…when rich women have California and poor women have Cytotec? In an unbelievably offensive article, a writer for the Times assures all of us that even if Roe is overturned, we have no reason to fear a return to the days of knitting needles and coat hangers — we’ll have this great ulcer drug that we can use to illegally terminate pregnancies! And the best news — the chances of infection with Cytotec are way less than they are if you go the old-school coat-hanger route. Aren’t we gals so lucky that technology helps us out, and that the Times is looking out for us?
They even have the nerve to title the article “Abortion Might Outgrow Its Need for Roe v. Wade.”
Because it’s not like the government will catch on and pull Cytotec off the shelves, or make it much more difficult to get (I mean, it’s only been featured prominently in the New York Times; who reads that?). And it’s not like there are any problems with forcing women to misuse an ulcer drug in order to covertly terminte their pregnancies — hey, little lady, as long as you can try to terminate your pregnancy, you have nothing to complain about. The shame, you say, of having to get an underground procedure done, and being scared to go to the hospital if something goes wrong? You should be ashamed! You did have sex, after all. It doesn’t matter that you might be married, might already have kids to support, might not able to afford another child, might have been raped, might have been impregnated by a family member, might be 12, might just not be ready or able to handle having a child — you got yourself into this mess, and you shouldn’t be whining about having to undergo a shame-inducing, dangerous method to end the pregnancy. And when you show up at the hospital with an infection or when you give birth to a child with severe birth defects because that’s what Cytotec sometimes does, and the doctor is treating you like a criminal, well, you should have been more responsible.
Cytotec works 80 to 90 percent of the time when administered by a doctor in clinic conditions — it’s not as if women who are getting it illegally will have any problems knowing what dosage to take, or when in pregnancy they can take it. Clearly, this article is onto something — who needs Roe when we can have illegal abortions that aren’t as dangerous as before?
Finally, this is one of those articles that leads me to ask, “What’s the real story here?” From this set of facts, the Times gleaned, “If/when abortion becomes illegal, women will still be able to have them, just illegally.” I read the same set of facts and I find, “Women are already having illegal abortions in this country. That says something about access to medical care for low-income women.”
In 2000, researchers at three obstetrics and gynecology clinics in New York noted that low-income immigrant women were already using misoprostol as an alternative to going to an abortion clinic, because it was easier and less expensive. They got the pills from doctors, pharmacies, relatives and from contacts in other countries.
That gets one paragraph. One. The news isn’t what might happen if. It’s what is happening and why. And what is happening is that low-income and immigrant women lack access to healthcare in this country, and are turning to illegal methods instead of being able to get safe, legal procedures. That’s a story, and it’s a tragic one. But I suppose the plight of poor and immigrant women isn’t so important to the staff at the Times; more valuable is issuing a good sedative to middle and upper-income women — you know, the women with more political power — to remind them that their rights aren’t really being threatened.
Where’s the “liberal media” when we need it?
- And by “reframing” I actually mean “making the same argument as my opponent” by Jill July 11, 2007
- Greatest Hits: Why I’m Pro-Choice by Jill August 7, 2007
- College Republicans Diaper Drive at NYU Today by Jill September 26, 2007
- Thanks, Vogue! Now I want a partial-birth abortion, too! by Jill January 16, 2008
- Wading in Uncomfortable Waters: Abortion and the Politics of Experience by Guest Blogger January 22, 2013