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.
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 of 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…and 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