There are a few undesirable (to me) views and opinions which are frequently held by the same people. I’m not tremendously surprised to run across someone who is Christian, misogynistic, and anti-choice, for example, although not every misogynist is a Christian, and not every Christian is anti-choice.
Yesterday on Twitter a Christian man started quoting Bible verses at me and telling me that the endometriosis* I suffer from is my “own fault” for having premarital sex. (I love the idea that marital and premarital sex are actually physically or physiologically different.) But he says God cursed women with terrible periods, and so it’s my “lot in life” and I shouldn’t bitch. Sexists worship the most sexist versions of their gods they can.
Christians in particular are all too quick to tell women it is our responsibility or moral duty to carry through any pregnancy, no matter the risks or costs. Cut to an opposite-but-complementary view I encountered from an atheist on my Facebook Wall.
I posted a news article about the 27,000 children under the age of 5 who have starved to death in Somalia over the past 3 months. And a woman decided that the real people to blame for this tragedy, not the gangs or corrupt puppet government or multinational corporations or anyone else who contributed to the drought conditions. No, no. The responsibility and blame for this tragedy she places squarely on the shoulders of grieving mothers who’ve lost their babies. Didn’t they know poverty and starvation were risks when they had sex????
Both these ideas spring forth from one concept: That woman are responsible for the protection and pruning of the human genome. And to some limited extent, I actually agree with that concept.
We can argue that my mother was irresponsible in bringing forth children she had no desire to love and limited capacity to care for. Plenty of people seem to think my position in poverty makes me an automatically bad mother, and I do wish myself that I’d waited till after college to have my son, so that I could provide a better life for him. But we can ONLY make this argument in the presence of safe, legal, medically-performed abortions, and sufficient access to contraception.
Many women the world over, including women in the United States, do not have access to birth control or abortion. Nearly 1/3 of US women live in a county without a single abortion provider. And in Somalia, as I would hope you could all guess, access is even more limited.
There is also no functioning government in Somalia to protect women from violence, including rape. Further, spousal rape is not a crime in Somalia. Women do not HAVE the same right or ability to say “no” to unwanted sex, including unprotected vaginal intercourse that could lead to pregnancy.
Women in Somalia need access to birth control and abortion, prenatal care, and food. The idea that these women are being “irresponsible” by having sex and babies (both primary human urges not reserved for upper class white Americans) is either ignorant or hateful.
When women have actual reproductive CHOICE, women have fewer children. There are exceptions, such as people who belong to religious groups which limit or hinder their choices, but the vast majority of women who have access to controlled fertility use it.
*”Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that behaves like the cells lining the uterus (endometrium) grows in other areas of the body, causing pain, irregular bleeding, and possible infertility.” It’s not caused by having sex or an abortion, and plenty of girls are diagnosed during puberty, while still virgins. Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001913/