Oh, Michigan….here we go again.


I go away for a week and the politicians start going stone cold crazy on me.

It’s called a vagina people.

50% of the population has one and most of the other 50% enjoy them.

Apparently, though, it is too foul a word to be used in mixed company and it’s use deserves a gag order, at least in the Michigan House of Representatives…. I honestly don’t even know what to write about this; I feel like my head is spinning with all of the indignation and outrage I feel over the continued attempts of the legislature to practice medicine, yet words fail me.

Frontier Nursing University’s campus in on the side of a mountain in a remote part of Kentucky. I loved it!

Last week I was in Hyden, Kentucky in some of the most beautiful country I’ve seen. Beautiful mountains, covered in forests, small rivers and creeks everywhere. For this Dallas girl who is used to a flat landscape and little water it was wonderful. I was there to attend my orientation at Frontier Nursing University and I had the opportunity to listen to the stories of some pioneers of midwifery. Two of the speakers were midwives who had once ridden horseback through those same mountains to provide healthcare to the rural families who lived there. (One of the midwives stated her age as 86, the other was perhaps in her 70’s)

The interesting thing was that they both independently mentioned how life changing the introduction of the  Pill was to these women. Their mortality rate in childbirth went way down. They and their children were healthier. Both women strongly advocated for reproductive choice and encouraged all of the budding midwives and nurse practitioners in front of them to stand up and fight for women’s rights in the healthcare system.

I honestly cannot believe that in the year 2012, there are white men in suits and ties sitting in a room making decisions which will have life altering consequences for all women, but most especially minority women (according to statistics).

All I can say, once again, is that now is not the time to be silent. Maybe you live in a progressive state where women’s reproductive choices are not currently threatened, but be aware of what is going on around you. If we remain passive, our choices are going to be made for us. Morality is being legislated right before our eyes, and I can’t help but think it is a slippery slope.

I have dedicated my life to caring for moms and their babies. Every birth I witness is wondrous to me, no matter that I’ve seen hundreds of them. I am continually humbled to be present as a new life comes into the world……and I believe with all my heart that women have to be able to choose whether or not to bring a new life into the world.

I hope that we can provide easy access to contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and to support all pregnant moms so that abortion isn’t the only option to them. But it seems that the powers that be want to limit access to abortion, and contraception and sex education. What kind of sense does that make?

So let me end by saying this…….

Vagina.

Vagina….vagina…..vagina…….vagina……vagina…..vagina……vagina…..vagina…..

Take that Michigan Legislature!

Yup, I’m Pretty “Uppity” When It Comes To Women’s Healthcare


My first two blog posts were about birth choice, and my next two were about politics which may seem like random subjects to start off with, but here is where I tie it all together.

As I stated before, I am passionate about women’s health. An acquaintance of mine asked me about work a couple of weeks ago and as I was telling her about my weekend on call she interrupted me and said, “You know, you light up when you talk about your job.” I can’t think of a better compliment; yes, I LOVE what I do.

And so, we come to the issue that has been sticking in my craw, the recent attempts to legislate women’s healthcare, specifically reproductive choice and the relationship between women and their healthcare providers. I don’t think any picture sums it up better than the cover of the April Issue of The Texas Observer.

Disturbing, no?

Of course,  Texas is not the only place where this is happening. State by state, legislatures are taking it upon themselves to pass laws stripping women’s rights of autonomy in making certain healthcare decisions, interfering with doctor/client privacy and, in the case of Arizona, trying to force women who take birth control pills to prove to their employer that they are taking it for reasons other than birth control if they want it covered by insurance. Because that’s what we all want to do, march into our boss’s office and talk about our sex lives (or lack thereof), our bad acne, our heavy irregular periods, or our polycystic ovarian disease.  (As it stands, the Arizona law only applies to religious non-profits. Thankfully, the bill that would have expanded that exemption to all employers was voted down last week, probably due to the public pressure generated by social media.)

The commentary I have seen in the news surrounding these laws is absolutely disrespectful of women, comparing them to farm animals (Georgia State Representative Terry England), dismissing the invasiveness of a vaginal probe ultrasound  (A Virginia Lawmaker who said that a woman had already consented to vaginal penetration by having sex so a vaginal probe shouldn’t be a big deal.), and probably my favorite comment, that in the good old days, all a woman needed for birth control was to hold an aspirin between her knees. (Foster Friess, a Rick Santorum supporter). Wow. What year is this again?

Infuriating.

So hell yes, I’m uppity. I’m not  a primary healthcare provider yet, but as an aspiring one, I feel a protectiveness towards all women who have to make decisions about abortion and birth control for reasons I may not even begin to comprehend. It’s not my place to judge anyone else’s decisions; I get to make decisions for myself and that’s it. Can I offer an opinion? Sure, if asked. Can I offer support and information? Absolutely. Can I walk in someone else’s shoes? No, not really, so I don’t get to tell them how to live their reproductive lives. And neither do you. And neither should the government.

I have the nerve to believe that women have the same rights of medical autonomy as men, and that together with their healthcare providers they are capable of understanding the risks and benefits of any intervention without some politician’s input. I have the nerve to believe that the men and women who are degreed and licensed to be healthcare providers know a hell of a lot more than legislators do about what constitutes medical need and informed consent. And I have the nerve to be outraged at anyone who makes access to legal interventions in healthcare harder on women. But then again, I also have a sneaking suspicion that there are lots and lots of people out there who feel the same way I do. Their voices have already made a difference in Arizona, Virginia and Oklahoma, and for that I am profoundly grateful.