I promised myself that I was going to do an actual long-winded post today. I don't have an exorbitant amount of homework to complete, I have a mild amount of studying to do, and I'm fueling to the end of my wits with coffee. With that said, I also have a splitting headache to which I can attribute no real cause, I can only identify that it's making my voice both in speaking and in writing come off harsh. Harshness in mind, I figured this the perfect time to discuss a few things that have been on my mind as of late
Though I haven't posted at length since the election, I am happy to announce for myself and the rest of the female population that it's a wonderful feeling to know that our uteri are safe (kind of) for at least another four years. Dean and I have been getting ourselves caught up on Boardwalk Empire and I must say--It's a terrifying notion that 'vagina' was looked at as a dirty word and the term 'pregnant' was frowned upon in the Catholic church, at least as portrayed by the show. See, Margaret wants to start a women's health clinic in lieu of a miscarriage she witnessed during a tour of the dedicated wing to the hospital. She was appalled that little to no education existed for prenatal care, feminine hygiene, the menstrual cycle, or how the female body works in general. One woman announces in the show after an educational class is established, "Wow, if I would have known this stuff when I was thirteen I wouldn't have thought I was dying." Unfortunately, these are the kinds of mentalities that abstinence-only education will get us. Though it may not be as drastic as it was in the 1920s, it's still dangerous.
I learned a statistic the other day supporting the idea that abstinence-only education does not work at length. A study showed that abstinence-only education worked--by postponing a teenager's first sexual act by two months. Wow! How impressive! Not. So sure, it keeps the kids from getting nasty for two months and, by the time that two month threshold passes, they know nothing about protecting themselves from sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, or the idea of contraceptives in general. As most pro-life activist groups are based out of religion, these groups also support abstinence-only education in schools and are still surprised and appalled by the number of abortions happening today. It's not going to change if these kinds of teaching patterns are the law of the religious land.
As I like to have numerous points of contention, I keep up with religious media, reading posts that my far leaning friends lend to the public. With that said, I read a story on the National Catholic Register about how taking oral contraceptives impairs the woman's decision to find a suitable mate and that contraceptives are harmful to women's health, exposing us to low self-esteem, weight gain, abortions, and so on. When used correctly, it's widely known that oral contraceptives, IUDs, and other long acting contraception methods are 99% effective. Most people know that upon making the decision to have sex, there are certain consequences that one must accept. I've also known many people who have had to take oral contraceptives for other reasons than birth control. Hell, my doctor just recently recommended that I start taking them again to control unbearable pain attributed to my Aunt Flo. I chose a different route since I do tend to gain weight while taking oral contraceptives, but for some women this is most definitely the best option. By practicing healthy sexual habits, you can prevent unwanted pregnancy, diseases, and emotional complications associated with being sexually active.
Unless one leans toward the devout end of the spectrum, devoting oneself entirely to the church, it's an unrealistic expectation for individuals to wait until marriage for sex. It's unrealistic to expect the masses to suppress sexuality. It's a beautiful thing that's meant to be explored. It's also something that people need to be educated about. If we don't teach kids about the way our bodies work, if we don't teach them of the possible consequences of exploring that sexuality, then we're just asking for it. The religious right wants an end to abortion? Well, the best source of prevention is education. Even with that education, it's still going to happen though. In a statistic discussed in one of my classes the other day, in countries that do not have legal abortion, it still happens just as often in countries that do have legal abortion. In my opinion, this puts a huge dent on women's health and safety. Though abortion is not my choice, it should still be a safe choice for women faced with making that decision. Do we really want what happened in Ireland to be the standard?
In a perfect world, everyone would wait until they found a suitable partner, someone who loves you as much as you love them. Unfortunately it doesn't always go down this way. Not everyone believes in marriage. Not everyone believes that birth control is evil. Not everyone believes that an unborn child's life is more important than the woman carrying the child. Not everyone believes that god's hands are in all of our actions.
Please, for the sake of humanity, keep your religion out of my uterus.