Monday, May 08, 2006

Contra-Contraception: NYTimes Magazine reveals ugly truth of Bush's Base and its view of women

Perhaps this story, by Times writer Russell Shorto, will finally put an end to the labels of "paranoid" or "conspiracy theorist" or "whiner" that have been unwittingly elicited by anyone who has written that Bush's Base will not be satisfied at restricting or even eliminating any provisions for abortion, leaving no exceptions for the health of the mother, viability of the fetus, or the circumstances of rape or incest. (In fact, for many of those who are waging war on women's reproductive lives, only the life of the mother is considered, reluctantly, a worthy reason for having an abortion, presumably for the same reason it makes no sense to allow an egg-laying hen to die unnecessarily.)

What the Times's piece makes abundantly clear, finally, for those who have been in denial about the ultimate aim of the GOP's power-hungry religious-righteous, is that contraception is also on their agenda. In fact, one quote makes clear what many of us have already known for some time: that whatever they might say about their concern for women's health, their real goal is to prevent anyone (i.e., any woman) from having sex without consequences.

More importantly, though, Shorto takes an even-handed and more nuanced approach than most writers on this topic and eloquently articulates the murkier middle of this debate... that area where our thinking cannot ignore the huge quantitative differences between the US and most of the rest of the civilized world where easy access to both contraception and abortion results in far lower rates of both unwanted pregnancies and abortions than in the US... yet, where our moral nature is uneasy about the impact of making freely available to teens and unmarried women practical sexual information and medical services that are completely clinical and nonjudgmental.

Perhaps because he takes such a high road, Shorto is simply unaware of the very relevant dirty laundry of one of the players he mentions; more likely he just decided not to mention Dr. W. David Hager's long-term history of sexually abusing and sodomizing his wife because it is so personal and lurid. I am under no such obligation, however, and my point in mentioning it, besides reminding us all once again of this administration's penchant for naming the most peculiarly qualified appointees-- Hager claimed to use the Bible in his ob/gyn practice-- is that, whenever there is soooo much heat around any topic that is at all connected to sex, we can be sure that a damning hypocrisy is just below the surface. We have only to scratch it.

It also seemed appropriate to write about this topic since on Sunday we celebrate Mother's Day, a holiday that began as day when women protested the war that turned their children (really, their sons) into cannon fodder, but has since evolved into a day with traces of familial passive-aggression: Buy/do something nice/expensive for your mother! Or the mother of your children! Make your children feel guilty for your labor pains! Just be sure to support the economy to the best of your ability. Or beyond it.

However, lots of organizations have wonderful suggestions for other ways to spend Mother's Day, including Code Pink and MomsRising.org.

With the approaching holiday, expect to see more posts on related topics here.

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