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Thursday, July 15, 2010


Part of my job description is health education, and I totally own it. Some of my co-workers aren't big fans of counseling our teenage clients because the time that could be spent on "we recommend 800 mg ibuprofen" is, instead, spent on "your cervix is the opening to your uterus," but I particularly love teenage clients because they're eager and interested to learn about their bodies, and sometimes, I even get to meet them before they've been exposed to the idea that the vagina is gross. I also often introduce myself as a health educator whether or not I disclose the abortion element of it because it's just a cool job and a succinct description. I health educate off the clock when I get together with my middle school best friend and she genuinely wants to know how an abortion procedure works and today when I got my eyebrows threaded, as the aestheticians spoke in their native language, I caught "birth control pills" and itched to interrupt and say, "What are you talking about? Can I answer any questions? Or give you my number if you need a refill?"

But there are only 40 hours in my work week, and maybe two additional volunteer hours when the above situations arise. During my off hours, sometimes I like to pretend that abortion is just a fact of life and focus on my downtime activities of reading or working out. And mostly, the thing is that like differently-abled people don't exist to be spokespeople for how to treat someone in a wheelchair and people of color aren't here to educate the masses about what is or isn't racist, sometimes, I'm just here to do my job, not to explain to you that there's no such thing as partial-birth abortion or why it's infuriating for you to say, "Abortion just shouldn't be used as birth control." I educate about health and rights, not about ignorance and human decency. And most of all, I'm over the "Hey, I just want to have a friendly, intelligent discussion about pro-live versus pro-choice" defense. Because honestly, I would have to be on the clock and be paid a litigator's hourly wage to even begin to be able to stomach that.

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