One year ago, Skirt! magazine published an essay of mine entitled “Love in the Time of Contraception.” In the piece, I laid bare (pun intended) many sordid details from my love life to make the point that there is no sexual blunder more embarrassing than ignorance….and that includes having to ask your boyfriend to retrieve a Today sponge gone rogue in your lady parts.
Rereading the essay, I find myself cringing once more at the stubborn persistence of America’s Puritanical values. I wish my European forebears had thought to resettle in the British colony settled by criminals, not uptight prudes. Fleeing famine and/or conscription leaves one with limited choices, I realize, but I have to believe that my great-great-greats would have preferred their descendants to spend Good Friday frolicking on sandy beach instead of heading out to show solidarity for a legal, but beleaguered and threatened, facility that performs legal procedures and dispenses legal medications.
This picture was taken on Good Friday seven years ago, not long before I gave birth to my daughter. Yep, I’ve been involved in pro-choice activism for a long time, and I’m committed to it. I’m a realist, and I know that the anti-choicers won’t go away. I didn’t assume that one day I wouldn’t have to show up–I assumed that one day I’d be out in St. Paul with a pair of teenagers, demonstrating our support for safe, legal abortion, on demand and without apology.
But here we are in 2012, and I cannot believe I just might have to fight for their right to contraception!
Remember contraception? The stuff that makes controversial procedures like abortions unnecessary? (Duhhh.)
Isn’t it our right as Americans to be embarrassed by slimy sponges? To go soft at the crinkling sound of the condom wrapper? To take a pill that makes you a hysterical, bloated mess, so on edge that no one wants to have sex with you anyway (or is that just me?)….?!
But it’s come to that. And now, millions of moms who wouldn’t have dragged their kids to Planned Parenthood in the past are being jolted into action.
Isn’t that kind of contradictory? A birth control mom? How do you become a mom if you’re into birth control?
Well, duh. You use condoms so you don’t become a 19-year-old parent with a boyfriend who is a manipulative asshole. Or you use sponges AND condoms so you don’t become a 22-year-old parent with a boyfriend who is much nicer than the old one, but who still has a few mental health issues to clear up. Et cetera.
Get the idea? The clinic is called PLANNED Parenthood for a reason. Parenting is a job too important to leave either to chance or to anyone too young to run for Congress.*
(Rush also said some not-very-nice things about a contraceptive fan named Sandra Fluke, but you know that already.)
Are YOU a pissed-off Birth Control Mom? Are you looking to do more than spread Santorum jokes and bemoan our country’s flight back to the Bad Old Days? Good Friday is April 6, right around the corner–there’s probably a family planning clinic in your neighborhood that could use your voice for reproductive freedom. If you’re in the Twin Cities, please say hi to me at the event in St. Paul. I’ll be accompanied by my two PLANNED children, and I’ll be saying this:
If your clinic isn’t planning a solidarity action, why not send them a bouquet of flowers (with your donation check, natch) to thank them for the fine work they’re doing? Find a location at www.plannedparenthood.org.
*Dear younger readers: please don’t bother writing with the admonition that you are doing a better job than say, Bristol Palin, Snooki, or my own parental units, who spawned me at the tender age of 21. I think we all can agree that it would be preferable for children to be raised by grownups who’ve been slutty, had their hearts broken a few times, visited New York City, etc. and have the acquired wisdom that such experience implies.