Our Bodies, Their Choices

I am from Madison, Wisconsin, which is (was?) known for progressive politics and thinkers. The elections last November threatened that when Scott Walker was elected governor of the state, and other Republican (men) filled political positions that had been held by Democrats formerly. Even Russ Feingold, longtime senator, was beaten in the race.

Since assuming his post in January, Walker has already imposed and threatened a lot of sweeping changes across the state that will ultimately end up affecting other states as well (BTW, his campaign was funded by two rich brothers from Kansas. A little odd, right?). Aside from the union-busting and attacks on public workers, Walker has also made attacking the reproductive rights of women a main goal.

A lot of people who are pro-life probably voted for Walker because he is also against abortion. However, the fact that he will eventually make access to ALL forms of contraception much more difficult, and many people, pro-life or pro-choice, need to buy condoms or be on the pill. This kind of tunnel vision that people vote with has such a huge, devastating impact on women across the country. As if a girl having sex wasn’t already taboo enough, a women having sex who wants to go on the pill is even worse. Historically, women have been largely responsible for preventing pregnancy, whether it be through abstaining from sex, avoiding temptation or being the object of it (even unwittingly!), or using one of the contraceptive devices for women, which are:  a sponge, diaphragm, cervical cap, female condom, the pill, the patch, a vaginal ring, shots/injections, and intrauterine devices, to name the main ones. For men? Condoms.

This imbalance creates quite the conundrum. Women are still not equal to men when it comes to their sexuality and their exercise of it, but far more contraceptive options exist for women. Even when I worked at a grocery store, the majority of people buying condoms were in fact women. When men in power make decisions concerning, ultimately, a women’s genitalia and womb, they are also shirking their responsibilities as sexual partners and as men. The past few times I’ve been home, and over spring break, I’ve been completely depressed by the threats to Planned Parenthood (which has a large presence in Madison, as well as in the Twin Cities). My doctor even joked to me that I should stock up on my birth control in light of the impending legislation and goals of power hungry and vile politicians who think they can stake a claim in the lives of their human counterparts.

 

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