In Brief—Thanks to the conservative members of the Supreme Court, right-wing politicians and religious zealots, female reproductive health is under attack in the United States. Here are some facts that will allow females to fight back and give them the power to make important decisions over their own bodies.
Sex 101 and The Attack of the Zealots—
If you think the nonsensical erotic penny-dreadful Fifty Shades of Grey was racy, you need to think about when you were young and randy…well, maybe not you but lots and lots of other people. Sober or drunk, first date or married couple, black, white, yellow, red or brown, deliberate or accidental, consensual or forced…have I forgotten something? I am tempted to use the vernacular here, but I’m afraid I’ll shock some of my more sensitive readers, so I’ll tiptoe around the more common words.
Though it’s usually the female (I use “female” in this piece because some are not yet adult women) who has to think about childbearing, contraception and abortion, occasionally the male will face the reality of getting a female pregnant. Occasionally a vasectomy or other physical alteration frees the parties from worry, but usually it’s the guy’s responsibility to use a condom (rubber). “But,” says the guy, “they’re too much trouble and, besides, they dampen the feeling.” Overwhelmingly, it’s the female who has the responsibility for preventing pregnancy. Am I right on this?
Stick with me while I convey some facts.
Contraception comes in a variety of forms. There’s the latex condom (both male and female) that has the added advantage of protecting against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). There’s the ubiquitous pill in various formulations and its variants like the patch that can eliminate painful periods but is mainly used for preventing pregnancy. While it is opposed by the Catholic Church, an organization run by a group of cross-dressing, celibate male cannibals (transubstantiation, remember?), most Catholic women are smart to ignore the unrealistic prohibition dreamed up by a bunch of repressed men.
Alternatives include the diaphragm, the cervical cap (smaller than a diaphragm), the spermicidal sponge, spermicide alone, and various types of IUD. Finally, there is sterilization, but unfortunately it is generally considered permanent. I must mention that the Catholic Church recommends the withdrawal method. You know what they call females who use the withdrawal method, don’t you? Mothers.
Pressing on, let us not forget that the narrow-minded religious fundamentalists who harass women outside reproductive clinics oppose the pill and the IUD and anything else that might cause what they believe are abortions…but they love the death penalty and have been known to murder abortion providers and good people who are associated with reproductive clinics. Even females who want only a PAP smear or a breast exam have to face these zealots. All females relying on a reproductive clinic are the targets. Are there times when you females wish you had been born a man who can get Viagra without being harassed?
Oh, yeah, what about the “Morning-after pill? If there’s been a slip-up that may result in an unwanted pregnancy, it keeps an embryo from attaching itself to the wall of the womb, so despite what opponents may claim, it’s not an abortificant. It simply prevents the female from becoming pregnant.
BUT… keep in mind that contraception too often goes out the window in the heat of passion. What can be done if that results in an unwanted pregnancy? Does the Morning-After pill ring any bells?
About the “Dreaded” Abortion—
One consideration must be made perfectly clear: As strongly stated by Linda Greenhouse on August 7, abortion is just another element in a female’s choice regarding her reproductive health. It’s one of several ways a female can choose to retain her personal integrity while maintaining her reproductive health.
No politician, priest, prude or court has a right superior to what the female chooses to do with her own body. Until all females understand this, others who have an opposing agenda will attempt to control and dictate what a woman in partnership with her doctor decides about her own reproductive health. Those opponents, regardless of their motives, must be firmly rejected. Do not allow yourself to buy into feeling guilty about abortion. It’s simply one choice in an array of health-related choices.
So what is an abortion? It’s the process of ending a pregnancy that would otherwise result in a female having a baby. Most abortions are natural and take place unrecognized within the female’s body for any of a number of natural reasons. However, if an intentional abortion is decided on and it’s done under medical supervision in a hospital or approved clinic, it’s a safe procedure with less than a 1% chance of something going wrong. Fact is, it’s safer than a so-called normal birth.
Despite views to the contrary, it is a legal way to end a pregnancy. A little-known fact is that more than 3 out of 10 women have an abortion by age 45. The Guttmacher Institute says that approximately 88% of all abortions take place in the first 12 weeks. Contrary to what opponents claim, in America, fewer than 2% of all abortions take place after 21 weeks. Those scare photos of fetuses carried by abortion opponents are a rarity and are only done when the mother is in danger of dying. Opponents will resort to lying and scare tactics to prevent a female from having an abortion. It’s a serious mistake to believe anything they say.
Personal circumstances often dictate whether an abortion is done. These may include rape, incest, the prospective mother being underage and the female being poor and having other children. Only the females affected have the right to decide whether an abortion is desirable.
Then there is the claim that females electing to have an abortion will suffer psychological harm from the procedure. In most cases, that is utter nonsense. Most females who have an abortion are satisfied that they made the right decision. The birth control pill causing cancer is another lie spouted by the zealots. It’s been proven by medical science that this is baseless nonsense.
You will occasionally hear that if females are allowed to decide whether an abortion is right for them, they will then decide to select the sex of the child. Baloney! While that may take place in other societies, it simply doesn’t take place in America. And even in other societies, the practice is dying out as females advance in knowledge and countries progress.
The Mechanics of Abortion—
For the curious among you, how is an abortion carried out? An artificial abortion usually involves one of two methods: 1) aspiration that can be performed up to 16 weeks after the last period, and 2), dilation and evacuation (D&E) that is usually performed later than 16 weeks after a female’s last period.
The moral to all this is that females, in consultation with their own doctors and in consideration of their unique circumstances, must be the sole arbiters on the questions of contraception and abortion. Further, males must take more responsibility for contraceptive decisions so it isn’t left up to the female alone.
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot there’s that “heat of passion” thing that has been known to intrude. The Morning-After pill will take care of that passionate slip-up. That aside, the evidence shows that advancements in science will soon make these decisions an artifact of the past. Most important is that abortion is a constitutional right like any other constitutional right. Remember that!
In case you have any questions, rather than expose yourself to lying know-nothing zealots, contact Planned Parenthood, the Guttmacher Institute or the American Medical Association. They will give you the straight scoop.
Some Republican members of congress are suddenly embracing the contraceptive pill. It is almost as if it’s been scripted by the Republican leadership as a mask for the Republican Party’s harsh opposition to any form of abortion.
I strongly suggest you take a look at the Republican Party platform. There it is in black and white. I have in the past recommended you check out the party platforms since they are the blueprints for what the party stands for. It may seem like a drag to spend your time scanning the platforms when you could be watching American Idol, but the Republican Party platform will scare the socks off of you. And don’t believe for a second that the Republican members of congress favor the contraceptive pill. They don’t, they just like the sound of their own voices. Oh, and it’s election time.