As a menstruating woman, who has had sex with sperm producing men for many reasons other than procreation, I would like to say a few things about birth control and access to abortions.
Disclaimer: This post is nothing but another indulgent rant bought to you by “letters i need to write and arguments I need to have and things I need to say, after reading other people’s blogs”. The public venting I need to have!
Ok: if you want to decrease the rate of abortions there are a few things you need to consider before you go round trying to put some more laws onto women’s bodies. Women not only need access to good quality sex education and reproductive information and options, we don’t only need access to cheap birth control. What we actually need is access to BETTER BIRTH CONTROL! Currently the choices available to human beings who want to prevent pregnancy are abysmal, and nearly all of them place all of the responsibility on the woman.
There is the condom: responsibility for initiating condom use often falls to the woman and paradoxically is used as a tool of humiliation against her (eg young women in possession of condoms are seen as having loose morals) or in the case of sex work, used against us as evidence of a crime. And even condoms are of limited effectiveness if they are not accompanied with good education about how to use and negotiate them (for the record they are my only means of birth control and I have found them to be 100% effective).
There are hormonal options such as “the pill” and the various injections they have these days. These are problematic for many of us. I refuse to use these methods due to their effects on my body and mental health. They made me stop having periods, made me lose my libido, I put on weight, i was moody and emotional, had sore boobs etc etc. And that is only the beginning for some women.
There are diaphragms or IUD’s which again are only a women’s responsibility and we’ve all heard the horror stories.
There is the invasive and permanent surgical options for men and women but they are not an option for those who may want to bare children in the future.
There is the morning after pill, which is simply an overdose of the hormonal treatments mentioned above and has the accompanying overdose of side effects.
There is abortion with the mental, emotional, physical, hormonal and personal stress and trauma it can bring apon the woman.
And adoption, and all the associated life and body changing effects of carrying a baby full term.
In ALL THESE CASES IT’S THE WOMANS RESPONSIBILITY! Eg: two consenting adults fall into bed in a lusty passion or a drunken stupor or whatever. Neither partner mentions birth control for whatever reason. The man presumes that if she hasn’t asked for a condom she must be employing some other contraceptive method. Why cant the women presume the same of the man? Well baisically because even if he is wrong and the woman was not using any form of contraceptive the man will still continue his life over the following weeks probably never giving an unwanted pregnancy a second thought. But the woman cannot walk away. She spends the next 48 hours weighing up the likelihood of falling pregnant, wondering if its worth putting her body through the full on stress and turmoil of the morning after pill. Or having this life altering threat of unwanted pregnancy in the back of her mind until the day her period arrives and she can sigh relief. It’s only her problem.
This issue sends me crazy.
Why the fuck should a woman have to turn her body upside down to stop herself getting pregnant from mens semen??!!? Why has someone not made better options that let men take responsibility. Why oh why is there no men’s contraceptive pill!!.
And if she decides to have the baby, after 9 months of living like a saint and having the whole wide world think they have rights to her body she gets rewarded with the joy of motherhood. If the guy who knocked her up didn’t turn out to be father material for whatever reason – TO BAD – SHE STILL GOTTA STEP UP AND PLAY MUMMA. For ever. And she better not make one tiny mistake because as a single mother – EVERYONE’S JUDGING HER!
Ofcourse the man may “help her out” and do dad duty every other weekend, for which the world will nominate him for father of the year, while strangers tell the woman how lucky she is that ‘baby dada’ plays good time fun guy when it suits him. Meanwhile the man goes onto have succesful career and the woman is destined for part-time or casual jobs that fit around her parenting.
God forbid there are any taxes left after the greedy politicians get their perks, to help out the single mother and her child. Because if she takes a cent, she will NEVER HEAR THE END! And the government will be doing its best to pimp her out to the closest thing to husband material, in order to hand over any financial responsibility for this single mother and her child, effectively making her and her child completely dependent on any employed man that she dates in the future.
And everyone will judge her even more for shacking with a man who is not the father of her baby.
She gets to deal with ALL of this, it’s not negotiable.
Sexually active heterosexual women spend so much of their lives trying to navigate this shit and sexually active heterosexual men spend about 10 minutes every 5 years thinking about it. It sucks. And it is so much more than a need for better sex education and access to cheap birth control. Its massive.
And in the meantime, I dont want to hear anybody dare try argue against a women’s right to terminate a pregnancy. Not before I see men being forced to carry babies, have pregnancies and deal with birthing, equal parenting and equal birth control responsibilities.
*please note – I have used massive and over the top generalisations which are based on what we all fucking know. But these generalisations obviously do not apply to everyone or represent all experiences. Just a hell of a lot of them*