Dupuy: Lying to women
March 23, 2012
What does a government bureaucrat being between you and your doctor look like? That was the go-to canard to scare Americans away from the health care reform bill (or single payer for that matter). So, imagine your doctor deciding he or she doesn’t want you to get a procedure. They don’t agree with it for whatever reason. Your doctor happily lies to you. Tells you – you don’t need it – everything is fine. You find out later your doctor, with political motivations, omitted facts from you, and your decisions based on what you thought was full information, later caused problems with your health.
What precipitated your doctor’s reckless and unethical behavior? A group of lawmakers decided you don’t have a right to know the truth about your medical condition so therefore a doctor’s fabrications cannot be grounds for a lawsuit.
Your doctors and those lawmakers have decided they know what’s best for you. And you have no recourse whatsoever.
Would you feel conspired against by your state legislature and your health care provider? Yes. And this is exactly what women of child-bearing age are facing on a state level: making it OK to lie to pregnant women if it potentially avoids an abortion.
Both Arizona and Kansas are considering bills giving your doctor the legal authority to withhold potentially crucial information about your health, and in this case your child’s.
This idea of lying to women has been in the quiver of the our-choice-for-you movement since before Roe v. Wade when abortion was legal only at the state level. In 1967, the first of what are now known as crisis pregnancy centers or fake abortion clinics was opened by a man named Robert Pearson in Hawaii. The blueprint for these ruses is still The Pearson Foundation’s manual, “How to Start and Operate Your Own Pro-Life Outreach Crisis Pregnancy Center,” published in 1984. Pearson writes, “Obviously, we’re fighting Satan. A killer, who in this case is the girl who wants to kill her baby, has no right to information that will help her kill her baby.”
In this case, Satan is a girl.
And Satan, being the father of all lies and all – doesn’t have the right to the truth when he gets knocked up.
In the right-wing-maligned health care reform bill were strides for women’s health, equality and autonomy. The buried lede about Obamacare is it forced insurance companies not to treat a womb as a preexisting condition. Recently it came to focus (while being declared a war on religion) that birth control must be covered by insurance even if the employer is a religious institution (the exception being an actual church). For the last decade, Viagra was covered by insurance, no problem, and the pill was not. A dysfunction for men was covered and a function for women was out-of-pocket. The Affordable Care Act changed that.
And the right-wing opposes this as a “government takeover of health care.” But when they want to endow your doctor with the ability to dictate their values in the form of dishonesty – health care (specifically women’s) needs to be taken over by government. Stat!
As a culture, would we tolerate this if it were any other medical condition besides pregnancy? What if your doctor was being paid by the soft drink industry to tell you your obesity isn’t from your 5-liter-a-day habit? What if your doctor didn’t approve of vaccinations and you actually get Meningitis? What if your doctor thought it wasn’t right to tell you about your cancer screening results while in its operable window? And what if some yahoo state lawmakers decided – against all ethics and medical research – to agree with your quack doctor?
If those things seem outrageous then lying to pregnant women has to be too. If we want to live in a society where women have the same rights as men, being of child-bearing ability can’t be a caveat to equality.
Either women have equal rights under the law or they’re public incubators. And according to these attempted laws in Arizona and Kansas – we’re not equal.
Tina Dupuy is an award-winning writer and the managing editor of Crooks and Liars. Tina can be reached at email@example.com.