B is for Bodily Autonomy

Mar 1, 2023 | 2023 Spring - Bodily Autonomy, Privacy, and Choice, 2

By Lara Zielinsky

As a bisexual person, I am pro-choice. Fundamentally, it is necessary to my identity to be able to choose. Choose my partner(s), choose my level(s) of intimacy, and choose to manage the consequences of my behavior for myself. This is the very definition of bodily autonomy. But that is not my primary concern with this issue.

Healthcare in the United States is privatized through the employer. While we have government healthcare programs in Medicare and Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, these are constantly under threat of being gutted, or the “allowances” chipped away as to be all but window-dressing on a serious issue: community health.

If an employee does not have bodily autonomy, work hours are up to the employer. Work safety is up to the employer. Workplace health coverage is up to the employer. 

No coverage for anything the employer “does not approve” means that many types of life-saving medical care —of which we have the best researched available in this country—may not be accessible to those who need it. An employer is against stem-cell or gene research? No stem-cell therapies will be covered despite the fact that they have been proven to abate many childhood cancers. Employer against abortion? Not covered will be procedures to expel or remove the decayed fetal tissue when the child you wanted dies in utero at 14 weeks, so your spouse dies from sepsis, no death benefit. Against LGBTQ+ rights? No coverage for your spouse at all.

Bodily autonomy does not exist if someone else gets to make the decisions about what you are allowed and not allowed to do.

Lara Zielinsky lives in Orlando, Florida, where she works full-time as a freelance fiction editor and writes her own stories for publication.

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