Monday, October 24, 2011

The politics of sex

I know, 2 touchy topics. But a lot has been written and said lately about so-called "personhood" laws and abortions that save women's lives. And I have to comment.

If you are unaware, there is a trend right now to pass laws, quite notably in Mississippi, that define life as beginning at conception. A lot of people who know a lot more about this than I do have been writing about problems with this idea, including 1) it would effectively outlaw hormonal contraceptives, 2) it would open women who have miscarriages up to possible legal action, 3) teens in states that pass this could quite possibly be allowed to vote 17 years and 3 months after their birth, would be able to drink 20 years and 3 months after birth, et cetera, thus causing confusion as to actual age...

There has also been a hullaballoo about Mitt Romney and a woman he censured years ago when she sought a life-saving abortion, with the support of Mormon leaders.

The general rhetoric is that people (read: women) shouldn't have sex unless they are married and with the intention of creating children. I mention that this means women because the usually male politicians aren't too worried about the men who impregnate these women. And are sometimes caught with their pants down. And the general consensus is usually that 'boys will be boys' and they need to sow wild oats, but women need to be paragons.

Don't get me started on what a bunch of hypocritical, sexist crap that is.

Let's look at facts:

1) People, both men and women, have sex, sometimes when they are not married. That is a moral issue, not a political one, so can we stay out of everyone else's bedrooms?

2) You can preach all you want that no one should have sex unless they are married, but that ain't gonna happen. If you think it will, you live under a rock. If you think this is a new phenomenon, you don't know your history. Heck, even the vaunted Bible is full of stories of pre-marital and extra-marital sex.

3) Even within marriage, people have sex without the main purpose being procreational. Think about it. Sex, usually called making love, is used to bring a couple closer. It strengthens bonds. And it just feels good. Do you really think people only have sex when they want kids? That's not the kind of marriage I want. And a lot of people who are past childbearing age still have sex. (Do you really want people to have babies they can't afford? Because that's the consequence of sex only being procreational.)

So, the whole personhood thing. An embryo is potential life. It cannot exist outside of its host, much like a parasite. Without going into the morality of abortion, it is not yet born. If you want to truly protect life, there are a lot of people already walking this earth who need their lives saved.

And consequence #1 as listed above? Just go watch this video:

Yep. For all the men out there who think this issue doesn't have anything to do with them, you won't be getting all that sex if your wife or girlfriend can't use the hormonal contraceptive of her choice. I bet Trojan is thrilled - here comes a resurgence for condom use!

Have you had a miscarriage or know someone who has? (You probably do.) Think about the heartbreak, then consider if all the women who have had miscarriages were investigated for possible murder. Think about the backlog with police, who are already stretched thin, having to look into this - and they are not medical experts.

This is just a bad idea with consequences beyond just outlawing abortion, the real reason for the laws.

And so we get to abortion. And the generally accepted reasons of rape, incest, life of the mother, that even anti-abortion folks will allow. Even the Mormons all the life of the mother as a reason for an abortion. But then some folks can't accept even that. They don't see understand the tough decision of choosing one life over another. They don't understand that when two people decide that the person (woman) who is already walking this earth deserves a chance to live, and that leaving a motherless child (or children if there are already children) is also a bad. That even if a woman chooses to risk her own life to bear her child, she and the child may still both die.

Can we leave politics out of the bedroom? Can we leave medical decisions to doctors, not politicians? And can we try to think about the long-term consequences of our actions (or legislation) rather than the knee-jerk, FU that most of it seems to be these days?


  1. Amen!

    Also, how about the fact that there is no scientific consensus about when life actually begins? It floors me that legislatures are trying to say that life begins at conception when many scientists disagree with that statement.

    Legislators are not qualified to make scientific determinations, like when human life begins, just as a doctor isn't qualified to diagnose my car problems and a teacher isn't qualified to fix my plumbing problems.

  2. Precisely! Legislators are not scientists or doctors, thus not experts at all when it comes to when life begins. They need to stop legislating morality.


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