Population Control

Do you guys worry about the human population? Because I do. There are a lot of us, and that is going to be a problem.

Population-growth is in decline in Europe and in Japan, as people (particularly women) gain more bodily and financial autonomy, focus more upon their lives and careers, and make more responsible choices when planning their families.

But that is not the case everywhere. And it’s a problem.

Did you read about how Israel may have sterilized some Ethiopian refugees without their permission or knowledge? Because I did. It is a little difficult to find a new source that is not either uncomfortable with levying the accusation, a source with a reputation for paranoid conspiracy-theories, or a news source with anti-Semitic leanings.

Just hearing the headline reminded me of two things: the first was an episode of Law & Order in which a doctor who worked at a free clinic in the inner city would occasionally implant IUDs in women whom she determined to be less-than-ideal potential parents. She did this without their permission or their knowledge (I say “less-than-ideal,” but one of the young women poured boiling water on a baby that she had already had, so don’t worry that this woman was sterilizing women whom she thought would feed their babies inorganic food or let them watch too much television). I was torn in that episode—I mean, I am a strong supporter of female reproductive rights, and that does not mean just supporting a woman’s unquestionable right to contraception and to abortion.

The “what would I do if I were in charge” question is a bit moot when it comes to how I would prosecute the IUD-happy doctor. The only case that I can make for forced sterilization is in cases of an abusive parent, and if I were in charge, no parent whom I knew to be abusive would be alive, much less free to get pregnant again. Am I okay with a vigilante who secretly sterilizes child-abusers? Absolutely. Is that a reliable rule for anything or how policies should be set? No. Does that mean that I am okay with refugees being sterilized? Absolutely not.

The second thing that came to mind was the larger question of population-control. I mean, it should be voluntary. There are organizations, such as Population Action International, that work to bring reproductive health services to developing nations. Now, I support this organization (um, in spirit—not financially, as that is so not in my budget at the moment). Their stated mission is to “ensure that every person has the right and access to sexual and reproductive health, so that humanity and the natural environment can exist in balance with fewer people living in poverty.” This is wonderful. It’s great from a human rights standpoint. It’s great from an environmental standpoint.

That said, organizations such as this one (I am not levying specific accusations, of course) represent an unlikely marriage of three different groups—feminists (and others interested in human rights), environmentalists (healthy families help make a healthy planet), and racists who believe that non-whites (and, realistically, many of those in developing nations are not white) continuing to reproduce in large numbers “endangers the white race.” Guess which one of those groups horrifies me?

I, however, am the sort of person who will take money from bad people if it will do a good thing. Working to combat poverty, disease, world hunger, and suffering? Yes, I will accept money from crazy people for that kind of cause. But I think that education and access to health care, particularly something as crucial as reproductive health care, is the key to making our planet a better place. Ideally, one that is no longer a home to racists.

What do you guys think?



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Blocked Birth Control

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It happened, “a federal judge temporarily prevented the Obama administration from forcing a Christian publishing company to provide its employees with certain contraceptives under the new health-care law.” Tyndale House Publishers wants to be able to dictate what contraceptives they will and will not cover. Tyndale says it provides its 260 employees with coverage for some contraceptives.
Tyndale got the injunction because they do not want to provide employees with contraceptives that they feel equates with abortion. The contraceptives at the center of this controversy are: Plan B and intrauterine devices.

The problem with saying that these devices are equal to abortion is…well it’s bullshit. An abortion is ending a pregnancy, neither Plan B or IUDs can do this. If a woman is already pregnant Plan B does nothing. Not one single thing. What it does do is prevent ovulation or fertilization of an egg. Sorry, Christian right and “pro-lifers” but the medical definition is still: “pregnancy does not begin until a fertilized egg implants itself into the wall of the uterus”.

Plan B can prevent fertilized eggs from attaching to the uterus…so it prevents pregnancy it does not abort a pregnancy. IUDs work by block sperm like a diaphragm, but to Tyndale this is abortion.

Matthew S. Bowman, a lawyer for Alliance Defending Freedom, which brought the suit on behalf of Tyndale, said in an e-mail that Bible publishers “should be free to do business according to the book that they publish. The Obama administration is not entitled to disregard religious freedom.” To that end Tyndale is not entitled to disregard women’s rights and freedom of choice.



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New Study Finds Birth Control Prevents Pregnancy, I Find I’m Surprised

photo of birth control pictures
During this election there has been a lot of talk about women’s rights and women’s health and very little talk about common sense. According to “The Contraceptive Choice Project”, a new study outlined in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, if women have access to birth control they won’t have an unwanted pregnancy. Shocking, I know—but if a woman doesn’t have an unwanted pregnancy that means she doesn’t have an abortion and it also means that the teen mom rate goes down (sorry MTV).

This study tracked over “9,000 women in St. Louis and gave a range of free birth control options to poor and uninsured women (those at the greatest risk for an unplanned pregnancy) between 2007 and 2011”. These options included implanted forms of birth control and lead to lower abortion rates 4.4 compared to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women in the study. The Obstetrics & Gynecology study also predicted “that one abortion could be prevented for every 79 to 137 women being given free contraception.”

I also get free birth control because I don’t currently have health insurance. For the first time in my life I don’t have health insurance and I’ve found a doctor (read as saint) that looks out for my needs. I need birth control for medical reasons not just sexual protection reasons…yet another issue that the Republican’s overlook. If you take away my right to my birth control, in order to keep me from appearing whorish (cause only whores need contraceptive, since we live in 1922), I will very likely lose my job and my relationship. I have such crippling pain and severe mood swings without this medication that I can’t get out of bed. If I do get out of bed it’s very probably I will be a raving lunatic and no one will be able to stand me. Trust me this has happened, I’ve lost friends because of my period, where were you on that one, Judy Blume?

The point is now there is medical proof that birth control is not sanctioned by the devil, it does not mean you’re a classless two bit hussy, it means you are a grown woman and you are taking your life in your own hands. This shouldn’t be a government issue – this is a health issue that should be discussed between someone with a vagina and someone with a medical degree. Before all the “Planned Parenthood is a government-funded programmers” come at me, no it’s not. It’s partly funded by the government, but it’s mostly funded by donations. It does not spend most of its time doing abortions, either – it spends most of it’s time preventing them and screening women for disease and cancer … yes, please hurry and shut that practice down! What a waste of money preventative care is! Save us from healthcare that will help our women, keep them safe, and keep unwanted pregnancies from happening!

See how silly that last sentence is? See how ridiculous it is to think that anyone has a right to control anyone else’s health? Let’s try something new. Let’s try and make decisions on facts and science not religion, morals, and heresy shall we?



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Rush Limbaugh Declares Feminism Dead, Credits … Danica Patrick?

photo of rush limbaugh and danica patrick pictures photos
Oh, did you hear? Rush Limbaugh declared the death of feminism. On his show he said, “This is about expanding the reach and power of government into your womb, if you’re a woman. This is about the Democrat Party wanting more and more control over you. What was early feminism all about? Emancipation, individuality, freedom, liberation, all of these things. Now here comes Danica Patrick out and she says, ‘I’m perfectly comfortable letting the government make my health decisions for me.’ Well, folks, I’m gonna tell you: Right there, that’s the death and the end of feminism.”

Personally, I don’t think the birth control mandate says anything about women having to be on the pill, though it does say that the government does have to pay for it. Why? Well because birth control is a medical necessity in many cases. Would you withhold insulin from a diabetic? I thought not.

Back to Limbaugh, however, his stance on this mandate is – at best – misinformed. Second, when did Rush Limbaugh become part of the feminist movement anyway, let alone a voice of authority that can declare it dead? To lambaste Danica Patrick as a “anti-feminist” and, in fact, use her personal comments as the death blow is absurd. I won’t go into all the ways Danica has impacted feminism (which have all been positive), but I will comment on the fact that she specifically said, “I leave it up to the government to make good decisions for Americans.” Quite different than what Rush was peddling on his piddling show, yes? She reaffirms that she will leave it up to the government to make decisions regarding government policies for Americans, and wow. Such blasphemy, right? Danica dodged a hard and sexist question – a question not unlike ‘Where do you stand on abortion’, but yet, not one other Formula One driver was asked what he thought about birth control. Why? Well, I’ll let you determine that. Furthermore, last I checked, Danica’s expertise isn’t in gynecological matters, or governmental policies, it’s in driving cars really, really fast. Perhaps next time journalists should maybe focus on why they’re are actually their, you know, jobs and doing them properly, lest they be confused with politicians.



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