This is NARAL Pro-Choice's national blog for choice day, and the theme this year is "Trust Women". The phrase is in honor of Dr. Tiller after his murder last year. Dr. Tiller was an abortion provider, and vocally pro-choice, and was noted often for wearing a button with this simple concept emblazoned upon it. It's two little words, but such a huge sentiment. What does Trust Women mean?
For one, Trust Women is obviously pro-choice. It says to respect women's physical autonomy in the same way that we respect men's physical autonomy. There is no medical procedure for men that is equivalent in its regulation or controversial nature to abortion. There are no regulations nor discussion of new regulation of which I know that restrict a medical decision made by a mentally competent male of the age of majority. And yet we have frequent discussions and multiple regulations concerning medical decisions made by women.
Secondly, it's not just about abortion. In the past few year's especially, there have been attacks on women's physical autonomy concerning birth control and emergency contraception. Most notably, there was the movement for "conscience" by pharmacists which would allow pharmacists who do not approve of the use of oral contraceptives to deny the filling of those prescriptions. Oral contraception is not only used for birth control- it's also used to treat dermatological conditions of severe acne, and keep some bleeding disorders in check by controlling the frequency and duration of menstruation. Legitimate medical concerns for which pharmacists can deny treatment that has been prescribed by a physician. Again, there is no male equivalent.
Finally, Trust Women is a declaration of the distance that we still have to cross in basic women's rights. We have undoubtedly come a huge way in the past half-century. But the paternalistic idea that women can not make basic medical decisions about their own body and lives shows that we still live in a society where women are viewed as second class citizens that must be protected from their own devices, similarly to children. This, in my opinion, is the ultimate meaning of Trust Women, and possibly the most disturbing.