Thanks to a rapid-fire fever combined with muscle aches, headache, and sore throat, I had to call off clinic on Tuesday. My fever broke around 10pm Monday night, and the rest slowly wore off throughout the day Tuesday. Thus, I actually had time to catch up on blog posts for this week. Felt amazing, and I am glad I was able to process, reach out, and work through some things in my own mind, and share them via this outlet. I hope you all had a great week as well. Quite a variety of news, hope you enjoy!
Pregnant with an IUD: The Story of My Abortion – NW at RH Reality Check
Rare, and yet many of my patients have reported it happening to friends. A beautifully honest story.
…”First thing Monday, I make my calls. I get an urgent appointment Wednesday with a highly recommended ob-gyn who promises to get that meddlesome piece of metal out of me—turns out I’m probably fine, but no use pushing it longer than we have to. While I’ve got her on the line, there are more words I never thought I’d say. Do you have any recommendations for abortion providers? She gives me a list over the phone, and I start to make the calls.
I’m struck by how few really are abortion providers. Out of a list of seven recommended doctors, none of the ones who answer their phones actually offer pregnancy termination. Only two family planning clinics in the area provide the service. I go with Planned Parenthood. I spend so much of my time defending them and giving money monthly, it seems only right to maintain my loyalty in my moment of need. Plus, they can fit me in Saturday morning for an in-clinic procedure. A quick call to my insurance confirms that the federal plan covers 100% of pregnancy, but no elective abortion. I have a hard time appreciating their ideological consistency….
Now that we’re taking real steps again, my mind is clear and calm, and I’ve got plenty of time to consider our waiting room neighbors. There are quite a few young women alone —I say a silent prayer of thanks that I have a partner by my side. There’s a couple who look like high schoolers, affectionate but clearly nervous, just next to the door. A Russian couple barely understands English and pays all in cash, and an older Chinese woman waits patiently for a follow-up after a miscarriage. I look around and am reminded that every woman I know gives money to Planned Parenthood but gets her medical care somewhere else. This clinic serves people with far fewer options than us, for far more than just the abortion services we champion. As I sit there, I feel fiercely proud of Planned Parenthood for providing so much to so many. These people are truly caring for women. My small donations every month feel much bigger in this space, and I want to do more.”…
APA Revises Manual: Being Transgender Is No Longer A Mental Disorder – Zack Ford at Think Progress
Finally. Kudos to everyone who worked so hard to advocate, education, and make this change.
…”Until now, the term “gender identity disorder” has been used to diagnose people who are transgender. For conservatives, this has provided rhetorical carte blanche to describe the entire trans committee as disordered, delusional, and mentally ill. In some cases, this diagnosis has even been used to discriminate against trans people, with claims that they are unfit parents or employees, as examples. On the other hand, insurance companies have been more willing to cover the expenses associated with transition under this language, because treatment for a disorder is considered medically necessary, rather than cosmetic.
The new manual will diagnose transgender people with “Gender Dysphoria,” which communicates the emotional distress that can result from “a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender.” This will allow for affirmative treatment and transition care without the stigma of disorder…”
End Violence Against Women – YourBirthCoach
A beautiful video and way to think about obstetric violence in the broader picture of violence against women.
Fascinating Portraits of Women Living as Men to Escape Oppression in the Balkans – Amanda Gorence at Feature Shoot
People living in secrecy of any truth is difficult, and women continue to do so in many ways; this is one example. An important truth spoken through art.
“‘Sworn Virgin’ is the term given to a biological female in the Balkans who is chosen to take on the social identity of a man for life. Dating back hundreds of years, this was necessary in societies that lived within tribal clans, followed the Kanun, an archaic code of law, and maintained an oppressive rule over the female gender. The Kanun states that women are considered to be the property of their husbands. The freedom to vote, drive, conduct business, earn money, drink, smoke, swear, own a gun or wear pants was traditionally the exclusive province of men.
As an alternative, becoming a Sworn Virgin, or ‘burnesha’, elevated a woman to the status of a man and granted her all the rights and privileges of the male population. In order to manifest the transition such a woman cut her hair, donned male clothing and sometimes even changed her name. Male gestures and swaggers were practiced until they became second nature. Most importantly of all, she took a vow of celibacy to remain chaste for life. This practice continues today but as modernization inches toward the small villages nestled in the Alps, this archaic tradition is increasingly seen as obsolete. Only a few aging Sworn Virgins remain.—Jill Peters…”
Love Consent – Victorias Secret
These undergarments are amazing, not to mention the hot sizes of all the models: “Listen to what I want.” “I love my body.” “I <3 consent.” “Consent is sexy.” “Ask first.” “No means no.”
Pink – Try
Have y’all seen this music video? I think Pink is pure strength, hotness, and power, and this video has her showing all that off. The lyrics are a bit more man-focused than I expected, but with a feminist angle on women’s fights in relationships and life. The live version is available here. HOT.
20 Births Later: My Thoughts on Being a Doula – The Feminist Breeder
Let’s just pause, for a second, and ponder the awesomeness that was Veruca Salt in the 90’s. Were you all fans as well?!? I just, just learned of The Feminist Breeder, and then took a step back and realized she was a lead vocalist and bass player for VS. Holy. Smokes. Remember Volcano Girls?!?!? Plus now she’s an awesome blogger. Oh, back to the news of this week? Some great thoughts about working in birth care. Totally awesome stuff all over her blog.
…”A few years ago, I honestly felt that obstetricians couldn’t be trusted, that midwives were always practicing evidence-based medicine, and that all doulas were 100% supportive of a mother’s choices. Well, color me corrected. My assumptions here have been challenged enough to say that I was wrong. There are no absolutes in provider or doula care. I been at births with midwives who have either never learned, or have become too busy or jaded to practice the Midwifery Model of Care. In contrast, I’ve been at births with an obstetrician so respectful of a mother’s body and intuition that I held back the urge to tackle them to the ground and hug the living daylights out of them. I’ve seen doulas (that I know) make comments that are so disgustingly unsupportive of a mother’s informed choices, I can only assume they got into this business to carry out some paternalistic punishment of women.
Yes, I’d say the odds are still that a midwife is your best shot for an intervention-free birth. Doulas, as a whole, are amazing supportive, life-changing advocates. And true, many OBs still aren’t practicing (or even trained to practice) evidence-based care in low-risk situations. But there’s no more “All” or “Always” to me anymore. What matters is a provider’s own philosophy, and the letters behind their name may not tell you what that is…”
Increasing Access, Increasing Equality – Emily Kane-Lee at RHAP
…”I learned how legal theory and feminist theory explain why choice issues are also queer issues. I talked with other queer people in the reproductive justice movement about their experiences. And I started to develop my own understanding of the intersection of these two worlds, which for me personally, comes down to three things;
1. Autonomy over my body and family choices;
2. Societal judgment about—and the media’s portrayal of—my sexual behavior; and
3. Access to the healthcare I need and deserve.
The work I do at my day job at GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality and the work of the Reproductive Health Access Project both address this last point, specifically. To me, healthcare is a human right, and access to healthcare shows that society values your existence. Denying access to healthcare—whether it is a Pap smear, HIV treatment, emergency care, transition hormones, or abortion care—is a symbol of inequality…”