Columns 2016

Please, religious conservatives, get out of my vagina

Conservatives who feel government should stay out of their way but should be all up in a woman’s business often confuse me. They think it’s wrong for government to regulate how private business is conducted. If a person running a bakery doesn’t want to bake a cake for a gay couple, then by golly, the state should not be able to force that person to do so. But if a woman wants to conduct private business with her doctor concerning her body and her reproductive system, then they feel the government should be right in that exam room handing the doctor the speculum.

While religious conservatives will pass laws that require a woman to have a baby whether she wants it or not, I have yet to see the law that in anyway inconveniences the man who did the impregnating. Women carry the full burden. Don’t bother pointing out laws that allow the state to enforce child support payments.  Ask any woman with a kid she is trying desperately to raise as a single mother how well that system is working for her. First you’ve got to find the guy. Then you have to do the paternity test. Then you have to go to court to get an order for child support followed almost inevitably by another hearing to get an order to garnish his wages when he doesn’t comply. Yep, it’s a fun filled, rollicking ride down that road of child support. No law forces the father to stay and raise his child, change diapers, go to the ER in the middle of the night for a medical emergency, or help prepare an exploding volcano for show and tell. Nope, all that is the responsibility of the mother forced to bear the child.

Given that conservatives feel government is too intrusive, you have to wonder how they are so comfortable with sending government into that doctor’s office to observe the most private of moments between a woman and her physician. I’m waiting for the day these same conservatives demand a law that says before a man can get Viagra, he has to prove his need by showing his doctor he can’t get an erection without that pill. Then his doctor should be required to send a document to the state confirming that his patient is incapable of functioning as a man without pharmaceutical assistance. Then some government panel should hold open hearings on whether or not that person should be allowed to have sex again by use of the pill and, if so, whether he will be allowed to risk reproducing or should first submit to having a vasectomy.

While this may sound a bit farfetched for some, I guarantee that most women are nodding their heads in silent agreement as they face a world in which men can get pills that keep them sexually active as long as they want and those pills, unlike birth control pills, are required to be covered by insurance. Gee, I wonder who came up with those rules?

So we have a world in which men are encouraged to have sex as often as they want, even if they need a little blue friend to help them, but women are supposed to bear all the responsibility for what can result from those pills. If god forbid a woman gets pregnant, then she will simply have to have that baby because she was clearly too easy in the first place. She needs to be punished. As for the sperm donor who impregnated her, well again, she was clearly too easy and he was just doing what men do if they can.

I would respectfully suggest that until such time as birth control is required to be covered by insurance, Viagra should not be covered either. I would further respectfully suggest that conservatives go find something else to do to occupy their time and not feel it necessary to put their noses into my business with my doctor. Because if you are not willing to fund programs in this state for women and children who are cold, hungry and afraid of what tomorrow may bring, or for women who desperately need access to decent reproductive health care so they can exert some control over when and with whom they have children, then you can’t call yourself pro life. You can only call yourself pro birth.