Updated: Nov 19
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The canary has abandoned the coal mine. All-day, my phone's news feed has gone off about the leaked draft of the Roe v. Wade opinion. Between this and the attack on comedian Dave Chappelle, while he performed onstage at the Hollywood Bowl, my plans to stay in bed were a wash.
As political pundits weigh in on this security breach, I wonder if the draft may have been leaked accidentally; the result of someone’s carelessness. Or….. if there's a fine line between leaked and whistleblower. Despite the rhetoric surrounding the event, what’s in the draft is as important, if not more important, than how or who made the document public. How ironic then that it's harder for me to access Coda, the film that won an academy award for best actor, a film that is exclusively streamed on Apple Tv+, than it is for the US government to keep confidential files, confidential.
What the leaked draft tells us
Nothing new, I'm afraid. Let's face it, women's bodies have been politicized since Adam ate the apple given to him by Eve. There are dress code policies in public and charter schools across the country that regulate female clothing. Advertisers sell products to adolescents by linking their merchandise to semi-nude bodies, yet we impose modesty regulations on young girls. By doing so, we fail our boys. They are not educated about how to deal with their bodies' natural responses.
Furthermore, did you know that over twenty-five US states still tax menstrual products? "Because of this tax, women in the United States are estimated to spend an additional $150 million dollars per year (...) Just women" (“The Current State of the Tampon Tax-- and How We’re Going to Eliminate It”).
If Rove v. Wade is struck down, states will be allowed to decide the severity of abortion law or to ban abortions altogether. The impact will cause a tidal wave of ripples. Whether you are pro-A or pro-B, I think it's safe to agree that health clinics like Planned Parenthood perform services other than abortions. They also serve brown and black communities, the poor, the elderly, and countless other marginalized groups. Contraceptive desserts will expand if their funding is reduced. A contraceptive dessert is a place where there is no health clinic that provides publically funded contraceptive methods. Click the link below to see which counties and states have a shortage of health care clinics offering the full range of birth control methods. Birth Control Access 2022 | Power to Decide
What effect will male birth control have on new abortion policies if the drug becomes available by the end of the year? I'm confident a pill-a-day to prevent pregnancy will garner support. Perhaps, then, men will understand how it feels to have one's body regulated without consent. Or what a contraceptive desert looks like. The federal Health Resources and Services Administration does not require insurers to cover new products. Additionally, switching from one product to another may require preapproval before insurers will deem the product medically necessary ("Contraceptive is Free to Women-Except When It's Not"). I believe teen pregnancy will decrease but there will be a rise in sexually transmitted diseases when male birth control gains popularity. Where will men and women who live in communities without publically funded health care facilities go to receive treatment? What about patients’ privacy rights? Surely, HIPPAA covers passengers. Will drivers be sued from all directions for transporting women to their abortion appointments?
Uh oh, the canary's wings are flapping now!
Of course, I don't possess the answers to these questions. Nor do I have another sick day to stay home and catch up-to-the-minute comments on the event as new information is released. I have a vote, though. That's how I will ensure my body and my daughter's body and the bodies of other young girls stay protected.