Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blog for Choice: What Do We Choose?

Blog for Choice Day

Here's a thing about "Blog for Choice:" It's really important to ask what the choice is. What is being chosen?

I'm finally coming to terms with the notion that I'm aging. Like, getting older. Like, I had to see my gynecologist about perimenopause, because I was having some difficulties. The doctor ended up prescribing the Pill. And I said to him, "You know, I'm not going to be getting any of the ancillary benefits out of this thing. I'm not fertile."

And he said, "There are so many benefits to the Pill, if it wasn't birth control, everyone would take it." (He probably didn't mean everyone. He probably didn't mean men. Or children. Or, I dunno, pregnant women.)

I've been thinking about that a lot, and then Blog for Choice day came around, and it all tied together.

Why does the Pill being birth control prevent it from being used more widely for other things? Okay, in some cases, it's because someone is trying to get pregnant, but I'm sure that's not what my doctor meant. It seems to me that it's because there's a stigma on birth control.

You would think that anti-abortion activists would be interested in doing the one thing that is statistically proven to reduce the number of abortions: Prevent unwanted pregnancy. And in doing the one thing that prevents unwanted pregnancy: Provide access to birth control and accurate information about preventing pregnancy. But in fact, anti-abortion activists repeatedly oppose these things. They spread misinformation about birth control, claim that Plan B is an abortifacient rather than birth control, promote abstinence-only education which has been repeatedly proven to be a failure, refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control and in other ways prevent access to it...in fact, go out of their way to promote unwanted pregnancies, thereby ensuring the demand for abortion cannot decrease.

This is because these activists are not anti-abortion. They are anti-choice. And the choice they are against is sex. Specifically, women choosing to be sexual. They are anti-female-sexual-choice.

I don't think the anti-choice movement can ever show its hand in a more horrifying way than in its opposition to the HPV vaccine. Folks, they're against preventing cancer. Think of that the next time you hear the phrase "pro-life." Because, you know, the only way to get HPV is to have sex, and we musn't prevent people from dying of sex!

Anti-choice-to-have-sex. Anti-female-choice-to-have-sex.

Slut shaming. Abstinence-only "education." Lying about Plan B. Anti-abortion propaganda. It all ties together. It's all about preventing women from choosing sex.

The Pill can help regulate perimenopausal changes. It can help with menorrhagia and dysfunctional uterine bleeding. It can help clear up adolescent acne. But access to the Pill for these things is problematic because the pill allows women to choose sex.

Beware the word "consequences" in this context. They want to say that the pill allows "sex without consequences," but what they mean is "sex without punishment." They want abortion to be inaccessible and HPV vaccines to be off the table, because unwanted pregnancy and cancer are just desserts for sluts who choose to get laid.

It's so important to remember this. It's so important to remember that only pro-choice candidates are actually interested in doing things that prevent abortion: Provide real access to preventing unwanted pregnancy through education and birth control.

(Cross-post for choice)