01 June 2006

what i don't want to write about

I have been avoiding writing about this topic for a long time, despite its prevalence in the news, because I feel so very strongly and passionately about it. Some of you may remember me mentioning a detailed post I was working on, and I regret to inform you I'm not going to write that post. Are you curious what this is about?

As a liberal feminist, it's very difficult to ignore the laws and policies being enacted all over the country with regards to reproductive rights. I've been reluctant to wade into what's always a controversial topic, particularly because my views on abortion and reproductive rights are about as liberal as you can get. And it has been so depressing for me to read about the setbacks and obstacles that conservatives have been creating when it comes to not just abortion, but access to contraception and the often-misunderstood emergency contraception as well . Every time I started to research statistics and news articles to write a comprehensive post, I got discouraged and upset too quickly to really make any progress.

Luckily, someone else has done a lot of work in this area and I wanted to share an interesting link. I found this site through Pandagon, one of my favorite feminist/progressive sites. It's a little tricky to figure out and navigate, but it contains a lot of information about the status of reproductive rights in the US on a state-by-state basis, as well as gay & lesbian issues. It's pretty dismal in some places. It's also kind of astounding how much things can vary from one state to another, even when they're right next door. Take a look, if you're interested. See how your state stacks up. My lefty home state is tied for #1, which makes me happy, though there are still a few policies here that I'd love to see reversed.

With the way things are going, though, with so many states poised to challenge Roe v Wade, and anti-contraception types becoming more vocal and visible, I wonder what the state of things will be when my boys are old enough to be sexually active. In a way, I feel lucky to have sons, because I will never have to tell them that their access to medication or their right to have a legal medical procedure depends on someone else's morality. I do hope to impress upon them the importance of everyone having that kind of freedom to the medical care they desire, even if they do happen to be women.

And now I'm starting to get a little worked up, which reminds me why I like to avoid this issue in the first place. But really, check out the link above, and see where reproductive rights really stand in this country. See how easy it is to obtain contraception; see how easy it is to have an abortion; read the personal stories of real people who have been affected by these laws. It's not cheery stuff.

1 comment:

kim said...

Responding to the part about how your boys will have to deal with these issues: I think it's important to teach them early that these aren't just issues for the feminists to worry about. Too many men, even the liberal ones, don't think that reproductive issues are real political issues, like war and intelligence leaks are. I think you would be doing the world a great service if you raised boys who didn't think those icky topics about women's bodies were secondary to other political issues.

Also, although I couldn't get the link to load properly, I have a pretty good idea of what that map must look like, and to think about the future, I'm guessing your boys (and everyone else) will be just fine if they live in a "blue" state. I probably will never even be affected by the anti-sex wave sweeping the nation. The women, children, and families who live in red states, however, will be the ones who will face the most obstacles and see their quality of life change most drastically. If you think there are regional differences now, it will probably only get worse.

That is, unless the Republicans have been too ambitious in pushing an agenda that most Americans disagree with and eventually end up ushering in a new Democratic era. One can always hope.