Monday, April 2, 2012

This is What a Feminist Looks Like

I went to my second National Young Feminist Leadership Conference this weekend (and dragged along a friend). Last year, it was the most empowering, energizing thing I had ever been a part of in the fight for women's rights (human rights). This year, however, it was strangely defeating. Last year we got to talk about progress and things that still needed to be done, but this year we were forced to discuss ridiculous issues like the defunding of accessible birth control, Personhood laws, and referendums on women and the GLBT community across the nation. The real problem is that I don't know how to fight something I can't understand. I cannot fathom how anyone thinks defunding basic health needs like birth control is a good idea. In this, freeist of countries, women are not allowed the freedom to control their own health. Nope, 83 percent men decide that for us. Abortion: I can sit down and have a reasonable discussion with people that oppose it because I can totally understand their argument. However, even when I try to read conservative stances on the birth control issue, I cannot begin to understand it. Perhaps I ought to fram this as an economic issue, because, quite frankly, I think it is ridiculous to legislate morality in any contexts. Birth control, for one year, including all of the necessary medical visits and prescriptions, costs less than $1,000 annually for one woman. A pregnancy, costs at least $8,000, assuming there are no complications. So let's pay $8,000 to deliver a baby that a woman is not prepared for, that may go into the adoption system, or is at the very least likely to require welfare, food stamps, or other assistance from the government to become undereducated (because, be real, education is NOT equal), and get pregnant young because they weren't adequately educated about sex? Pro-choice is not pro-abortion. Anyone pro-abortion is a sadistic freak. But I am pro- healthy, competent, informed, empowered women that can make the tough choices (and they are tough, no one engages in this lightly) they need to to best serve themselves and their families. I am pro- open society that is willing to talk to women about their bodies and their choices. I am pro- ending unwanted pregnancy, but face it, as long as people don't have access to birth control and comprehensive education about it, there will be unwanted pregnancies. Abstinence only might sound great to you, but it doesn't work. I know Catholic, and young, and atheists, and unmarried, and Buddhist, and single, and adult, and feminist, and conservative, and intelligent, and college-student, and liberal people, from every walk of life, having sex. We can't keep pretending that if we don't talk about it too much it won't be an issue. I met some fabulously strong women from Catholic University this weekend who can be kicked out of their university housing if they are caught with birth control on or off campus and can be expelled if they are caught having sex. Welcome to the 21st century, Vatican. Sure, It would br great if young people weren't having sex at age 13, 14, 15, 16, but THEY ARE. And they aren't going to stop. If you are pro-human, you are pro-birth control. It's high time we start accepting it. 

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