Misogyny And Everything Fatigue, or Why This Job Is Hard Enough

Posted on 8.23.2012 by Lily

Re: Todd Akin, I just can't even.

Re: TRAP law shuttering a Tennessee clinic, I can't. I'm glad Amy did. But I can't.

Paul Ryan. "Legitimate" rape. Official GOP party platform. Transvaginal ultrasounds. Waiting periods. 20 week bans. Sex selection. Lila Rose. Insurance (non-)coverage. A 16 year old dying of cancer because she's also pregnant. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I can't. I have what Jezebel aptly named rape fatigue, except it's Misogyny And Everything fatigue. I can't get properly outraged at every outrageous thing. I wouldn't have anything left.

It seems like every day there's another setback to our rights. Another shameful law making it that much harder to access vitally needed, life-saving health care. Another vile politician spouting off nonsense they know nothing about and making it that much clearer just how much these people should not be legislating health care. And, well... it just gets to be too much. Plus my job, it's just too much.

I don't even read a lot of feminist commentary about all the terrible stuff that's going on anymore. I used to devour the feminist blogosphere, back when I was in college and not living abortion every day. And I got outraged.

Now I live abortion every day. And with abortion I work with women. I work with birth control, and I work with the lack of access to it and education around it. I work with rape, and domestic violence, and the very real pregnancies that result. I work with young women, and poor women, and women of color, and undocumented women, all of whom have their own set of unique challenges to obtaining the health care they need.

I love abortion care dearly and can't imagine my life without it, but damn, is it hard. It's nonstop emotional, and it's seriously draining. Sometimes it's uplifting and empowering and beautiful, and sometimes it's terrible. Patients are at once wonderful and awful. Sometimes patients thank me, so sincerely, so heartfelt, so grateful for our service that they're in tears, and it makes it all worth it. Sometimes patients scream at me and I wonder why I do this. Most days involve some mixture of everything.

It's difficult to come home after a day of living abortion and to go on Facebook to unwind, only to see my news feed exploded with the asinine comments of some douchebag Republican about how only "'legitimate' rape victims deserve access to abortion." And I want to scream and cry and I wish he would live my job for a day and learn the truth.

And then I get up and go back to my job the next day.

I'm incredibly fortunate that with the plethora of laws introduced lately to restrict abortion care, Connecticut has remained unscathed. As I mentioned a little while ago, we have it really, really good. I'm lucky that I can JUST be drained by the daily reality of my job, without all the added absurdity going on elsewhere in the country. I may have to find out what it's like to be the target of a TRAP law, or worse, but I honestly cannot even imagine it. This job is hard enough.

And that's why I blog about the ins and outs and ups and downs of direct service in the field of abortion care. (Thanks, Abortioneers!) What's going on in the news is obviously important and outrageous and we need to be aware so we can fight back. But people also need to know just what this work actually IS. What I do every day. Who my patients are. That abortion care is love and life and everything beautiful and terrible, that it's the TRUTH. Abortion is the truth, because we've always had it and we always will, no matter what laws are on the books or what the politicians say.

So yeah, more blogging about my actual work and less about what's going on in the world outside my clinic walls. Because my actual work is what gets me through, and my actual work is what will still be here every day even after the media spotlight fades away on this latest uproar. I'll still be doing this amazing, life-saving, incredible work, and that's my response to Todd Akin.