July 28, 2014

Contraception is Not Sacred:
Tell us what you really think of women.

Recently, I ran across the above cartoon. I don't know what genius to credit it to, so if you do, please speak up.

What immediately struck me was a cognitive dissonance between the portrayals of the woman in this cartoon and the overall message of it: Here, she is obviously meant to be a victim, isn't she? The hooded, dark specters around her, pushing her to make a "choice", in a dirty (note the tires and waste bins) room. But look at how they choose to portray her, herself. Is there any dignity in that? Shouldn't someone you believe is a victim be portrayed in a more dignified way?

This one cartoon sums it up so perfectly.

And it's not just the anti-abortion crowd that has such a disconnect on women. It's also the anti-contraception coverage crowd.

I ran across this guest column in the Journal Standard last week that really illustrated what the perception of women who choose to have sex is. The writer says:
Contraception is not sacrosanct. Any woman who wants to use any device available to prevent conception is free to use it. But why should someone else have to pay for it, notwithstanding the comparison to the invasion of Iraq? Ask these same women crying about the fact that they may have to pay for a contraceptive (no monetary help from the male?) how much they spend on cosmetics, personal items and cigarettes at more than $6 a pack versus cost for contraceptives. These items, including contraception, are for personal gratification. Should I have to pay for these things too?
Did you catch that? The author is telling us a lot about her view of women.

First, women are frivolous and wasteful. But wait, Kayla Sue, how can you draw that conclusion from this? Look at the products he chooses to highlight. Well, silly women, why can't you just budget? That's the implication here. You're willing to spend your money on these things, but you refuse to spend it on things you claim to need.

Second, they are irresponsible. "No monetary help from the male?" Because women should need such monetary help? Is that the implication? I don't understand the relevance.

Also, look at the purpose assigned to contraception: personal gratification. And what about the products he compares it to--cosmetics, "personal items" (what the fuck are those even?), and cigarettes. Really telling, I think, all around.

These are the characterizations of women that choose not to get pregnant. I am in awe of the ability of opponents of women's healthcare to reduce women to such choice concepts.

Do you know what the difference is between contraception and "cosmetics, personal items and cigarettes"? The difference is that none of those items play a role in one's health and wellbeing. Contraception does.

Pregnancy, as I've already explained, is a medical condition. Preventing pregnancy is a health choice.  This is where the discussion should end. Why our society can't wrap their minds around that, I will never understand.

But let's take it a step further. Let's look at two other claims.
Ask these same women crying about the fact that they may have to pay for a contraceptive 
See, this really kills me. You know, I've worked for several different companies. I've worked full-time, part-time, hourly, salaried. I've had benefits through all of those positions. Not once was I not asked to pay a portion of my health insurance.

I understand, my employer paid more. But that doesn't negate the fact that I too was paying for them.

Above and beyond that, healthcare is part of an overall compensation package. You receive healthcare as a benefit for the time that you spend, you know, working for the company, in lieu of additional wages. In this way, telling employees what their insurance will and will not cover can be likened to telling them how to spend their paychecks.

Marie, the author, goes on:
Pregnancy is not an illness. As the CEO of a corporation, why shouldn’t I run my company the way I see fit, based on my not necessarily religious beliefs? Does every insurance plan cover every type of illness or elective surgery? Some do not even cover dental or eye care. There is a power higher than the government that I must answer to. If I believe that power tells me not to cooperate in something that is wrong or not acceptable, then it is my duty and right not to participate.
Pregnancy isn't an illness. It's a medical condition, though, one that results in the death or serious injury of hundreds of women in the US every year--more every year, in fact. It has been a primary cause of death for women for much of our history as a species.

It is telling to me that this author is willing to overlook that entirely to make the point that women don't really NEED contraception, right. It's not REALLY healthcare. Sure, not getting pregnant could keep you from death or serious injury, but that's really just semantics, right?

She also says:
You write that women “have the right to vote, serve in the military and even get lung cancer. But they don’t have the right to decide if they want to give birth to children.” Since when? That decision is and should be made the minute he/she says “yes.” 
Well, shame on me, personally. Every time I say "yes" to my husband, I say "yes, let's have sex, glorious sex, but no babies, because I am *done* with babies." Obviously, I didn't realize that consenting to sex also meant giving up my right to choose whether I want to be pregnant or not. Silly me! I shall have to say no until I get past "the change", I guess....

So, to sum it up, let me address the misconceptions running rampant in this piece:

  • Women who choose to have sex without having children are not morally inferior to you, anyway, whether they are married or unmarried.
  • Yes, employers pay for health insurance. Employees do too.
  • No one is asking the general public to pay for health insurance...for anyone.
  • Consenting to sex is not consenting to pregnancy.
  • Saying yes to one act doesn't not mean consenting to another.

So I think that sums it up nicely. Here's a picture of a cute cat to reward you for making it thus far:

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