In all of the hub-bub surrounding the proposed defunding of Planned Parenthood, the most disturbing is the accusation that those who support the pro-life/ anti-choice side, or those who just don’t want to support Planned Parenthood by giving them free government money, are somehow anti-woman, or worse, hate women. I am not going to speak for anyone other than myself but here are my thoughts on this sad, sad topic and if I had to sum it up in one word, that word would be: responsibility.
-If you do not have insurance and need medical care, you need to take responsibility. Planned Parenthood is certainly convenient and easy to find but it is not the only option for free/ reduced cost cancer and STI screenings (especially if you find yourself wrestling morally.) The CDC offers a program in all 50 states called the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. If the CDC program is difficult to get to, try calling an OB/GYN office to see how much they will charge for screenings. You never know until you ask, right? One good place to start would be with traditionally Catholic hospitals, or OB/GYNs affiliated with them. Another resource is One More Soul, to find a Pro-Life Physician who might be able to help out. As far as STI screenings, you can go to your local health department (as STIs are a public health issue.) Obtaining free chemical or physical birth control is a bit trickier. Pregnancy crisis centers usually offer free condoms, but to qualify for free chemical birth control (i.e. the pill,) low-income women may be required to apply for and be accepted into government programs (such as medicaid.) Which leads to…
-If you do not have insurance to cover chemical birth control, you need to take responsibility. Is there something you can do without? Is the data plan on your mobile phone really that needed? What about cable or sateillite? Those weekly mani/ pedis? To be honest, I have not purchased chemical birth control in over 4 years, so I have no clue how much it costs. The costs might be so out of control that simple cutbacks might not be enough. I don’t know. If you are a new reader, you might be wondering how we don’t have a house-full of children running around if there is no chemical or physical birth control involved? The Mister and I decided to learn about our fertility and we practice Natural Family Planning, also called Fertility Awareness. We observe mucus changes and basal body temp (when I am not nursing at night, which I am now, so we rely on mucus,) we track, we chart and when I am fertile, we abstain. That last part is where people usually say “Whoa, stop the bus!” But if you think about it, we have the control to not eat ALL the time, to not lie around in bed all day and to not wale on someone if they tick us off (unless you are on “The Bad Girls Club”) so why is it so odd to expect a couple to abstain when fertile? Which leads to…
-If you can’t afford chemical or physical birth control and you don’t want to learn about fertility awareness or follow the fertility awareness teachings to a T (after all, fertility awareness only works as well as the users using it… kind of like chemical or physical birth control, eh?) then, you need to take responsibility and I have to say it… don’t have sex or have sex with the expectation that there is a chance that you will conceive a child and that child will be it’s own unique creation and all yours to love and care for. If you are not ready to welcome a child, remember we are highly evolved creatures, there are other ways to declare undying love than bumping uglies.
As a parting remark, I want to put it out there that often times, people will declare you a non-feminist if you are pro-life. They will say stuff like “every child a wanted child” or “my body, my choice,” but I have to ask:
-Is it a choice if a woman has to choose between her child and her job?
-Is it a choice if a woman is told “end it, or I am leaving you?”
-Is it a choice if a parent threatens to disown their daughter if she carries her pregnancy to term?
-Is it a choice if a woman has to choose between putting food on the table and having a child?
We don’t want to set women up for false choices. The idea of choice implies that each option is viable in itself, not the lesser of two evils. In my mind, what we are telling women is “You don’t have the capability to do seek out resources on your own, if the government doesn’t give them to you and if you were to get pregnant at an inopportune time, you are better off getting rid of the pregnancy because your life is ruined if you even try to raise a baby and reach your goals.” How is that empowering women?
One of my best friends, and I will not name her here for she knows who she is, is the strongest person I know. She discovered she was pregnant not long after college graduation and she had her baby. She and the father married but later divorced, but she is rocking her life. Her child is amazing, everything that you would want in a child. She is a homeowner, she works full-time and is just an inspiration to me. I don’t know if abortion ever crossed her mind, but I thank God that she chose for life because our lives would be that much emptier without her and her child (after all, having a child changes you.) But that begs the question: Would I have abandoned her had she terminated her child. No, we are called to love and support each other through all times. Tough and Easy. That’s just how it goes.
For further reading about Pro-life Feminism, check out Feminists for Life.
Lent begins this Wednesday and I’ve decided that for 40 days I am going to avoid these HEAVY topics and try to focus on the spiritual with a dash of levity here and there. I’ll be including the meat-free recipes for your enjoyment and don’t forget, if you have one to share, email it to caffeinatedcatholicmama (at) gmail (dot) com. Include your first name for the props!