Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sunday, and Still Snowed-In.

It was truly lovely to hear Maggie Mason on NPR this morning; 'twas a nice little piece on Christmas Shopping online.

We're still staying in, Mom and I in our matching cheese-sauce-spotted shirts. I finished the last Christmas scarf (Well, I think it's the last one) and got out the needles with the nifty Birthday Books to learn how to "knit for real." It was challenging at first, but it's gettin' easier the longer I keep going. Dad came this morning, out gettin' around in that big ol' high-ridin' white Bronco. No, not the OJ Bronco, it's a couple years older and I'm sure he came by it a lot cheaper.

He brought the Newspapers we'd missed... I'm hooked on "Rex Morgan, MD," but I still read the rest of the paper too.

And... On The Front Page of one of 'em...

Are you feckin' kiddin' me???

I think I mentioned The Billboards a while back... Well, our own Tulsa World Newspaper has discovered 'em now. Planned Parenthood has put up some blue and white billboards that say "Birth Control Is Easy" (with a phone number) and the Catholic Diocese of Tulsa has responded by putting up some red and white billboards that say "Birth Control Is HARMFUL" (with a website address).

The newspaper article didn't exactly get off to a good start with me anyway -- on the bottom of the front page, before they'd even got halfway through the article, was a quote from someone who mentioned the problems caused by "unattended pregnancies." Yeah, you read that right, that's just what it said -- unattended pregnancies. Lack of prenatal care is a serious problem, but I've never heard anyone use the phrase "Unattended Pregnancies," nobody calls it that, and this article is about birth control, not prenatal care...

Oh, wait, the newspaper editor must've missed that one; or maybe there's a seriously confused individual talking about something he doesn't understand who just happened to use the wrong word. Unattended, Unintended. Wow, now I can add that to the list with "Contemplated & Constipated," and "Excess & Access."

My irritation goes so much further than my inner English Major. Would you believe this same person went on to say the Birth Control is the cause of such evils as Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Promiscuity, and Infidelity?

When I first saw the "HARMFUL" billboard, my first reaction was a bit of worry -- what if my pills are going to make me sick somehow? I know there's a risk of clots, but they say it's a lot worse for smokers or women over 35; so I figure I'm pretty safe since I've only just turned 30 and I've never smoked. My Dr. put me on 'em to level-out my hormones and reduce my risk of certain kinds of tumors, surely she would have mentioned if they were harmful.

I had my "Oh Moment" when I saw the website address on the bottom of the sign. As in "Ooooohhhhh, the Catholics..."

I remember a Professor who mentioned something to the effect of "Higher Education leads to increased Liberalism," and even though I'm still a bit of a conservative, I think he was right; because I can look back on a lot of my views that have changed as I've gotten older. College Education didn't do away with my Southern Baptist upbringing, but it did give me a new view of a lot of issues.

A lot of people hear the words "Planned Parenthood" and immediately think of "Abortion." There's a lot more goin' on at the Planned Parenthood Clinic than just good old-fashioned baby-killin'. Lots of women use the Planned Parenthood Clinic for yearly exams, contraception, education, and prenatal care. Birth control isn't abortion, and abortion isn't birth control. I used to be completely against abortion; but I remember the heated debate with Mom when she told me she'd almost had one, but the folks at Planned Parenthood told her there was an extreme risk to her life as well. My views aren't as black-n-white as they were years ago -- Abortion should not be a form of birth control, it's only a last resort in extreme circumstances.

Risky or irresponsible sexual behavior has consequences; emotional problems, sexually transmitted diseases, and unintended (or unattended, heh) pregnancies.

Pregnancy is the only consequence that is alleviated by Birth Control Pills; but The Pill does not cause Domestic Violence, or Child Abuse, or Promiscuity, or Infidelity. I know better than to let on like I know all of the root causes of society's problems like Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Promiscuity, and Infidelity -- but I do know that they're not caused by The Pill; they're basically caused by bad behavioral choices; for whatever reason people make those choices. Three of the four of those are concepts with which I have limited experience, and none of it has come into my life since I started taking Birth Control Pills this past July. My minimal exposure to Domestic Violence was five or six years ago, before I'd ever used The Pill, so I can be sure that wasn't caused by Birth Control. I'm most certain that my singular brush with Domestic Violence (an argument that turned into a one-time tool-throwing incident) was because he was moody and I was mouthy; it was due to us both being headstrong people who each wanted things done our way, it was due to not-so-thought-out decisions made by both of us; I'm not saying that's the case with all Incidents of Domestic Violence, but I can personally guarantee it was not because of any kind of Birth Control.

The summer I was fifteen, you might say the Baptists got to me just in time. The "True Love Waits" campaign was just getting into full-swing, and I signed one of the first cards making the commitment to wait for marriage (way back when they were all white and didn't have a hole in 'em). I met my first "boyfriend" that summer and had my first "real date" shortly after. I was away from the Baptist Church for several years, but I never gave up on the commitment I'd made to myself and my future mate. I turned thirty last week, still the second oldest virgin I've ever known, and Birth Control Pills didn't have anything to do with it. I remember sitting in the Tabernacle at Falls Creek that summer and signing those two cards -- one that I put in the bucket as it was passed down aisle after aisle, the other is still in my Bible. I knew the commitment was serious, I knew it would be with me for a long time, but in the summer between 9th & 10th grade, I had no idea it would last a lifetime. I still believe in the choice that I made, I believe that the White Wedding Dress is a great and meaningful gift I'll be able to give to My Husband that will last forever; even though the symbolism of the white dress has been tossed out the window over the years. I still believe that for me, it was the right thing to do -- even though I wonder how many of those people who signed cards the same day actually stuck with it.

That commitment has saved me from infections, diseases, emotional issues (not that I don't have emotional issues anyway, but they're less complicated this way), pregnancy... Yeah, I've been dumped a time or two because of it, but in the long run, it's been a learning experience -- hey, some of those guys would rather have a chick who might cheat on him with his friends; It's saved me from those guys. Someday I'll marry a guy who appreciates the fact that I've never had sex with anyone else. I am not afraid to stand up for the choices I have made, I am not afraid to tell anyone who asks; this is the choice I have made, and this is how it's worked out for me.

Each and every woman should make these choices for herself, for her own reasons. Each and every woman has the right to make her own commitments to herself, and if that commitment to herself includes "I want to have sex, but I don't want to have babies," then nobody should give her any hassle about taking preventative measures against getting pregnant (please note, I didn't say "getting un-pregnant"); whether through The Pill, condoms, foam, takin' it in the butt, or abstaining from sex altogether -- even though I had a teacher in highschool who vehemently maintained that abstinence was not an effective form of birth control. Uh, yeah, Hi Mister Beller, it's still working, I'm still not pregnant.

I know that not everyone chooses to live their life this way, I know that it's everyone's individual decision to make, and I know it's not my place to judge anyone. Birth Control takes Pregnancy out of the equation for women who choose to have sex, and that's all it does. Read the box; The Pill does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, blah-blah, woof-woof. Birth Control does not cause anyone to commit acts of violence, it only prevents pregnancy. If someone chooses to be unfaithful, it's because of their lack of commitment, not because of Birth Control. People make bad choices because they just make bad choices sometimes -- not because of Birth Control. People who make commitments because of fear are likely to eventually break those commitments -- people who make commitments because of character are likely to keep those commitments. Infidelity is caused by lack of character, not by Birth Control.

Taking Birth Control Pills has not caused me to go out and have indiscriminate sex with strangers, or beat anybody up, or abuse any children. Making a commitment to not participate in certain activities has kept me out of certain situations, and The Pill still has nothing to do with it.

If I had the money, I'd throw my own billboards into the roadside debate, and they'd say "ORGANIZED RELIGION IS DANGEROUS." Yeah, the Baptists convinced me to wait 'til marriage, but just look at what the Catholics are trying to tell people! Birth Control tied to Domestic Violence? Hello?? What are they going to try to tell us next? Does coffee cause car theft? Does microwave popcorn cause mortgage foreclosure? Does foul language cause kidney stones? Does cheap shampoo cause bad TV reception?? NO!!!

Birth Control prevents pregnancy. Information prevents bad choices.

Misleading people under the guise of religion is wrong.

More Later... _\,,/

(Oh man, I wonder how many Google hits this one will get.)

((And Heyyyy, the "Comment Options" box came back!!))


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