The Alabama Moderate

Painting the Red State Purple.

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A “Woman’s Problem”

Posted by ALmod on November 7, 2009

It struck me today in this whole abortion debate over the House bill that there still exists a certain mentality.

Before I go further, let me address my own views.  I’m personally pro-life, but I also know (as a woman who has experienced pregnancy and childbirth) that the issue of women and reproduction is not quite so simple as either choose to have sex or don’t.  We have a whole other series of body parts that men do not have that carry with them their own potential to cause or have problems.  And when those parts (and the rest of our bodies) experience pregnancy, that carries a whole other set of potential problems in and of themselves.  Add to that the fact that human relationships are never simple.  What started out as a perfectly wonderful marriage from a woman’s perspective can the next day turn into a nightmare.  Add to that, we can be put through the health strain that is pregnancy entirely against our will.  Add to that the fact that a thousand and one different things can go wrong during a pregnancy that not only affects your life but the life of the child that you carry.

And at any time, the man can simply walk away with few (if any) consequences.

I would probably never under any circumstances elect to have an abortion, but I understand that there are complicated circumstances that do exist that would make it very hard for me to judge someone who would.

Now, all that being said, a certain ugly narrative has been going on during this whole health care debate.  Senator John Kyle, in particular, stood out by arguing that maternity care not be included in basic coverage because as a man he didn’t need it.  Now, as someone who would be expected to argue that every baby should have an opportunity to live, it strikes me as particularly unnerving that he would suggest that it’s acceptable to exclude coverage that would be needed for that to happen.  Indeed, without well baby checkups, many babies wouldn’t make it to the delivery room– including the male ones.

One commenter on the situation argued that if women couldn’t afford to buy extra coverage or pay out of pocket for such expenses that they shouldn’t have sex.  That same commenter today argued in context of the abortion debate that covering abortion was akin to having taxpayers pay for a woman’s voluntary sexual behavior.  Many nodded in agreement.  The problem with that argument– and ultimately with that mindset– is that at no time has a woman ever magically found herself pregant without the aid of a man, unless said woman was going to give birth to a religious figure.  Still, it’s “a woman’s problem.”

How different would this narrative be if men could get pregnant?  Would we be having these conversations at all?

What if we as women embraced the idea that pregnancy and other consequences of sex were indeed our problems?  What if we decided that it was as simple as being if we didn’t want those problems then we shouldn’t have sex?  Those problems don’t just end at the alter, either.  Married women would have to consider this as well.  What if Lysistrata had it right?  What if we just decided not to have sex?  Ever.  Married or not.  Girlfriend or not.  Because it is our problem like it or not because of the way this world makes it our problem alone, and maybe we should consider that at all times, even when we have a ring on our finger.

I wonder if that would then make it a man’s problem.


One Response to “A “Woman’s Problem””

  1. B said

    I think we should exclude testicular cancer because its a man’s problem. Erectile dysfunction, same thing.

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