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National Screw On Contraception Day

By Amanda Marcotte
Saturday, June 7, 2008 15:14 EDT
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Mighty Ponygirl has declared it National Screw While On Contraception Day. Yes, even if you’re “trying”. Or you’re in a committed and tested relationship that’s not running the risk of the big knock-up because you’re gay or sterilized or pregnant or post-menopausal or whatever. You don’t even need a partner. Wrap a condom around a butt plug and shove it up your ass. Or blow condoms up and decorate your house with them while running around naked singing filthy, blasphemous songs about how Jesus and Mary Magdalene got it on.

Better yet, show up at one of the Planned Parenthoods that have been marked for abuse for distributing contraception today with a big, fat sign that says, “Thanks for all the hard work, Planned Parenthood.” Why? Because the American Life League is protesting Planned Parenthood today because contraception was legalized after a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood after one director, Estelle Griswold, got arrested for selling contraception to married couples in the state of Connecticut. Today is the 45th anniversary of that lawsuit, Griswold v Connecticut, and the protest is, surprise surprise, based on a lie and some misdirection. ALL is calling it “Pill Kills” day, pretending that they’re out to get just the pill and that it’s because the pill is “chemical abortion”. Both of these points are lies, which are forbidden by god in the 10 commandments, unlike contraception.

Lie #1: That the decision in Griswold was just about hormonal contraception.

To be scrupulously fair, the talking points at the Pill Kills website does make it clear that Connecticut law at the time also banned condoms, diaphrams, basically any form of contraception. But by concentrating most of their information about the pill and linking it to the SCOTUS decision, they’re implying that they’re only interested in banning the birth control pill because of Teh Baybeez. But the focus on a decision that legalized all contraception belies their motivations. This is about banning contraception, regardless of its mechanism. They just haven’t figured out a good way to lie about their motivations when it comes to condoms. It’s a stretch to say the pill kills babies, but since it works in ways that are semi-mysterious to most people, that lie is a little more plausible. Of course, I doubt there’s a single fucktard waving a sign today that’s for condom use. This isn’t and never was about Teh Baybeez, but about sex. The anti-pill strategy is based mostly on the prior successes that anti-choicers have had with the piecemeal approach to getting abortion banned. They figure they can do that with contraception—ban one method at a time, working backwards from the ones that give the most control to women, until they’ve got them all. Is it possible to do this? Beats me. I’d like to think not. But if it could, then piecemeal is the way to go, because it’s the way that makes those under attack not realize that we’re all in this together. A ban on the pill is easy to shrug off by those not on the pill. A ban on condoms might not be top priority for voters in tested, committed relationships. The only weapon we have is the “WTF” factor.

In a way, the anti-choice brigade screwed the pooch themselves on this one. By concentrating on the idea that life “begins” at fertilization, they’ve inadvertantly educated their followers on how babies are made. Now even the most ardent anti-choicer is going to be skeptical of the idea that condoms, which visibly work by keep semen out of a woman’s reproductive tract, kills babies. Again, it’s easier to sow doubt about the pill because they a) already have convinced themselves that scientists are conniving bastards out to destroy religion and therefore lie and b) you can’t see how it works. They read the tea leaves and determine that when scientists say the pill works by preventing ovulation, they’re lying. But how to convince people condoms are abortion? They’d have to believe that there’s like a little baby in the semen waiting to get formed. That level of misinformation will be hard to come by.

Lie #2: The pill is abortion.

On the official literature, anti-choicers claim that their concern is that the pill may cause fertilized eggs not to implant correctly. You talk to one of them, and it becomes quite clear they’ve convinced themselves that the main way the pill functions is by releasing a bunch of mini mercenaries who hunt down fertilized eggs and shoot them. And, to add insult to injury, they then slap the sperm around while yelling, “You’re no real man! You couldn’t get a bitch pregnant if you ate a truckload of Viagra!”

The real reasons that contraception and abortion have concerned the nuts for so long is that they a) allow women to have sex and b) are emasculating because they put a stopgap in between sperm and the biological conquest of a woman’s body.* That most straight men enjoy not running the risk of impregnating someone every time they have sex doesn’t matter in this equation; such men are pansies that have been pussy-whipped and brainwashed by the feminazis. There’s a reason anti-choice literature dwells on the idea that blurring of gender roles is like the number one social problem. Look, for instance, at how one crisis pregnancy center encourages men to stampede abortion clinics and kidnap their wives or girlfriends from the place, telling them that women secretly want to be “rescued”, and you’ll see what I mean.

Obviously, the real reason they’re opposed to all this will never fly, so they concocted the brilliant “save the babies” strategy. It’s worked so well that they’re hoping they can stretch the lie a little further to encompass birth control pills. But birth control pills work by a non-mysterious, well-publicized mechanism. They work by preventing ovulation. The folk understanding is that they trick your body into thinking it’s pregnant (which is why people erroneously think that the pill causes weight gain, which has been disproven in scientific studies), but that’s not entirely that far from the truth. Basically, the pill works by rearranging your hormones so that the proper level required to ovulate isn’t hit. That’s all. I know that it was developed around imitating the hormone levels of a woman right after she ovulates, but obviously with the gazillion formulations out there, there’s probably all sorts of hormone levels at various times. Just the one you won’t hit is the one where you’re ovulating.

As they do when trying to disprove evolution, wingnuts exploit people’s poor understanding of evidence and logic to make it seem scientists are saying something they’re not. In the case of the pill, they exploit the fact that scientists realize you can’t prove a negative. You say, “Is it possible that the pill makes it so that a fertilized egg doesn’t implant slightly more often than it would if there weren’t those hormones there?” And scientists say, “We can’t test it, so possibly.” But you also can’t test whether or not it causes a swarm of invisible monkeys to fly around your uterus throttling innocent sperm, either.

What we do know: Women on the pill will certainly slough off exponentially fewer fertilized eggs than women using nothing. Because if you’re ovulating and having unprotected sex, then you’re fertilizing eggs that die. But if you’re not ovulating, you’re not. Easy-peasy. Even if one egg slips through once every 60 months or something, gets fertilized and sloughs of, that’s still many fewer fertilized eggs than a woman not on the pill is “killing”. If you want women not to kill fertilized eggs, you’d actually want the pill to be mandatory.

But if you want them to get pregnant a lot against their will, you’d join this protest.

*I don’t think of pregnancy this way, but it’s clearly the dominant paradigm of the uber patriarchy, with its theme song “She’s Having My Baby”.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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