25 September 2007

Contraception Day

It isn't often that I write more than one post in a day. Something has to happen or catch my attention or really piss me off for me to come back to the computer and finish another post. I start more than one a day, usually, but they sit in my queue for a few days until I get them finished.

Today, it is something that has me pissed and feeling confrontational and like I've been left in the dark. I get news feeds from NOW (National Organization for Women), the ACLU, and NARAL, so I'm surprised that this didn't hit my radar screen before the actual day. I heard it on the BBC's World Today, which my local NPR affiliate carries. I love listening to the Beeb. I love to hear the voices of the Brits...mmmm, those accents. But I digress.

I turned the radio on when leaving Pilates, and caught about 15 minutes of the programme. If you're a regular reader, maybe you've been wondering why I haven't been doing Current Events or politics lately, and the answer is that I'm depressed enough without focusing on the constant stream of bad news. Every time I tune in to NPR or CNN, I hear and see things that make me sad and angry, leave me feeling impotent and powerless in the face of a giant patriarchal Republican conspiracy. Now I know that point of view is both radical and a weee bit unfounded, part of my natural paranoia, but I can't help feeling like the bad news from Iraq combined with radical religious right hysteria and the erosion of our civil rights by things like the USA PATRIOT ACT all weigh me down, make my depression worse. Therefore, I haven't been focusing on that so much lately.

But then I'll hear something that snaps me back to a reality that I'm not happy about. Today was World Contraceptive Day, and I didn't even know it. Contraceptives are a woman's issue, solely because no one has bothered to try to invent a male version of The Pill. Don't get me started on that one.

Being raised Catholic, you know that I was taught from an early age that contraceptives of any type are wrong. It goes without saying that I never agreed with that idea, in fact it mystified me from the very first time I ever heard it. I'm not alone in that; many Catholics use every type of contraception available, because no one really wants 21 children. Who can afford that in this day and age? The Church's stance on contraception began when the Church wanted lots of new followers, and when the infant mortality rate for the entire known world was very, very high. Outdated? Yep, you could say that.

I've written before about the things that Pope John Paul II had to say about "appropriate" roles for women; the duality of motherhood and wife should be enough for them, according to his late Holiness's 1988 letter to women. I don't have much use for Benedictine XVI, his writings before he became pontiff as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger are enough to make me hunt for the nearest vomitorium.

The Beeb had 3 people on the program to talk about Contraception Day; one was a Catholic professor, a woman, who opposes any contraception. One was a scientist who has researched contraceptives extensively in developing nations, and one was a spokesperson for a Brit organization called Marie Stopes. The scientist and the Marie Stopes bloke were both well-reasoned and sane. The professor is a whole 'nother story.

The professor started her comments off by noting that she's opposed to contraception not as a Catholic, but as a woman. Contraceptions are bad for women, y'all. Who knew? I always thought that bringing a child into the world should be a reasoned, measured decision, one not undertaken lightly, one that you should make when you are emotionally, physically and financially able to care for another human being. Wow, guess I really missed the boat there. Apparently, I shouldn't use contraceptions because they're unhealthy. Riiiiight.

Turns out that the Church does support one type of contraception: Natural Family Planning. But then again, the Church doesn't allow for sexual intercourse of any type outside of the marriage bed, for the sole purpose of procreation. What does it say about your sexuality if you allow it to be controlled by people who are (theoretically) abstinent their whole lives?

But anyway. I won't let this post become a diatribe about sexuality. I won't let this post become a diatribe about sexuality. I won't let this post become a diatribe about sexuality. Sorry, back to the point.

World Contraception Day is about bringing attention to the fact that many women around the world do not have access to birth control of any sort, even when they want it. Additionally, it calls attention to the fact that by 2050, there will be two billion (that's billion with a B) more people on this planet than there are today. If we don't start paying attention to population control, we're going to out grow the planet before the end of the 21st century. Scary.


Surviving Twin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Surviving Twin said...

Your blog reminded me of a little joke my former pastor told me some 17 years ago: "Do you know the other term that is used to refer to the Rhythm Method of contraception?"

I shrugged.

"'Pregnant!'" he blurted.

We had a good laugh. It was funny then. It's funny now. Some things are sort of timeless, ya know? Timelessly funny. I think.

Lucy Arin said...

When even a pastor says such things...sigh. Yeah, funny, but deeply sad, too. You should have heard the professor going on and on about the evils of contraception. First it pissed me off, then I laughed at her ignorance and then it made me just sad.

Thanks for commenting and for the chuckle.

Dawna said...

Hee hee, I've heard that joke before too- by my 8th grade teacher at a *gasp* Catholic school. Needless to say, our priest did not like her.

Either way, I remember reading an article a few years ago that spoke of giving birth control somewhere in Africa. They gave it to the people without educating them first! So the men took the pills...

Contraceptives are fine, but I think education should come first. Once properly educated, you can realize how it is you are making these babies.

Personally, I think they should start giving the men vasectomies after having 2 children. Keep the population boon at a minimum. Tell 'em that there's some kind of hoodoo disease that infects males after having 2 children or something. The gods are unhappy with more children or some nonsense.

Lucy Arin said...

That's a great idea! Could even satisfy the religious right....

Anonymous said...

I strongly recommned that you write a book... end of story! haha