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