Yesterday I read Gene Nichol’s great piece in the N&O about poverty in North Carolina. But, don’t worry, I don’t want to talk about that! I want to touch on the very first comment on the piece, which reads simply: “birth control.” Cryptic, yeah? I can only assume it’s offered in the same spirit with which a woman of my acquaintance (I swear, that’s all) told me that the birth control implant should be “given when people sign up for welfare.” I wish I could tell you that I replied brightly, “Free birth control sounds great!” Or, “I don’t think it’ll do much for the gents!” Or, even, “Huh?” The sad truth is that I sat there staring dumbly, wondering to myself who in the Sam Hell could think a Prius driver from Chapel Hill would be receptive to welfare mom smackdowns? People!
Why is it that when certain people hear about poverty, particularly impoverished children, they automatically respond by offering contraception in a sneering, punitive way? Yet when women make the point publicly, that, yes, affordable contraception sounds great, they’re derided as prostitutes? And when you try to talk about what options women will have when, given their lack of affordable whore pills, they wind up pregnant, their decisions are circumscribed by a host of politicians who are so much more capable of making health care choices than silly, slutty ladies and their doctors? Why?
I’ve been reflecting on all this in an election season rife with talk of the rape thing, whether it’s legitimate, God-intended, forcible, or juice-drying. Okay, the juices not working right is an oldie, but look how far we haven’t come since then! In almost EIGHTEEN YEARS! I’m just trying to wrap my head around this whole thing, and, basically, what I’m getting is: Women who want to express their sexuality are bad and whorish. Women can’t be trusted with big important decisions about their own health and lives, so in that way, they’re like children. And rape is a constant worry, except it’s not so bad because even if it results in pregnancy – even though it can’t – there are legislators at all levels who are more competent than sex-crazed dummy gals to make any necessary decisions. Do I have that right? I’m not a professional, but people who spend so much time thinking about loose girls and rape probably ought to have that checked out.