Open Letter to Senator Obama.

Dear sir,

Recently the Department of Health and Human Services has produced proposed regulations to prevent health care providers from “discriminating” against those health workers who refuse to issue certain standards of care by refusing to hire or disciplining them for not doing their job based on a “strong moral conviction” to not participate in anything that the individual workers deem as abortifacient regardless of medical fact. These regulations would not only make it illegal for health care providers receiving federal funds to insist that their employees do their jobs and make it so that the refusing healthcare professionals are given legal license to discriminate against patients based on sex, perceived gender, and supposed violations of their personal ethics, but would expand the definition of abortion to include some things that are clearly, scientifically not abortions, such as IUDs, certain types of hormonal birth control, and emergency contraception.

I would like to start with a quick logic/biology lesson. IUDs, hormonal birth control, and emergency contraception all fall under the technical heading of “contraception” which, by definition, prevents conception. The argument of when life begins (at conception, implantation, first movement felt in utero by the mother etc) is moot here because these methods prevent conception altogether. Abortion, by definition, requires conception to occur. Therefore, this set of regulations is conflating the prevention of pregnancy with the termination of pregnancy. This flies in the face of basic logic and biological/medical fact, unless American legislators would like to start declaring that each human ova is merely a person who is “pre-conception,” in which case every menses is akin to manslaughter. Even declaring that life begins at conception is problematic due to the fact that 60 to 80% of conceived zygotes are flushed from the body during menses, contraception or no.

I would also like to point out that contraception is prescribed for many things beyond simply preventing unwanted pregnancy, including endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome, both conditions that cause a great deal of pain and can lead to infertility as well as increase risks of certain cancers in women. Hormonal birth control alleviates many of the symptoms and can be prescribed as part of treatment for these conditions.

On to the original point of why I am writing this letter to you, Senator. Already your former opponent for the Democratic Presidential nomination has spoken out against these regulations as unduly and dangerously restrictive not only of women’s rights to proper healthcare, but to their rights to determine what to do with their own bodies. As a woman who voted for you in my state’s primary, I would like to respectfully ask: WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU? Why are you letting down the women who voted for you, the women who believed that you saw them as people? It seems that you are resting on your laurels as far as the concerns of the basic health and welfare of the women in this country because you have already presumably secured the nomination. Since you no longer have to compete for us with one of our own, we no longer make a difference to your campaign. Do you expect us to vote for you simply because the alternative is John McCain who thinks that women don’t matter at all? Are you going to expect us to take the crumbs you hand us and be grateful for the privilege of even being addressed? What about our strong moral conviction that we should be able to make medical choices that are actually to our benefit?

I am sorry sir, but your record thus far in this election with regards to me and other women in this country and our rights is spiraling the drain and spiraling fast. I am disappointed in you sir, and I am beginning to regret voting for you in the first place. This situation with the DHHS regulations is your chance to redeem yourself somewhat from your ridiculous “late term abortion” faux pas and actually prove that you see us and acknowledge us as being more than incubators. I really hope to hear more from you that the form letters that other concerned citizens have received from you regarding this issue.

I really hope that you don’t disappoint me again sir, or I may just give you the finger and vote Green come November.

Sincerely,
One of your supporters with ovaries
...and i have been avoiding it lately during this campaign because blogs all over the place have been screaming about these things for months. however, i have found that i miss it. there was also the inspiration of a particularly...unpleasant to me conversation that i had with one of my family members about the democratic presidential primary.

my dear aunt and i were discussing this historic moment where the choices were a man of color and a woman both hoping to run for president. both are historic, both are amazing and both make me so very excited to be able to participate in this election. What i have found disappointing in the extreme was how instead of rising above all of the incredible pain of this country's history (thank you Ani!) this entire discussion has devolved into the Oppression Olympics. Instead of examining their platforms and promises and honestly evaluating which candidate we would prefer based on their qualifications and acheivements, the vast majority of debates have been arguing over which is worse: sexism or racism.

I mainly stayed out of it until i talked with the aforementioned aunt, because i find them both to be reprehensible and that comparing them is pointless. they have different contexts, and have effected everyone differently. I have also avoided these discussions because they tend to exclude women of color completely, or they are called traitors if they vote for either because no matter what they are voting "against" one of their identities. bell hooks made a point once, in the context of critiquing 2nd wave feminism, that it was foolish to expect a person to choose between identities, that the identity politics of feminist movement had been that women=good and men=evil and had been entirely dictated by the experience of middle class white women. this does not make the perspectives of those middle class women invalid, only limited. it meant that movements and decisions and plans of action did not account for the intersectionality of being both a woman and/or a person of color and/or poor/working class and how these intersections will effect what actions actually have an impact on the status quo.

anyway, im rambling. back to the conversation with my aunt. she got very upset when i told her that i supported obama (despite the fact that clinton won my state's primary, but then again, obama ended up with more delegates.) She went on to say that she has always, because of her experiences with extreme sexism, voted for any woman on the ballot regardless of party affiliation or platform. her rationale is that since women have been so attrotiously foirced into a position of second class in this country, that its "our turn" and that a woman in office represents gains and opportunities for all women. she said she had always supported "the brown man"(direct quote) but that it was women's turn first. Please remeber, this aunt is one of the most accepting people i know, and the most liberal. this is why i was so shocked not only at this blatant (to me) racial polemic coming from her but with how she was completely oblivious to the racism of it.

this thought train and these discussions are the reason that i have this article and will proceed to tear it apart via commentary :) the article is in italics, my comments are in bold.

Clinton's female fans wonder what if — and when
cut because this entry is long enough already )

I guess at the end of it all the only thing that i may actually be satisfied with is a woman of color running for president, with a male-identified queer person as VP. that would be friggen awesome :)
( Apr. 22nd, 2008 07:16 pm)
so...

obviously I voted today. I felt different than I usually do, and it wasnt until I read my friend [livejournal.com profile] baerana's post on the same subject that i was really able to figure out how i was feeling.

I have felt good voting before, like in 04' when i truly believed that we would be seeing the end of the Bush nightmare. This time i not only felt good, i felt proud, and significant. I was acutely aware of how this was a monumental election, quite possibly one of the more historical domestic events to happen in my life. for once i dont feel like i was voting for the lesser of two evils, voting for the candidate that is still an asshole, and is just less of an asshole in areas that effect me directly than the other guy. For once i was voting for someone that i truly believe in, someone that i support and would LOVE to see as the president.


Thinking about this did bring up another, more personal thought process.

I tend to range between cynic and idealist in my opinions, but my default setting is generally idealist. I choose to believe that the universe is a balance of positive and negative, and your own experience of it is dictated by the things you choose to focus on. I CHOOSE (and am very concious that i do so) to focus on the positive or at the very least to hope that things can improve.

I wonder why so many people feel a need to challenge my decision to have hope. Is it because misery loves company? I encounter, on a regular basis, people that go out of their way to attempt to disabuse me of my idealism, and act as though they are doing me a favor by doing so. as if they are "saving me from myself" (red flag!!!!) by revealing how silly it is to care or to hope.

A note to those who feel a driving need to do these things

1st: if you(editorial "you") think you need to "save me from myself" then i only really need to be saved from you

2nd: who exactly does it hurt for me to have hope? if it hurts you, then that is your problem and not mine. if you think that you need to "tell me what its really like" dont bother.

3rd: Dont assume that because i am hopeful, that i am uneducated, or unaware. I AM aware, and i have made the choice to think this way. you only bitch about my "rose-colored glasses" because you are not happy with your storm-cloud colored ones.

Just remember:
"'cause I'm not going to pretend
that I don't pick my nose
that's just the way it is, my friends
that's just the way it goes
this is who I am
what I do
and what I say
if you like it, let it be
if you don't, please do the same
"
.

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