Today I’m scared.
I know, there are a lot of things I ought to be writing about in a nice crisp professional voice, but I can’t really bring myself to think about them. I am scared.
I’m writing this upstairs on my husband’s slow computer. I haven’t seen any news in a couple of hours. It could be that this is all over, one way or another, as I write these words.
Today’s the day that congress is going to vote on whether or not I should be allowed to have Medicaid, and if I can’t have Medicaid whether people with preexisting conditions like me will get access to affordable insurance at all. I’ve got a lot of preexisting conditions. I have chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, acute gastritis, they’re still trying to figure out if my rheumatoid arthritis has come back out of remission, my liver swells sometimes for reasons they still don’t know. I’m so often sick that my husband can’t work outside the home and has to stay in to care for our daughter for me. So we’re poor. I don’t know if the Republicans would call us “deserving” or “undeserving.” Frankly I’ve never met a poor person who met their criteria for deserving.
We don’t have money for “extras.” We don’t have a car. We don’t have Comcast. We don’t have smartphones. We have the internet because it’s the only way we can work. I still don’t know how we’re going to pay the rent in twelve days when it’s due. I don’t know how we’ll pay the utility bills month to month. And there’s a very good chance that today, Congress is going to vote to make medical care an “extra,” something we just can’t afford.
Most of my conditions are incurable, so I guess it doesn’t really matter to me. But I want my daughter to be able to see a doctor when she’s sick, and I don’t know what to do if the doctor asks for payment up front. For non-emergencies, they do.
I’m told that if congress forces us to go through this additional suffering, it will be “pro-life.”
I can’t really find anything about the bill that will save unborn babies, but the Republicans want it, so it must be “pro-life.”
I deeply oppose abortion. I want to say that again. I deeply oppose abortion. I think it is horrendous that any mother ever felt she had to make that choice. And I’m saying this despite knowing I won’t be believed, because every time I point out that Republicans aren’t really pro-life, I get informed that I’m secretly a “pro-abort.” I’ve been called a hypocrite; total strangers have demanded to know how many abortions I’ve had. The answer is zero. I can’t force you to believe that, but it’s true. I gave birth to Rose in a horrifically abusive situation where a con artist fake midwife gave me a quadruple dose of labor-inducing herbs, raped me and fled town; I somehow stayed alive for twenty-eight hours before I could trick her accomplice into driving me to the hospital. I fought as hard as I could to keep Rose alive. The other two times I seem to have gotten pregnant, I did everything I could to keep Damien and Therese alive. I didn’t take ibuprofen when the migraines started. I took my vitamins even though we couldn’t afford them. When I started gushing, I sat in bed with my legs together in some crazy, pointless attempt to make it stop. I got in the bathtub later and tried to catch clots in some primal, instinctive reflex to keep them from going down the drain. When the doctors told me it was some freak medical condition imitating pregnancy but that there’d never been a baby in there, I put a cutout picture of a fetus on my icon table and I mourned for them anyway. I believe that unborn children are human beings, and I have done what little was in my power to keep unborn babies alive.
I don’t see that Republicans are doing everything in their power to keep unborn babies alive. I see that they are doing everything they can to punish and humiliate the poor, put refugee children in danger, brutalize people with the wrong skin color or religion, and also occasionally throwing a bone to those who want to keep unborn babies alive. Today, they’re voting for a measure which could put thousands of unborn babies in danger of death from medical neglect– not to mention babies born with birth defects and chronically ill or disabled people of any age. But I’m told this is really a pro-life measure, because it’s Republican.
Yes, I know that on the other side there are people who don’t care about keeping unborn babies alive at all. I know that most Democrats want unborn babies to remain non-persons under the law, and this is a terrible injustice.