Women aren’t stupid. (I mean, on average.) Over time, we’ve begun to vote, work, sign for our own credit cards, and helm blockbuster movies and society hasn’t collapsed under the weight of our unfettered ignorance. Certainly, given accurate information to work with, we’re capable of making decisions about our own bodies. We’re capable of deciding if we want to have kids, when we want to have kids, and how many kids we want to have. And that is precisely why so many groups lie their little asses off when the subject of reproductive health arises: because they want to be the ones making the decisions.
People on all sides of the issue seem to be looking for some kind of solution to school shootings and mass shootings in general. Which is good. They’re doing that at the expense of innocent, vulnerable people. That’s bad. Pro-gun control, pro-WalkingUpNotOut, everyone is pinning this violence on people who had nothing to do with it, are already dealing with enough on their own, and are actively harmed by being saddled with that blame.
[Trigger warning: transphobia]
This is the shit I’m talking about: TERFs love to insist that women are not defined by our reproductive organs, until they need an excuse to exclude trans women, at which point we’re defined exclusively by our reproductive organs. And they always have to throw in a little goddess-moon-divine-menstruation magic, too, and that’s another one: Conservative Christians using their religion to police women’s bodies is wrong, but using foofy sacred-divine-goddess mysticism is perfectly acceptable for TERFy purposes.
Passage of the Affordable Care Act provided a major benefit to women of reproductive age: Employers with religious or moral objections to birth control weren’t allowed to exclude those benefits from health plans just because they thought birth control was wrong. When Trump rolled back that mandate — effective immediately — he removed that protection, meaning that women whose prescriptions had been covered could now have to pay out of pocket for medication crucial to their lives. And it can be crucial — hormonal birth control is essential to treatment of conditions like endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, fibroids, and debilitating periods.
It’s also good for other stuff.
The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2012, included one provision in particular that was crucial to women’s health: It prevented employers from excluding birth control from employer-sponsored insurance plans just because they had a religious or moral objection to it. Now the Trump administration has decided to roll back that mandate, effective immediately, because every single thing Obama did must be undone and it’s perfectly reasonable for God-fearing employers to dictate what women can do with their bodies.
I haven’t been shy about discussing my mental health on this blog. There’s a lot of privilege behind that — I know that I’m probably not going to suffer ill effects to my life or livelihood if people know about it. That isn’t the case for everyone with mental illnesses, and I would never insist that anyone come forward to talk about theirs if they aren’t comfortable doing so. That’s one reason I talk about it: Because I can, and it needs to be talked about.
In Las Vegas Sunday night, a gunman in the Mandalay Bay hotel used many, many automatic weapons to rain fire on fans at a country music festival, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500. We currently have absolutely no idea why. And while it’s natural to speculate and distance ourselves when we’re scared and confused, declaring it a mental health issue without evidence indicating that it’s so isn’t helpful to anyone and is actively harmful to people with mental illnesses.
Rebecca Schmitt, Rashema Mason, Griffin Furlong, and Crystal Tarbell are incredible young people — they endured homelessness and incredible emotional hardship to become valedictorian at their high school and earn college scholarships. Their stories make for inspirational, heartwarming reads — unless you pause long enough to ask, “In what world should a girl and her family end up homeless because they can’t afford her mother’s cancer treatment?”
In case the blackening of the skies, shaking of the earth, and disembodied screams of the damned didn’t clue you in, Donald J. Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States one week ago today. (Just kidding; as Trump himself will tell you, there were no blackened skies because the rain stopped and the sun came out the moment he started speaking.)
Last night, under cover of darkness, Senate Republicans bypassed “roll back and revise” and “repeal and replace” with a third option for addressing the Affordable Care Act: “repeal and go fuck yourself,” wherein they repeal the current ACA and replace with jack shit. At 1:00 this morning, following a charmingly named all-night “Vote-a-Rama,” the Senate voted 51-48 along party lines to pass a budget measure that’s the first step in demolishing the ACA.