May. 17th, 2012

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Over at FB a friend posted a link:

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/05/15/kansas/

We all remember conscience clauses for a while ago; basically there's a new law in Kansas that sets up something similar for doctors and pharmacists. They can refuse to write or fill a prescription that "they 'reasonably believe' might result in the termination of a pregnancy."

Last night I got a call from my doctor, saying to call immediately - at home if necessary. Now, I'm fine. A biopsy of a cyst I had removed showed an infection, and the doc was out of the office the next day. He just needed me to start a special antibiotic. But for the hour it took me to get in touch with him, I was convinced it was something serious. Think cancer. And I knew I had dinky student insurance, so if it was something serious I wasn't sure if I would have to pay for it myself. I'm still shaken up from the whole experience emotionally, even though I'm fine physically and much better than I was yesterday. The thing is, I get how scary it is to not have control over your medical care. To have to trust in someone else's help to get the treatment you feel like you need - I don't know that it matters whether we're talking about your back or your uterus.

So I feel really bad that I'm not more empathetic here. I should be. I think I'm just worn out with all the talk over contraception coverage and access lately; it all seems unreal and remote, somehow. So what really got me was the "reasonable belief" thing. If we read that literally, it seems like it could actually help the situation, because - going by the dictionary definition of reason - you'd need a fact for why such-and-such a drug is likely to actually terminate a pregnancy. Now, maybe we can split hairs over whether a pregnancy just means having a conceived fetus inside you or whether it also requires that fetus is part of you (i.e. it's implanted). And maybe you can say that some emergency contraception prevents implantation (so a conceived fetus is essentially killed, or at least denied what it needs to live).

But there are many other pills that don't work that way. As you guys have explained to me on this very blog, there's some BC you can take after sex that prevents fertilization. That keeps the pregnancy from ever happening in the first place, even if you want to say pregnant means "there's a fertilized egg inside me."

But is that what the lawmakers mean? From past conversations I know this isn't how many people will read "reasonable." (I'm speaking generally, about students and fellow adults I've seen use the word time and time again - not necessarily the Kansas lawmakers.) The word reasonable literally means having evidence, having facts; but I suspect for a lot of people this will be read as "having followers." So if a certain % thinks the morning-after pill terminates a pregnancy, then that pill can be denied to women who want it. Facts be damned.

Which is a scary state of affairs, indeed.

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