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Pregnancy: Not a Disease, Not Exactly a Skip Through Fluffy Bunny Land, Either

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By Emjaybee

Not an accurate representation of pregnancy.


So first off, credit must go to Sarah Morice-Brubaker at Religion Dispatches for this excellent piece, which does two amazing things: reveal the latest twisted catchphrase being used in the war on contraception AND provide a capsule history of the natural childbirth movement and the ways in which it has become a rallying cause for both pro-choice and anti-abortion activists in this country. Which is either upsetting or hopeful depending on how you look at it.

Please, go read it, it’s so so good. She talks about Ina May Gaskin! Grantly Dick-Read! Augustine of Hippo! Who can resist that combo?

Are you back? Ok.

So yes; pregnancy is not a disease, but it’s ridiculous to use that truth as a reason for not covering pregnancy prevention with our healthcare dollars.

For one thing, if we’re talking about limited healthcare dollars, which is cheaper: pills or babies?

For another, when was it decided that healthcare should only address “diseases”? Does that mean no preventative care, period? In what universe is that either cost-effective or ethical? 

And if pregnancy is not a disease and therefore should not be covered by health care, we’re not just talking about not covering pregnancy prevention, but about pregnancy itself. No OBs, no midwives, no drugs, no sonograms, no testing, no nothing.  It’s unassisted birth for everyone, ladies! Hope that baby’s not a transverse breech! Try not to get pre-eclampsia!  Hope your husband’s a smooth hand with those mail-order forceps!

For a third thing, if you’ve got the bad luck to have certain medical conditions, pregnancy is a disease, and a lethal one.

For a fourth thing, this whole conversation is ridiculous. We are only having it because somebody, somewhere, is upset that women are having sexy non-babymaking funtimes they don’t approve of, and they’re determined to make us all pay for their inability to deal with not everybody agreeing with them that this is bad.

Which is stupid.

So instead, how about this:

1. Pregnancy is not a disease, however;
2. Pregnancy affects a woman’s health and her quality of life;
3. Medical care addresses anything that affects a person’s health and quality of life, therefore;
4. Medical care should cover pregnancy, including the prevention of pregnancy.

Or you could also go with this:

1. Pregnancy is not a disease, but;
2. Some people don’t think women should be able to choose whether or not to get pregnant even if doing so could kill them, therefore;
3. Some people are douchebags and should not be allowed to shape healthcare policy.

(Hat tip to Tiger Beatdown for the link to Ms. Morice-Brubaker’s article).




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Reader Comments (13)

"this whole conversation is ridiculous. We are only having it because somebody, somewhere, is upset that women are having sexy non-babymaking funtimes they don’t approve of,"

This is possibly the best phrasing of an unspoken truth I've seen in a long time. Those who want to limit contraceptive access are desperately seeking a rationale for something that comes down to...THAT.

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

but men can have health insurance-covered, viagra-fueled, sexy non-babymaking funtimes, right?!!! grrrr.

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdrienne

Great post, Emjaybee. When I linked to the Religion Dispatches article on Facebook, I accompanied it with the following caption: "Great article and I love that someone outside of the fray can clearly see the distinction between the so-called natural childbirth movement and the women's health movement. Distinct origins, distinct motivations, yet enough overlap to confuse the heck out of people."

August 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterJill

Ditto Jill, entirely.

This paragraph from the original article made me wonder why I ever even bother writing sometimes:

And there is, lastly, the plain fact that for some women, getting pregnant really honestly will make them sick(er), (more) abused, poor(er), and/or (more) mentally unwell. That’s a public health concern. And free contraception holds promise for addressing it. This is the overriding concern behind the IOM recommendations and the HHS guidelines."

August 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterCourtroom Mama

Another AMEN for your fourth thing. The womenfolk fully controlling their bodies and health is some scary, scary shit for many. Thanks for another thoughtful post!

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnother Rachel

Also, that image is horrifically awesome. My pregnancy is EXACTLY LIKE THAT. La la la!

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnother Rachel

I am just so happy to see other people understand this situation is absurd. Human rights should not be up for debate!

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmerica

I just have to laugh with Another Rachel -- I'm 37 weeks today (and planning an HBAC! Woot!) and yep, it's all skippy fluffy bunny land around here too. La la la, indeed! :)

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle N

Sending you lots of good HBAC vibes, Michelle N! Let us know how it goes-- fluffy bunny land or not. :)

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnother Rachel

I'm 11 weeks pregnant now, and oh yeah, it's all happy bunny-land....NOT!

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura--The Sushi Snob
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