I am SO sick of this whole birth control/abortion debate.
Have we forgotten about the whole Roe vs. Wade thingy circa 1973? I was THREE years old. THREE. Many of you who read this blog weren’t even born.
Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion via the SUPREME COURT. Done deal, right? Wrong.
The argument in the politics du jour is that the government shouldn’t pay for abortions/birth control. The answer? Pull all government dollars that go towards the likes of Planned Parenthood. Familiar with Planned Parenthood? It’s the place where lots of young women and women without health care can go to get pelvic exams, birth control and breast exams.
In 1986, I was 16 years old. Sex was still taboo and to have it was to label yourself a slut, particularly if you weren’t in a confirmed, long term relationship. My BFF at the time was a year older than I was. She was in a long term relationship. She’d been with her boyfriend for two years. Things were getting serious and she was worried. There was a girl in our high school who had gotten pregnant who, rumor had it, had gotten so because the condom had failed. It broke.
Suddenly, in the extremely bourgeois suburb of picture-perfect West Springfield, something was amiss. Pregnancy? Condom failure? WHA?
My friend was terrified of pregnancy. Wait, no. She was terrified of her abusive father. A father who I personally saw beat the crap out of my friend and her mother and who when I intervened, threatened me too. So when she begged me to come with her to Planned Parenthood, I drove her there with glee. I wanted to make sure my BFF was protected from stray boyfriend sperm as well as her asshat father.
I stood with her and held her hand while she got her first pelvic exam. At Planned Parenthood.
So when I hear shit like this from douchebags like Rush Limbaugh, it sets my blood to FUCKING BOIL:
So, Miss Fluke and the rest of you feminazis. Here's the deal. If we're going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.
He’s referring to Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student who was denied the right to speak at a controversial Republican hearing on contraception.
So let’s see…. an educated woman who stands up for her rights as well as the rights of other women is labeled a slut and a Feminazi for requesting to legally, and through proper legislative channels, discuss those rights?
Are you kidding me?
One of the reasons we’re all in an uproar about everything political is the way we’ve taken to discussing things. We call people names like slut, feminazi and douchebag. As soon as the name calling starts, all true discussion ends. It’s tough to maintain composure when a fat-ass, right-wing, pseudo-celebrity calls an intelligent woman a slut. It’s a stunt. It’s a radio ‘personality’ looking for publicity.
The problem is that there are people out there who freakin’ worship Rush Limbaugh. They think he’s an educated man (he dropped out of the well-known and oh-so-elite Southeast Missouri State University). People actually listen to what he says. I guess as a right-winger he’s cornered the market on family values: married four times, no kids and clearly watches internet porn. Anyone else smell his hypocritical manure?
But people listen to him and believe him. The Limbaughs of the world use verbiage like this as political fire bombs during election time. They pass insane laws, fast track legislation and generally get everyone in an uproar all for votes. VOTES. It’s certainly not for the safety and well being of our population.
So let’s talk about that safety and well-being. There has been some interesting research out there in conjunction with unwanted births and crime statistics. I’m fascinated by this so thought I’d share. Most of this is paraphrased from the research done for the book Freakanomics, so please keep this in mind.
We need to start with a history lesson.
In 1966, Nicolae Ceausescu became the Communist dictator of Romania. He outlawed abortions in order to build a nation worthy of the New Socialist Man – it was an exercise in grandiosity and ego. Anyone familiar with Romania’s history during this regime knows that the dictator and his family lived in amazing wealth while their people suffered in extreme poverty. The population grew.
Ceausescu’s ban on abortion was designed to achieve one of his major aims: to rapidly strengthen Romania by boosting its population. Until 1966, Romania had had one of the most liberal abortion policies in the world. Abortion was in fact the main form of birth control, with four abortions for every live birth. Now, virtually overnight, abortion was forbidden. The only exemptions were mothers who already had four children or women with significant standing in the Communist Party. At the same time, all contraception and sex education were banned. Government agents sardonically known as the Menstrual Police regularly rounded up women in their workplaces to administer pregnancy tests. If a woman repeatedly failed to conceive, she as forced to pay a steep ‘celibacy tax’.
Ceausescu’s incentives produced the desired effect. Within one year of the abortion ban, the Romanian birth rate had doubled. These babies were born into a country where, unless you belonged to the Ceausescu clan or the Communist elite, life was miserable.
Fast forward to December 16, 1989. Know what happened? Nicolae Ceausescu lost his grip on Romania. Thousands of people took to the streets in protest. Wanna guess the age range of those protestors? Let’s see, 1989-1966 = 23….ages of the protestors ranged from 13 to mid-20’s. Ceausescu’s own ‘Socialist Army’ retaliated and put a bullet in his brain on Christmas Day 1989.
Now let’s slide on over to the US of A. On that very same day in 1989, crime was just about at its peak in the United States. When the crime rate began falling in the early 1990’s, it did so with such speed and suddenness that it surprised everyone. Most look at the demographics and say, “Well, the majority of the population in the US was older. How many geriatrics do you see knocking over the local 7-11?” According to studies though, demographic change is too slow and subtle a process – you don’t graduate from teenage hoodlum to senior citizen in just a few years – to even begin to explain the suddenness of the crime decline in our country.
So what does this have to do with abortion? Here’s another history lesson:
In 1828, New York became the first state to restrict abortion; by 1900 it had been made illegal throughout the country. In the late 1960’s, several states began to allow abortion under extreme circumstances: rape, incest or danger to the mother. By 1970 five states had made abortion entirely legal and broadly available: New York, California, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. On January 22, 1973, legalized abortion was suddenly extended to the entire country with the U.S. Supreme court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade.
The majority opinion, written by justice Harry Blackmun, spoke specifically to the would-be mother’s predicament:
The detriment that the State would impose upon the pregnant woman by denying this choice altogether is apparent … maternity, or additional offspring, may force upon the woman a distressful life and future psychological harm may be imminent. Mental and physical health may be taxed by child care. There is also the distress, for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a family already unable, psychologically and otherwise, to care for it.
The Supreme Court gave voice to what the mothers in Romania – and elsewhere – had long known: when a woman does not want to have a child, she usually has a good reason.
In the first year after Roe v. Wade, some 750,000 women had abortions in the United States (representing one abortion for every 4 live births, the opposite of Romania). Time for another math equation! Take the early 90’s, let’s just say 1994-1973 (legalized abortion) = 21. See where this is going? A generation has passed since women can make their own decision to abort. In sharp contrast to Romania, you have a sudden and extreme drop in the crime rate across the country. And wanna hear something equally freaky? Those first states to adopt abortion (New York, California, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii)? Guess which states crime rates dropped faster and first?
DING! DING! DING! YOU WIN!
Socially speaking. Historically speaking. Logically speaking. Fueled by data and research alone, keeping the government and Rush Limbaugh out of women's uteruses (uteri?) is clearly the better choice. Are there continued arguments as to the whether the government should fund them? Yes. Is there a better way than to simply pull all funding from Planned Parenthood? Yes. It’s called compromise. I wish politicians could understand that word.
I also wish that the GOP would go back to stealing our money rather than getting on their family value/morality high horse during election season. It’s old. And false. And filled with such hypocrisy it’s sick.
If you think because you’re getting married and planning to have a child that this doesn’t affect you? You’re wrong. This is seeping into birth control and if you’re on the pill, that may no longer be covered by your health insurance. Can you afford that? With insurance it’s anywhere from $5-$15 a month. Without it can be $20-$50. What if you lost your job? Your insurance? What then? What about the women RIGHT NOW who can’t afford it now, who get their prescriptions from Planned Parenthood, like my friend did in 1986? To call a woman slut, to enforce celibacy amongst women only (somehow folks forget that it takes TWO to tango), to take away a woman’s right to protect herself from unwanted pregnancy? It’s just stupid. And in extreme cases (hello Romania!) dangerous to our society.
I’m exhausted over the issue. Aren’t you?
Fabulous response from President Obama.