By Pat Tiffin
In 2009, Laughline posted a tongue-in-cheek joke list called Spring Classes for Women. It’s time for the 2012 update: A Girl’s Guide to Health Care Decision-Making: “Why Strange Men Who Aren’t Doctors Know What’s Best For You” Slide Presentation By the State of Virginia. Opening Remarks by Darrell Issa.
I suppose the prerequisite course would be Stupid Bitch 101: How to Shut Up and Do What You’re Told. I imagine Rick Santorum has the curriculum for that.
Who’s Your Daddy?
The hapless, helpless little girl who just can’t muddle through the day has risen from the dead. Women no longer, we are now children – whose mental capacity is again directly related to breast size – in desperate need of paternal guidance to keep us from hurting ourselves. Perhaps it’s January Jones in Mad Men or the recent resurgence in biblical fanaticism, but what initially seemed like a bad joke is becoming frighteningly real.
The first indicator that caught my attention was the mandatory HPV shots for 12 year old’s in Texas. Yes, it was Texas, and we do have the Rick Perry/Merck relationship, but it was a government mandate directly related to the sexual health of young girls.
The secondary assault on Planned Parenthood was really no surprise but the legislative support at so many levels caught me off guard. It was a well-coordinated campaign, launching in numerous locations from numerous sources. It makes a person wonder what ALEC was up to in its summer camp for politicians. With each and very outrageous sound byte that the media could broadcast – remember the “not-intended-to-be-a-factual-statement” from that frisky little bubblehead John Kyl – misinformation flowed like diarrhea.
Left out of the shit stream was any concern for the health care of low-income women and rural women who don’t exactly have their pick of medical facilities. Just for the record, 76% of Planned Parenthood clients have incomes at or below 150% of the federal poverty level. Yes, they provide services for contraception (34%) and abortion (3%) along with pap smears, breast exams and screenings for HVP and cervical cancer. I won’t even begin to rehash the Komen debacle, but what was most interesting to me was how surprised Brinker and Handel were by the vehement reaction of women themselves. Maybe they didn’t realize the submissive wife thing isn’t necessarily bi-partisan.
The idea of women being incapable of determining the course of their own reproductive health is nothing new. If a 25-year-old man goes to the doctor and requests a vasectomy – with our without having children – no problem. If a 25-year-old woman goes to the doctor and requests a tubal ligation, she will get a lecture. If she has no children, she may get a flat-out no. Interestingly enough, both procedures are reversible, but only the woman’s judgement will be questioned. Does she really understand what she’s doing? How could she possibly think that she doesn’t want any or even any more children? Is she just too “emotional” to make her own decisions?
Of course she is, but don’t worry – some old white guy who couldn’t get it up with a crane has her covered.
I’m not sure how the boys in the GOP missed it, but somewhere between 1955 and 2012, upstart gals starting thinking that sex wasn’t just for men.
If sperm is the magic elixir and the egg is the lucky recipient – what happens when the egg seems to be unimpressed? As women gained ability to control pregnancy, the sexual balance shifted. An overthrow of the missionary position ensued, size did matter, technique too, and while former Republican Presidential Candidate Bob Dole hawked Erectile Dysfunction drugs, the rest of the boys sulked in silence. It’s tough on the ego when wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am is all you’ve got.
Now to be fair, I have never in my life heard a single guy say, “You’re not using birth control, are you?” Men have gotten the short stick (no pun intended) in the contraception game. Condoms have been around for about 400 years and are still a man’s only real option without vasectomy. We did see some innovation in the make up – from lamb intestine to latex – but despite the lack of complexity in the male reproductive system, it appears that’s the best we can do.
Can you imagine a guy walking into a drugstore to buy some Trojans and being told that he needs to watch a video on the danger of rubbers to procreation? If we were going to be truly equal about it, we probably need to stick a catheter up his penis while he does.
The most revealing fact about the true motivators in the fight against contraception is that not a single Republican has called to outlaw condoms. Nor is “informed consent” required for unmarried men to receive Viagra or any other drug that promotes erection – which seems to indicate they want to have sex outside of marriage. God knows the GOP doesn’t want them doing that with other men, so surely they are lusting after women – with no thought to the children who might be born out of wedlock. Pregnancy is a woman’s problem after all.
I do believe that some Republicans truly feel that abortion is morally wrong , and want to stop it the same way I want the murders in Syria stopped. But the level of aggression in the current legislation, particularly in Virginia, seems a bit too strong for guys who are trying to save unborn babies.
Not only will they force a woman to have an unnecessary ultrasound (and make her or the insurance company pay for it), the boys want the procedure to be transvaginal. In other words, a device that looks a little like a gun (and that reminds us of…?) is inserted into the vaginal canal to supposedly to get better pictures than the normal abdominal procedure used by expectant parents. Apparently the government believes it can cram a camera up someone’s vagina just to make sure the poor confused little girl is properly informed about the procedure she’s already decided to have.
These attacks are not about women’s health, they are about women’s SEXUAL health, or more accurately, women’s sexual freedom. That is the ultimate fighting ground for conservative men. Women are not allowed to be in charge of their sex lives.
Yesterday the governor of Virginia backed off the transvaginal procedure after public outcry He said forcing a woman to have an invasive procedure in the name of informed consent is unacceptable. Perhaps the references to rape caught his attention? Forcing a women to have any procedure that she doesn’t request and isn’t medically- necessary to her safety as determined by her physician – is not about education.
Informed consent is the patient’s responsibility. For a party that’s fully intent on destroying government-funded healthcare – this little detour into the vagina seems bit contradictory. Unless it’s more about consent by force than information.
Yesterday, a GOP legislator decided that the Girl Scouts are a sleeper cell for Planned Parenthood. Though I’ve never seen the badge for abortion, apparently those little Brownies are being indoctrinated by feminists. Let’s strap them to a table, get those Crocs in the stirrups – clearly they need a little “informed consent.”
© 2012, agentleman.