Well, my little reader(s?) I have been forced out of retirement. Want to know exactly what it took to do so (besides some blatant flattery)? We’ll get to that in a minute – trust me, it’s a doozy.
My disappearance was a combination of factors, from life events getting in the way to my naïve hopes that the election results might mean an end to the Republicans’ campaign against my ovaries. Silly me! You would think that I would have known better. The GOP has never been one to let things like “facts” or a “trouncing” to get them down, no sir. There have been many events in the past six months (yikes, sorry) that have made me consider getting back into my love-hate relationship with political blogging, but none so much as the following. Courtesy of ThinkProgress:
“Oklahoma may deny women affordable birth control because it ‘poisons their bodies’”
Well we’re off to a good start, aren’t we? Two rage-inducing things in one quick little sentence. Let’s see where this takes us.
Oklahoma State Senator Clark Jolley (R – SHOCKING) is attempting to pass a bill that would allow employers to refuse to provide any healthcare coverage for women’s contraceptives. Terrible, but unfortunately no longer original. Ever since the ACA was upheld by the Supreme Court these kinds of things have been happening all over the country – because we only like the Supreme Court when they agree with us, otherwise we pretend they don’t matter. I believe it was Senator Rand Paul who said “Just because a couple of people on the Supreme Court declare something to be ‘constitutional’ does not make it so.” Um, yes, Mr. Paul, I think that’s exactly how it works. I bet if they upheld a law saying everyone old enough to hold a gun could have their own personal AK-47 he’d be their number one fan. But anyway, I digress. Someone else can start a gun control blog, I am le tired.
As I said, this bill is awful, but nothing new. What truly takes it from 0 to 100 on the WTF scale is why Jolley was inspired to propose this bill. Apparently he was influenced by one of his constituents (I could have sworn it was GOP policy to completely ignore the will/autonomy of their constituents, but whatever) who thinks that not only does birth control poison us (sacre bleu!), but denies us the ability to fulfill the one and only role in life: baby factory – er, I mean motherhood:
“Part of their [women] identity is the potential to be a mother…They are being asked to suppress and radically contradict part of their own identity, and if that wasn’t bad enough, they are being asked to poison their bodies.” – Dr. Dominic Padulla.
So much WTF here. Who exactly is this man, who has decided that as a woman, our identity revolves around popping out kids? According to his website:
“Family planning advocacy became a large part of Dr. Dominic Pedulla’s life after he realized the relationship between cardiac problems and contraceptives. With nine children of his own, Dominic Pedulla serves as President of The Edith Stein Foundation, an advocacy group primarily concerned with reproductive health and family planning. His commitment to women’s reproductive health exemplifies his strong respect for family values.”
The fact that anyone can call themselves “committed to women’s reproductive health” while at the same time denying them access to medication that directly affects their reproductive health is inception-level mind blowing. Oh, and that link between birth control and cardiovascular health? According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2012:
“Some formulations of oral contraceptives, which contain a mix of estrogen and progesterone, can double a woman’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke, according to the new research, but in absolute terms the risk is very low because young women under age 50 rarely have heart attacks or strokes.”
So yes, there is risk involved, but it’s no more than when you take any other medications. Additionally, since when is Dr. Padulla qualified to decide that the slight risk of cardiovascular complications is more important than the myriad of risks that come with pregnancies (miscarriage, ectopic pregnancies, various cancers, not to mention childbirth itself)? Oh right, when it supports his narrow-minded, oppressive, misogynistic idea that a woman’s one role in life is to have babies.
There is just so much that is offensive and terrible about that idea, but it clearly represents the ideological direction the GOP is taking. Hidden (sometimes not well) beneath their claims of “concern for women and their health,” their “medical proof” that abortions and contraceptives are dangerous, lies this simple fact: to them, women are meant to be barefoot and pregnant. Something about Dr. Padulla’s nine children makes me think that he ascribes fully to this belief system, and I don’t care how loudly they deny it, a large portion of the GOP does as well.
Nothing about my identity has to do with my ability to have children. If some day in the future I decide to do so, that’s one thing, but it will be my choice and not something forced on me by a bunch of misguided and ignorant politicians.
In related news, does anyone have a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale I can borrow? I need it to prepare for a future where these morons continue to wield political power.