Thursday, January 29, 2009
Well, President Obama lasted a week without disappointing me, and honestly, considering the shittiness of the political process, that's longer than I could have hoped for. I'm probably going to be perpetually disappointed until church and state are separated again and marijuana is legalized and universal health care is implemented and racial and gender equality occur. But, you know, perchance to dream.
Yesterday the Obama administration announced their plans to strip funding for contraceptives from the $825 billion stimulus package that will be debated on the congressional floor in the coming days. With teen birth rates up in 26 states for the first time in years, this seems like a fucking horrible idea. Not to mention I do not like the idea of Obama catering to the conservative base, especially when he's president and has a democratic majority in Congress.
For conservatives, tacking on funding for contraceptives to an economic stimulus bill probably seems sneaky. But guess what? I don't give a shit. Until my little sister is taught in school that the morning after pill is a legitimate option to consider when things go horribly awry, or that condoms are always, always necessary, or that yes you can get pregnant the first time you have sex, I will not agree with Obama's decision to defund contraceptive use. And lifting the gag order on aiding international organizations that mention the word "abortion" is not sufficient.
Mr. President, we consider ourselves to be one of the most "civilized," industrialized, advanced and forward-thinking nations on earth. So why do we have the highest STD rate in the modern world? It's because we don't provide appropriate funding for sex ed programs, we teach kids about Adam and Eve instead of Simone de Beauvoir and Margaret Sanger, we fill their heads with lies and shame and propaganda. Unfortunately it takes money to end these antiquated practices. And guess what? Funding pro-contraceptive programs will actually save you money. Babies are expensive, and the more that are born-- especially to unprepared, often times very young mothers-- the bigger the drain on the economy via welfare/childcare programs, which will assuredly cost more than the measly millions that organizations like Planned Parenthood so desperately need. And those teen moms that are popping them out in the above mentioned 26 states? It's doubtful they're getting a higher education, which would lead to higher paying jobs, which would help the American economy flourish again.
It's easy to dismiss contraceptive funding as the product of hedonistic, oversexed liberals; it's more difficult to admit that it might actually be a good thing for this country, monetarily and morally.