Thursday, February 23, 2012

Facebook, vaginas, and asshattery

 I was an early adopter of Twitter. I jumped on the Facebook band wagon a bit later. Over time I stopped using Twitter regularly and found I preferred Facebook.

I think there was a learning curve as I figured out Facebook.  Instead of my blog friends I was interacting with real life friends and family. I had to decide what I wanted to stay private; I took a couple years before I linked it with my blog. And I made a few comments over the years that I regretted later. 

So now I have a few guidelines I follow:
  • I don't criticize people on their own posts, even when I disagree. Even if I have to practically sit on my hands so I don't.
  • If someone comments on my post though, I reserve the right to respond.
  • If you say something on my wall, or comment on my post, and it includes asshattery I reserve the right to remove it. I control my wall. I control my blog. Kind of like how I control my body.
So imagine the fun I had this morning when this post that I wrote last night:
I missed a portion of the debate. Did anyone ask why the men think they should have the power to control my vagina?
elicited this comment from an old school friend this morning:
How exactly does birth control control your vagina? Are your opinions not inflicting control over others as well? Is there really a difference on what your are complaining about? Are you not in judgement of other women who feel that they should not have to purchase other women's birth control and pay for their abortions??? What exactly is so wrong with valuing life at all stages??
I admit to being a little taken aback considering that really wasn't what I was asking in the question. So I responded.
Oh XXXX, there are just so many ways I can answer this! I'm not sure where to start! You are actually assuming a lot in my statement, but that’s OK. I have no problem responding to your assumptions.

First, you are absolutely entitled to your opinion, but I am also entitled to mine. My opinion is not preventing you from using or not using birth control; nor is my opinion preventing you from having or not having an abortion. I wouldn’t even presume to ask you if you use, have used, had, or have had either one. Therefore, I do not see how your opinion should be able to control my personal decisions. But, in case you wanted to know, how lucky for me that I do not need birth control or will ever have to consider an abortion, because I am INFERTILE. I am so LUCKY!

(And I’m not going to even get into the “who I should be allowed to love” debate. But I think that also has some relevance here considering that 50% of the time that also involves someone with a vagina.)

Second, since it is virtually impossible to get pregnant without your vagina being involved in some way, controlling a woman's access to birth control does indeed (whether directly or indirectly) insinuate control over her vagina.

Third, yes, I think there is a difference in what I am “complaining” about. I believe that I should have control over my body. It sounds like you believe you, and others that think like you, should have that control. Maybe I’m not “smart” enough to have my own rational, well thought out beliefs and values? Since I don’t know better I guess the government needs to make those decisions for me?

Fourth, I am not judging the decisions a woman makes for herself. You do what you want with your body. (See above.)

I’m curious though if you know what it is like to walk in the shoes of women that do have to make hard decisions for themselves and their families, decisions that involve very personal choices about their own body? It’s easy to pigeon hole you into an upper-middle class white family with two gorgeous girls that are both academically and athletically talented. You live in an awfully nice bubble. I’m happy for you! And I mean that with complete sincerity!

But tell me, do you know what it is like to work for a Catholic hospital and have a man in human resources tell you that if you can’t get pregnant that god must not want you to have children? Or that fertility treatment is on the same level of need as elective plastic surgery? Or, that if you do pay for treatments yourself, and do get pregnant, the insurance won’t cover the prenatal care of that child until the second trimester? So really, you should just adopt. But if you adopt, you don’t get to take maternity leave, because, well you know, it’s not like you gave birth. Well, I do.

I paid for my own birth control before I ever knew that there was no need. Oh, the irony. Seriously though, I was lucky that I came from a good supportive family that helped me get an education so I could get a good job. A job where I could afford to pay for the oral contraceptives that the Catholic hospitals I worked at didn’t pay for. I didn’t work at those hospitals because they were Catholic, I worked there because it was what I went to school to do – to help people.

Should we even mention the hypocrisy of insurance that covers Viagra and other ED drugs for men, but won’t cover contraceptives for the women those men want to screw?

I wonder, have you walked in the shoes of a mother with a special needs child that has to fight for every freaking service their child gets just so they can live as close to a “normal” life as possible? Talk about valuing life! And what if that woman gets pregnant unintentionally? Should she be allowed to consider if she can take care of another child? What if that special needs child has a genetic disorder that subsequent children would likely have as well?

Have you walked in the shoes of a young mother with four children already and a husband that can’t find work that finds herself pregnant again and doesn’t know how she is going to take care of the kids she already has? Or maybe her husband is in the military and deployed overseas? We all know how wealthy those military families are.

Or have you been the mother pregnant with a child with a genetic disorder that will not allow the child to live more than hours after birth, and those hours will be full of excruciating pain.

What about the young teenager that finds herself pregnant because her uncle/father/brother/next door neighbor is raping her?

In those examples, I’m not going to tell those women what they should do. But I do believe they have a right to make their own decisions.

And last, you ask about valuing life at all stages? I’ll have that argument with you when you can tell me that the children that are living and breathing in this country right now are all being cared for.

Next weekend I am fortunate enough to be able to go spend the weekend with approximately 90 other women that have adopted or foster children with special needs. Women with children like my son, and women with children that are so far beyond damaged that Noah looks easy in comparison. These are women that have to fight every day to keep their children safe. Women that have to make really hard decisions, decisions like how do I keep this child in my house when he is hurting my other children and trying to kill me? Women taking care of children that have such severe mental illness/FASD/RAD/PTSD/autism/physical disabilities etc. etc. that there is no chance of normalcy for them or their child, ever. Women that are doing everything to get help for their child and the system is failing them. Over and over again. And these are the families that care and have adopted the children that birth parents did not want or could not keep.

What about all the kids that don’t have families and don’t have someone advocating for them.

Yes, when all of those children are getting the love and care and support they need, then come to me and ask me about valuing life at all stages. Because right now, I find it hard to believe that we truly value the lives that are already on this earth.
Then my mother decided to get involved. *big sigh* Debating politics with my mother never ends well. 

But, all ended well, because a friend of mine posted this on Facebook and my day is now complete!