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Archive for the ‘pregnancy’ Category

Q: what’s two inches long and has NEVER RAPED ANYONE?

Posted by pocochina on August 3, 2010

A:  An IUD.

Apparently, doctors in Scotland are following some new sexual health guidelines, concerning the discussion long-term contraceptive options with young teenage patients who ask about the contraceptive pill, “as long as the doctor does not suspect exploitation or coercion.”  The Express, the paper which originally reported on this, stressed the sex panic angle, claiming that Scots are “up in arms” in terror about the prescription of a safe, legal medication by a doctor for a patient.  (I’m kind of the opinion that anyone who goes to the Catholic Church for a quote about sexual exploitation of minors shouldn’t be allowed to report on the grand opening of a supermarket, but whatever.)  RH Reality Check took a more pragmatic line, saying that if someone is too young for sex, she’s definitely too young to be a parent.  And Jezebel, in a rather spectacular example of trading point for sensationalism, argues that capacity to consent to sex is an individual thing and therefore concern is misplaced, and besides, the contraceptives won’t be given to anyone doctors suspect is being coerced or exploited.

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Posted in domestic violence, feminism, pregnancy, sexual assault, sexuality | Leave a Comment »

Posted by pocochina on March 31, 2008

I’ve been pretty happy to be an all-Clinton-all-the-time blogger (BECAUSE I LOVE HER and SO SHOULD YOU) but I am going to follow her strong fucking lead and talk about a super important issue.  Via Kate at Shakesville, this horrifying story about a 14 year old child who suffered a stillbirth/miscarriage on a plane on her way home from a school field trip.  (Trigger warning on the link and the rest of the post, this story’s important but incredibly disturbing.)

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Posted in abortion, feminism, pregnancy | Leave a Comment »

Who Institutionalizes Sexism? Man with Two Daughters Edition

Posted by pocochina on March 19, 2008

This makes me want to fucking gag.  I don’t even know what else to say about it, except that I am terrified by a father to whom it needs to be explained that the confirmation of an anti-woman Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is not politically expedient.   This is a snapshot of a removed, elitist, and – dare I say it?  I dare!  I dare! – ivory fucking tower of law approach to those who, with lifetime appointments, are the last defenders of our Constitution.

Such a detached, cold, rationalized, and deeply wrong assessment of the situation reminds me of some of the professors around here that have been out of practice and in their (FUCKING FABULOUS, BTW) offices for a while.  We spend so much time thinking about how far this precedent extends and where the potential analogies will lead, and that’s important, but some of the truly great theorists forget that at some point, you can’t keep babbling about How The Logical Outcome Is Always The End of Civilization* because out there in the system, some poor schmuck is waiting for a decision.  Those who make the system must not take for granted that they are above the system.  (See:  Spitzer, Eliot; Nixon, Richard)  I love academia.  I love professors, I love learning, I love going to class, I even love the 1200 page tome of international jurisdiction that’s open underneath my elbows right now.  But so help me God, I hope I never forget that the law impacts people’s lives – that in a county such as ours, we still grant the law the power to end people’s lives.  While that which is politically expedient must sometimes be the priority over ritual suicide by principle, there is also a time and a place for principle to come first, and the composition of the High Court is unequivocally within that time and place.

*We have this conversation once a week.   All things considered, I’m Little Mary Fucking Sunshine.

Posted in abortion, academia, feminism, law school, obama, politics, pregnancy, SCOTUS | Leave a Comment »

tough shit

Posted by pocochina on December 4, 2007


Clearly I am a sick woman.  All I do all day is read case law, and yet I am fascinated.

The case is about a young woman (it says 19 when she became pregnant, so either 19 or 20 now) wishes to give her child up for adoption without telling the father, who she says was a one-night-stand.  She did not tell her family, telling the court that they could not provide a home and she was on bad terms with all of them.  The child has been placed with a foster family.  The case was about whether she should be forced to disclose the child’s existence to the father, and the court ruled “no.”


I have no interest – none – in second-guessing women’s choices.  The usual interests of the state in keeping children out of foster care (I’m well aware that British law is different than American law on these points, but my best guess based on the case is that the general motivations are the same) are 1) not overburdening the state with unwanted children and 2) not taking the child away from a competent family.  1) is no concern because the child has been placed with a family, and 2) is moot because the mother gave the child up for adoption.

The question of paternal rights, no doubt thorny, cannot possibly be held to the same level of importance as maternal autonomy in this situation.  I realize that the genetic material of a child comes equally from both parents.

I.  Do.  Not.  Care.

The suggestion that a male orgasm is, and should be, the legal equivalent of the female burden of reproduction – nine months of pregnancy, labor, possible PPD, and all the physical, emotional, and economic costs of being a mother in a misogynist society – is at best willful ignorance and at worst blatant misogyny.  It both stems from and reinforces the idea that the clock starts on the Little Person on the very second that Daddy Has an Orgasm.

This isn’t to cast any aspersions on child support, which I not only believe is a positive good for society, but think should be further supported.  (The day child support becomes actual child support, you know, 50/50 costs and all, is the day I even think about maybe having any sympathy at all for the paternal rights argument.)  It is a tiny chip in the enormous social, financial, and physical inequality in the burdens of childbearing.  When your roommate owes you a thousand dollars for rent, and he gives you fifty cents, NO, he doesn’t get to eat your groceries, too.

I trust women to make reproductive choices, and that means trusting women here, too.

There are plenty of reasons women may not wish to disclose a child’s existence to the biological father.  Maybe he’s abusive, maybe she’s afraid he’ll become so.  Or maybe, just maybe, she just wants to be left the hell alone, as looks like is true in this case.  You know what?  If a woman survives an unwanted pregnancy, finds a family she is comfortable leaving the child with, and moves on with her life, fucking power to her. This has nothing to do with the cild, either, as the biofather’s name is on record, and if and when the child decides to find her biological parents, she will be able to do so.

Because it’s a short step from “it’s his genetic material so he should know about the BAAYBEE” to “it’s his genetic material so he gets veto power over the abortion.”  And from there?  “It’s his genetic material going to waste, so he gets to choose if there’s birth control.”  I mean,  if sperm have rights when one does become a baby, what’s to say they don’t have rights before then, too?  I mean, if you’re only working from the sex act which causes the pregnancy.  As soon as you mandate relations between a mother and father, you’re stepping into Gender Police, and because our society is so biased against women, and in particular mothers, this is a Bad Thing.

Maybe some day, we’ll live in a perfect world, one where pregancy will never be dangerous, partners will always be supportive, and mothers get paid exactly the same as everyone else for the same work.  (Plus, unicorns will dance in the purple sunset.) Then we’ll be able to consider paternal rights in a just, equitable way.

But until then, I think this ruling is not only good in this case, but a step in the right direction.

Because I trust women.

So tough shit.

Via:  http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2007/12/03/british-court-rules-that-one-night-stand-fathers-have-no-rights/#comments, who is totally against this ruling.

Posted in abortion, europe, feminism, pregnancy | Leave a Comment »

shove it, giuliani

Posted by pocochina on October 15, 2007

Okay.  Mostly, I despise Mayor Giuliani because he fucked over the firefighters on 9/11.  Oh, and how he takes credit for lowering the crime rate in NYC while rejecting the very policies that helped him lower that crime rate.  (As in, functionally literate people know that handguns kill people, so you should crack down on illegal handguns if people are getting killed.  As in he was a pro-choice New Yorker but now he’s all but (if not actually) promised to establish anti-choice judges and Justices.  As Jon Stewart (*fans self*) so perceptively observed about Senator Spector – “I have principles, but it’s not like I’m going to stand by them or anything.”  Because he craves the authoritarian privilege that comes, however rightly or wrongly, in a tragic crisis.


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Posted in classism, idiots, pregnancy, race, republicans | Leave a Comment »

happy ec-niversary!

Posted by pocochina on August 25, 2007

Just about a year ago, the FDA finally approved EC for OTC purchase.  And in honor of that auspicious occasion, I want to take the opportunity to talk about anti-choicers, and their relationship to some of the discourse around pregnancy.  Not just pointing and laughing, either (though don’t get me wrong, I think pointing and laughing at anti-feminists should be an Olympic sport), but the ways in which our culture, and particularly the anti-choice movement, characterizes all consequences of sex as pregnancy.

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Posted in feminism, pregnancy, sexuality | Leave a Comment »

pathologizing the body

Posted by pocochina on May 8, 2007

I’m almost through reading Wake Up, Little Suzie:  Single Pregnancy and Race before Roe v Wade by Rickie Solinger.  It’s an excellent book, powerfully written and researched, with tons of stuff to unpack.

Some of those things that are forefront in my mind are good, old-fashioned Sexist Stupidity nuggets.  My personal favorite is the idea that single teens and young women got pregnant through latent lesbianism.  That’s right, they were so gay, they spontaneously knocked themselves up.  And remember, this is decades before Mary Cheney.  (Rim shot!  But that’s a whole ‘nother post.)  While that particular suggestion is worth a good laugh, it’s also emblematic of the conventional wisdom (towards white girls of the era) described by the author.  Female sexuality was just so fucked up, so beyond the pale, so totally pathological, it had to be the worst thing they could possibly come up with – of course, homosexuality.

Another is the beautiful way Solinger deconstructs intersectional identities.  That’s so incredibly difficult, because you just can’t know so many things about something so personal, and yet so public, as identity.  Personal in that it’s wholly yours, nobody lives in your skin but you, but also public – it’s literally written on our faces for everyone to see.  But this book does a fascinating job of teasing apart when society saw these women as women, how their gender mattered, how their race mattered, and to a lesser extent, how their class mattered.  (Cheap shots at retro conservative idiocy aside, there can’t be too much discussion about unintended pregnancy around sexual orientation, although statistically, of course, for some women it would’ve been an issue.)  There’s intricacies of race that I don’t think there was room to deal with, such as the first and second generations of Mediterranean-American heritage, who were “becoming white” at the time, but that’s a so delicate it’s not an argument against the book, just something I found myself getting curious about.  And of course, I’m always uncomfortable when something deals with race as a full category, and then boils down to black and white.  It’s an important discussion to have, especially considering the particuarly vicious treatment African-American single mothers continue to face, but I’d just like to have seen some recognition that Asian, Chicana, and Native women were, in fact, also alive at the time.  But again, more of a space issue, certainly not one that disqualifies Solinger’s painstaking research.

Mostly, what got to me was the description of the maternity home (almost exclusively an option/forced path of action for white girls and women).  I actually forgot I wasn’t reading a description of an ex-gay “ministry” and, to some extent, “fat camp.”  This is what I wrote in my book:

You could actually just change some words around and you’d have a picture of an ex-gay camp, or fat camp.  Having to talk about sex underground.  Confusing rape with sex, confusing date rape with consent.  The level of denial about human sexuality – did anyone actually believe that crap?  I mean, nobody actually went to visit their aunt in LA, did they?  And it can’t actually make you less sexual, just like fat camp can’t possibly fix kids.  They weighed in pregnant women, they fucking weighed them in, ’cause that’s so healthy.  And the definition of femininity in the context of this all-female world is fascinating – the “enforcers” of femininity aren’t feminine at all.  And feminity is distinctly at odds with female reproductive health – getting pregnant makes you NOT a woman.  Any reason not to blame the boyfriend, I guess.  This is a world that treats female friendships so incredibly disrespectfully – must women even liking each other always be resistance?

What I think I was getting at, is the way the maternity homes punished, and punished, and punished the women for being sexual.  They forced the women into “group therapy” a la But I’m a Cheerleader, in order to figure out the tragic, terrible, horrible circumstance that landed them down the Path of Sexy Destruction.  The idea of seculsion from the world, and endless lecturing and shaming, is such a constant in these stories.

Kind of a gentler, but still evil, way to punish people.  Oh, it’s not her fault, she’s just sick.  It’s just another way to marginalize people.

Posted in body image, feminism, i love books, lgbtq, pregnancy | Leave a Comment »