Ok. I usually stay far away from political thoughts on this blog (which is fairly ironic given that I have a BA in Politics and at one point really wanted to work in politics) (what, West Wing is my favorite tv show, pretty much ever).
The main reason that I tend to stay away from political issues is because often I don't see the point. If you know me in real life, you know where I stand. And if you don't know me in real life, you may or may not be able to figure out where I stand on most issues based on what you've read here. If you agree with me on those issues then you agree, and if you disagree with me, well, me writing anything here is highly unlikely to change your view. And that's fine. That's actually one of the things I love most about where I live and the time in which I was born - we're all free to have our own opinion. I cannot control your opinion and you cannot control mine. We can each debate our viewpoint and if knowledge is gained by that debate, that's fantastic. But ultimately it comes down to the fact that my mind is my own and no one else has the right to control what or how I think.
But apparently as a woman in this country it's becoming harder and harder for me to control my own body. And to that I have to say, are you fucking kidding me?*
There have been many more well written articles out there talking about the history of birth control and how giving women (AND MEN! Why are men conveniently left out of the discussion on birth control? As has been noted, 100% of pregnancies have male involvement**) the ability to decide when and if and how many children they want to conceive in a lifetime has increased the standard of living for so many women. The ability to go to school. The ability to start a business. The ability to climb higher up the corporate ladder. Lots of good things for women (AND MEN) have come out of the ability to control when (and if) a child will be born.
But there are so many people out there who want to take that away. Except they say they aren't doing that. Except that that's exactly what they're doing. They're saying that a woman's sole purpose is making babies. But then there is no support for the mom, dad or child once the baby is born. And beyond receiving no support, many women lose their sources of livlihood, simply because they are pregnant. Why on earth are people more concerned about a fetus inside of me then with MY life, an actual living and breathing human who has been alive for 30 years? Or why are people more concerned with a baby's well being while it's still in my womb then with how that child will fare once it's born? Why are social services being cut left and right so that 1 out of 5 children born in this country are below the poverty line, yet people want to get rid of Planned Parenthood***, an organization that does more to prevent unwanted pregnancies (including doing more to prevent abortions in the first place!)?
I get so incredibly outraged by this entire discussion and the thought that Rush Limbaugh can call a woman a slut for wanting an insurance plan to cover birth control pills (who also pointed out the other benefits that birth control pills provide beyond preventing pregnancies). And then people cry that they shouldn't have to pay for another person to have sex. Hey guess what? First, you aren't paying for someone to have sex. Second, all of us in this country pay for something that we might disagree with. Guess what? It's called living in a civilized country. If you don't like it, you are welcome to live elsewhere. But there you might actually have to pay for a woman's maternity leave (or a dad's paternity leave)! Because in many other countries women (and men) who have children actually have paid time off to spend with their infants! You know, the ones whose right to life you were so fiercely protecting? Well, what about once they're born and that baby's parents can't survive on one income (or no income if the mother is the family's bread-winner), so the parents have to work. But don't worry, you aren't paying for any woman's maternity leave in the United States. Because there is no mandated paid parental leave. Did you know that the US is only 1 of 4 countries to not provide any sort of paid parental leave?
The fundamental disconnect in all of this just amazes (and disgusts) me. The party that spouts off about family values and how important children are protects them just up to the moment they're born. And then begins a lifetime in which that child is told no one out there wants to help you, you must pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. Because that's what all of the other millionaires did, so you should be able to do it, too. And if you can't, that's your own problem, so don't go looking for a handout.
You might be asking yourself what originally set off today's post? Reading these articles about Arizona's proposed law which requires a woman to submit a claim to her employer stating that she needs contraceptives for a non-birth preventing medical reason, and oh yeah, allows employers to fire women who are on the pill. Basically Debbie Lesko (the bill's sponsor) believes that we "live in America ... [and] we don't live in the Soviet Union. So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom-and-pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs."
Are you fucking kidding me? First, the invasion of privacy that this entails blows my mind. Second, maybe we should double check Arizon's schools because I'm pretty sure someone needs a geography and history lesson. Third, are you fucking kidding me? Would someone please ask Ms. Lesko if she has ever used contraceptives for the purpose of preventing pregnancy, and if she hasn't, why she doesn't have as many children as the Duggars. Perhaps we should delve into her personal life the way she wants to allow employers to delve into a woman's life.
I should note that I originally wrote this post on Wednesday, but thought I should sit with it for a few days. And then I read this morning that Georgia wants to force women to carry a stillborn fetus until she "naturally" goes into labor, because that's what cows and pigs do. After I picked up the pieces of my exploded brain, I hit publish (there's a lot of other really good stuff in that article, so you should go read it!).
The rest of the world is pretty sure that the United States has gone freaking crazy. Comparing my body to that of a pig or cow? No. I am a woman. With certain fundamental human rights granted to me by my status of being a member of the human race. Now, to all of our representatives, kindly stop making laws because your version of morality requires women pregnant and in the kitchen. The wonderful freedom of this country allows you to hold and believe in that opinion and adhere to whatever rules you want to in your personal life. I do not share those beliefs, but do you see what I just did up there? Even though your beliefs don't jibe with mine, I recognize your right to believe whatever you want. Kindly extend the same courtesy to me, and stop trying to make your beliefs law.
*Apologies to my mother for swearing. But these issues make me so incredibly angry, and some swearing is apparently necessary.
**I read that line somewhere and I can't find where anymore. But that line resonated with me deeply. Why are women to blame simply because nature requires that they're the ones who have the kids? No woman can have a child without the contribution of a man at some point along the process.
***Though Romney did point out in that article that he doesn't want to "get rid" of Planned Parenthood, but just make sure they don't receive any federal funding. Ok then. Stripping an organization that does more for preventive health in this country (especially for those who can't afford the high costs of health insurance) of the majority of its funding seems like a really great move.