Monday, April 30, 2012

Female Trouble


Preface: this is a rant about the barrage of systematic misogyny and anti-woman legislative attacks being carried out by the Regressive Conservative Republicans in Congress and state houses across the country. If you don’t believe there’s ‘War On Women’ taking place in our modern political discourse, then IMHO you are either not paying attention, don’t care or live in a world without women (a sad and lonely place, indeed).

My, my, my… isn’t it just adorable how suddenly, out of the blue, the issue of women’s healthcare, access to contraception and abortion services has become THE hot-button issue lately? Oh wait… it seems The American League of Catholic Bishops are the ones who sparked this fire, seeing as how they feel the VeryEvilSatanic Obamacare ACA mandate for contraception coverage denies them of their religious freedoms from an overbearing, secular Jesus-hating socialistic government. Poor babies.

How ironic that the Catholic Bishops are trying to assert their religious authority over secular laws, the same laws which seem unable to rid Catholic priests of their penchant for having sex with minors. Can you think of any other worldwide organization that condones, promulgates and covers up child molestation better than the Catholic Church? Can you imagine any American business or corporate entity that could get away with the institutionalized child rape so endemic to the Catholic Church? No… I didn’t think so. TAX THE CHURCH…. but I digress.

I am not a woman, so I will assume that some of the nuances involved in the subject of this essay will never EVER be completely self-evident to me. However, I feel like I have more female-centric empathy than the Average Bear. A staunchly conservative female co-worker once described me as ‘the gayest straight man’ she’d ever known, and I took that as a serious and honest compliment because that's how she meant it. So, there’s that.

I simply cannot understand the current brouhaha being screeched by Conservatives over family planning, contraception, abortion and the subject of women’s healthcare. It’s the antediluvian mindset that seems to have taken over those who would limit, restrict or eliminate a woman’s right to make decisions about her body. It appears an entire (mostly male) segment of our Right-leaning politicians and citizenry are bound and determined to take us back to the days when women were chattel, owned outright by their male overlords, subject to their every hairy whim and smelly notion. Don't forget... it wasn't so long ago that women weren't even allowed to vote.

“If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.” – Florynce Kennedy

Make no mistake about it… it isn’t simply a case of Regressives not wanting ‘their’ tax dollars used for things they don’t really consider healthcare. It’s actually an overreaching ploy to establish and maintain authority and control over women’s individual rights and life choices. Regressive males need to feel they have control over women, and the pious Rethuglicans keep sticking their size 10’s into their mouths with every pronouncement of how they will assert control over said female bodies, specifically the uterus.

One of the enduring images that sticks in my brain is of the ridiculous House panel, chaired by Darrell ‘Convicted Felon’ Issa (R-Scumbag), that was called to 'investigate' the issue of contraception coverage as it relates to the religious community, yet no female was allowed to sit on the panel of experts or to provide testimony. You’ll recall that Georgetown graduate Sandra Fluke was the lone female witness who Mr. Felony kept out of the proceedings, but she was subsequently allowed to speak to a panel chaired by the Democrats. Oh yeah, and that sparked the infamous Rush Limbaugh tirade wherein he branded her a slut who simply wanted the government to pay for her to have unlimited sex without the responsibility of creating bebbehs.

The teeth-gnashing and pearl-clutching by the morally upstanding Religious Right could likely be heard on the Moon. How DARE that harlot expect good and decent and moral people to turn over their hard-earned money just so that she and her horny college systers could engage in fornication-without-conception. How… how… how DEVIANT! How on EARTH could ANYONE think that their gospel-soaked tax dollars should be allowed to fund the shameless sexing that is obviously taking place in dorm rooms across Ameikkka, in full view of the Lawd Almighty?!??!

Please, spare me.

I find it endlessly fascinating that the same folks who are espousing the concept of Smaller Government and States Rights and Personal Freedom and all that… want the government to force women to simply roll the dice when it comes to having sexual relations. If they wind up preggers, oh well… GOD’S WILL and all that. Don’t kid yourself – these people aren’t just wanting to eliminate contraception, abortion and family planning. They want a level of theocratic control over women’s physical lives to match their own stunted and stilted vision of How Things Should Be, as directed by that Great Eye In The Sky and his minions on Earth who wear dresses in church and rape young boys in the small rooms behind the altar, with the visage of a mythical dying man nailed to a torture device, hanging on-high, exalted.

Is that too harsh? Too bad… deal with it.

I have no use for pompous and narrow-minded religiosity when it comes to the issue of women's reproductive rights. In the larger picture, as it relates to the Affordable Care Act, there’s no getting around the fact that 98% of women in this country use, will use or have used some form of contraception in their lifetimes. Since they are uniquely equipped to give birth, it only stands to reason that each and every woman must have the ability, the right, the choice to conceive or not to conceive as they see fit, and this is specifically a women’s health issue. It has nothing to do with religious freedom, and saying so doesn't make it so.

"Keep your rosaries off my ovaries" -- anonymous bumper sticker

Let me be clear on something before I continue with my little rant: I totally accept that there are lots of people who consider every aspect of my viewpoint on this issue as a non-starter. For them, anything that interferes or obstructs the natural process of conception is an abortifacient. For them, anyone who willfully terminates a pregancy before giving birth is guilty of MURDER. I appreciate their arguments, but as has been confirmed by the Supreme Court and in countless surveys, studies and polls, the vast majority (70%+) of Americans are, in fact, pro-choice and support a woman's right to choose whether or not to conceive and/or give birth. Sadly for the anti-choicers, they are now a minority group, losing adherents every year. Blame it on a growing rejection of religious intolerance, or perhaps that more people are educating themselves on this issue rather than parroting the worn-out pro-life talking points. Whatever. I will always respect an individual's right to believe what they choose to believe, but there is only one set of facts, and the facts simply do not support those who vehemently oppose and want to eliminate access to family planning, contraception and abortion.

OK, back to the ranting.

If a church-run hospital deals only with adherents to that religion and has no involvement with the secular world of healthcare provision and insurance coverage, hires only doctors and nurses and orderlies and only those who are believers… fine, good luck with that. But a hospital is not a church, and therefore does not qualify for tax-exempt status (TAX THE CHURCH!!!) nor the very special exemptions to secular laws currently enjoyed by churches. In this country, private and public hospitals are by-design involved in the public sector regarding healthcare. That blows the whole ‘religious freedom’ argument right into the dumpster, because they can’t have it both ways… they are part of the system, so they must work within that system and toe the line. IT'S DE LAW.

I hate to break it to the forced-birthers out there, but here’s a news flash: contraception is a modern woman’s RIGHT, not a privilege or some special gift that requires anyone’s approval or blessing. Limiting and/or eliminating access to honest family planning, contraception and (as a natural progression) abortion services does NOTHING to advance the role of women in our society. In fact, limitations to these services only holds women back, hostages to their evolutionary role as progenitors of the species. Women are not simply walking uteri, mammalian vessels whose sole purpose is to give birth and make dinner, a concept essentially championed by the uber-religious on behalf of their Unseen Sky Wizard and his ghost-written opus.

“If men could get pregnant, they’d sell do-it-yourself abortion kits at Home Depot.” – anonymous bumper sticker

Women are half of our citizenry. Women are now more than half of our workforce. Women deserve to be treated with the same respect as men at every level of our society. HOWEVER… since men will never EVER be put in a position to have their bodies taken over by the process of childbearing, women also have a far heavier burden of responsibility towards procreation than any man can ever imagine. Therefore, since women are solely responsible for gestation of the unborn, it is logical to conclude that ONLY women should decide whether to conceive and give birth or not, and must have at their disposal every option, tool and opportunity to exercise their choice. It's the only truly civilized response to their singular stature. It’s not that difficult a concept to grasp, now is it?

I have often posed the concept that women, as a member of the species homo sapiens, are just a tick further evolved than men. That statement is usually met with sneers of derision and head-shaking sarcasm from men (and affirmative head nods from women) until I list the facts:

1. Women live longer than men.
2. Women can handle pain better than men.
3. Women regenerate blood and sinew faster than men.
4. Women are all, to a certain extent, psychic (sorry, guys… you know it’s true).
5. Women have an incredible level of sensitivity and intuition.
6. Women can engage multiple layers of conscious thought streams simultaneously.
7. Women have their reproductive organs on the inside of their bodies.
8. WOMEN CAN GIVE BIRTH.
9. Women have the enviable capability to make men completely wall-eyed and stupid with the merest action, thought, word or deed. A push-up bra also puts us into full-tilt chimp mode (sorry, guys… you know it’s true).

In my tally, these are only a few of the the facts that establish women as the stronger of the species, as the ones we single-minded testicle-dragging meatheads should and must offer as much deference to as possible. Conversely, these facts are also why, in almost every humanoid society since the Stone Age, women have been oppressed by the ruling males to control their influence and quash their voice. In almost every religious doctrine now being practiced on this planet, women are second-class, second-rate, second-in-line. Women have been cast as the lesser of the species, subject to the vagaries of their ‘stronger’ male counterpart, when in fact men have always oppressed women because they secretly feared the power of the uteri-laden.

"For a woman to get half as much credit as a man, she has to work twice as hard, and be twice as smart. Fortunately, that isn't difficult.” -- Charlotte Whitton

It reminds me of a favorite scene from the film ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’, where patriarch Gus Portokalos, taken to task over another instance of his dunderheaded ways, pronounces “MAN… is the HEAD of the family!" As an aside, his wife then tells her daughter, “The man may be the head of the family, but the woman is the neck, and the neck can turn the head ANY WAY it wants to”.

Soooo... now that you have a pretty good idea of where I stand on the issue of women's reproductive rights, you may be asking yourself "Self, what in blue blazes does this chrome-domed Messican want ME do do about it?!?!" The answer is simple: SPEAK OUT. Don't stand by and allow the regressive theocrats to take another step towards the oppression of every American woman. Our wives, girlfriends, sisters, daughters, Mothers and friends of the female persuasion need every voice to be raised in support of their singular and ongoing struggle to control their own lives, to control their individual futures.

This is not really a partisan political issue, although the battle lines do seem to be drawn in shades of bright Red and Blue. Sad to say, in the year 2012 we are still having a heated national argument over women's reproductive rights. I remain optmistic that we'll eventually get to a point of agreement on this issue, although it promises to be a knock-down drag-out talking point in the upcoming Presidential election season. I know this much: when it comes to the subject of women's rights, I am a foot soldier on their behalf, ready to lead the conga line towards a more equal society. Come along, won't you?

"If you can't trust me with a choice, how can you trust me with a child?" - anonymous bumper sticker



Lead image 'Crucified Woman' by Eric Drooker, Muchismas Gracias de globalvoicesonline.com; Garbage 'Sex Is Not The Enemy' video, gracias de youtube.com