Monday, September 25, 2006

Anti-contraception

(Warning: no knitting content here. I'm spinning something entirely different today.)

"Birth control or abortion: which one do you support?"
--one of my colleagues put it that way today, and I thought it was a fairly succinct way to put the current challenge in our culture. (For those of you playing along on the LJ blog, this was the Nemesis. She's actually pretty smart, when she's not fussing over her wardrobe.)

But not everyone has gotten her memo yet. Just this weekend, in the 'burbs of my fair city, we had a fairly major anti-contraception conference. The Chicago Tribune covered it on the front page of the Sunday paper. Please read the article, as it makes the main points pretty accurately. (Bonus points: find the dig against sex education!) It also points out, correctly, that a full-scale assault on contraception isn't feasible at this point, but that activists might begin by stripping government funding for contraceptive services (in progress) or expanding "conscience" clauses to allow pharmacists and doctors to refuse contraceptives to patients (also in progress). The article's only weakness is that it presents both those strategies as hypothetical, when they're actually going on as we speak.

I was really pleased to read lots of quotes from the anti-contraception activists, which seem to make a sturdy case against their own arguments. Let's recap...

* Contraception devalues children? No, but having kids that you don't want and can't feed would definitely do so.
* Contraception harms relationships between men and women and causes divorce? No, the patriarchy and consumer culture do that just fine.
* Contraception promotes sexual promiscuity? If promiscuity wasn't a problem before reliable contraceptives existed, then how did sexually transmitted diseases ever get spread? They're actually speaking here of female promiscuity, since boys will be boys, you know. And saying women should be responsible for curbing men's promiscuity is pretty ludicrous.
* Contraception leads to falling birth rates? Check. But since I'm all about responsible population growth, I fail to see that as a social ill. Again, this argument is somewhat in code; it's not that there are not enough people in the world, but some groups tend to feel that there aren't enough white people in the world.

While "a stunning 98 percent of women 15 to 44 who have had sex report using at least one method of contraception," affluent women are more likely to use birth control successfully. Not surprisingly, we have fewer kids. We're more likely to have the free time to rail against the patriarchy and blog about it. Something really must be done. (/snark)

By the way? When I ask students about birth control without artificial means, I'm hoping to elicit the responses "abstinence" and "natural family planning". However, they generally come up with "oral sex" and "gay relationships" in the same conversation. Contraception foes should be warned: even if they do get their way, middle schoolers can come up with contraception hacks without batting an eye.

5 Comments:

Blogger giddybug said...

Sounds like a letter to the editor of the Trib is in order. Even if it doesn't get printed, maybe it would spark an idea for a reporter to do an article on those two non-hypothetical strategies.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

What a coincidence, I was just reading your fascinating post when your comment came in about the shawl. Sorry, I don't have your e-mail address which is why I couldn't reply by regular e-mail and have to leave the answer here. It's the Diamond Fantasy Shawl by Sivia Harding. (www.siviaharding.com). I'll post more details later this week on the blog.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Granny said...

Goood post.

Thanks for your comment and good wishes. I haven't had time to do much reading lately and I'm tardy getting over here.

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree with your writings on contraception.
The patriarchy uses contraception as a way of sexually exploiting women and controlling women's bodies. Women's bodies are viewed as vehicles of sexual pleasure rather than given the respect they deserve. Women are expected to capitulate to the sexual desires of men even before marriage which is demeaning to them. Women have a special place in society as wives and mothers and contraception effectively devalues these roles so that women are viewed more as bodies than human beings. Children are also hurt by contraception as they are viewed as a "mistake" when a woman has an unplanned pregnancy.
If there was no contraception there would be less abortions. The Catholics are correct in their view point that contraception is tied to high abortion rates and a disintegration of family values.

It's time that more people adopt a pro-family,pro-life approach. It's time women stand up to men and say no to contraception if they do not want to use it.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Trope said...

Anon:
If there was no contraception there would be less abortions.

No.

It's time women stand up to men and say no to contraception if they do not want to use it.

Yes.

7:13 AM  

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