At risk of sounding incredibly cliché, I come from a homogeneous, southern college town, born to a white, middle-class family who always supported my education and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. My family encouraged controversial discussion around the dinner table, and the news was always on TV when I came home from school. I realize that this concept is probably foreign to you Mr. President, but yes most families around the country actually do value the information presented in the news, and don’t relegate it to fictitious self-serving propaganda. On these, VERY REAL newscasts, and in everyday discussion, I frequently heard snippets of conversation centered on the challenges women faced in the workplace, academia and society as a whole. These remarks left me slightly confused because I had never quite experienced those difficulties first hand.
My parents are both doctors and as such were always supportive of my (ahem feminine needs). When I was 16 my mom was proactive in starting the discussion about whether or not birth control was the right option for me. She even set up an appointment with another female doctor so that I could talk about the matter with someone other than my birth-giver. My dad was a little bit slower to come around to the idea that I was not a little girl any more (I think he nearly had a heart attack when I said I needed to go bra shopping and buy tampons). While he wasn’t necessarily enthused about jumping on the puberty train, he encouraged me to talk to my aunts and female cousins as an outlet for my confusion and source of information.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a household that valued and facilitated discussion about the difficult parts of growing up that I was facing. I was never treated any differently than my brothers, and when I couldn’t turn to my parents for help, had plenty of other strong female and male figures in my life that wanted the best for my mental and physical health. When there was a lapse in my insurance coverage because my parents had both switched jobs, I was able to pay out of pocket for my birth control and doctors appointments without having to worry about having to cut out other necessities.
President Trump, I assume that your daughters are similar to me in this regard: the cost of birth control, a co-pay for a visit to a physician (whether for a regular check up or something more personal), the cost of tampons, having to take off work and travel far distances in order to be seen by a medical specialist; none of these obstacles, monetary or otherwise would be a hindrance to our care. Yes I recognize how this may seem controversial to you: here is a girl telling you that she has had tremendous access to healthcare and reproductive equality—our policies must be working. Sir, do not be mistaken, I, and your daughters, and your wife, and your ex-wives are exceptions to the rule.
I do not take my privileged situation for granted. There are millions of women who are not as lucky as I. #READMYLIPS we need to do better so that the policies of our country do not just benefit some (me included). So that my friends, girls across the country I haven’t met yet, women who I will never have the chance to meet— ALL YOUNG WOMEN can take ownership of a country in which their rights are not only respected, but actively promoted and advocated for. We will be better off if the health, safety and security of both and women and men’s bodies are not just something attained through military protection, but rather through equal access to healthcare. WE MUST DO BETTER so that it is not considered a fluke of nature, or luck that allows women to feel secure in their access to reproductive healthcare.