On including the concept of ‘sex’ when we debate about contraception and abortion

…We need to talk about families, but we also need to talk about sex. We need to talk about mothers, but we cannot ignore the existence and the rights of women who are not mothers.The GOP is waging a “War on Women”, and the Democrats are fighting back – but only on behalf of certain kinds of women.Women-with-children-first framing is politically potent: it humanizes women who use birth control, or patronizes Planned Parenthood. It enables the Democrats to speak about family values (political ground that is usually ceded to the Republicans). And it makes the case for reproductive freedom without having to talk about sex – a subject that apparently makes Americans terribly uncomfortable. It’s far less awkward to talk about families and motherhood, and women who get pregnant through terrible acts of sexual violence, rather than through consensual, orgasmic, sweaty hay-rolling.

It boggles the mind that in a year when we all learned the phrase “transvaginal ultrasound”, we are somehow still uncomfortable talking about why women like me and my friends take the pill. We don’t take it so we can be good mothers, we take it so we can have good sex. There’s nothing wrong with that. And as a party that claims to be fighting for women in this political war, the Democrats need to stop implying that there is. The same goes for the pro-choice advocates – myself included – who are speaking out against Republican encroachments on reproductive freedom.

We should keep talking about mothers of three and about pregnant rape survivors, because those people exist and they need birth control. Their stories are also far more likely to sway people who are on the fence about birth control access than my friends’ tales about casual consensual encounters. But the point that pro-choicers ought to be making is that every woman is entitled to reproductive freedom, regardless of marital status. Every woman, regardless of how many kids she has. Every woman, not just the ones who make for good talking points or political props. Every woman, even the ones who dare – unspeakable though it apparently is – to have pleasurable, non-procreative sex.

–Chloe Angyal, “Sex: The missing term from the contraception and abortion debate

Yes. Yes. Just yes.

I should probably write some insightful analysis reflecting on Angyal’s brilliant points. But you know what I got? Just frustration.

A lot of us ladies wanna have sex and that is reason enough to want access to contraception and abortion. Our reproductive and sexual rights are not conditional on our marital status, if we have experienced sexual violence that resulted in pregnancy, or if we already have kids.

Dunno if reproductive & sexual health and rights will come up in the debates tonight (maybe through a question on if contraception will be covered by insurance) but I’d put money that neither Obama or Romney will be saying the word ‘sex’.

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