it’s fine for the government to select what procedures a woman must endure before maybe being allowed to have an abortion; it’s fine for the government to decide that these procedures may be excluded from insurance plans; it’s fine for the government to require doctors suggest one course of action (carrying the pregnancy to term) over another (abortion).  But for the government to insert its own bureaucracy in place of private insurance bureaucracy is not fine.  The “Don’t Let The Government Play Doctor” statement becomes almost comical.  Almost.  Because many people who are proposing and voting on these laws are blind to this irony.

Does Feminism Overlook Motherhood for Abortion Rights?

While mainstream media often try to pit feminism against motherhood (our stance: that’s bullshit), there’s no doubt that conflict exists for working mothers. Guest blogger Guinevere A. Murphy, Ph.D. reveals how returning to her high-level career in science after giving birth to a child made her question, then value, feminism.

The beeping machines and the loud voices in the crowded delivery room fell silent in the instant I saw the tiny, crying baby. My baby. A long minute later, they placed the wet, pink, perfect little human in my arms. A warmth and light effused my being, and without even a slight hint of cliché, I thought wonderingly, “This is the best moment of my life,” with an absolute certainty and fervor beyond anything I’d ever experienced.

Everything changed in that moment. I had to separate my life into pre-Evie and post-Evie epochs, like B.C. and A.D. The overwhelming love I felt for my baby gave me a clarity and sense of purpose I hadn’t realized was missing before.

I came to realize after Evie’s birth that my devotion to my career in science had become in large part an act, one that I put on, among other factors, because of my whole-hearted belief in what is popularly attributed to a feminist ideal of the high-achieving career woman, but I’ve since come to realize originates more from an out-of-control, greed-dominated corporate culture. Marissa Mayer famously went back to work after just a “few weeks,” and worked from home while still healing from delivery. Her decision to do this largely contributes to the idea of motherhood as merely a minor bump in the road of one’s career trajectory.

I went back to the office at six weeks. It’s not hyperbole to say that my every instinct cried out against walking out the door most mornings, and nights I mourned if I was home even five minutes late, for the precious hour we had together before bedtime. My experience illustrates why feminism is still needed in the U.S., one of four countries in the world without mandated paid maternity leave. This angle wasn’t lost on me at the time, but above all, I felt a furious, overwhelming sense of betrayal, by the feminist movement.  [Read more...]

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