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03.02.11

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Reclamation

Women's services more important than ever

By Oona Risling-Sholl


Before I begin a book-long tirade on the latest proposal by the state of South Dakota to legalize the murder of abortion doctors, I will skip to the heart of the matter: this has less to do with helping people than with staggering ignorance and inflated political egomania. Fact 1: Don't be stupid, anti-choicers; no one ever wants to get an abortion. (I get the impression you think there's an afterparty or a self congratulatory mani/pedi Champagne spa follow-up.) It is an extremely painful decision to make, and you'd be a fool to think otherwise. Fact 2: Deregulation and the minimizing of sex education in schools, and general disregard for it elsewhere, have made the negative outcomes of sexual practice a widespread epidemic. And whose fault is that, anti-choicers? In effect, yours.

Women and girls need to be encouraged to learn about their reproductive organs and sexual health, reproductive rights and realistic views on birth control. (How can "pull-'n'-pray" still be so widely practiced? Where are we, Arkansas circa 1832?) Without this knowledge, it is nearly impossible not to cave to soul-crushing social pressures or to bow to unrealistic demands on the body and the heart, to "be" what everyone else wants us to be. (And you know what, guys? You need to learn about these things, too, because it takes two to tango, responsibly or not.) I find that, through discussion and observation, a major (though not singular) underlying cause of many (not all) women's low self-esteem and inability to lead the lives they want stems from a lack of understanding of the self, perpetuated by our schools, the workplace and the media in order to make us conform or shrivel up and disappear.

As with many pro-choicers, I would love to see a world free of abortion—and rape, and incest and accidental pregnancies. But until that utopian society magically appears before us, we all must take charge of our selves, our rights, our bodies—and our well-goddamned-deserved self-confidence and happiness.

Be aware that many fundamentalist, anti-choice organizations often pose as women's health clinics. You can find a true women's health clinic, or any other important women's health information, at Planned Parenthood—which, not surprisingly, is under attack by House Republicans.

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