I like women, but I am one, so that probably goes without saying. I believe that we are smart, capable individuals with talent and skills to offer the world beyond what grows in our wombs. What I’m trying to say is that I’m not the kind of women who obeys meekly, who follows, and who doesn’t ask questions.
From afar, I have been watching the rhetoric in the U.S. I’ve witnessed as different states have introduced bills that would require a woman seeking an abortion, for any reason (including rape, incest, or danger to her health), to be forcibly probed with a transvaginal ultrasound and then forced to view the images. I’ve seen how religious institutions like universities or religious employers want to deny women birth control coverage on their insurance plans. It does not matter if they use it for a health reason or if they use it to avoid pregnancy. I watched how Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown law student, Sandra Fluke, a slut and a prostitute because she wanted to testify in congress that insurance plans everywhere – even at religious institutions – should cover the cost of birth control.
And I remained silent. But enough is enough.
Last weekend, as we sat down for lunch with my husband’s family, we started talking about religion and that veered into women. The story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden came up. The youngest members of the family expressed doubts and said they weren’t familiar with the story.
Having gone to Lutheran and then Catholic school, I’m quite well-versed in the Bible. I know. I’d be surprised, too.
And so commenced my summary of what supposedly transpired: Adam was created in the image of God, blah, blah, blah. Then along comes Eve from one of Adam’s rib. Yadda yadda yadda. God says that they could have everything they wanted in the garden, but can not eat anything from outside its perimeters. One day, a serpent tempts Eve to eat an apple from the Tree of Knowledge and she thus hands the apple to Adam who takes a bite, like a mindless boob. God is so angry that he expels them from paradise and brings plagues, pain, and suffering upon the world, or some crap like that. Ergo, the fall of man occurred and everything is Eve’s fault. Women become subordinates as punishment.
When I finished, my husband said, in his best neutral, teaching voice, “And many believe that the church just made up that story in order to control women.”
I snorted, then snorked my coffee, “YOU THINK? Obviously, it’s like that! It’s a perfect guise to blame women and let men make our decisions for us – all in the name of religion!” I don’t have strong opinions, now, do I?
Back to the point, I don’t classify myself as pro-choice, I classify myself as pro-women and that means trusting that the majority of women are capable and responsible enough to make the choices that affect their bodies privately, with their doctors and without the intervention of intrusive laws and policies that aim to judge and punish. I don’t think any woman wakes up and says, “Gee, you know what would be fun today? An abortion!” And skips merrily off to the clinic. I believe it’s a very difficult decision and that women who make it – for whatever reason – ultimately understand and accept that.
As for birth control, most people know that hormonal birth control can be used to treat myriad legitimate female health problems and make life more comfortable for women. It can also be used to prevent pregnancy in the case that the woman in question wants to screw like a bunny. However, shouldn’t the woman be allowed to decide? This is unlike Viagra, which is covered by health plans, and only has one use. Can you guess which one that is?
We don’t have to be silent. We can be heard. It’s an election year. If you think that it’s wrong that men and religion are making policies that affect your health, do something! Sign the petitions going around. Call your lawmakers. Make your opinions known on the ballots. Tell men and religion that we are responsible enough to make our own decisions and that they should butt out and worry about more pressing issues like the economy, jobs, foreign policy, and rising gas prices.