Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pro-Right to Control Everyone Else's Life in Wisconsin

What the heck is up with Pro-Life Wisconsin? As much as I disagree with them on it, I can understand their opposition to the actual practice of abortion. However, my main problem with anti-choice activists is just that: they want to take the choice out of the hands of the woman. I don't personally like abortion, but that's not what's at issue here. It's the right to have control over our own bodies, and to decide when we're ready to have children.

Now, however, PLW has partnered with various other virulently anti-choice groups to protest contraception. That's right: not only do these folks think abortion should be outlawed, but they're angling for regular ol' birth control now, too:

In recent years, some anti-abortion advocates have turned their attention to birth control -- not as a means to reduce unplanned pregnancies, but as another target of protest.

One of the most fervent anti-contraception crusaders is Pro-Life Wisconsin, which believes virtually all forms of birth control can cause a "chemical abortion" by preventing an already fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine wall.

The Brookfield-based group, along with the American Life League and Pharmacists for Life International associate groups, will take their protest to the streets June 7 with prayer vigils staged at family clinics around the country and state.

We've had this debate over emergency contraception before, but now, perhaps realizing they've lost that cause and feeling ever more desperate, the anti-choice movement is showing their true colors in attacking birth control. They don't want women (or men) to have any control over their bodies, their reproductive systems, or their lives. Period.

We're talking turning back the clock a hundred years, back to when women were slaves to baby-making, often at the detriment of their health and very lives.

The date of this anti-pill protest is purposefully significant, too, falling on the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision ("Griswold vs. Connecticut") that established the right to birth control for married couples. Married couples. The decision is credited with opening the doors to later rulings granting single women the right to use birth control, and eventually, Roe v. Wade.

All of this is apparently terribly upsetting to the likes of PLW, who seem throughly unnerved by the increase of women in the workplace, women waiting until they're ready for marriage and/or kids, and women generally having any power over their own lives.

Because let's not mince words here: PLW and other such groups can holler up and down about how this isn't about women's rights, but rather about the rights of unborn children--but they lose all clarity on the issue when they set their sights on birth control. The pill, condoms, and other such devices prevent pregnancy from ever happening. No fertilization, no sacred sperm penetrating the egg, no so-called "chemical abortions", nada. We are not talking about "ending a life" here.

It's worth noting that I have no clue how they got it into their heads that even condoms might cause "chemical abortions." Clearly these folks have never read up on the subject, and I seriously doubt they've even seen a condom before.

In a way, crazy stuff like this "The Pill Kills Babies!" protest are helpful. They make it clear as day what the actual motives behind such groups are, instead of allowing them to cloud the issue. These folks are ignorant of the facts, but perhaps even more troubling, they're also opposed to women having much in the way of rights or power. Thankfully, the tide of public sentiment and scientific research has throughly turned against them in the last 50 years, and I don't see that changing much any time soon. Still, it's always a good idea to keep an eye on these people and their strange causes. You never think it could happen until you stop paying attention and it's too late. We owe it to the generations that brought us these hard-fought rights to stay vigilant.

Another good way to support the cause is to support the men and women who work everyday to provide women and men with choice and control:


Sam Sarver said...

Nice blog you got here.

The right-to-lifers will not be satisfied until anything which even threatens to separate sex from procreation has been destroyed. Which means eventually they'll be coming after any sex which just doesn't result in pregnancy, because that's the only thing they find in any way acceptable about sex.

In short, you've got it about right: These people really don't want people to be able to decide anything for themselves.

Emily said...

Sam - Thanks! And yes, the weird fear of all sex that doesn't lead to procreation is certainly part of the equation. I've never entirely understood it myself.

The CDP. said...

So, I'm confused now. Do you or don't you want me to put a baby in you?

Stop sending me mixed signals, Emily. Let's make this work.


Al said...

As Bill Maher might put it, New Rule: anyone who wishes to make a pro-choice argument on abortion should replace "abortion" with "waterboarding" and see if the argument would be convincing to them. If not, they are probably wasting their time. You might argue that this is a bad analogy because a private citizen is choosing abortion while the government is doing waterboarding. But that misses the point of the analogy, which is that in both cases, the victim is having an act of violence committed against them without their consent, and it is not an act of defense necessary to save someone's life. Pro-choice people obviously still don't agree with this analogy, but that's not the point; the point is that there will never be a productive dialogue until they realize that most of us do agree with it.

As for what PLW is doing, it is dumb. I would venture a guess that most people who actually think artificial contraception is morally wrong still don't think it should be illegal. They would probably say that it is more analogous to chewing tobacco: harmful to the user (no trivial matter) but ultimately something that shouldn't be banned through the legal system. It is then their job to convince people that they should freely choose not to use artificial contraception, just like people should freely choose not to chew tobacco.

P.S. It's not a "fear of sex that doesn't lead to procreation," that's a gross oversimplification. But that's a whole different story and I have three exams between now and 9:45 AM Saturday.

Emily said...

CDP - "Mixed Signals" Mills, they call me.

Al - I do realize that some people agree with the analogy, and that's fine. Still, you have to admit that the two (waterboarding and abortion) have pretty much nothing to do with one another, and it's a completely ridiculous analogy.

When it comes to this debate, I think we'd all be better off just talking straight, and leave analogies out of it all together.

The Lost Albatross