Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Savage Love Goes Political

Actually, he's been political for a long time. For those of you who don't know, Dan Savage is one of the funniest and most honest sex advice columnists out there. He is syndicated practically everywhere. Anyway, for a while he has been advocating for Straight Rights. He posits that policies of our government don't just damage the lives of gays or poor people, but actually screw up everyone's life. At the end of his advice columns he'll write about something that proves his point in a very scary way.

My friend, Daphne, emails her family and friends his articles once in a while. This time, I decided to spread the word one step further. Below is his latest Straight Rights Update. This one is very upsetting. To be pro-choice is turning into a fight for more than the right to an abortion.

STRAIGHT RIGHTS UPDATE: After tossing nearly half of last week's column away on a straight rights update, it was my intention to give it a rest. In fact, every time I write one of these I think, "Banning abortion, evicting unmarried straight couples and their children, moving to ban birth control-things can't get any worse, can they?" Oh, but they can: Not satisfied with meddling in the lives of the relatively small percentage of women who are pregnant, the American Taliban is moving to regulate the lives of all American women.

"New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves-—-and to be treated by the health-care system-—-as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon," reports the Washington Post. "[T]his means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control... [I]t's important that women follow this advice throughout their reproductive lives, because about half of pregnancies are unplanned and so much damage can be done to a fetus between conception and the time the pregnancy is confirmed."

Color me paranoid, but ordering American women to regard themselves as "pre-pregnant" because they may harm a fetus they don't know they're carrying opens the door to prosecuting women who harm their fetuses by failing to regard themselves as "pre-pregnant." How long until "women should...refrain from smoking [and] maintain a healthy body weight" becomes "women must..." Does that sound paranoid? Well, so did a war on contraception once.

Oddly enough, Bush's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn't urge straight men to regard themselves as existing in a perpetual state of "pre-fatherhood." Smoking, obesity, asthma, and diabetes could seriously hamper a man's ability to do the heavy lifting that comes with fatherhood. But Bush's CDC doesn't seem that interested in regulating the behavior of all those fat, smoking pre-fathers out there.

Gee. Isn't. That. Weird.

There is a bright side in the CDC's announcement: If we're going to regard all females as pre-pregnant, then we can, as my friend Gomez points out, regard all virgins as merely pre-fucked.

I keep thinking that all I need to do is hold out until 2008, but what if we don't make it that long? What if I have to break out before then? Because we could easily turn into an 1984, The Handmaid's Tale-esque society. And I'm a black woman, so you know I'm getting slammed first!


Melissa said...

Oh boy. My day has taken a decidedly downward turn. How depressing and terrifying.

I'm totally going to listen to Ethel Merman now.

Kelly said...

Thanks for posting that, L. Britt. One of my friends thinks I'm paranoid, but then again, he's a liberal white guy. Ask any woman, whether she's white or a woman of color, any gay or lesbian or any non-white man if we're being paranoid and we KNOW what that answer would be.

You are so right about "1984" and "The Handmaid's Tale". I re-read "1984" for the first time since 1980 when I was a freshman in high school just as Bush declared war and it was a sobering experience.

Hey Melissa, have you heard the Ethel Merman disco album? It's so bad it's good.