Opinion: Women Have a Right to Reproductive Health Care

Walter Rhein

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I’m tired of having the government involved in my health care decisions. The government is not a doctor. The government is not qualified to give an opinion on treatment.

There are already enough problems with health care in the United States without adding more. Decisions about the treatment I receive are already between myself, my doctor, and my insurance.

Recently my doctor wanted to change my treatment plan for my asthma. When I went to the pharmacy, I discovered that my insurance wouldn’t cover the new medication my doctor suggested. So, I had to go back to my doctor and request a new medication.

We had to repeat this process three times before there was an agreement between myself, my insurance, and my doctor.

This isn’t right!

Now, the government has repealed Roe v. Wade. This represents another case of the government putting itself in the consultation room with the doctor and the patient.

The Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, its 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide—Dylan Stableford

Effectively, the Supreme Court decided that the government knows better than doctors. The government knows better than the citizens.

Every time the government takes away the rights of private citizens, it ends badly.

What happened to the idea of a smaller government? What happened to the idea of a government that doesn’t interfere with people’s medical decisions? What happened to the fears of government overreach?

Will the government tell us we can't have cancerous tumors removed next? Cancerous tumors are living cells. How is that any different? Don't our lives matter?

Too many women die during childbirth in the United States.

A major investigation by USA Today last year concluded that “the US is the most dangerous place in the developed world to deliver a baby.” The Washington Post warned that as global maternal mortality rates fell in recent decades, the number of women in the United States (US) dying in childbirth rose—just like in Afghanistan, Lesotho, and Swaziland—Anita Slomski, MA

It’s likely that this number will only continue to rise after the recent Supreme Court decision.

The agencies said it was inevitable that more women will die, as restrictions by national or regional governments increase—Overturning of Roe v Wade abortion law a ‘huge blow to women’s human rights’ warns Bachelet

Everybody in our country has to understand that any restriction on any form of reproductive health care is going to result in reduced access to humane and effective medical treatment.

I don’t want my daughters to have to confront that. I don’t want them to face prosecution if they have a miscarriage for completely natural reasons. All of these things are a consequence of repealing Roe v. Wade.

The connection between fetal personhood and prosecutions of pregnant people is well-established. While Oklahoma’s manslaughter and murder laws have a provision preventing pregnant people from being prosecuted “for causing the death of the unborn child,” there’s an exception for cases where “the mother has committed a crime that caused the death.” NAPW has identified more than 70 pregnancy-related prosecutions in Oklahoma since 2007—CECILIA NOWELL

Pregnancy is stressful enough. The argument can be made that the additional stress of facing prosecution because of a miscarriage might result in even more miscarriages. This is unacceptable.

I believe the United States is moving in the wrong direction. We need to have more sympathy for our daughters. We need to protect them.

If my daughters became pregnant, I want them to have the freedom to receive the most appropriate treatment available. I don’t want the government in the room with the doctor approving or disapproving treatments. If my daughters have a miscarriage, I don’t want them to face unjust criminal prosecution.

This isn’t the country I was promised when I was growing up. This isn’t freedom. We need to work towards a country that respects the rights of individual citizens. Nobody wants to live in a country where the government can make sweeping declarations that limit our children’s ability to access life-saving treatments.

We have to do better than this. Our daughters deserve better than this.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI

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