Archive for the ‘Choice/Sex’ category

Rape, Sex & Catholic Education

May 8, 2009

Let’s play a little game of “one of these things is not like the other.” It’s a multiple choice. The “sexual misconduct” policy [at Catholic University] outlaws:

a. premarital sex

b. condoms

c. masturbation

d. rape

Washington D. C. City Paper, May 8-14, 2009

The above is an excerpt from an article about Catholic University policy regarding “sexual misconduct.” As City Paper points out, CUA lists consensual sex and rape in the same sentence of their policy. (“physical contact of a sexual nature that is unwanted…and/or disruptive to the university community”– ‘disruptive’ means all premarital sexual conduct) Which, obviously, comes  directly from the Catholic Church’s rulings.

I’m not going to attack the choice of an individual to belong to a religion of his or her choice. HOWEVER, I will say this: the Catholic Church (hierarchy of, political arm of, etc) perpetuates rape culture. Putting rape in the same sentence as & violating the same clause of the CUA Policy as sex sends a strong message. You’ve now softened the seriousness of forcible sexually assaulting another human being, and put it on the same level as a universal human instinct. Great.

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Three updates

March 15, 2009

I haven’t written in a few weeks. Between things heating up at my job, and getting into a few different grad programs, I’ve been quite busy…but enough about me. I’ve got a few updates on a few things:

1. Three cheers for Obama for Lifting the Ban on Stem Cell Research, and for signing a bill that will help lower and control the cost of birth control. That being said, I still want to know what he is doing about Abstinence Only Education Funding…because to me, thats one of the most dangerous things still going on. So many unnecessary pregnancies and STIs, leading to financial and personal crises, simply for the fact that conservative America is embarrassed to talk about sex and thinks if they just ignore it, one of our greatest human instincts will somehow just..go away. 

2. March 10th was National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This is important to me, because I work with a lot of HIV-positive clients on Medicaid. With Obama’s new Council on Women and Girls, I hope one of the top policy focuses if HIV/AIDS for women, particularly of color. As listed on HHS, AIDS is now the leading cause of death for Black women ages 25 to 34. That’s a scary statistic, particularly when its a disease that’s preventible with proper education, access, and policy/financial support. 

3. Kai Wright has a really great piece up at The Root about ‘Raisin In The Sun’ playwright Lorraine Hansberry, and how her homosexuality has been effectively erased from history. Wright compares the erasure of gay Americans, in this case a black playwright,  to the erasure of blacks from history (though one can make the comparison with SO many groups in American history).  There’s a great quote from Hansberry at the end:

 I have suspected for a good time that the homosexual in America would ultimately pay a price for the intellectual impoverishment of women. Men continue to misinterpret the second-rate status of women as implying a privileged status for themselves; heterosexuals think the same way about homosexuals; gentiles about Jews; whites about blacks; haves about have-nots.

Birth Control IS Stimulating

February 4, 2009

All the debate about Obama’s Economic Stimulus bill and Family Planning is really stirring things up for me.

For one, I’m 100% for allowing ALL women the greatest possible access to practice their reproductive rights and obtain birth control.

For a second reason, because I work with people on Medicaid.

Now, I’m not sure if people realize how extremely indigent you have to be in order to qualify for Medicaid benefits. The poverty line is set at $10,400 for an individual. And may I just add that to even afford housing in Washington, DC you have to make  much more than that. In addition, people generally only qualify for Medicaid if they are disabled or have children to provide for.

And boy, does that leave a lot of people out.

People who are struggling every day to pay their bills– most financially disadvantaged people can’t qualify for Medicaid and certainly can’t afford to pay for their own private insurance.  

Now take a low-SES woman. Not only does she have general health issues to worry about, she has to worry about paying for her own sexual health. Furthermore, she is generally less educated, and has WAY less access to knowledge about birth control and contraception. Which gives her a MUCH greater chance of getting pregnant unintentionally. Which can lead to her raising that child alone in many cases. Which she cannot afford.  

Including contraception in this bill would allow a huge amount of low income women to access information and birth control. They will have control over their bodies and their futures. They can PLAN to not have children, to start getting on a track to economic stability and be more  in charge of their destinies.

Let alone the fact that birth control frequently has incredibly positive health effects (i.e. condoms reduce STIs, the pill reduces cysts & cervical/ovarian problems).

Let alone the fact that not just these women will save money, the country will too- fewer unplanned pregnancies to people who can’t afford to pay for them. More people getting out of poverty because they will have fewer costs.

The bottom line? Republicans don’t see women’s health/economic situations as important. Scratch that, people don’t see women’s health/economic situations as important. Forget that they’re half the country. Or the world. Or that there is already enough discrimination and barriers to their advancement  in the first place. Or that they will be caring, often times alone, for this country’s next generation. No, that’s right. Their needs aren’t as important. (And yes, sexual health is a need).

check this Nation column out for more info

Choice & Fair Pay- A glance into the Obama future

January 31, 2009

I wrote a bit about choice in my other blog, aintiawoman.tumblr.com, for NARAL’s “Blog For Choice” day– asking all bloggers in the blogosphere to dedicate 1 blog to writing about Choice, and what they want from President Obama.

Barack Obama has been President for 12 days. In less than 2 weeks, he has shown a strong commitment to women’s reproductive rights. Since the majority of my intellectually mature life was spent under Bush,  I had almost entirely given up on a US that actually fit beliefs– on a US that would fight for women, fight for reproductive justice for women not just here, but all around the globe.
Obama has realized that ideal in the 12 days that he has been in office. He has reversed the Mexico City gag order, a move that will greatly improve the lives of women abroad.

The first bill President Obama has signed is the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The bill is a HUGE step for women’s equal pay in the workplace, and something that I have closely followed since Lilly brought her case to the Supreme Court (pause here to breathe a sigh of relief that we have Obama in the office to hopefully appoint Justices to the Court– since Bush appointees were the ones that turned this vote to 5-4 against Lilly). Opponents of this bill wanted women silenced. They wanted Lilly’s courageous fight to look like an uppity, nagging, whining woman who should sit down and shut up. But she never did. And now because of her, other women won’t have to.

But in addition I think there is an important symbolic significance about this bill being the first Obama signs as President. As he states himeself:

“It is fitting that with the very first bill I sign – the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act – we are upholding one of this nation’s first principles: that we are all created equal and each deserve a chance to pursue our own version of happiness.”

Throughout the campaign, the battle between Clinton and Obama seemed to endlessly pit us against each other in the media– the older white feminists against younger, civil rights-oriented Obama supporters. But the thing is, Obama is on our side. Obama is on feminism’s side. He always has been. And I look forward to 4 or 8 years more.

Obama signs the Lilly Ledbetter Act

Obama signs the Lilly Ledbetter Act

(i encourage you to read his full statement…its quite powerful)