A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Human Rights: Why Contraception is Vital

Periodically, we are assailed (in real life, we must add) by troglodytes who believe in "abstinence" education and find contraception unacceptable. We are often surprised by the powerful urge to rap their noggins smartly with our knuckles instead of patiently attempting to explain to them why contraception is a vital human right and a necessity in an overpopulated and swiftly dying planet.

Forty years ago, when the planet had a little less than two-thirds of our current population, we argued this position. We argued that peak oil would soon be upon us. We didn't know about global warming back then, but we could see the pollution in our skies, and we argued that more humans=more cars and factories to produce things for human consumption=more pollution. Being asthmatic, allergy-ridden sickly sprogs at the time, we argued that the crap in our skies and the filth in our water and the poison in our soil was making us sick unto death and if it got any worse, fersure there would be some dead, most likely the weakest &mdash the very young, the elderly, the already ill, the disabled, pregnant women, et cetera, ad nauseam, ad infinitum.

To which the troglodytish responded with hoots and hollers, as is typical of their species, and even the cheeky baring of bums. Hmph. Now, we say, look around.

We've hit peak oil (troglodytes, pay attention: This doesn't mean we've run out of oil, it means that every gallon of oil we now extract will cost us more than it did before this point, with cost increasing to the point of no return, eventually). A continental-mass-sized island of plastic and other contaminants floats in our oceans, poisoning our marine food chain. We're running out of potable water (rising energy costs means extracting non-potable water and rendering it potable will become increasingly expensive also). Our air is so polluted, it's killing off the very young and very elderly among us, and causing respiratory problems and shortening lives. We needn't even discuss the contamination of our soil, the agricultural runoff that's causing dead marine zones, the increase in various environmentally-related disorders, and the rest of it.

This blog specializes in bringing you grotesquely disgusting health-related scientific information complete with links to reputable journals that let you slide into deep depression as you grope for your psychoactive medications and wonder whether listeriosis has, indeed, caused abscesses in your brain matter.

Then the deities of the News Cycle smile down upon us and hand us an article like this, that highlights once again that contraception is a vitally necessary thing. Not everybody on the planet is suited for the arduous task of parenthood.

If you don't think it's arduous, please do yourself and the overcrowded planet a favour and volunteer for a minimum of three years as a baby- and child-minder. If you can arrange to do it 24/7, it'll give you a brief taste of what parenthood actually involves. Chances are, long before you hit the three year mark, you, like many of the parents in the linked study, will have done something to one or more of the sprogs in your care that is tantamount to abuse, neglect, or general cruelty.

Children are expensive, difficult, high-maintenance amusement. In our overcrowded world, they are necessary to no one but their parents. Troglodytes often counter this argument with the cry of "But who will look after us in our old age?" Shame on you! If that's the only reason for popping a sprog, go get yourself an engineering degree and design a robot for the task. At least a robot is not going to feel resentful about having been created solely to serve as a caretaker for some fumbling senile bag of flesh.

Having a child and raising a child are two separate things. Anyone or thing can have a child. Reproduction is simply a matter of having the correct equipment matched with the correct biological urges.

Raising a child &mdash especially a human child, with their lengthy infancy and childhood and slow maturity &mdash is an entirely different kettle of fish. It's a gruelling, tedious, round the clock job that lasts for eighteen years or more, with no time off, no pay, no glory, and no guarantees. There is no guarantee that the baby you lovingly plan for won't be autistic or disabled or just a total little shithead. There is no guarantee that you will like them or they will like you. In fact, there is not even any guarantee that they won't murder you in your bed.

Contraception, and abortion, can reduce the incidence of child abuse, cruelty, neglect, emotionally stunted children shuttled through foster homes in a one-way trip to prison, and, needless to say, the murderings in beds of parents and children alike. If a woman decides that she is not capable, for whatever reason, of having and raising a child, it is better to let that child's life be extinguished in embryo than for it to suffer the fate of this poor creature.

Nixzmary Brown photo from The Gothamist

Death as a fetus would have caused Nixzmary Brown a brief pain, at most. Thanks to the inexorable grip of a backward religion on her rather stupid mother, this child lived and suffered for seven years before finally losing her life in a way we wouldn't wish on an enemy.

So, please. Whatever your personal beliefs on the sanctity of life, unless you're willing and able to adopt the millions of children every year who are abandoned, dumped, brutalized, neglected, murdered, thrown away, and otherwise tortured out of existence, keep your sanctimony to yourself. Pray for them, if you want to. Donate your time and money. But don't force women to have babies that they and/or their partners will then mistreat either because they don't want them or because they're simply not equipped to raise them.

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At 9:20 PM, Blogger Sungold said...

You've done a nice job of stating the common-good argument in favor of contraception. This post cries out for the bookend to it - the individual-rights argument - but maybe you'd better not sit in front of the computer for that long until your back is fully healed.

At 8:59 AM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Why don't YOU do the individual rights argument, and I'll link to it?

At 11:57 AM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Actually, I also want to add that if there is one issue in the word that upsets me beyond any other, it's the mistreatment of children. But you probably gathered that.

At 8:03 PM, Blogger Sungold said...

TPC, I have a hard time reading your post on child abuse. I don't know how you manage to compose them. But I also know that looking away doesn't help anyone. So thanks for bringing these atrocities to light.

As for my post - I took you up on it, and you'll find it here:

(The link's getting truncated, but at any rate it's the top post right now.)

At 8:22 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

It's very very hard for me for reasons I won't go into here. Very hard. I feel every blow and every attack these poor children suffered as if in my own flesh. All I can say is, I decided a long time ago that I would do what I could to make sure that these children do not become faceless forgotten victims.

And thank Science for psychoactive medication.

At 8:29 PM, Blogger Sungold said...

Wow. All the more reason to appreciate your courage in doing what you do.


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