Sunday, August 19, 2012

What we need to know.

Y'all. Forgive me, but it's about to get real in here. Uber-dudes and conservatives may not want to read this, but I think they need to know this as much as, if not more, than all of us like-minded folks.

A fact of dating is sex, and a fact of sex is the possibility of pregnancy. If you're going to date, and you're going to fuck, you're going to be taking risks, and the only risk one should ever take is an informed one. Therefore, let me stand on my soapbox for a minute and talk about a few issues related to pregnancy in our world that have me worried.

I'd been thinking about writing a post on how undereducated so many of us are when it comes to sexually transmitted infections/diseases and pregnancy. We'll get there, but first we need to discuss the issue of U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO). He pulled this junk today: LA Times Story To save you the time of reading/watching, he stated in an interview this morning that in cases of "legitimate rape," a woman's body shuts down so it's very hard for a woman to get pregnant as a result of rape. If, heaven forbid, a woman's weak body backfires and she gets pregnant, then we should, of course, punish the rapist and not the baby.

Reading about this made me physically ill. That's usually an exaggeration, but I still feel a bit nauseated. This man wants to be one of our country's leaders - one of our 102 senators - and help shape policy, including the incredibly contested medical issues that we currently face. He obviously does not know how the female body works or pregnancy happens, so why should we let him help decide this?

Furthermore, how do let someone like Paul Ryan potentially be this country's next vice president? He supports Personhood USA, which propounds the idea that life begins at conception. That idea makes your average oral contraceptive verboten because it works to keep a fertilized egg from implanting. Yup - no more pills. Needless to say, he's against abortion of any form, fashion, or rationalization. He would also like you to say goodbye to rape crisis centers, Planned Parenthood, and any other assistance provided for those looking for low cost sexual healthcare.

That's where I really get concerned. In a recent study (reported on here by The Atlantic), a third of all babies born in the US were not planned for, and the biggest reason that happened is because these women thought it couldn't happen to them. Unwanted/unplanned/unprotected pregnancies are more likely to be underweight, have issues at birth, and suffer from the effects of a severe lack of prenatal care. So why let this happen? If it's easy and affordable to get contraception in the first place, people (men and women) are less likely to be unprepared for sex. If sex education is emphasized, people (men, women, and U.S. legislators) will know how our bodies work and just how easy it is to get pregnant. (Hint: There is no "safe" time, way, method, or place to have unprotected heterosexual intercourse and be guaranteed a baby won't result.)

If you're interested, google "war on women." It exists for real in the United States, and if you don't think so, you're not paying attention. This isn't a matter of feminism or class or anything else - it's your basic healthcare and wellbeing. If this doesn't get you on your toes, give me a few days until I can get some thoughts together on sexually transmitted disease and infections. Abortion and pregnancy are far from the only issues we face, especially as women.

Until then, do keep dating and having fun and living your lives, but please be safe!


(These are solely my views, and I don't speak for the other editors of DIW. However, I hope they and you chime in.)