Friday, October 12, 2012

the moment when i felt like sandra fluke

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.

26 comments:

KAM said...

Preach! I agree with you 100%!

Erica said...

I am glad that you stood up for yourself. I am glad that you were able to put this guy in his place based on his lack of research. I too rarely if ever speak politics and religion on my blog for the same respect that I have for you bringing it up on yours. Its your opinion. Its your decision. I just wrote my own post as to an interesting "debate" of sorts that Hubs and I had last night specifically about this topic. Needless to say we have not spoken to each other since last night. I too agree that its our body, our choice, who the hell is Rob to say that you are off running around having abortions and taking birth control without even knowing your personal story. I feel that we should never have to publicly justify our stance on this topic nor should be have to explain our personal stories in details to guys like him. Its people who have never had to deal with certain medical issues personally, first hand, who have NO idea where we are coming from. Its people who dont get just how many reason birth control is used that automatically lump it in with being promiscuous. I too called Hubs a few names that I wish now I can take back however the message and meaning behind them still stand. I hope that others are willing and able to respect you for your opinion and stance based on your own PERSONAL situations.

Rebecca said...

As always the only name I will call you is 'awesome'. I'm impressed you held back as much as you did with him. I feel a strong need to say 'you go girl'. So I will.

You go girl!!!!

Ginger said...

well, I am of your political persuasion so this all sounds quite reasonable to me. but regardless of one's views, his response is out of line and actually isn't even responsive to what you wrote. you'd think you had written "I am so mad that Romney won't pay for my abortions."

AL said...

so proud of you for standing up for yourself and your rights. I stand with you. xo

Michaela said...

I think you were subdued in your name calling. :)

The problem with his argument is that tax payers don't pay for abortions or birth control.

Title X of the family planning act has provision against any government funds being used for abortions.

http://www.hhs.gov/opa/title-x-family-planning/

I think people overlook the other aspects of women's health and just focus on birth control and abortion.

Women's health is more than those 2 factors.

KT said...

Rob totally deserved to be called an asshole. Good for you!

awayaswego.com said...

Thank you for writing this post! I agree with you on all fronts.

-Heather

Nikki said...

I rarely comment on blogs (bad me), but I had to when I read this just to give you a big AMEN!!!!

Augusta said...

I don't often comment on your blog, Katie, even if I frequently read it. But I had to say that you are a force to be reckon with, and that I am proud to be of the same species and sex as you. Rob is not only an asshole, but he is also very ignorant and narrow-minded. I'm glad you spoke up for what you believe, and altohgh Rob probably won't gain anything from the exchange, you have and we all have. Thank you.

someday-soon said...

Rob is absolutely an asshole. Saying that he doesn't want to fund your abortions is SO over the line. Good for you for standing up for yourself. I am also a bleeding heart liberal and not that I agree with everything in his platform but I will also be voting for Obama. Reproductive rights are near and dear to my heard and I agree, government has no business in my ute!

missohkay said...

If someone's being an asshole, it's okay to point it out! The rest of your point was spot-on too - thanks for always being a great advocate.

It Is What It Is said...

"Asshole" is tame given what I would have called him.

Therein lies the rub in trying to have intellectual discourse with the uniformed and impassioned--there is no way to make a point that doesn't cause them to degrade into name calling, dismissiveness, and degradation.

You go and MORE power to you.

Becky said...

I want to call Rob and asshole, too. Perhaps he'll think for a moment at least before spouting off next time. Not that he'll change his beliefs, but at least be a bit more thoughtful about how he states them. Hopefully.

makingmonkeysoup.com said...

Amen.

No man should ever tell a woman what to do with her body. In any way, shape or form. Period.

Alex said...

Way to go for speaking your mind! Totally agree with you.

Carli said...

Ok, so Asshole was a tad kind...

I was raised be Republicans, married a Democrat, and claim to be an independent. I had always considered myself as Pro Life (because I couldn't understand why anyone would get an abortion) and after we began struggling with infertility, I really couldn't understand it.

And the Georgia began trying to pass a "personhood" law while we were undergoing IVF. The implications of this on our future cycles made me realize I didn't want the government in MY uterus. And then I decided it wasn't fair to push my beliefs on abortion on others, no matter how badly I would want that baby they didn't.

I loved that during the debate last night, Joe Biden explained his Pro Choice beliefs in much the same way...

Good for you for standing up for yourself and your rights to Women's health!!!

foxy said...

I want to LIKE all of the comments already left for you. I fought for 4 years to get California to include maternity coverage as a mandated benefit- and ultimately had to abandon my career as a small (very successful) businessperson in order to get a group insurance plan that included maternity coverage (only to spend the next 4 years trying to actually use that benefit). It all just gets me so emotionally charged that I tend to avoid the topic with people who I know disagree with me. They are just as emotional, but usually totally ignorant about the facts... and my blood pressure just can't handle those kinds of arguments.

hehe, you could have responded to Rob that watching Fox News and Glen Beck also doesn't count as research!

Three Cats and a Baby said...

Sometimes if someone is an asshole, you have to tell them they are an asshole.

supposedtobemysymphony said...

He so deserved the asshole. Good for you.

Mary said...

Two Thumbs up... WAY UP!

Slackie O. said...

Uhhh... Rob IS an asshole and you did a much better job responding than I would have. Good for you.

gailcanoe said...

Well said!!

Sarah B said...

At some level, I understand the intent behind being pro-life; I support abortion rights but still believe it is an awful thing i'd never wish on anybody. The "get your own birth control" movement just pisses me off. Whatever the reasons behind it, preventing unwanted births is NOT just a "women's" issue, and the stereotyping is disgusting. Its just so, uh, below the belt. I think you took the high road on this one. Thanks for speaking up.

Gurlee said...

you are brave for wading into a political debate on FB. I bite my proverbial tounge way too often, I am proud of you.
And Rob, total douche. Don't feel bad for one moment.

Logical Libby said...

He was being an asshole.

Also, I don't think people understand the insurance debate is not just about birth control and abortion, it's also about fertility treatments and adoption. It's about treating everyone fairly, no matter how their family is built.