Tuesday, April 29, 2008

YouTube and Reproductive Health

The crazy world in which we live never ceases to amaze me.

Today in my reproductive health class we debated whether or not women should be granted asylum in the United States to be able to have abortions. It's a really interesting and nuanced question that involves not only issues of human rights and unsafe abortion, but the U.S. asylum process, historical precedents, and U.S. politics and public opinion. It was really a fascinating thing to be a part of.

Also fascinating was a mini-lecture afterwards from an ob-gyn working to expand abortion access. She spoke of two recent and completely mind-blowing initiatives: Women on Waves and Women on Web. Women on waves is a boat of professionals who bring on board women facing unwanted pregnancies in countries in which abortion is illegal -- and then sail into international waters to perform a medical (Mifepristone/Misoprostol) abortion (or to decide to continue the pregnancy after a counseling session). Women on Web is even crazier: women in countries where abortion is illegal can order, over the web, and from an anonymous source, misoprostol/mifepristone doses sufficient to abort the fetus. How do the women know how to use these medications, or when to seek help? Well, there's an instructional YouTube video.

YouTube, to me, is a time-waster, somewhere to go when I'm not thinking about anything serious. The idea that a woman could be relying on YouTube to ensure her health is, well, crazy. But in a crazy world, where all the official rhetoric touts a woman's individuality and the validity of human rights, and yet we get closer to overturning Roe v. Wade everyday, and women in the U.S. military are not allowed abortions, the solutions must be crazy too. People have an endless supply of ingenuity, and will use every resource at their command to address the problems with which they're faced. YouTube included.

No comments: