It’s old news by now so I’m assuming we’ve all read “Contra Contraception” from the May 7 New York Times Magazine by now? If not, you’re behind on your homework, Chicklets.
Turns out the new frontier among the “we like to say we want the government off your backs but what we really mean is we want no taxes but reserve the right to dictate what goes on in your private life” conservatives is the anti-contraception movement. And, no, we’re not talking about abortion, we’re talking about good old fashioned birth control. You know, what they used to call “family planning” when we were in school.
The Republicans, it seems, just don’t want birth control around any more. And no, they don’t just mean they don’t want your kids labeling confusing abstract diagrams of fallopian tubes in school. They mean they don’t want it around at all. Like, throw those condoms away and stop taking your pills because using birth control makes you “anti-child.” And dooms you to hell for all eternity, natch. No, I’m not making this up.
In an 8,000 word tour de force, Russell Shorto infiltrates the movement, which not only includes fringy wackos organized into various leagues for the protection of the rights of the sperm, but, scarily, government officials like the anti-birth control Joseph Stanford, whom Bush appointed to the FDA’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee (because you know, appointing someone who opposes birth control to a committee whose function is supposed to be only to rule on the safety of drugs makes so much sense), who said that excluding the potential of fertility from sex means that spouses begin to see each other as sources of sexual pleasure; sex becomes separated from procreation. And that’s bad, Chicklets! Bad! (Keep up with the class.)
Never mind that these people have blood on their hands in a big big way since they’re responsible for exporting the Bush administration’s abstinence only curriculum to AIDS relief programs in Africa.
But kids, my fave outrage of the many Shorto catalogs is the Purity Ball. Put on by various groups, these balls are attended by teenage girls and their fathers. “At the ball, a father gives a ‘purity ring’ to his daughter—a symbol of the promise she makes to maintain her virginity for her future husband. Then during her marriage ceremony, the daughter gives the ring to her new husband.” Gag me with a double standard.
All we can do is hope that all those purity pledges backfire (as apparently they often do: the pure kids apparently have way more sex than the ones who didn’t promise nuthin’ to no one, say the stats).
Let’s close our eyes, click our heels together three times, and pray to the gods of Kobol that those poor girls all turn out to be lesbian Wiccan social workers who dedicate their lives to organizing political campaigns for the Green party.
Seriously, you should read the article. Or if 8,000 words is just about 7,500 too many, go read Dan Savage’s excellent recap. He frames the whole thing as a straight-rights issue: having been agitating and insisting that straight people’s rights are coming under attack, our fave gay sex columnist saw this coming way before anyone else did.
You thought contraception was pretty well a settled issue didn’t you? Thought you maybe had to keep track of what those Republicans were doing in sex ed courses and abortion clinics. Turns out you’d better watch your back.