reproductive health

My Reality: My Abortion Experience

"Never Going Back!" written in sidewalk chalk on pavement with a drawing of a coat hanger crossed out

“Never Going Back!” written in sidewalk chalk on pavement with a drawing of a coat hanger crossed out

by Jane Person

This afternoon I had an abortion. This is not a sentence I ever thought I would utter. I’m pro-choice. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy writing about, advocating for, and protecting a woman’s right to choice. I never thought this would be a choice I personally would make, no matter how adamantly I support other women’s right to make this choice. It was an important issue to me before this point as a woman, as someone who vehemently believes that every single woman can be trusted to make right choices for herself about her own body.

In a culture dominated by patriarchy where women are not yet equal, bodily autonomy is one of the most important issues there is. If we cannot be agents of our own bodies, what rights have we as human beings? Men’s bodies are not similarity legislated, controlled, and shamed.

***

A few weeks ago my breasts began to get sore. “Great. My period is coming” was the thought I had. But after a couple of weeks they became increasingly sore and my period was late. That’s not uncommon for me. My cycle is very irregular.

But then I started feeling nauseated. I threw up one morning while at work. I couldn’t stand the smells of people on the bus. I couldn’t eat. Everything made me feel sick.

I went to the nearest drug store to purchase a pregnancy test. I still didn’t think I was pregnant. I simply wanted to assuage my anxiety and affirm that my period was simply delayed and my regular menstrual symptoms were just a little more intense this month.

I took the test as soon as I got home. Within seconds of urinating on the stick, a positive indication of pregnancy came up.

“Fuck!”

I’m sure my daughter heard my shout from downstairs. I didn’t waste a moment after finding out I was pregnant. I knew what I wanted, needed, to do.

First I called the sexual health clinic. They told me I could come by Monday afternoon to get a referral from a doctor, required for access to an abortion in Ontario.

Monday afternoon doesn’t work for me. I’ve got a job interview.” was my dismayed reply. It was Friday afternoon. I hid the panic I was feeling. I felt a sense of urgency, a desire to handle this as quickly as possible. I asked for alternative options with a calmness I wasn’t feeling.

I then called the university health centre. I made an appointment for Wednesday the following week.

I knew I wanted the referral sooner than later. My preference was for a medical abortion over a surgical abortion, if at all possible. The efficacy of medical abortion decreases as pregnancy progresses.

The four days leading up to my appointment were agonizing. I was sick. My body doesn’t handle pregnancy well. I just wanted this over with. Read more

Posted on by Jane Person in Can-Con, Feminism, My Reality 13 Comments

Your Arguments Against Our Permanent Birth Control are Bullshit

Cover of 1919 edition of Margaret Sanger's Birth Control Review

Cover of 1919 edition of Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Review

by Jessica Critcher

My spouse and I are seeking permanent birth control, and the entire process has been difficult. At this point, we are sick to death of unsolicited advice on the subject (Pro-tip: If someone you don’t know says they’re not judging you, they are judging you). Everyone’s heart is in the right place, I can only assume. People think they are telling us new information that will keep us from making what they perceive to be a mistake. I get that they’re trying to help. But we continually find ourselves defending this very personal decision to total strangers. So to keep myself from screaming, I’m going to outline why the condescension disguised as concern is totally unfounded. Trust us. We’ve thought it through.

Bullshit Assumption #1: But you’re so YOUNG! And it’s such a BIG decision!

We know we’re only 24. Thanks for telling us! No one says this to people in our situation who decide to have children, which is an equally big decision. It’s not the weight of the decision that makes people uncomfortable; it’s the fact that we decided against having children. If you’re going to offer unsolicited advice, at least be honest about why.

Bullshit Assumption #2: It’s permanent. You’ll regret it later and resent each other.

Why do they always pair those two? This “advice”  intrigues me the most, because there are so many layers and implications. Firstly, it implies that we do not know what “permanent” means. The permanence of a thing is not inherently an effective reason to argue against it. That’s actually the most attractive feature of this birth control option. Thanks, but we’re set. Read more

Posted on by Jessica Critcher in Feminism 4 Comments

FFFF: Wing It Parenthood with Connie Britton

Connie Britton of Friday Night Lights and American Horror Story stars in this Funny or Die sketch, a humourous take on what cuts to Planned Parenthood mean.

Happy Friday!

-Jarrah

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Feminism, FFFF 1 Comment

My Love Letter to IUDs

by Alicia Costa

I was extremely happy when I saw this article pop up from Ms. about the effectiveness of IUDs (Inter Uterine Devices) as a safe and cheap form of birth control for women. I am a huge advocate of IUDs. From personal experience I can vouch for their effectiveness over several years yet many women still have no idea this is an option as a birth control method.  And I was one of these young women because not once did it come up in the several conversations about birth control I had in my teen years with multiple doctors.

When I became sexual active in a committed relationship in my early 20s and was looking into birth control I was automatically put on the hormonal birth control pill. And it was a nightmare right from the beginning. My body was extremely angry at me for this decision. But that is what you do. You want to be in control of your sexual health you go on the pill. That is what I was told all along since I was a teenager.

In addition to a major weight gain (I packed on about 40lbs in about 6 months) I was miserable. And more terrifying then this was the fact my blood pressure spiked. Hugely high for someone who was in their early 20s. I was terrified. And while most of the doctors I saw told me the high blood pressure was directly related to being overweight I refused to buy it. I had been overweight my whole life and never had a health issue like this. Read more

Posted on by Alicia Costa in Feminism 4 Comments

FFFF: If You Have Sex, Get Tested

Cute PSA from Planned Parenthood, using (last month’s) STD Awareness Month to remind us that most people who have STDs don’t show initial symptoms.

-Jarrah

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in FFFF Leave a comment

I Don’t Eat Babies for Breakfast

Hansel and Gretel 1911 Drawingby Ashli Scale

Feminist discourse on reproductive rights focuses on women’s right to choose, whether that choice be parenting, adoption or abortion.  But, what about women who choose NOT to have children?

( public domain image via Wikimedia Commons)

I am one of those women and wow, people can be frosty about my decision.  Deciding to be childfree is not the same as being infertile because it’s a conscious choice not to procreate (Maher & Saugeres, 2007).  Personally, I deliberated for several years before making this decision.

And I’m not the only one.  Studies on childfree couples show that this decision is made after a lengthy, serious decision-making process (Kelly, 2009).  Yet the responses I most commonly get are “Are you sure?” and “You’ll change your mind”.   I am met with disbelief, criticism and perceived regret.  You may not realize it, but responding in such a way is not “harmless” – it is patronizing and infantilizing (Kelly, 2009).

Stigma and stereotypes about childfree couples are surprisingly common.  I have been called selfish, callous and cold for my choice (because of course, no one has ever known a selfish, callous or cold mother, right Freud?).  People often ask “Why do you hate children?” and look at me like I’m the witch straight out of Hansel & Gretel.  The truth is, I love children – other people’s children! Read more

Posted on by Ashli Scale in Feminism 6 Comments

OptBC calls for Universal Access to Publicly Funded Contraception

Birth Control Pills

Last week the Obama administration announced that most employers will be required to cover contraceptives in employee health plans. This was a huge victory for reproductive health and feminist groups who had been lobbying for this extended coverage for preventative care services.

Another thing it means is that the US has jumped ahead of some Canadian provinces in terms of contraceptive access, at least for those insured by employers. I use the Nuva Ring for hormonal contraception and while my current employer’s health plan does cover it, my previous three health plans did not, leaving me out of pocket to the tune of approximately $30/month. It was hard to imagine women without extended health plans being able to afford this extra amount to have the choice I had.

Coming out of this, Options for Sexual Health BC is renewing its call on the provincial government to ensure universal access to publicly funded contraception.

In 2010 Opt produced a research paper on this topic, which was based on the argument that “publicly funded contraception for all British Columbians is good public policy.” They noted over 30 countries in Europe already mandate publicly funded contraception and that ensuring it in BC would help us catch up. Read more

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Can-Con, Feminism, Politics Leave a comment