By Kim H. |
A friend passed along this letter from blogger/activist Emily L. Hauser and in light of the near daily absurdity surrounding the debate on contraception and reproductive rights, I felt it was imperative to re-post here:
I have been pregnant four times.
These pregnancies led to the following four results, in this order: abortion, baby, miscarriage, baby.
These pregnancies occurred over a span of many years, across two continents, and in three different homes. There were at least seven different health care professionals involved, my hair styles varied widely, as did my levels of nausea. The only constant, in all four cases, other than me, was the presence of a penis.
It happened to be the penis I eventually married, but regardless, that is how pregnancy works. No matter who you are, no matter your sexuality, ability to reproduce, or family make-up, if there are children in your life, at some point along the way, there was a penis involved.
I mention this only because it seems the GOP may have forgotten.
Because as we trundle along, shaming women for having any kind of sex, ever, that is not entirely focused on producing babies — even if we are married, even if it wasn’t so much “sex” as “rape,” even if having a baby would threaten our health and thus the well-being of the children we already have — we are completely and utterly ignoring the fact that the single, solitary way for humans to reproduce is for sperm to meet egg. And sperm, you may recall, come from penises.
Which are attached to men.
If women are having too much sex, so are men. If women are producing babies, so are men. If women are making irresponsible reproductive choices with which they want to burden “the American people” — so.are.men.
Birth control, abortions, prenatal care, postpartum care, child care — whatever we may think, whatever we may have been told — are not women’s issues. THEY ARE HUMAN ISSUES.
There is a purely incandescent rage that comes over me now on a nearly daily basis over the blatant dehumanization of women that is currently sweeping the nation. It is exhausting. It is heart breaking. It is spirit crushing. And there’s nothing to be done but to continue to feel it, because I refuse to stop fighting for my right, my daughter’s right, my mother’s right, my sister’s right — the inalienable right of all women everywhere — to human dignity.
But every once and a while, a particularly galling aspect of the GOP’s War on Women floats to the top of the filth, and I am gobsmacked anew. And today it is as simple as this: Women do not reproduce on their own.
If the Republican Party is so anxious to control women’s sexuality (and it clearly is), it had better start shaming men, too.
That is, unless its representatives are willing to argue that men are constitutionally incapable of not sticking their junk into the nearest available lady bits, and we gals have all the power.
I, for one, have too much respect for men to buy that.
Adult film star Nina Hartley recently shared this article by Jim Rea from the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance that describes how the right wing war on women has been going on for centuries. Rea writes:
I came across a fascinating and immaculately researched essay by Max Dashu, written in 2004 entitled “Herbs, Knots and Contraception”. Here he [correction she] documents the centuries long campaign by the church to outlaw and punish any efforts by women to take control of their own reproductive destiny. Such practices were labeled as “Witchcraft” and were subject to the highest level of punishment and damnation.
Priests frequently leveled accusations of sexual magic at European women. The penitential books refer often to love potions. [Rouche, 523] But sexual witchcraft went beyond love spells or even the dreaded (and popular) impotence magic. Early medieval writers show that women were using herbal medicine and witchcraft to control their own fertility and childbearing. Bishops in France, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany enacted canons forbidding women to undertake means of controlling their own conception and performing abortions.
In the 700′s the Irish Collection of Canons devoted an entire section to pronouncements on “Womanly Questions.” The monks complained that women “take diabolical drinks so that they can no longer conceive.” Following the bishop of Arles [the Bible is silent on the subject of female contraception and abortion] they equate preventing conception by means of herbal potions—”drinking sterility”—with murder. [Noonan, 155]Especially hateful in the monks’ eyes were unmarried women with sex lives. A section called “Simulated Virgins and Their Morals” castigates young women for using birth control to conceal their love affairs. [Noonan, 159] (In the priestly author’s mind, there could be no other reason for using it.) Already implicit is the notion of pregnancy as a divine punishment of unchaste women, while men go untouched. The penitentials treat men’s sexual exploits, and exploitation in the form of concubinage, with lenience, even indulgence. The sole exception is their severity toward homosexuality, which they rank among the worst of sins. [Brundage, 174]
Old habits die hard. Though we continue to enjoy the fruits of the feminist movement and sexual revolution of the 60’s and 70’s, we must continue to demand freedom and equality in the face of deeply rooted puritanical nonsense.
Speaking of which:
Planned Parenthood image from inthesetimes.com