“Just Two Teeny, Tiny Pills”: The Power of Medication Abortion

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by Talia Parker.

Talia Parker ’20 is a member of H*yas for Choice’s leadership team.


Let’s talk about medication abortion. It’s just two teeny, tiny pills, but the agency these pills grant is monumental, and every single person around the world should have access to this power if they need it.

Despite manufactured perceptions of abortion as an extremely invasive and traumatic procedure, medication abortion – which currently accounts for about 20 percent of US abortions – is a safe and straightforward process. A medication abortion consists of two pills: mifepristone and misoprostol. In the United States, a person seeking a medication abortion is administered the first pill, mifepristone, in an abortion clinic such as Planned Parenthood or a private doctor’s office. Mifepristone blocks the release of progesterone in the body, which effectively prevents the pregnancy from progressing. Then, 24-48 hours later, the second pill, misoprostol, is taken at home or any comfortable and safe location. Misoprostol empties the uterus, which causes cramping and bleeding for about 5 hours. Medical professionals are on call 24/7 if there are any concerns or complications during the expelling phase of the abortion, but for most people the process is smooth and similar to a heavy period. Medication abortion is an extremely safe medical procedure – only 1 in 100,000 people will die from a medication abortion. Compare that to the fact that in the U.S. approximately 14 in 100,000 people die in childbirth, and that number goes into the two-hundreds when averaged worldwide.

Medication abortions were first approved in the United States in 2000. However, regulations have recently changed – expanded access to the abortion pill in the US means the pill can be administered at up to 10 weeks instead of 9 and the dosage of misoprostol has been reduced by two thirds. These two specifications have made medication abortions much more accessible in the U.S. by decreasing costs for the procedure and increasing the number of people who can use it.

Needless to say, abortion access in the U.S. is constantly threatened by federal and state Republican legislators. However, there are many other countries in the world where abortion is either entirely illegal or severely restricted, and in these countries the abortion pills have created the possibility for a safe underground abortion network.  

The international organization Women on Web sends the two abortion pills to people globally so that they can have abortions on their own. Only serving countries where abortion is extremely restricted or illegal, Women on Web conducts online medical consultations with those seeking abortions and if the procedure is approved, send the medication through the mail. Volunteers at the organization remain in constant digital contact with the patients during their medication abortion for support and to make sure everything is going well. If a patient were to experience a medical complication for any reason, they can go to an emergency room and say they had a miscarriage. The abortion pills mirror the biological process of a miscarriage, so there would be no way for the doctor to be able to tell if the patient is lying, and therefore the patient will not face backlash for the abortion laws in that country.

Wondering how this is legal? People are allowed to receive medication through the mail as long as it is only for personal use. Also, both mifepristone and misoprostol are on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines, and because they are not narcotics or controlled substances, no violation of customs regulations occur.

People around the world deserve the right to make their own choices about their own bodies. Abortion pills are a safe way to give people control over their lives, regardless of what country they live in. It is imperative that we continue our fight for safe, legal, and accessible abortions here in the U.S., lest we be added to the list of nations where people are forced to seek abortion through other means.

If you’re interested in making a donation to Women on Web: https://www.womenonweb.org/en/donate

 

Some sources:

https://www.womenonweb.org/en/page/1117/in-collection/6901/is-it-legal

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/abortion/the-abortion-pill

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.STA.MMRT?name_desc=true

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/31/health/abortion-pill-mifeprex-ru-486-fda.html

https://www.womenonweb.org/en/page/523/questions-and-answers-overview

http://worldabortionlaws.com/map/

Georgetown, You’re Better than Gender Ratios

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If you attend Georgetown, and you enjoy spending your Saturday evenings downing six shots of Cherry Burnetts and half a Natty Lite whilst surrounded by your favorite Jesulittys, then chances are you have encountered bouncers at parties. These figures — almost universally male — determine who gets to enter the humid Henle, and, when it comes to deciding which pack of dizzy first years they allow to enter their domicile, make their judgments based almost entirely on gender. If you pass as male, you know the urgency with which you gather female students outside of parties, hoping to pad your own masculinity with their feminine wiles. If you pass as female, you know how it feels to be begged by Sperry-wearing men to accompany them to the party. You also know how it feels when the bouncer too easily opens the door after a brief glance at your beat face.

Although gender ratios ostensibly benefit women —  perhaps what Reddit-dwelling men’s rights activists might even term “female privilege” — in reality,  the logic behind them reflects patriarchal conceptions of women as sex objects. I will admit — it feels glamorous to glide into an exclusive party with no objection from the host, as a protesting line of men don’t make the cut. Meanwhile, I can imagine that for those who are denied entrance to such functions, it is easy to feel that in this situation, it is women who benefit.

Before feeling empowered or embittered by gender ratios, however, consider the logic justifying them. The appeal of women at these parties derives exclusively from their sex appeal; men hosting parties want women at parties because they want to hook up with them. Therefore, gender ratios privilege the heterosexual male experience by prioritizing their desires. The preferencing of heterosexual cis male needs is a key element to the maintenance of the patriarchy.

Additionally, gender ratios reduce women to society’s perception of their  sexual value. With gender ratios, women are collected, their individuality is disregarded, and the objective of toxic masculinity — to capture women in order to have sex with them — is universalized.

Gender ratios are pervasive at Georgetown; in fact, they are so pervasive that I recently attended a party celebrating the victory of our newly elected GUSA President and Vice-President, Kamar Mack and Jessica Andino, that enforced a gender ratio at the door.

I do not know the details of how their party was organized; for all I know, Mack and Andino were entirely unaware that a bouncer was only admitting girls at the door of the party. I will also clarify that the party was not hosted at Mack or Andino’s own residence, and I did hear discussion inside the party that the bouncer was acting waywardly.

An objective fact remains, however: gender ratios at parties are so ubiquitous at Georgetown, even a party for the executives of the student body government enforces them.

In order to transform this issue, we need to address systemic issues, primarily the way that the patriarchy encourages heterosexual men to view their sexual exploits as conquests, a logic that disregards consent and pleasure, the two most important aspects of sex. On Georgetown’s campus, we need to foster an open dialogue to unpack why we accept and expect gender ratios. Hopefully, then we can create an environment where we can turn up without turning women into currency to be exchanged.

Rachel Biggio (COL ’20) is a member of H*yas for Choice’s leadership team.

Zika, Fear, and Recycling Oppression

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As Spring Break approaches, many of us are heading off on tropical vacations. Unfortunately, many of these destinations attract mosquitoes as well as college students.  Although mosquitoes are not in Cancun for the tequila, they continue to thrive and transmit the Zika virus.  Like many public health emergencies, the Zika outbreak has faded from the headlines.  As students travel to Zika hot zones and as warm weather returns, Zika remains a substantial concern.  

On November 28th, Texas state health officials announced a probable case of local transmission of the Zika virus.  Later that week, Texas finalized a rule requiring facilities that provide abortions to pay for the cremation or burial of fetal remains.  Although these events may not seem interconnected, the narrative of the Zika outbreak centers on reproductive health access, specifically abortion.  Because Zika virus can cause birth defects, including microcephaly, abortion rights activists seized Zika as an opportunity to advocate for removing barriers to abortion, in Texas, and around the world.  The proximity of the most recent Zika outbreak poses an increased risk to the United States and, as a result, secured significant media attention.  Due in part to the strict abortion policies of many Latin American countries, like Brazil, the media and abortion rights activists quickly turned to the potential of the Zika outbreak to liberalize abortion policy.  

Historically, within the United States, German measles outbreaks in the 1960s and early 1970s shifted perceptions of abortion.  Like Zika virus, German measles can cause severe birth defects.  Outbreaks of German measles in pre-Roe America expanded access to abortion beyond cases where the life of the mother was at risk, to cases where the fetus was assumed to have severe developmental defects.  Although outbreaks of German measles led to the expansion of abortion access, and arguably heralded eventual legalization of abortion nationally,  this expanded access to bodily autonomy came at the expense of the disabled community.   American experiences with German measles established an ideology that no parent would want a child with a disability, an assumption that demonstrates a lack of respect for people with disabilities.   

Because advocacy emphasizing children with disabilities successfully expanded abortion access in the United States, it is not surprising that modern pro-choice advocates are using similar tactics to expand abortion access in many Latin American countries.  At issue are both the right of a person to exercise their autonomy and the struggle people with disabilities face justifying their existence.  Reproductive rights advocates in the United States and globally have seized upon the fear of Zika to attempt to confront barriers to abortion access like the new fetal remains rule in Texas.  The depiction and rhetoric of the prenatal effects of Zika employed by pro-choice advocates potentially undermines the lives of people with microcephaly.  Many people could benefit from learning about the realities of raising a child with disabilities.  However, state laws that compel providers to present inaccurate medical information, enforce mandatory waiting periods, and dictate the means of disposal of fetal remains threaten the provider’s autonomy and the autonomy of pregnant persons.  In the context of current state-based abortion policy, the possibility of educating potential parents is burdened with the legacy of reproductive oppression.                     

Still, the reproductive rights community has neglected to address how advocacy for less restrictive abortion policies on the basis of fetal abnormality in areas with local transmission of Zika diminishes the value of the lives of people with microcephaly and other disabilities.  When a provider diagnoses a fetus with microcephaly, a parent who chooses not to terminate their pregnancy may be stigmatized and the child may lack sufficient resources to thrive.  Too often in abortion debates, especially in the United States, the only ethical consideration is whether a fetus has autonomy and, if a fetus has autonomy, at what point that autonomy begins to exist.  Within the framework of Zika, reproductive rights advocates, like myself, are challenged to consider the broader effects of our arguments and actions.  While a person’s reasons for accessing an abortion should not be questioned, the fear-mongering of abortion rights groups as a tactic to increase access to reproductive health care risks oppressing another group of people.  Since people seeking abortions face somewhat similar oppressions in gaining control of their bodies as people with disabilities, reproductive justice activists should understand that utilizing oppressive arguments to gain greater personal autonomy will not create an environment where the autonomy of every person is respected.


Brinna Ludwig (NHS ’17) is a co-president of H*yas for Choice.

H*yas for Choice Grades the 2017 GUSA Candidates

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This election cycle, as always, the H*yas for Choice executive board sent all candidates who launched their campaign at the beginning of the election cycle a questionnaire detailing our policy goals for the next academic year and beyond. Below are our final grades for the candidates. Attached at the bottom of this post is a detailed guide to our grading.

Garet and Habon – A-

H*yas for Choice was impressed by Garet and Habon’s initial platform and responses to our more specific questions.  We were particularly enthused by their demonstrated understanding of issues at the Student Health Center and support of university funding for free and anonymous STI screening.  Additionally, their research on the implications of ACA repeal and commitment to pressuring Georgetown University to maintaining current health care standards was evident in their platform and in their response to our questions.
Our primary concerns, although few, are with their lack of public support for free menstrual hygiene products.  Unlike other candidates, who pursued informational meetings, we did not have the opportunity to meet with Garet and Habon to share our institutional knowledge, giving us some concern about our continued working relationship with GUSA. Therefore, we give Garet and Habon a grade of A-.

 

Kamar and Jessica –  B+

H*yas for Choice was impressed with Kamar and Jessica’s willingness to learn about ongoing issues for students at the Student Health Center, roadblocks to the implementation of STI testing, and the limitations unrecognized groups experience. In particular, HFC was enthusiastic about their plan to appoint a two different GUSA members to handle Greek life issues and other unrecognized group issues. Additionally, Kamar and Jessica shared specific, substantial plans to institutionalize access to free menstrual hygiene products on campus.

HFC’s gravest concern with Kamar and Jessica’s campaign is their perceived reticience to aggressively advocate for a continuation of the limited contraception coverage offered by student health insurance and the Student Health Center, should a repeal or alteration of the ACA remove Georgetown’s mandate to cover these services. Additionally, Kamar and Jessica want to focus on external funding for free and anonymous STI testing, rather than pushing for institutionalized university funding. While HFC supports this policy in the short term, we believe GUSA’s unique relationship with the university administration gives them greater leverage to push for university funding. Therefore, we give Kamar and Jessica a grade of B+.

John and Nick – C+

H*yas for Choice was pleased by John and Nick’s unequivocal support for contraception coverage on student health insurance and at the Student Health Center regardless of changes to the Affordable Care Act. Further, HFC is intrigued and cautiously optimistic regarding their newly proposed policy pooling university students’ health insurance together across the country.

However, after meeting with John and Nick, H*yas for Choice still has severe reservations regarding their support for some of HFC’s policy goals. Fundamentally, the Matthews/Matz campaign emphasizes reducing the size of GUSA and cutting university costs. HFC fears this – admittedly admirable – mindset may come at the price of achieving some of our goals that also aim to make Georgetown an affordable option for students, specifically free menstrual hygiene products. Additionally, the adversarial nature of John and Nick’s initial rollout of their student health policies after H*yas for Choice released our grades last week leaves HFC members concerned a proactive, healthy working relationship may not be as easily attained as with other candidates, and we give them a grade of C+.

hfc-candidates-edited

Click here for the responses from Garet and Habon, Kamar and Jessica, and HFC’s grades.

Click here for the responses from John and Nick and HFC’s grades.

 

Three Hours and a Rigamarole at the Student Health Center

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by Brinna Ludwig


Last spring, aftering hearing about some problems students had been having with the Student Health Center H*yas for Choice launched a survey to find out more.  When the responses began coming in, I felt shocked: although some people left the Student Health Center satisfied, many left feeling defeated and disempowered, especially if their visit was related to sexual or reproductive health.  After reading other people’s experiences, I needed to see for myself.  This is my experience getting screened for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at the Student Health Center, and, as you might have guessed, it was not a pleasant one.  

I scheduled my appointment on Friday, October 21.  I made the appointment in the morning to avoid long wait times, I called my parents to see which lab my insurance company covers, and I even made sure to eat a well-balanced breakfast.  Most sexually active individuals should be screened for STIs at least once a year, or with every new partner.  I had not previously taken the initiative to get screened in part because the Student Health Center does not promote free and anonymous STI screening.  Many other universities promote free and anonymous STI testing, partly because students are such a high risk population.  People between the ages of 15-24 account for half of new STI cases.  The fact the Georgetown fails to provide this basic service is not just discouraging, but negligent.          

I arrived to my appointment a few minutes early to sign in and give the Student Health Center my insurance information.  Because the Student Health Center does not offer free and anonymous testing, I had to pay a $20 copay to see a nurse practitioner.  Since I was displaying no STI symptoms, seeing a any healthcare provider seemed unnecessary.  I knew exactly what I wanted to be screened for: syphilis and HIV with a blood test, and gonorrhea and chlamydia with a urine test.  If the Student Health Center provided free and anonymous STI screening, I could have avoided both the copay and the appointment time.  

Once I actually saw the provider, she asked me a few questions and recommended that I be tested for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.  It was all going according to plan.  I didn’t think to ask my provider about the different labs because I wrongly assumed that she would look and see what my insurance covered.  She handed me the scripts for the tests and told me to wait in line for the Student Health Center lab.  This confused me because the Student Health Center works with Quest and my insurance only covers LabCorp.  At that point I still trusted the system and waited patiently.  Once in the lab, I was going through the basic information with the nurse and requested that my lab work be sent to LabCorp.  She seemed confused, as if no one had ever used LabCorp before.  Fun fact: the main labs the nation’s biggest insurers cover are Quest and LabCorp, so I am in no way in the minority with my insurance coverage.  Finally, after the office was aflutter with confusion, as if I had suddenly asked an intriguing but difficult question like, “is a hot dog a sandwich?”, “when is ‘Y’ a vowel?”, or “are all Sesame Street puppets muppets?”, I was given two new scripts and told to go across the parking lot to the hospital lab.  

I promptly walked across the parking lot and entered the hospital.  After having to ask for directions more times than I care to admit, I found the lab.  I had to go through another intake process and  wait for them to call my name.  Because I was at the hospital lab, there were significantly more patients.  It felt like all of Georgetown Hospital was there.  One man even came in with a green bucket with some kind of biomedical sample, (I spent my time speculating what was in the bucket.  My ideas included: hairball, kidney, and a blood bucket à la It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia).  I am making light of my experience, but in actuality, I was scared.  Being in a hospital by yourself is scary, and I felt uncomfortable using a hospital lab for STI screening, even though I knew that’s why they were there.  

When my name was finally called, I was informed that one of my scripts was incompatible with LabCorp, which tells me that my provider was not accustomed to writing orders for LabCorp at all.  This meant that I had to return to the Student Health Center to get the proper script and then resubmit the form at the hospital lab.  Luckily, they were able to take the samples without the script, so I did not have to wait in the hospital lab again.  Unfortunately, the Student Health Center does not seem to share the same views on customer service.  I had to wait another half an hour at the Student Health Center to get the script and my provider did not even apologize for the situation.  At long last, I was able return to the hospital lab and hand them the script.  Finally, the saga was over.  

The whole process took over three hours.  I do not write this to complain.  I write this because it points to a larger issue within the Student Health Center.  I worry about other students, who may not be aware of which lab their insurance covers and may unnecessarily pay for services that are covered by their insurance.

Leaving the hospital lab that day, I felt disempowered.  By getting screened for STIs, I was supposed to be exercising agency by exerting control over my sexual health.  The whole process left me exhausted.  I, a senior in college, a healthcare management and policy major with extensive knowledge of the healthcare system, and co-president of H*yas for Choice, struggled to navigate the system.  But alas, that was not the end of my story.  

After waiting more than three weeks for my results, I called the Student Health Center.  Soon, my provider called me and told me they couldn’t find my results and that I could come in again to get tested.  Obviously, that was the last thing I wanted to do given the odyssey I had endured almost a month before.  When I finally got the call that my tests were normal, almost a month had passed.  From my rigmarole, I learned a few things about the Student Health Center:

 

  1. If the Student Health Center offered free and anonymous STI screening, I wouldn’t have had to go through any of this
  2. At that point in October, the Student Health Center seemed completely unable to deal with LabCorp, despite the large subsection of the student population whose private health insurance requires its use
  3. Students did not seem to be top priority at the Student Health Center

 

It’s taken me a long time to write about my experience because it was so unpleasant.  I didn’t want to revisit the feelings of confusion at the Student Health Center, my fear at the hospital lab, or my aggravation at trying to get my results.  Ultimately, I don’t think my experience is all that unique.  I know there are students sent to the wrong lab and billed for their tests.  I know there are students who never follow up about their test results.  And I know that people are often misbilled.  That’s why H*yas for Choice launched our Student Health Health Center survey.  We want to hear it all because we want to know the problems and find ways to solve them.    


Brinna Ludwig (NHS ’17) is a co-president of H*yas for Choice.

The Highs & Horrors of Counter-Protesting: A Satirical But Completely True Story

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by Hannah Lynch


The tower bell tolls, and a stream of pale nuns cascades down the steps of Healy Hall

“WHERE ARE YOUR MEN!?” the aggressively proud wearer of an ill-fitting pro-life tee barks

The ones I’m friends with are busy studying ‘cause, you know, we actually GO here.

Some are working part-time jobs to help their single mothers pay the bills, others are busy protesting downtown.

The ones I’m not so keen on, however, may have reaped the sublime pleasure of being your seatmates for the last hour’s conference

“Are women’s voices not enough”

Though I genuinely inquired in the moment, notice how I don’t write this simple utterance as a  question now because, sadly, women’s voices aren’t enough

Clearly they are neither enough nor equal in Trump’s “united” states

I’m not sure if my favorite part of the afternoon was being lectured by the proud pregnant woman that, “NO,” it was NOT in fact her body, or being pitifully prayed for by the condescending Christian

In my opinion, a peaceful protest in which students sing catchy slogans promoting human rights does not warrant, let alone demand, a dozen armed officers suspiciously watching our every move

Nor do I think holding colorful, hand-made posters endorsing a women’s health clinic should elicit disgusted shrieks from ADULT event coordinators

But again. This is just my opinion. And since I’m a woman, apparently it’s not enough anyway

Our chants ruffled feathers, and our posters photobombed pictures

I have never felt so alive

But also never more terrified–especially by the unsettling whisper in my ear warning me that it was “blasphemous actions like these that result in purgatory.”

In retrospect, if they won’t leave my uterus alone, I don’t know why I expected the privilege of personal space

A counter-protest is a simultaneously empowering and degrading experience

One moment you’re proudly smiling, feeling supported by friends standing in solidarity by your side, but the next you’re accosted by a hostile stranger whose goal it is to silence your “disruptive” voice

I had never before stood in the minority, fighting for my rights, but now I know all too well how personal politics can become

After the boy in the fedora scoffed at my response to his question about why we were “standing outside YELLING at people,” I resolved to never again fear embarrassment or judgment in my advocacy

‘Cause even if my voice kept cracking like a middle schooler’s and I looked frankly ridiculous dabbing at my friends who cheered us on as they strolled by, it worked.

We made our voices heard

All I can hope is that the rest of you Georgetown students in solidarity will do the same

 

With love,

Another pissed-off-pro-choice feminist ❤


Hannah Lynch is a member of H*yas for Choice’s leadership team.

A Few Reasons Why Ross Douthat’s Ideas Are Problematic

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Before we begin, let’s first introduce Mr. Douthat, and why it matters in the slightest that I’m experiencing secondhand embarrassment on his behalf (due to his problematic opinions). A thirty-something year old living in D.C., Ross is a columnist for the New York Times in their Opinion section. He is notoriously conservative in thought, and is quite honestly a very talented writer. That might explain why he seemed an attractive option as a panelist for the O’Connor Conference for Life being held  at Georgetown this weekend.

  1. Ross Douthat isn’t really sure what his opinions are.

He takes on some pretty unforgiving topics, such as oh, I don’t know, abortion. Typically, we’re used to reading clear opinions on women’s reproductive rights — and with good reason (if you’re going to take a strongly unilateral stance, you best be able to defend it to the ends of the earth). But for Ross, there’s a lot of ambiguity. In fact, he openly admits as much in one of his articles, claiming that he hasn’t determined his ‘moral stance’ on a few issues. Because, you know, this one middle-aged White man’s moral stance should play a large factor in our reproductive health decisions .

Even beyond his own confession, it’s easy to see in his articles about Planned Parenthood. In the same article, he claims he approves of access to over-the-counter oral contraception. But he continues on to say that sex-ed programs which provide contraception to teenagers are Not Okay in his book. Let me get this right: teenagers — a high risk demographic when it comes to sexual health, perhaps the group that most needs access to this very resource, should not be given contraception? Cool, Ross, cool. It’s just…. Kind of weird that you apparently think teenagers aren’t having sex.

  1. Ross Douthat’s logic isn’t logical.

In another of Ross’s articles, he references abortion rates in conservative states (where there are significantly more restrictions on access to abortion) as compared to abortion rates in liberal states (where there are fewer restrictions). He says that there are fewer abortions in conservative states, and more abortions in liberal states, and that somehow that difference means we should defund Planned Parenthood (funding for family planning will prevent “future abortions”). The glaring issue with this whole section of his article is that Ross apparently doesn’t understand or want to acknowledge what “restrictions” encompass. Did it not occur to him that perhaps the reason for fewer abortions in these states with heavy restrictions is that people simply could not access the healthcare they needed?

If there are only two functional clinics in my state, and I work six days a week, and there’s a waiting period to get an abortion, those barriers might be preventing me from getting an abortion and lowering abortion rates in my state. But no, according to Ross, the reason rates are higher in liberal states with more funding for Planned Parenthood is that the organization was funded, is more visible, and people think it’s easier to get an abortion than to “family plan,” or avoid pregnancy in the first place. Ross did not consider the fact that accessibility plays a massive role in rates of abortion. Logic…?

  1. Ross Douthat’s understanding of Planned Parenthood seems to be slightly sideways.

Planned Parenthood never claimed to be “pro-life.”  I can assure Ross, and anyone else who might be confused, that Planned Parenthood isn’t pro-life. The easiest explanation for that is that “pro-life” is the wrong terminology — what he meant to write was “anti-choice.” Planned Parenthood as an organization stands for every person’s ability to make their own choices about their reproductive rights and sexual health. Just check out their website, I’m sure they word that sentiment more eloquently than I did. By imposing his “pro-life/anti-choice” value set onto their platform, Ross creates this weird confusion that’s just totally unnecessary. He keeps referencing this “pro-life case for Planned Parenthood” and how problematic he finds it to be. He asks that proponents of Planned Parenthood defend abortion simply as the removal of a clump of cells, or as a procedure that is without any moral context or circumstances. This is quite plainly wrong. He asks the impossible. Supporters of Planned Parenthood do not have to personally ascribe to the pro-choice movement in order for their support to be “valid.” People who are pro-choice do not all have to have the same exact reasoning for their stance, either. That’d be like every fan of a sports team feeling the same way for the same reasons. Somehow, that seems pretty sideways to me. Regardless of his understanding (or lack thereof), however, Ross seems to also have made the assumption that his opinion on what females should do with their bodies is necessary for understanding the issue as a whole. Unfortunately for Ross, we don’t need another guy telling us what to do with our uteruses.

Generally speaking, it’s problematic that think-pieces by a man have the potential to be taken more seriously than a person’s desire to choose how they manage their reproductive capabilities. Being pro-choice means respecting the ability of other human beings to make their own choices for themselves. If you are someone who thinks people generally can’t or shouldn’t be able to make their own decisions, you should probably go back to Nineteen Eighty-Four, where Orwell will welcome you with open arms.

To be fair, objectively speaking, Ross seems to be an intelligent, well-spoken guy — when he isn’t falling into some strange logical black hole, or showcasing his ignorance of the fight for reproductive rights. He writes well, he communicates effectively, and he has interesting opinions on issues other than reproductive rights. But that’s not why we at H*yas for Choice find his ideas to be problematic. Seemingly “moderate” pieces like his are the very ones which normalize ideologies which are dangerous for reproductive healthcare and rights across the board (even though his pieces aren’t very moderate at all). We find his anti-choice rhetoric fraught with issues and quite frankly, dangerous.

Emma Vahey (COL ’20) is on the leadership team of H*yas for Choice