This is for women of a “certain age” who have not paid attention to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
I’m sure you’re ignoring the ruling because you believe it doesn’t pertain. Menopause is in your rearview mirror and your children may be older or you never had any. I’m here to tell you, this ruling certainly does affect you. It affects all women of all ages because it’s not about abortion or birth control; it’s about your ability to retain the right to make decisions about your own body.
Although we’re older now it doesn’t mean we quit living. It also doesn’t mean that certain health practices don’t still need to be considered when having sex. STDs don’t pay much attention to the age of the recipient and condoms are still unavoidable to staying healthy if you’re not in a committed relationship.
Even more importantly, the overturning of Roe vs. Wade may very well create a loss of services that are necessary to keeping older women healthy. What happens if a doctor wants to perform a hysterectomy on a perfectly healthy uterus? Will you have the right to refuse the treatment? If so, what happens if you lose your insurance as a result? Or if you need a hysterectomy but you’re deemed not deserving of the surgery, even if it might save your life? Do you think that if a younger woman loses her right to bodily autonomy, it’s not going to affect you? It most definitely will.
What if you need hormones to deal with the vagaries of perimenopause? What if you need them to stop the hot flashes from making your life a living hell? Do you think it won’t ever affect you? If you’re wealthy and can afford to buy them for exorbitant prices you may buy some time. For most of us it will be a crap shoot. There’s absolutely no guarantee a doctor won’t refuse them with a patronizing pat on your head and a “you’re imagining things. It can’t possibly be that bothersome.” If you supported this particular action by the Supreme Court, you’ve just sent yourself back to the 1950’s.
Women are disproportionately diagnosed with hysteria and hypochondria already and this ruling will only exacerbate the lack of women’s health care as well as make it ever more likely your “women problems” will be dismissed as a weakness. Older women will become even more likely to die from undiagnosed breast, cervical and uterine cancers. It’s just a hop, skip and jump back to the time when troublesome women were institutionalized to keep them quiet.
So, if you’re not paying attention to what’s coming out of the Supreme Court and you’re a woman, you are playing Russian Roulette with your own life. If you don’t believe me, ask a black, brown, indigenous, or poor woman what they experience when they go in for their yearly exam or seek a doctor for undefined symptoms. What these women have been experiencing all their lives will eventually make it to the white, the wealthy, the cisgender and the straight. What happens behind the doors of your bedroom will eventually no longer be in your control. Not unless you stand up and join your sisters in the fight for our lives. We still have time but we have to step up and use our voices. If not for the younger women who will be forced to have babies, then for yourself.