Gradual and Silent, Nothing: A Few Words About the Political War on Women

While I acknowledge the right of every individual to hold various spiritual beliefs and govern their own affairs as they see fit, in the past several years, I’ve seen an alarming rate of increase in the progress towards a theocracy. This is especially true of the policies and legislation proposed that would seek to govern women’s bodies, as well as impact their financial and social equality–who are, by the way, a part of this particular Body Politic.  Please allow me, then, to stand on my metaphorical soap box, and offer arguments against the aggressive, repressive, fear-mongering Religious Right, and Conservative political elements in general.

Bend Over and Take It, Language

The first issue I’d like to address is the recent petition issued by presidential hopeful Rand Paul.  Now, my opinion of this intellectual wastrel was never high.  In recent days, it’s taken a nose dive.  You may view his garbage dump of a petition on his website.  I took the time to read it in full, although my dinner made a good attempt to forcefully exit my body.  My protest against his political existence stems from both personal and larger cultural concerns.  It’s a bit of a sticky subject, so let’s outline it with bullet points.

  • I am a woman, and it is clear that he is part of a faction that seeks to disempower and disenfranchise women as a whole.  Our sexuality, and indeed our very sex organs are considered appropriate public property, with controlling interest held by the Republican party.  Allow me to disabuse you of this, Rand.  My vagina doesn’t want any part of you–not your insane rhetoric, your farcical religiosity, or your controlling, manipulative use of words that I’m not sure you really understand.
  • “Defund Planned Parenthood” is based on the erroneous concept that these clinics are: a) Free.  b) providing black market fetal tissue to institutions of research or conducting unsanctioned research on said tissue on premises c) performing abortions.
    • First, no, they aren’t free.  They do however provide affordable services such as pap smears, pelvic exams, STD screenings, pre-natal health care, vaccinations for a number of publicly dangerous diseases, and education.  I can totally see why Conservatives hate them–they educate the public and do things like reduce infant mortality by providing care to expectant mothers of the poorer classes.
    • Second, I don’t even know what the fuck that’s supposed to be about.  Who thinks like that–oh, right, sex-obsessed/sexophobic, fearful, bigoted, hateful religious zealots.  And Jews are sacrificing Christian infants, too! Oops…wrong millennia for that bit of baseless fearmongering.
    • Third, I live in Georgia, a state that has already cut public health funding so close to the bone, they’ve hit marrow.  Of the handful of Planned Parenthood clinics remaining, only two offer such services, and only one provides the surgical method.  So all you picketing, frothy idiots out front calling my friend names and threatening her as she goes in for a mammogram–suck it.  I have a rational brick with your name on it. 
  • The petition is rife with language designed to incite paranoia at best and violence in a worst-case scenario.  Phrases like: pro-abortion, abortion-on-demand, calling Roe v. Wade tragic, and fudging the truth by saying that “Science is clear that human life begins at conception when a new human being is formed.”
    • First, being a supporter of a woman’s right to choose her own course in a life that is already in full swing is not “pro-abortion.” I find it very interesting that many people who self-identify as pro-life only care about the baby until it’s born.  After that, it’s a worthless parasite, and deserves whatever it gets.  Mighty Christian of you, Ladies and Gentlemen.  
    • Second, what is this “abortion-on-demand?” Do they think getting one is like driving up to the order box at a fast food place?  Do they have any idea of how emotionally traumatizing the process is to begin with? Many of the laws passed or proposed in the last few years have imposed waiting periods, mandatory showings of graphic videos or literature on the process, and a boatload of emotional manipulation designed to guilt a woman who has already made a difficult decision into maintaining a pregnancy with a child she may not be able to care for or that represents a legitimate threat to her health.
    • Third, no…science has said no such thing.  Shame on you for using a discipline to your own ends that you actively decry and defame at every opportunity.  So, every time a miscarriage occurs, a murder is committed?  By whom? Nature? And if life is so ever-loving precious, why is it that you only really care about that life while it’s incapable of breathing on its own?  Let’s talk about this life, which you propose to “defend when it is at is most defenseless.” So, we can count on you to be there at the front of the line to adopt and nurture these children when they are born into a world of poverty and emotional neglect? We’ll see you there to feed, clothe, and educate them as you would offspring of your own?  You’re standing ready with your checkbook to cover the expensive and often-times fruitless medical procedures to which deformed or critically damaged babies are subjected?  Oh, you are, are you?  Then why, I must wonder, are voices like yours always loudest when it comes to criminalizing the impoverished? Why are you always at the forefront of every attempt to gut social assistance programs that might work if they received the legislative attention they actually need, instead of your attempts to hamstring them to death?
  • More abortions are performed at hospitals than in all Planned Parenthood clinics in the United States.  Here’s some handy data from the CDC, which monitors all legal abortions in the U.S. and collates statistics from the reported data.

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Jesus Is Threatened By Female Sexual Autonomy

The aforementioned petition and the political activities behind it are purportedly aimed at Planned Parenthood as a provider of abortions, which is a philosophically unsavoury act in the eyes of those supporting the motion.  Let’s set aside the understood points that PP clinics provide much more than abortion services, when they provide them at all, at affordable rates for those who may not be able to secure health services elsewhere. For all of you in states that accepted the Medicaid Expansion for the ACA, you may not understand that in states such as Georgia, medical insurance is not always affordable, even if it’s mandated.

In fact, for many it would mean they face premiums well in excess of 100% of their earnings, making Catastrophic policies far more affordable.  Planned Parenthood offers reduced-cost services, such as OB/GYN and pre-natal care to women who cannot afford health coverage but are denied access to state aid programs due to the labyrinthine and frankly schizoid policies used to determine eligibility. That could be something as simple as a woman whose husband makes a few dollars over the upper limit to receive benefits.  They also service those who do participate in social assistance; often taking the strain off of County Health services, which are underfunded, understaffed, and provide care on a first-come-first serve basis to the crowds that form at their entrances every morning.

So, with that in mind, what is actually being protested, and why is Planned Parenthood really a target for the Conservative faction?  PP clinics provide education and sexual health care to people of both sexes and all generations–including those Boomers with VD.  They liberate women in particular, people in general, from the stranglehold logic that sex and sexuality are inextricably bound to procreation and child rearing.  Recreational sex has been a target of the Christian community (as well as others) for many centuries, although they’re willing to turn a blind eye to philandering men.  Not women.

This is what happens when you adopt a religious system written by men for men and try to force a cosmopolitan social body into it.  Yes, I know, belief systems are valuable to the architecture of many cultures, and I’m not even going to touch the religious aspect of this.  That’s another entry entirely.  But, the fact is that Christianity–and all religious systems coming out of the Levant–is male centered.  The major actors (not receivers, as in the case of the Virgin Mary) tend to be male, the writers represented in the sacred texts are male, and all fully vested practitioners of spiritually significant offices were male until very recently.

The guiding tenets of Christianity are tailored to protect male interests, properties, and prerogatives.  In some cases they are deliberately written or interpreted for the express purpose of devaluing women as thinking, freely acting individuals.  Woman is, as de Beauvoir aptly stated, only defined in her relation to Man.  What happens when a woman is given control of her own sexual destiny and cannot be confined to a sphere deemed appropriate by the energetic expenditure of gestation or caring for children?

There’s a whole underbelly War-on-Women-640x480of embedded misogyny that could be excavated simply by looking at the attitudes of our Western culture.  “Birth Control” is a matter of major contention and often not covered by many prescription assistance plans. Never mind the fact that a variety of women are prescribed hormonal therapy to treat issues with PCOS, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, and endometriosis, among other medically dangerous conditions.  But you can be sure Viagra is, no questions asked; that’ll be $4 dollars, please.

Criminalize the Poor

Another rather disturbing implication of this move against PP clinics is that the political factions at the forefront have a nasty, but well-earned, reputation for being racist and classist.  Who does Planned Parenthood serve?  It isn’t ladies either earning or benefiting indirectly from six figure salaries, that’s for certain.  Generally speaking, those of the lower income brackets and many non-Euro-American ethnicities utilize the services offered here.

Much like the church that angled their sprinklers to cover the benches in front of their sanctuary in an effort to deter the homeless from sleeping on them, the supporters of this particular bill hate the poor and are doing everything they can to ensure–what?  Death? Because that’s the ultimate end game, whether many realize it or not.  They vilify the underprivileged and the indigent, they use both language and imagery to devalue the lives of non-white citizens and communities, and they adhere to policies that render women dependent upon men for succor and validation as human beings.

Yes, by all means, defund Planned Parenthood, you twits.  I miss the good old days of high infant mortality and critically overcrowded slum ghettos, where poor people lived without the benefit of sanitation, public services, or plumbing, and kept out of their betters’ sight.  Oh wait…no I don’t.  Because I like not having to worry about Cholera…fivepoints1879and Typhoid…and Tuberculosis…and the Influenza that kills.  Yeah, those things.  Because I like thinking that we’ve spent enough time being jerks and are ready to actually live in a society that understands Enlightened Self Interest at the very least.  Defunding Planned Parenthood is a Dick Move–a Dickensian Move, as well.  It’s not because they love the little children.  It’s because they hate poor people and women, so poor women are twice loathed.  Chew on that.

 “If they’d rather die, then they had better do it and decrease the surplus population…” ~Ebenezer Scrooge

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3 thoughts on “Gradual and Silent, Nothing: A Few Words About the Political War on Women

  1. I think you have a calling here to political annihilating … I mean political analyzing. You put forth a well thought out view. It almost sounds like you’re one of those free willed, mentally stable and self-driven men.
    I am incredibly tired of this topic from a male point of view – which you so logically pointed out. Thank you very much. I wasn’t old enough to comprehend the depth of the Roe vs Wade fight but I remember how women reacted about the government putting it’s hands down women’s underwear. I reacted by wondering why no one on the news, no man, no female had addressed how the government was blatantly treating women like property again and making that fact a main news item. I also noticed the lack of support from the male population as a whole. If men just switched to become the majority in favor of women having the same decision making abilities in regard to their body as men have, we would be on level humankind ground.

    What I find disturbing about this whole thing is not the fact that this oppressive stance on women will continue since social change takes so damn long! It’s that there are men out there who haven’t even thought of the issue as a personal offense to our basic human right of free will. What men in our government have ever had to doubt or defend their ability to decide on impregnating women? Men or women who don’t understand the critically important right I have to govern myself as men have been doing for hundreds of years, are simply fools that can never be trusted, imo. You made it clear that they can’t be smart!

    1. Once upon a time, I did just that, Jayne…and then I learned more and became confused by the multiplicity of versions of events. I bowed out of the political writing scene, because I felt I didn’t have the knowledge or the authority upon which to base criticism.

      However, I have an abundance of both when it comes to being a woman, so I felt the need to revive a bit of my former vitriolic magic. I think we have been buying into the Freedom myth for too long. The truth is, women in this country are among the least free in the developed world, but we don’t know it because the bombastic proclamations of our liberation, coupled with a curiously insular view about the rest of the world, blind us. Every day, you will encounter examples of our inequality, which you never noticed before. But once you see them, you can’t stop seeing them. The embedded hatred of women and the viewpoint that we are still possessions of men is subversive. It gets into your language patters, your aesthetic preferences, your behavior–which is why so many women are actually misogynists. They’ve fallen prey to the party line of their opposites. As I consider it, I see unsettling echoes of the struggle in the decolonized realms, where habits and tastes still toe the Colonial line.

      But I say enough. The land of Us has been subjected to abridged freedoms and sharply curtailed body prerogatives long enough. A woman’s uterus is not the property of the State, the Church, or any other human being. The fact that the powers that would be–zealot fundamentalist Christian politicians–want to use it as a platform for their enrichment is nauseating to me.

      1. You said it. I went a little off your target because there are so many aspects of female oppression in some form or another running throughout our country and so much is as you said, subversive. I also think people are sick of hearing about “women’s” issues. I know that I am but until the point when whole body healthcare is seen as the priority, NOT pre-natal care, we’re screwed. I just wish men stood up to defend our rights as they have. I’m a child of the 70’s who grew up watching women’s roles change and the stupid theory of having it all is a fairytale. You can have it in pieces and at different times but not All At the Same Time and we do need men to protect our rights sometimes. It’s how we got to the point we’re at right now and I would personally love that but that’s me. I feel that men are displaced and confused on this matter because we shout that it’s our body and some shout that they don’t need men. I disagree and I think that the women’s movement inadvertently threw a wrench into the male identity which has to be “corrected” now. All this is enough to make me want a drink or a hammer to the head to knock me out. I drink in celebration so I’ll have a drink for the fact that Planned Parenthood is still open and available. Have a great weekend yourself. xo, Jayne

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