Thursday, July 09, 2009

"It's my abortion, and I'll have a party if I want to..."

On Alternet's Abortion Party Article

When the feminist blogosphere started buzzing about Byard Duncan's Alternet article about attending "My First Abortion Party." an event the author's friend as a fundraiser for her upcoming abortion, my first thoughts were not about the social etiquette surrounding such an event, the reaction forced pregnancy advocates would have, the personal circumstances of the individual hosting the party, the role of men should or should not play in a female partner's reproductive choices, or what the appropriate appetizers are for these fetes (red velvet cake?). Nope. I was thinking that I wasn't surprised to hear about another individual turn to fundraising to secure acce$$ to health care. Whether it's a large scale, city-wide run for breast cancer research and treatment or a local walk-a-thon to support a family struggling with the cost of care for a sick child, there are many examples of folks hosting events and selling cookies, ribbons, and other trinkets to gather the capital needed to check in to a hospital.

In fact, I know someone who threw a similar party when transitioning genders to help cover the cost of surgeries. In that case, the medical procedures this individual was seeking were very costly and not covered by medical insurance. For that individual, the party was a unique way to celebrate a new identity while also funding it. And the event received similar WTF? responses from both friends and observers (though not media coverage).

When comparing these fundraising events, there are similarities between the level of insurance coverage and a medical procedure deemed controversial in the mainstream. And, most commonly, a general discomfort with fundraising from friends via party (but perhaps the individuals were just trying to offer a service in addition to soliciting funds? or didn't feel any shame about the decisions they were making and support they were requesting from their nearest and dearest?).

Somehow, though, fundraising for an abortion seems more controversial or faux pax to many (in my observation). Which leaves me wondering...Why? While I agree that forced pregnancy activists will have a field day with this article (of questionable journalistic quality and women's and gender studies theoretical grounding)...

But perhaps the real focus should be on the fact that individuals need to have FUNDRAISERS to be able to afford needed medical care? (And, yes, we could debate whether these procedures are "elective." But I think it's problematic that there is a class bias for who can "elect" to make health decisions about their own bodies.) Seems like a strong argument for universal (and unbiased!) healthcare to me.

Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.

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