Today, we must discuss the reasons why no one, not even very greedy Republican-types who hate children and the poor and who are eagerly looking forward to environmental holocaust, should vote Republican anymore. No one.
You know what I love about modern technology and science?
I love contraception.
If I had to pick just three aspects of modern science and technology to get to use for the rest of my life, they would be contraception, antibiotics and epinephrine. I do not like to think what my life would be like without contraception.
At my age, with my wildly strong fertility, unpredictable cycles and occasional urinary tract infections, if I was practicing natural family planning (which does work for some disciplined women who never get infections, never make mistakes, and do not have my super-sneaky-and-strong cervical mucous) I would probably have about 15 kids now (more without the breastfeeding) and be DEAD. Really, really dead, because, like it was with the pioneer women from whom I am descended, all that pregnancy and childbearing would do me in, like it did them in, causing their men to need to recruit new mommies for their kids in the mail. Those bad old days seem to be what the Texas Republican Party would like to see a return to, based upon their platform. And, honestly, even if my insides somehow pulled me through the whole 15 kids thing, I would not want to live that way. We can only just barely afford to give a decent life to our two kids, what with healthcare costs being what they are, and I do not wish to raise my children in poverty. I love babies and would love to have 4 kids instead of 2, but that would be a lack of FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY on my part. Remember fiscal responsibility, Republicans?
All kinds of people need contraception from time to time and Republicans seem to think contraception is evil, even though the earliest references to several forms of contraception come straight from the Bible, because lots of fine women of the Bible did not want to die from having too many children, or have children they could not feed, either. The Texas Republican Party seems to confuse contraception with abortion, which it is so far from being. Abortion is an issue which splits our country right down the middle, and it is easy to understand why people on both sides of the abortion debate have such strong feelings. There's an awful lot at stake on both sides - it is a very difficult matter. This is why I prefer to promote policies that prevent unintended pregnancy and care for unwanted or unaffordable children, rather than taking sides about abortion. Contraception prevents unintended pregnancy. This should be something that is desired by people on both sides of the abortion debate, but somehow it is not.
This is how the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform begins to sneak in its objection to contraception:
"We believe that doctors, nurses, pharmacists, any employees of hospitals and insurance companies, health care organizations, medical and scientific research students, and any employee should be protected by Texas law if they conscientiously object to participate in practices that conflict with their moral or religious beliefs, including but not limited to abortion, the prescription for and dispensing of drugs with abortifacient potential, human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, eugenic screenings, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration."
Much of that paragraph sounds quite reasonable upon first reading - no one wants people to have to violate their religious beliefs. Well, actually, the Republicans want my kids to have to violate ours by saying the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at school, but their teachers could not really make them do that if they tried, which they would not, so whatever. Oh, and they want me to violate mine by trying to get me to teach my students that there are disadvantages to living in a multicultural society, but oh well. And then the Republicans also want me to... never mind. The point is that we mostly agree here except for this one phrase : "the prescription for and dispensing of drugs with abortifacient potential" - what are they talking about there anyways? What prescriptions have abortifacient potential? Why, it turns out they are talking about contraception. Weird because contraception does not have abortifacient potential. Contraception prescriptions prevent conception by sometimes preventing ovulation and sometimes making the female's cervical mucous a hostile environment that destroys sperm. If you are already pregnant, they do not work. They are not exactly good for you to take while pregnant - the vast majority of pharmaceuticals out there are not great to be taking while pregnant - but they are no more dangerous to a pregnancy than are many common antibiotics. One just needs to be very careful about medications of any kind during pregnancy.
Honestly, there are a lot of drugs that a pharmacist might find personally objectionable. To say that they do not have to fill prescriptions for contraception is a slippery slope - maybe I object to you getting your medicine, after all. That way lies madness and we can't go there.
More from the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform about emergency contraception:
"We oppose sale and use of the dangerous “Morning After Pill.” "
Again - not dangerous (any more so than any other medication) and not abortion. The "Morning After Pill", which is two pills by the way, is Not An Early Abortion. It Is Not. All it is is a high dose of progesterone that will make your cervical mucous a very, very difficult place in which for sperm to survive. It might stop ovulation if you were at the correct time in your cycle, but likely will only be able to make your mucous mean. It was, at one time, thought to be able to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine lining (some religions believe pregnancy starts at fertilization and may consider this abortion - doctors believe pregnancy starts at implantation, though) but, it turns out, it does not do so. It does not prevent implantation - it prevents fertilization. The directions on the box clearly state that it should not be used in place of regular contraception because it is not as effective as properly used contraception in preventing pregnancy. This would not be true if it were an abortifacient. Which it is not. Clear? I hope so.
I know a number of women who have been rather fortunate (so far) in their choice of men and who are willing to accept the Republican agenda in which women are stripped of their rights to control their own bodies and to be treated equally in our society because they really trust their men to make the right decisions and treat them and their children well (I also know women who used to be like that and now have nothing because their men changed and left them and their kids high and dry). There are not many women living that life of privilege, though, and most of us know that we are at risk, and our children are at risk, if the Republicans are allowed to strip us our our abilities to control our own destinies.
Don't let it happen.