I wish I could have been there. My friend was terrified. She sounded like she was crying. She told me what had happened. Unprotected sex. They didn’t mean to but they did and what if she was pregnant?
I told her things were going to be all right. I walked her through the steps of accessing emergency contraception. She was between paychecks and in a strange city. It was one of those horrible moments in life where all you want to do is sit down and cry. Not take action. Not go looking for pharmacies that may or may not accept your insurance. Just cry.
She thought about waiting. Maybe she wasn’t pregnant. She would be back home soon with the money. It would be too late by then to take EC but she could still have an abortion. Would I be there for her when she had one? Of course. We talked about other sexual health scares and whether I had an abortion.
Luckily she was able to find somewhere that sold emergency contraception that she could afford. She did not have to face an unplanned pregnancy.
This was especially important for her because she accesses health care through the Federal Employee Benefits Program(FEHB). Between 1983 to 1993 anti-choice lawmakers once again decided to make decisions about people’s uterus’ FOR THEM and banned federal employees from choosing plans that covered abortion. The inspiration for this discriminatory decision was probably the Hyde Amendment, passed only six years before.
For a brief moment, between 1993 and 1994, federal employees were allowed to choose if they wanted a health plan covering abortion. Bodily autonomy must have been too much because in 1995 FEHB no longer allowed coverage of abortion.
Our politicians also access health insurance plans though FEHB. However, if necessary they could afford to pay out of pocket for an abortion. Thousands of federal employees live at or below the federal poverty level. Even for those above the federal poverty level, an unexpected bill can still threaten someone’s financial stability. A first trimester abortion ranges between $350 and $550, not to mention travel costs, childcare, and taking time off. That money could be someone’s rent money, their money for groceries, or their family.
On this war against sexual health, our opposition knows that the easiest people to attack are those who lack the funds to “purchase” bodily autonomy. If you do not have the financial means to access a legal right regarding your own body, do you really have bodily autonomy?
There are of course exceptions for rape, incest, or if the mother’s life was endangered. But our health care does not need some apologetic, hard to access, “exceptions,” that are only there to give anti-choice politicians the impression of being understandable or compassionate. With our country taking steps in the right direction for health care, we need to make sure that abortion access is not left out. For anyone.