Most of you probably remember the remarks made by Rush Limbaugh at the beginning of the year regarding Sandra Fluke - the Georgetown University law student who spoke on behalf of women's reproductive rights.
There's a clear divide in this country over women's health and whether the government can or should get involved in the choices we make regarding reproduction. I've always found it interesting that the party who claims to want small government would like at least part of that government to be big enough to invade my uterus. But I don't usually talk about this on my blog. It's a touchy subject. There are many women in the infertility community who feel passionately about the topic of abortion because they are unable to conceive. I can understand how it may be difficult for them to grasp why someone else would want to end a child's life when they so desperately want to start a child's life. Yet, I also want to draw attention to the fact that women's reproductive health goes beyond abortion. It's a broad topic - one that is often shoved into a box marked "Roe vs. Wade."
On the occasions when I have written about my political beliefs regarding reproductive rights on this blog, I've experienced my fair share of backlash. In other words, I'm no stranger to name calling. I've had people comment that they do not think I deserve to be a parent because of my beliefs. I've been called repulsive.
But it wasn't until last night when, for the first time, I finally felt just a tiny piece of what Fluke must have felt when she was called a slut many months ago.
I was engaged in a political debate on my mom's Facebook page. Those who know me personally know that my mom is a Republican. I am a Democrat. (So see, we aren't all raised to be bleeding-heart liberals. I became one on my own.) The debate grew heated, as it often does. I wrote things, as did others, that began to press the buttons of those on the opposite side of our beliefs.
Finally, I wrote what I thought would be my final "two cents" on why I felt that President Obama had my best interest at heart when it comes to healthcare:
But it wasn't the last word:
I was - as many of you can imagine - livid. There were a number of responses I wanted to write in that moment. I wanted to make a snarky remark about getting an abortion on my lunch break after my nail appointment. I wanted to call him way worse words than I ended up using. In the end, this was all that came out:
And it's in this moment when I felt like Fluke: a woman painted with a stereotype for my personal and political beliefs. Apparently, voting for President Obama made me a woman dependent on government to take care of my birth control and pay for my abortions.
Make no mistake: I am a Democrat. Yes, there are policies that are part of the liberal agenda I don't agree with, but I largely vote left because of my personal healthcare journey. I'm a 27-year-old woman who has had more than one scare with breast, ovarian, and cervical cancers, and I am voting for President Obama because he will respect my reproductive rights. Just because I am a Democrat doesn't mean that I am "pro-abortion" (who is pro-abortion?) or that I have ever received an abortion (not like it's anyone's business, but I haven't). It doesn't mean that I expect the government to pay for my birth control. It simply means that I am voting for what I feel will protect my own health in the coming years. It means that I expect the government to stay out of my right to take birth control in the first place. I am voting for my daughter's health, because I never want to see her go through the hell I've been through to get the basic preventive care I need for my health conditions. I don't want her to waste time fighting for insurance to cover medical procedures or medication. I want her choose not only what happens to her body, but for which beliefs and organizations she would like to advocate. I didn't have the luxury of choice. I advocate for these policies because these policies are me.
I regret calling Rob an asshole. But I don't regret standing up for my body. I've said it time and time again: we have to be our own advocates for our reproductive health. And part of being my own advocate is voting for the presidential candidate that will respect and support my journey.
I'm leaving the comments open. Let the name calling begin. This time, I'm ready for it.