There is a thin line that separates my rights from yours. It is easy to miss it. Easy to assume that what works for me is ok because – as I so often put it –  “your rights stop where mine begin.” I realize now that the lilne is fuzzier and more fragile than I originally imagined.

Yesterday’s washington post ran an article  about the fight over the rights of healthcare professionals…by nature of my schooling in public health and as a patient…my rights. Brought to the forefront with recent fury and abandon, folks on both sides of the fight on gearing up for a long battle.

I tried to get my family stirred up about it, but my sister was the only one who seemed moved. For me it was a frenzy of ideas, a frenzy of fear about what legislation could potentially decide about my body…what doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and lab technicians can decide about my body.

Planned parenthood  brought it to my attention a few years ago. They sent me some information about a pharmacist who refused to fill birth control prescriptions, others who refused time-sensitive morning after pills. All I could think of was the ease at which people distribute the little blue pill, the chagrin with which the present administration looks at unwed pregnancies, and the mounting legislation that makes abortions more difficult to attain. And in the midst of all that, someone not related to my choice of doctor can decide my fate.

And I hear the arguments, “I’m catholic and I don’t believe in birth control”. And I am torn…except it is my decision to take it and I don’t think someone else should feel angst about my decision.

It is a slippery slope on either side.

This comes up with things like feeding tubes, immunizations (some are the result of stem cell research that someone may object to), or even lifestyle choices. There are some people who are charging that healthcare professionals can decide not to treat homosexuals.

Homosexuals…what next, women, or hispanics, or maybe just people with the last name johnson?

This thinking scares me. This thinking can spiral on and on and provide for every niche or fetish of any given person.

And don’t they have rights?

I know I have my preferences. There is a fellowship I am seriously looking at and I had to research it to make sure that it was not abstinence-only prevention methods. My own personal philosophy is not against that approach, I just trust what I’ve read on the subject and believe that it – alone – is ineffective.  I have to decide what is more important for me.

But that is an extravagance I have – to look – to decide for myself to apply or not to apply. But in a country where healthcare is almost a luxury, where healthcare is expensive and timely, and the quality of it can often be decided by how much you know or are confident enough to ask/demand, not everyone has the same opportunities.

Here in the conservative south it might be difficult for me to find someone willing to write a prescription for the morning after pill. And given the necessity to take it within 72 hours (the earlier the better), even if I have access to another pharmacy the time is valuable as well.

I don’t know what the answer is. I know that I don’t want someone else deciding that my dad should have a feeding tube (something else being debated) when he has clearly stated for as long as I can remember that he doesn’t want any heroic measures when it is his time to go. I know I don’t want anyone deciding what is best for my reproductive rights outside of my doctor. But I also don’t want someone deciding that I have to teach abstinence only preventative measures for aids.

The question is, where does that fuzzy fragile line that I’ve drawn tread heavily over yours?

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