Posts tagged reproductive rights
Posts tagged reproductive rights
On a lighter note, Planned Parenthood is now following me on Tumblr! It’s an honor that such an ally for reproductive health has noticed me. Health and safety for all women is an issue I’m so passionate about, and PP embodies a lot of what I care about. This is too cool. :)
I just want know why I should care more about a fetus than a woman.
Even if we’re using the fallacy that they are “equal,” when a woman doesn’t want the fetus (or embryo or zygote), why, assuming the fetus “wants” to be born, should I tell her to consider the fetus’ “wants”? Why should I go out of my way to protect a life that doesn’t exist at such a degree as the woman does?
Worse still, pretending that life begins at conception, why should I fight SO hard to protect a sperm and egg bonded together that has not even broken down into individual, unique cells yet? Even if we legally decreed that life begins at FERTILIZATION, why oh why should I care more about a fertilized egg that may well be flushed out before it has a chance to implant, than an ACTUAL life (not just a potential one)?
Why should I care more about the unborn than a woman? The life of the unborn is mostly philosophical at that point. To personify a fetus that has not experienced the world is preposterous. Its “experience” cannot compare to that of a woman’s. I mean, even if abortion was illegal and a woman who wanted one was denied one, she can very well miscarry either by accident or by seeking a means to induce it herself. What is the point of denying an abortion then? What is the point of protecting something so ambiguous, so unpredictable and borderline undefinable over something absolute—the life, experience, relationships, thoughts of an existing person?
I just can’t understand it as something other than a hatred of women. I’m sorry, but I can’t fathom how it could be anything else. And I’m NOT sorry, I can’t feel any love or compassion for a fetus that is in someone else’s body like I could someone’s child, relative, friend, etc.
So you meet a person. And let’s assume for the sake of the story that one of you is completely capable of getting pregnant. But that’s not the point of the story. This person is gorgeous, incredibly intelligent and you have been pursuing them for a bit—whether that means three days, three months, three weeks, three years. I don’t know. Assume you’re going about your normal pace on these matters.
And now you’re at a party or a bar or a library, whatever you feel comfortable with, and things start getting heated. It’s romantic and it’s sweet. Are they trying to get you into bed?
So you two go back to your place. It looks like this is it. You two start removing your clothes when—WAIT. You realize something. “Hold on,” you say. “What is it?” says your would-be sex partner.
“I don’t have a stable job. We can’t have sex because pregnancy,” you utter weakly.
Like. Is that what conservatives want human sex to be like? Being deeply enamored with someone, but never showing it because you…don’t…have…a job? You can’t have sex because of some arbitrary issue in your life that is by no means sexual?
You know, and I hear time and time again that “we’re not animals” and “we can control our urges.” First thing, yes we are—but we’re more advanced animals, which is why, no, sometimes we can’t control our urges. We have the gift/curse of being able to associate people to memories, to truly understand a person’s unique personality, to be inexplicably attracted to someone, to be in whole, unmatched, sometimes eternal human love. When all that is going on in your head, you tell me how to just “get over it.” Until you understand how I feel about the persons I choose to sleep with, whether my emotions are fleeting or immovable, I’m not obligated to have sex based on your moral standards. We’ve evolved beyond procreative sex.
BONUS: It’s funny how the same people who tell women to “stop behaving like animals” are usually the same people who use animals to invalidate queer identities (eg. “Animals don’t do it, therefore it’s unnatural and no one should do it). WHICH IS IT?? HALP.
I find it hilarious how most people who are pro-life on the basis that it’s “not the woman’s body anymore” or “what about the baby’s body and decisions!” are the same people who want to give parents the right to force their pregnant teens to carry pregnancies to term. These are also the types of people who think parents should be allowed to spank, circumcise, vaccinate/not vaccinate, have final say in all medical decisions for their child and even restrict that child’s access to sexual health information by refusing the sign the permission slip when that time of year comes to the schools. Why, you’d think these people think they know better. That their decisions are better than the child’s. That what they think is more important than what the child thinks. That they OWN these kids.
Huh. Real cute, guys. What’s worse is that these people want to control people who are actually born and would rather lose their minds because of clumps of cells that have no autonomy and are inherently less important than the person carrying them. Incredible.
So I’ve recently been reminded of the backlash against Plan B and I wanted to clear the air.
Let me say right off the bat, Plan B is not the promiscuity pill. It’s not just something people take because they can, and I’ll explain further in a little bit.
Plan B is the emergency pill, plain and simple. It is not regular birth control and is not marketed as such. There is this hysteria that Plan B makes it easy for women to—umm—“whore around.” It suggests that Plan B is a green light for sending critical thought crashing through the window. Well, it’s not.
Let me break it down. Even if someone THOUGHT that Plan B was a good idea for regular backup and abandoned all other methods of self-care because of it, they would quickly learn that its benefits are far outweighed by its drawbacks if being looked at as a long-term solution or “quick fix.”
First of all, that stuff’s expensive. Try $50 per pill. You might as well pay for a regular birth control regimen that you use daily or as needed than keep running to the pharmacy every time someone cums inside you. However, there are states with programs that will allow you to get it for free if you qualify, such as California. That’s how I acquired my pill when I needed it. The thing is, after trying the pill once, NO ONE would want to use it continually.
Can I tell you about the side-effects real quick? The Plan B pill, in simple terms, basically triggers your period or the conditions in a woman’s* body when a period occurs. Except more. Way more. Like, I usually have back pain during my period. My back pain after Plan B was so bad, I could barely get up. The cramps were hideous. My breasts ached at the slightest caress. And ultimately, I got my period. Again.
What I’m trying to say here is, Plan B is quite obviously designed for what it says it’s designed for: emergencies. Plan B is not the “I like sex” pill. It’s the pill women* use when they WERE being careful, but the condom broke. It’s the pill women* use when they start having sex and realize they ran out of condoms, the condoms are expired or later on can’t remember if they forgot their regular birth control or not. And sometimes, it’s used after horrible things like rape happen. It is used responsibly by responsible people who may need a little help.
Denying Plan B implies that women* can never make mistakes, and accidents or horrible crimes can never happen to them because your morality says that women deserve to punished for everything they (supposedly) do wrong.
Please note that this post about scary things like costs and bad periods shouldn’t scare anyone away from Plan B. The only thing about Plan B no one should get behind is creating a regular birth control system around it. Like all medication, it should never be abused, and it should be used only as directed. And if that means you use it once a year because the condoms suck or the sex was really rough, then by all means use it. There is no shame in admitting you might be in trouble, even if you were trying your best to avoid it. No matter what any anti-choice, sex-negative jerk says.
I don’t often, if ever, take offense to anything I believe does not apply to me. And usually, whomever is making a disparaging comment is not referring to me. I am not even on their radar. I will, however, take offense when, by the very definition and connotative value, the word is charged and meant for me no matter how indirectly I am involved with the person who said it.
This includes a few things typically under the category of racism and sexism. We’ve heard the slurs. They are the types of words that make us stop and gasp, swiveling our heads to see who the perpetrator is. Even if you use these words, you know they’re wrong. You know what you’re saying.
Sometimes, though, words become so ingrained in our collective consciousness and daily speech that we don’t even understand what’s wrong with what we are saying. Words like “crazy” and “retarded” come to mind. There is another word that has long escaped our critical thought as well: slut.
What is a slut, exactly? Much like its other slippery cousins, slut doesn’t really have a meaning. Technically, someone is allowed to be called a slut as soon as she engages in sexual activity that makes a person or persons uncomfortable. More importantly, that person doesn’t even have to be involved in that woman’s sex life to be allowed to call her such a thing. While many who proudly brandish the term try to put up a wall, suggesting it only applies to women who “sleep with everyone” (and really, who has the TIME to sleep with everyone?), it is often misused if we accept this definition as true.
Now, I’ve only had three sexual partners in my life. I have not been in a formal relationship with any of these partners, but I have loved them all fairly equally—and if not on the same level, I have loved them a great deal regardless. But at which point in my sexual life did I become a slut? How old was I? Which partner was the one who made me a slut?
The first one.
I always used to roll my eyes at the term “slut,” believing it was some a stereotype people made up and used any time someone even slightly resembling the sort interacted with them. It wasn’t until about a year after my first time that I realized they were talking about me. A slut wasn’t measured by how much or how little she loves who she sleeps with. A slut is not measured by what she does in her spare time. A slut is not judged by how many people she sleeps with or how often. A slut is born the second she is penetrated. Nothing else matters thereafter.
Even more baffling is that the proverbial slut is just like anyone else, only those who use the term to vilify women cannot see it. What honestly sets myself and my partner(s) apart from the rest of the world, particularly those who are married? We text each other. We go grab coffee. We make inside jokes. We buy groceries. We pay our bills. We go to school and/or work. We exist on the same dimension as all other humans. In fact, if you didn’t know us, you might not even think we have sex at all.
That’s when being a slut started to offend me. It was the fact that my love for a man did not matter. It was when my education was questioned, even mocked, based on the number of penises I let near me. It was when sleeping with anyone outside the “morality” of the person I was talking to made what I was doing “wanton sex.” It was when my decisions, which took an extensive amount of time to make, about who I slept with were disregarded as irresponsibility, lack of morals and dirtiness. And it continues when I say: “No, I will not sleep with this man because I respect myself too much to let him control my body when I really don’t want anything to do with him” and having that be null and void because of the previous partners I DID have.
This is why I will call you out if you call me or any other woman a slut. I will not let you decide what my life is like and how I shall continue to live it based on your idea that you’re on some moral high ground. I will not let you mask hatred, misogyny and controlling women as benevolence or concern. I will not let you use a word that you are constantly redefining to fit your purposes against me or others. I will not have my sexual experiences homogenized so people can further ignore the identities of every individual woman*.
My having sex does not impede on your right to abstain and I would never like it to. I am just as valid as a virgin and I would never use my sex life or experiences to exert control over yours. And just because the guy I slept with the other day was not the same as the one last month does not make me any less of person. Your views on my sex life and the sex lives of many are not true and they will not be tolerated.
You know, I’d be more inclined to believe that the pro-life movement was really about caring for humanity, not wanting to control women, and love and compassion and healthy babies and all that if their arguments tended not to waver on the vitriolic “abortion is always murder,” “not even rape justifies it” or “women should be responsible or stop having sex” side.
Seriously, all the pro-life side does is blame women* for pregnancy simply on the basis that they are actually capable of being pregnant. As far as it’s concerned, she gets pregnant pretty much by the magic of her own sluttiness. She opens her legs and presto! There’s a “baby” in her uterus. Meanwhile, when pro-lifers suddenly realize that pregnancy is more complicated than that, they reduce the men to defenseless sad sacks who just wanted the chance to be a father like in one of those “Pass it On” commercials. You know, as if men needed to to be given the chance to talk over women more often.
If any pro-lifer actually cared about everyone, from the woman* to the man* to the potential child, then they should make the process of becoming pregnant an inclusive discussion between those involved pre-pregnancy. Instead of implying that women* should “shut their legs” if they want to prevent pregnancy, why not suggest that both consenting parties talk and be open about their expectations before sex? Perhaps men, instead of whining about not having a say over a woman’s body after the fact, should ask women if they would be ready for a child before engaging in sexual intercourse. Maybe we should demand that men always wear a condom if they are unsure of a woman’s wishes or whether or not she is on birth control. Perhaps men and women should talk about appropriate contraceptives that work for them and their sex lives and/or situations. And why not, after all that, do we not concede that if that doesn’t work, a woman should decide for herself what’s best?
You see, pro-lifers, your rhetoric about abstinence, promiscuity, personal responsibility and what ever tripe you find targets, discredits and penalizes women for having a sexuality or for even daring to think about her pleasure without having to burden herself by preparing for a baby *~just in case*~. This discourse is exactly what makes your vantage point misogynistic. Not only can a woman NOT have sex, consenting or not, but she cannot even discuss her options before committing to the act of sex itself. She is alone in her sexuality and she is the only one responsible for what happens to her body, even if it involves another person accessing it, but once something happens to her body that she does not want, she has to just deal with it. Suddenly, she is not in control anymore. It was her choice to have sex, but it can’t be her choice when it comes to HER OWN PREGNANCY.
So you all are either going to have to find a way to encourage discussion about sex (doubtful considering your abstinence-only master plan) or you’re just going to have to deal with the fact that your plan doesn’t work and that women have abortions whether you think you have the right to tell them what to do with their bodies or not. Pro-tip: You don’t. Have a nice day.