I don’t know why I didn’t remember that yesterday was the Blog Blast for Education. I had originally planned on posting about experiences I have had with my children, but I posted about a class I am in yesterday. And I am posting about it again, today. Yesterday was a hectic, hectic day in which I was quintuple booked. Sorry!
It should be no surprise to people who know me that I would love a class based on a message board. Well, here is my latest post, in response to the teacher discussing whether or not our culture promotes abortion. She told a personal story about growing up in Cuba, and how she thought abortion was promoted there by public policy.
Here is my post:
I totally agree, first of all, that government attitudes and health
policies do affect women’s choices. In Cuba, overt religion was not part
of the political picture, and neither was contraceptive access. Since
abortion was free and accessible, it was the predominant method of
controlling pregnancy and birth for women outside of herbal remedies.
In the United States, contraception is not readily available for
different reasons. Religion and cultural social conservatism are playing
a role in this, to a certain extent. There was already a great
discussion about this on Stephanie’s post about contraception use in the
Recent legislation has slashed contraceptive funding and contraceptive
prices have skyrocketed, especially on college campuses. The doctor
appointed to oversee Title X funding for reproductive health and birth
control (Dr Susan Orr, the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Population
Affairs, who just stepped down after 3 years) has a public stance
against birth control, and used to work for the Family Research Council,
an organization lobbying to ban Title X funding. The largest “pro-life”
group, the American Life league, recently organized a national protest
day against the birth control pill, with the slogan “The Pill Kills”.
Even though 98% of women use contraception at some point in their lives,
our culture sends a very mixed message to women.
Recent changes in public health programs in the United States have had a
definite effect on teen birth rates, contraception use, and abortion.
Access to abortion in rural areas, which has plummeted due to political
resistance, and funding for abortions has dropped, and so has the
abortion rate, slightly, but to what end? More unplanned pregnancies
being carried to term by women who would terminate if they had the
funding and access to care?
I do not agree that the culture in the United States necessarily
encourages abortion. In the oxymoronic ideal we are given as women,
abortion is definitely not supported or encouraged. Yes, a certain level
of sexual appearance and behavior is expected of women, but once it gets
to the sexual level, we are supposed to say no, and not even think about
birth control, premarital sex, sex for recreation, women’s pleasure or
sexual appetite, or abortion. It is the virgin/whore dichotomy that is
the ideal. In a way, abortion is expected since contraception is not
promoted and our public health policy results in more unplanned
pregnancies. But, abortion is heavily stigmatized as a way to deal with
The way that the public dialog has been framed when it comes to abortion
is in the extremes. No one talks about the reality that it is the most
common surgical procedure in the United States. I doubt many of us know
the 30-40% of women around us who have had them. It is not like the
public attitude towards plastic surgery, which is overwhelmingly
positive. The dialog either focuses on the 5% of abortions that are in
the second trimester, or tries to ignore the discussion all together.
The recent blockbuster movies about birth and reproduction are perfect
examples of this. In the movie “Knocked Up”, the characters can’t even
use the real word abortion when discussing it as an option in an
unplanned pregnancy. The supporting character says “shmamortion” or
something to that effect, since it is the procedure which cannot be
named, like the villain Voldemort in Harry Potter.
In “Juno”, the abortion clinic is staged as a place for purple haired,
insensitive freaks, and the teenage character is glorified for deciding
to become a “baby Santa” to an infertile couple. Incorrect medical
information about embryos having fingernails was given as a reason for
avoiding abortion. Without any counseling or remorse, she gives the baby
up for a closed adoption in which she cannot make contact, and skips
back to the father of her child who wouldn’t even admit paternity due to
I have already talked about the complicated topic of adoption, which is
another huge issue. Statistics show that almost no women give up their
children for adoption in the UK, and it is thought to be due to the fact
that they have good social support for single mothers and universal
health care. What would Juno do if she had that waiting for her? Or,
would she have even gotten pregnant if she lived in the Netherlands?