The Battle Over IUDs
Dear Rep. Wachtmann,
Yesterday I opened the news and I got angry. I read that Wednesday, just prior to a vote on a bill about expanding the breadth of the work physician assistants can do, you added an amendment barring PAs from inserting or removing intrauterine devices (IUDs). IUDs work by preventing fertilized eggs from implanting, and you believe that a fertilized egg is a human life. "I'm pro-life and I don't want to encourage any medical professionals including PAs to be able to do that," you explained.
There are so many things wrong with this picture! Allow me to enlighten you.
First of all, considering the insertion of an IUD is a medical procedure, isn’t it a good idea to allow the governing body for PAs (the American Academy of Physician Assistants) to decide whether they should be handling that procedure? After all, they’ve been educated to understand the process and the risks. Without even so much as testimony from medical professionals, how are politicians supposed to decide what another occupation is capable of? (Hint: you’re not!)
Second, IUDs aren’t just about preventing pregnancy. Outside of the US, 80 countries have approved IUDs to treat heavy menstrual bleeding and anecdotally I know doctors here prescribe it for the same reason. The IUD has also been shown to reduce the risk of endometrial cancer by 40% and is a treatment option for women dealing with endometriosis.
Lastly, while I appreciate that your personal belief is that life begins at fertilization, I think you misunderstand what “freedom of religion” means. Freedom of religion gives you the right to practice your own beliefs. It does NOT give you the right to force others to adhere to those beliefs. So, Rep. Wachtmann, I respect your belief that preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall is wrong. I would never try to force you to have an IUD, because clearly that is against your religion/personal belief system. You need to give me - and every other woman in America - the same respect and leave the decisions about our uteri to ourselves and our medical providers.
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