Friday, October 15, 2004

The Life group on their high-horses again

I'm reading on the BBC about plans to help women taking the pill do so at the right time and regularity by sending them text messages. The pill has long since been dispensed in date-labelled packs, i.e. with mon-tue-wed-... next to each one. I have for many years wondered why that is done for the pill but not for anti-biotics and other medication where it is important to take the drugs regularly. Maybe other drugs have different instructions and doses for different ailments and are more easily dispensed in a bottle with instructions on the side. I must admit I even feel a bit twitchy about it, as if women are being patronised a bit.

Still the new service being offered cannot be doing any harm really since its very much up to individuals to sign up for it.

Ok, now lets see the reaction from the Pro-Life Group: "The anti-abortion charity Life condemned the idea and said it would lead to increased promiscuity. "

Now I wonder if women are being treated as stupid by having their pills date-labelled. This lot seem to think women are so stupid that more will start taking the pill now they can receive reminders by text-message. Never mind the fact that anyone can set up a regular text alert or phone-based alarm for themselves very easily if they find that's the best way to organise their lives. Never mind that everybody knows that the pill is only suitable for long-term monogamous relationships since it doesn't protect against STDs... or that the new service is only being offered to those already on the pill. I wonder why the BBC felt the need to ask these guys for a comment.

If this development does anything at all I have to guess it would cut the number of abortions going on by cutting down the number of accidentally missed pills. If that is what the Life group really want, they should welcome this move. They should also focus the centrepiece of their campaign on raising money to support women who fall pregnant and wish to continue their pregnancies, since by far the biggest deciding factor in worldwide abortion rates is poverty. This will never happen because, I believe, this group is nothing more than a collection of mysogynists trying to deny women control over their own lives and bodies.

The other point that jumps out at me is that the fear raised by the Life input to the news story is that the new initiative might encourage promiscuity. So they're taking as read that promiscuity is a terrible thing. Some of us, mainly the ones who've tried it, might beg to differ.

There's very little religious basis for the condemnation of promiscuity, as long as people aren't married. They were all up to it in the old testament, actually even the married ones. Jesus seemed to suggest it might distract people from seeking their more spiritual side, but that was about as much attention as it got. Other religions similarly seem to have focussed in on obscure pieces of their holy texts to suggest that this should be a standardised law, when in fact it has never been a core message (like for example "thou shallt not kill", leaving some of us to wonder where exactly the basis for "honor killings" of women suspected of pre-marital sex or infidelity has arisen from).

For the practising atheist the only issues raised however are the spread of STDs - use condoms kids - and the social and emotional risks. While this latter is not to be ignored, I can't help thinking the social and emotional impact of staying home and missing out on the (metaphorical) orgy of life, lust and love would be risking a lot more.

To complete the full cycle and head into very deep feminist waters (hurray!). Personally I wouldn't dream of taking the pill and messing about with my natural hormones. The balance of estrogen, etc (and testosterone too) in my system is a part of who I am as a woman and I'm quite happy with it as it is and have no desire to mess with it.

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