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First, as far as vaccines:
This post is not about vaccine efficacy.
This post is not about a global pandemic.
This post is about privacy and body autonomy.
A year ago, I spoke at the Arlington County Board meeting about the policy instated by the Arlington County (Virginia) Treasurer Carla de la Pava to require her employees to disclose whether or not we had been vaccinated to her and her deputies. She had instated a mask policy in an office in a government building that was more restrictive than Governor Northam’s.
You can read my blogpost and watch my video about the whole fiasco here: Take Action to Stop Unconstitutional Vaccine Mandates and Vaccine Passports
(Or just watch the video here.)
And can listen for yourself to my 2 minute statement at the meeting here. And yes, if 2 minutes sounds even more disrespectful than the standard 3 minutes most public servants bestow upon their constituents, it is.
In the end, Carla fired me for “displaying a profound distrust in the leadership team.” (Lol.) If you are an adult person with a fully developed pre-frontal cortex and you don’t know that trust isn’t a real concept anchored in reality: please read my piece on trading trust for reduced risk here.
Not only did I get fired for even questioning the concept of forced medical record disclosure, other County employees got fired for not getting the vaxx, long before President Biden’s mandate.
But then there was the … coercion. After I was fired, someone I worked with was repeatedly, approached by the Treasurer’s Deputy. This person, who told me about this incident as it was happening, hadn’t scheduled their vaccination appointment (in June of 2021). They were accosted over and over again by the Deputy who demanded, “when are you going? when is your appointment? why haven’t you scheduled it yet?” When the employee said they hadn’t decided if they were going to get vaccinated yet, the deputy said, “what do you MEAN??? you need to make sure you get it scheduled.” After a week of this hourly browbeating, the employee scheduled their Covid-19 vaccination appointment.
The ACLU — the same organization that ostensibly views Edward Snowden as a warrior for 4th Amendment rights and privacy from our government’s prying eyes — declared their full support of employers forcing their employees not just to get vaccinated but to disclose that personal, private medical information to their co-workers and supervisors, people who are de facto strangers (or less than strangers, as the song goes). Again, this post is not about
a) how effective the c vaccine or any other vaccine is, or
b) how safe the c vaccine or any other vaccine is.
It’s about being forced to disclose whether or not a personal, private, medical procedure, happened. To strangers. You and your doctor, you and your nurse – people who literally listen to your heart in a profoundly intimate way – talked to you in a private room. Door closed. And then a procedure occurred. Or it didn’t. And that is no one’s business but yours and the “health care provider.”
Here’s where I take a moment to share my respect with you, dear reader, for physicians and nurses. They are human beings. They are healers. They actually take an oath — a sworn oath — not to harm other human beings. Insurance companies reduce them to objects by labeling them “health care providers.” That twisting of language is disrespectful and unkind. My dad was a doctor and when I learned about the Hippocratic oath, I thought it was so cool, in that way you feel awe as a child. Wow! You’re giving your word that you will help heal others or at least do your best not to hurt them! This is serious business, you guys. The other oath I knew about was the one to protect and defend the Constitution — even if it meant your own death. I knew an oath was like a pact, in essence a promise you made — to God — to be amazing. Awesome, brave, heroic. That’s how I saw the members of my family who had taken these oaths. People so fearless that they didn’t hesitate to make a public declaration that they would always do the right thing. Cool!!
Here’s a video of me telling the story of my dad walking a burglar backwards down the stairs at gunpoint in 1982, advising the miscreant gentleman to rethink his life decisions, and telling him, “Good news, it’s your lucky day.” (Imagine the cadence of the Raymond Reddington character on the show “Blacklist.”) “I’d certainly like to shoot you for trying to cut my wife’s finger off but … I took the Hippocratic oath so I can’t.” My mom later said, “well, I didn’t take any Hippocratic oath” to which my dad replied, “then you should have slept with a 45 under your side of the mattress.” Lol! (And that story got better and better every time my mom told it, as stories are wont to do.)
Now, I realize that health insurance companies may also be privvy to interactions and procedures that take place between doctor, nurse, et al and patient. Ok, but in my opinion even that is a violation of privacy and the (I know “sacred” is a bit over the top as far as adjectives go so let’s say personal) very personal nature of the relationship between patient and caregiver.
I want people to understand that IF we are saying, “It’s ok for an employer to use force to require their employees to divulge their personal medical history,” THEN we must naturally feel curiosity regarding the limitations regarding such force as it pertains to reduced privacy and compelled divulsion.
Where does this end?
Does Hobby Lobby get to demand access to any records in your medical history pertaining to being prescribed birth control and/or getting an abortion and then deny you employment based on that information?
Does Tesla get to demand access to any records in your history pertaining to being prescribed antidepressants or hospitalization for a suicide attempt and then deny you employment based on that information?
Chuckle. (Chuckle in your myopia, which none of my subscribers are victims of.) And lack of foresight. I don’t know where it will end but I know it began the day we consented to disclosing our vaccine status to our employers.
This brings us to the government’s prying eyes into our medical records. In fact, many of my conservative friends oppose a single payer health care system for this reason. Oh no, Uncle Sam would see all my medical history! Lol. The federal government already has COMPLETE AND TOTAL INSTANT ACCESS to the records of every doctor visit you’ve ever had, every drug you’ve ever been prescribed, and any medical procedure from strep swab to colonoscopy you’ve ever endured. How? A little law called HIPPA.
Hey, remember when 99 psychopaths in the Senate passed the PATRIOT Act in 2001 which was the opposite of how a Patriot would act? Naming it in such an ironic way just to be sadistic and screw with us?
The same with HIPPA.
It stands for:
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Public Law 104-191, was enacted on August 21, 1996. Sections 261 through 264 of HIPAA require the Secretary of HHS to publicize standards for the electronic exchange, privacy and security of health information.
Oh and there’s a privacy rule!! Thank GOODNESS! And, look, it’s designed to give you a RIGHT to CONTROL your personal information! Neat! Yes, insert (and hype) the phrase “privacy rule” and egads, American as apple pie.
Yes. You read that correctly. Law enforcement can go to any health care provider, any hospital, and clinic or doctor’s office and access your personal PRIVATE medical records. On demand.
HIPPA “corrected” the issue the federal government had getting access to the psychiatrist notes of one Daniel Ellsberg, renowned Pentagon Papers whistleblower.
Check out this Watergate article out about “The World’s Most Famous Filing Cabinet.”
“After Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, the notorious Plumbers broke into his psychiatrist’s office, looking for a way to discredit him,” says the article. Only a CrAaZy man would take an action that would make the President look bad (never mind that seeing a psychiatrist was en vogue at the time for those financially secure enough to afford one).
They were going to do whatever it took to make the whistleblower look bad in retribution for exposing the myriad of militaristic mistakes made in Vietnam.
The *actual* filing cabinet that held Ellsberg’s records is in the Smithsonian — theeeee Smithsonian! A museum! The ACLU loves this guy and yet they give zero fucks about whether or not the government or your employer has a right to view your medical history.
Private means exactly that: none of your business. Privacy is dead but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t …
a) morally oppose that injustice
b) vocally oppose that injustice via written and spoken protest, i.e. petitioning the government for a redress of grievances and peaceful assembly
c) organize in order to add the power of numbers to increase the strength of our objection
d) vote with our dollars for companies and products that do respect privacy
And so, when it comes to abortion, we ought to have a seriously nuanced conversation, not a black and white one.
❤︎ 𝕊𝕒𝕣𝕒𝕙 ℝ𝕖𝕪𝕟𝕠𝕝𝕕𝕤 ❤︎ @Sarah__ReynoldsRight. The “safe, legal, rare” crowd should not be conflated with the tiny but loud (mentally ill) “shout your abortion” crowd Catturd ™ @catturd2Don’t listen to Democrat lies today … Abortion is a 50/50 split issue in the USA right now Gallup Poll: 52% of Americans Want All or Most Abortions Made Illegal – https://t.co/G23zCvx13Q https://t.co/kKf6X5wJk9May 3rd 20222 Likes
I suspect that a cap on receiving payment for performing abortions and/or a ban on selling fetuses or in any other way monetizing the organs of an aborted fetus would profoundly reduce the number of abortions performed each year. And human traffickers – pimps – get away with forcing their victims to get abortions as way of exploiting them without the unsightly interruption of a pregnancy. It’s amazing to me that in our society, a social worker will stop by a house if a child comes to school exhausted or unkempt but the idea of requiring a social worker to take a photo of any minor getting an abortion is not a policy already in place. Run the photo against the database of missing or abducted children. Guys, I have to show my unexpired ID to the doordash person who delivers me 5% Truly (hard seltzer). Seriously? We’re that culture that doesn’t take 30 seconds to verify if a person is showing up to an abortion clinic under duress?? Oh right, asking the person who’s under duress to tell us of they’re there under duress will work! No. Lies. Insanity.
As a society, we would ideally prioritize PREVENTION. Let’s teach women their natural fertility patterns & educate them so they can effectively discern fertile and non-fertile days of our cycles and take action accordingly. Teaching women the nature of their own fertility cycle would truly empower them (us) and instill in all women the autonomy necessary to prevent getting pregnant in the first place. But this would mean that getting pregnant in the first place would become a choice. And I have seen that there are those in the religious community who want only 2 choices for women: abstinence (a.k.a. chastity) or motherhood. Not the true freedom of true body self-governance. And I have seen the deranged talking point that abortion is healthcare by those radical “pro-choice” people who want only ONE choice for women: that abortion, and having at least one, is inevitable. Wrong. Ladies, YOU are in control of your body.
❤︎ 𝕊𝕒𝕣𝕒𝕙 ℝ𝕖𝕪𝕟𝕠𝕝𝕕𝕤 ❤︎ @Sarah__ReynoldsHave you heard of cycle beads? (before there were ovulation/period tracking apps, there were cycle beads) As women, our egg is only fertilizable for 48 hrs, sperm live up to 72 hours, so about a 5 day window to get pregnant. Cycle beads help you identify or avoid fertile days. June 27th 20221 Retweet1 Like
In the same way that pro-choice people promote “hashtag shout your abortion,” pro-life people could promote “hashtag shout your unplanned pregnancy.” I’m serious. New life is a beautiful amazing thing, right? The mysterious power over the population itself that all women hold? The pregnant female human form is beautiful and to be revered. Waterbirth could be a rite of passage, ushering all women into a sisterhood of motherhood, no? Well, I suspect that some religious pro-life people may feel anxiety at the prospect of a world where marriage would cease to be necessary within the context of hippie commune-esque circles of partners raising all the children in the tribe together, where dads are present but not identified as specific progenitors. In all seriousness, my pro-life friends and readers: I don’t think this would happen. It might truly be a beautiful world of people raising all their kids together but the marriage contract will stick. Yes, it might be your kids with your first spouse, then your kids with your second spouse, then (well, for men), your kids with your third spouse. And this means acknowledging that serial monogamy is a thing (it already was) and that it’s not necessarily bad. Look, I’m an idealist. As I mentioned in a previous post:
What a beautiful world we would inhabit if everyone could fall in love, stay in love, and all children came into existence as a result of making love? This is not the state of our world but it is the world I pray for every day.
But the reality of existence is much more nuanced. I wouldn’t be here today typing at my laptop on a rainy overcast day as I look out on the Anacostia River with the Nats Stadium in the frame of my floor to ceiling window if only soulmates were capable of procreative sex. LOL. (Click here for my mom’s six hottest takes on abortion, the things she taught me about why we were pro-choice when I asked her what that meant in 1992.)
What I DO know is it’s not your employer’s business if you’ve had an abortion.
And it’s sure as HELL not your employer’s business if you have been vaccinated for anything. Ever.
And guess which federal agency isn’t requiring the Covid-19 vaccine for prospective employees?
It really says everything, doesn’t it? (I wrote a patrons-only post about it here.)
Thank you for reading!
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