Feb 8, 2012

The Choices of a Man

If I'm a Man, my contraceptive choices (in no particular order) are:

1. Abstain (keep it in my pants)
2. Condom (wear a raincoat, not go bareback, use a French Letter, or a Rubber, or an Oven Mitt; you get the idea)
3. Vasectomy (tie off the vas deferens to prevent sperm from being ejaculated)
4. Rhythm or Coitus Interuptus *ROTFLMAO* (Not really contraception, but recommended as such by The Pope, supposedly a Virgin inexperienced in sexual relations)
5. Masturbation (choking the chicken, autonomy, self-love, spanking the monkey, rub one out)
6. Ben Franklin Method (only have sex with older women or known-to-be infertile women)
7. No Responsibility (only have paid sex with prostitutes or homosexual encounters).

If contraception fails, the consequences lie entirely with the woman.

If I'm a Woman, my contraceptive choices are:

1. Abstain (keep my pants on, excluding HONEST RAPE (Ron Paul, you are despicable)
2. Condom or Chemical or Mechanical (partner consents to use a Rubber, you take The Pill or an Injection, you wear an Intrauterine Device - or just keep your pants on, groaaaaan)
3. Get your Fallopian tubes cut and burned (if allowed; only if you've had several children and are over a certain age)
4. Rhythm or Coitus Interuptus (even The Pope knows this doesn't work - he's still ROTFLHAO)
5. Masturbation (autonomous self-love, spanking the monkey, rub one out; you gotta be strong - see #1; don't give in)
6. Be a Lesbian (no fraternizing with the enemy; risk social sanctions)

Scheist, women only get six choices; see how unfair this is already?

Oh, wait. I guess there's one more:

I knew an abortion runner who worked it during the 1940s and 1950s. She'd arrange the details with the woman in need: the payment of money, the secretive transport, the place, "the doctor" who performed the injection with mercury, Mercury!; the woman's return to her safe place. She also insured no particular was ever revealed.

She was proud of the work she did, made a good living at it, never got caught, and says she never lost a client to sickness or death of the woman, both common risks of illegal abortion; mostly eradicated by making abortion legal.

Her descriptions made my head spin. I graduated the same year Roe vs Wade passed. I knew several high-school classmates who'd had "babies out of wedlock," had been forced into “marriages of convenience,” and, who'd had illegal abortions.

It's amazing to me how many of my classmates in the under-18 illegal-abortion group had parents who were staunch Christians - my sister's parents included, when she had her abortion.

Oh, wait! that was AFTER Roe vs Wade. But our parents had their rationale of experience of friends and family who'd had carried babies only to give them up for adoption - including knowing all the emotional consequences thereof.

How many people (women, or couples, or families) had availed themselves of abortion services in the 1940s and 1950s?

Plenty Plenty Plenty. The numbers of abortions have actually decreased since the passage of Roe vs Wade.

There were actually more abortions annually before the change to legal abortions than after R v W (this fact is tracked at the Center for Disease Control, the CDC).

But I digress. This is about The Choices of a Man.

To limit women’s choices smacks of discrimination, which, as we know from the smackdown on California's Prop 8 yesterday, discriminating against a singular group of people is completely unacceptable.

Still, in high school, in my senior civics class we were assigned a community project. I wanted to call in Planned Parenthood to speak to our class. Planned Parenthood only wanted to come out to our tiny rural school for an assembly.

I had to go to the principal, who vetoed it 100 percent. I spilled my intel: what about this one and that one and the other who are pregnant/post-abortion/gave up a baby?

I named, to my shame now, four young women, my classmates, NOT girls, young WOMEN who were sexually active and who should have had the option of convenient and inexpensive birth control.

In our rural school, it was a 30 mile drive, a long trip nearly 40 years ago, to avail oneself of Planned Parenthood services.

It wasn’t like all of us could go to the local doctor - that sensible MD, who accepted my Huge Lie of Horrible Periods to put me on The Pill; that same doc who recommended the doctor who performed my sister’s abortion. Dr Hermann, your courage amazes to me, even to this day.

I somehow convinced the Principal to okay the school assembly, inviting Planned Parenthood, with his the caveat that every student had to have a parental signature.

Permission slips were duly printed and handed out, the invitation made. I believe, to this day, that only ONE of those signatures was real. I believe it because that mother was the only adult to show up at the assembly; 550 students in the school, 550 showed up, plus one parent.

Do I think anything has changed for teenagers today?


Were we hungry then for information about contraception?

I think we were ravenous.



Akathunder said...

Excellent... :) It makes a person wonder how we have survived this long.

silverhair said...

Wow, just wow!! Superb, Bretta! Very true, very well-written, as always! Hope you also sent this to the ADN as a Compass piece. Outstanding!