Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Realistic View of "Abstinence Only"

I read this article on a private list and it said so much of what I would love to say to the young people of today. This speaks to the reactionary groups that would take us back in time to a society where young women were chattel, breeding stock for the "right kind of people" and kept ignorant of their options and uneducated about sexuality and birth control. In fact, if they had their way, our daughters and granddaughters would not be allowed access to reproductive control of their own bodies.

I am a Senior Mother and I, most emphatically, endorse and, sadly, understand, all too well, this message!


Commentary;Moral tyranny and female tragedy: The terrible human cost of anti-choice abortion ‘values’By Dennis Rahkonen Online Journal Contributing Writer Aug 25, 2008, 00:14

A teenage girl finds herself pregnant after her first car date with a boy. The boy’s parents are prominent Republicans in their community, and the girl’s mom and dad are conservative evangelicals. Given their backgrounds, neither young person was ever exposed to appropriate sex education. And, because of who their parents are and what they believe, neither can even begin to consider telling them what’s happened.

The boy just shrinks away and leaves the girl to deal with her “problem” alone.
Having attended church with her family, she’s guilt-ridden by what she’s repeatedly heard about the “irresponsibility” of females (all unmarried women) who allow themselves (*yep, we did it all ourselves..where was the guy in all this?RW) to become pregnant.

She contemplates abortion, but has been effectively propagandized into thinking that even when a child terminates a pregnancy to prevent having a child -- regardless whether the abortion is performed early -- it constitutes “murder” in a supposedly nefarious “hidden holocaust.”
Then she ponders running away, giving birth, and keeping the baby. But where would she go, what about her education and future plans, how could she support herself and take care of a constantly demanding infant?

The girl grows increasingly morose. Friends at school notice the change and wonder why, but she’s not forthcoming. Her parents figure she’s going through a phase.
Then, on a Friday night, during her town’s biggest football game of the season, she leaves the filled, brightly-lit, clamoring stadium and walks alone to the darkness of the river just a few blocks away. Upon reaching its bank, she doesn’t stop walking. She splashes forward, into deeper water, until only her head is above the surface. The last thing she hears is cheers from the nearby game, then her own gasp, as she vanishes beneath the surging current . . . (*A moment of silence for my old friend, Janice, from SC, who died of an intentional overdose of Seconal, 4 months pregnant, in 1964. RW)

The foregoing is just one variation of a massive human tragedy that’s befallen countless girls and women in America, over decades. It’s a tragedy that needn’t exist, but does, because we live in a male-dominated society fraught with sexist assumptions and religious absurdities that crash down upon our female populace like a ton of falling bricks. Quite wrongly and cruelly, many of us place much greater value on the well-being of first-trimester embryos, or even initial zygotes, than on the living, breathing, already born, socially functioning females in whose wombs they reside.

Women’s health -- their reproductive rights and choice -- are being demonized and obviated, supplanted by almost primitive fetus fetishism, which sees the “baby” as “innocent” against the implied (and sometimes openly stated) view that women who get pregnant contrary to their wishes are sinfully just the opposite . . . and therefore not worthy of comparable, or greater, consideration. Incredibly, not only is abortion equated with murder, but an overarching conservative failure to accept or deal with human sexuality erects obstacles to the comprehensive sex education and ready contraceptive availability that would vastly diminish the need for abortions, if implemented.

“Abstinence Only” is promoted instead, and commonly forgotten in the heat of passion. It’s also a veritable conduit for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Those who think that hoped-for iron will alone can stop peer-abetted temptation should note that many of the worst drug addicts we have were enrolled in the “Project D.A.R.E.” anti-drug program as kids.
Yes, abortion remains legal, but decreasingly so. It’s becoming harder and harder to obtain, particularly for poor women (*poor and poor married women are increasingly becoming targets for social workers and agencies touting surrender for adoption..RW) and those residing in rural areas.

Moreover, we’re just one conservative Supreme Court appointment away from a probable reversal of Roe v. Wade. Then we’d revert to the bloody, back-alley days of terrible female deaths -- in staggering numbers -- that we should ask our older female relatives to talk about. Especially if they were former hospital nurses, they’ll tell us of the real “holocaust” that took desperate lives in a fearful era when female reproductive health wasn’t recognized and choice was outlawed.

Even today -- somewhere, somehow -- some woman or young girl, who yielded to the physical and emotional pressure of a man or boy with just one thing on his mind, is likely involved in dire circumstances at this moment because outmoded attitudes born in a backward, benighted, biased age left her with no options.

Maybe it’s a suicide rope instead of a one-way walk into the water. Maybe her car crashed for no apparent reason. Or perhaps it’s a too-late arrival at an emergency room, following hemorrhaging caused by an ill-advised wire hanger “solution.”

In any case, it’s a loss of hope, and lives, that we can’t morally or practically sustain.
At federal, state, and local levels, please be sure to vote for candidates who advance women’s health and shield female reproductive rights. It’s the correct, necessary thing to do.

Dennis Rahkonen of Superior, Wisconsin, has been writing progressive commentary with a Heartland perspective for various outlets since the ’60s. Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal Email Online Journal Editor
I consider this a cautionary tale and, having lived it, can testify to the honesty and accuracy of this article. The women of America need to take a long and hard look at where we are headed. This is one of the reasons that SMAAC seeks justice, recognition and redress for the EMS/BSE. Surely, once the general public is aware of what was done to us, they would not want to go back there.
Would they?


Sandy Young said...

This article brought tears to my eyes, Robin. This is so evocative of the EMS, I am fearful of its return if the Religious Right collusion with the Adoption Industry has their way.

Thanks for a great article. I will be posting about it later today, as well.


Marley Greiner said...

What a conincidence. Just a few mintutes ago I put up a new blog: "PILL GOGGLES': THE AMERICAN LIFE LEAGUE'S LATEST WACKY ATTEMPT TO KEEP WOMEN CONTRACEPTIVE-FREE. I've linked it over here now. Read about ALL's latest polluted and paranoid attempt to keep women in a state of breeding. I'm sick of these people!

Robin said...

Talk about your lunatic fringe! I am so over anyone trying to tell women what they can and cannot do with their own bodies. Thanks, Marley.

Anonymous said...


I have 7 granddaughters that I worry about and what they will face in the future.

I have one that just turned 18, knows everything, and has a serious boyfriend of a year. Her dad my son already warned her "no babies" and she said she wasn't even having sex!
But I know how fast that can change. My son warned her, after all HE had to get married because her mom was pregnant and mom's mom said make sure you tell dad you are getting married before you tell him your pregnant. This was in 1990 and they were Catholics.

Seems no matter what WE are going backwards, and my seven granddaughters may lose something that we didn't have, but have now, but won't have in the future. These religious NUTS make me ill.

Granddaughers, don't even realize as they are too young, except the 18 year old, who says she's NOT having sex!


Chris said...

Well all I can say...to the Vagina Voters who now will swing to McCain's camp... Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it! and your daughters and grandaughters too!!

I call those women who supported Hillary and are now threatening to go to the 'other side', Vagina Voters..because that would seem was the only reason they wanted Hillary to be Prez..she had a Vagina!! Evidently they weren't interested in the meat of Hillary...her politics...if a woman could so easily go to the 'other side'! Do you suppose men only vote for men..because they have a penis? Makes one wonder, at least I do! The Hillary swing voters do a great injustice to all women, with their short-sighted venues...which would appear in this case..the venue being a vagina and not thinking beyond that sole body part.JMO!