No Abortion — But No Birth Control, Either

Handmaids tale 3In the Handmaid’s Tale the post-apocalyptic, post-US Republic of Gilead strips women of rights over their bodies.

Republicans today seem hellbent on turning that fiction into fact.

Laws against abortion have little effect since desperate girls and women find ways to do it themselves, and often die trying. Yet Bible Belt states do their damndest to close every clinic they can.

And to fight against the most effective means of stopping abortion: birth control.

Like the fictitious “corporate person” called Hobby Lobby that went to the Supreme Court to stop female employees from accessing contraception through the company’s insurance. Because contraception is against the company’s conscience.

Right-wing extremists believe that fictitious “corporate persons” should have more rights than actual persons, if those persons are female.

And despite the fact that Hobby Lobby’s “body” won’t be affected by the law, while women’s bodies are.

But no matter, since women don’t have bodies as Rep. Justin Henry had insisted. (See my last post: Women are just hosts, remember? Pssst, it’s Hobby Lobby that has no body.)

Pro-death “pro-lifers”

Pro-lifers aren’t actually pro-life.

These are the same folks who stripped the Republican health bill of insurance coverage for newborns.

And who stripped Medicaid away from babies and children.

And no food stamps, either. Who cares if poor babies die?

Plus, no clean air and water. (Down with the EPA!)

Women increasingly face threats and violence at clinics. A married college student I know went to Planned Parenthood to get an IUD. But threatening crowds mocked her and took her picture as she left the clinic.

Why threaten violence if you’re pro-life?

Pro-life? Or just want to control women?

They aren’t really pro-life. But they do seek to control women.

Restricting birth control limits women.

Abusive boyfriends often throw out their partners’ contraception, hoping to make them more disempowered and dependent — and to make it harder for women to leave…

… and easier to control women.

Threaten women with sexual assault

If all else fails and women still seek to terminate a pregnancy?

Why, subject her to a vaginal probe — a type of sexual assault suggested by the Virginia legislature. (Thankfully rescinded.)

Not too pro-life. But very much trying to control women.

The Republic of Gilead looks a lot like Republican extremists today.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on April 28, 2017, in reproductive rights, sexism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 41 Comments.

  1. Wow thank you for sharing. Very well articulated. Like some people said in the comments, the hypocrisy of pro-lifers in unbelievable. Claiming to be pro-life but then stripping away rights to healthcare, environmental safety and women autonomy? I like how you called them “pro-death”, because that is what they really stand for. I learned recently that pregnancy tests were not available over the counter until 1977 in the US for fear that once women learned they were pregnant, they were not educated enough to make the right decision. Like pregnancy tests, birth control should be a right and should be free and widely available to every women who chooses to use it. Why are these men so scared to give women the option on the biggest life-changing decision of their lives? I guess it is all about control like you said; control a women’s body and you control her thoughts, education, and standing on the social and political ladder. But still, why so much toxic male misogyny? What about women do they want to hold on tight to and never let go?

  2. Personally, I don’t want to get pregnant, especially any time soon. I’m not financially, emotionally, educated, or situated enough right now to even think of caring for a child and laws like these terrify me to the point where I don’t even want to be sexually active. I can understand, not agree with, people who are against abortion, but no birth control is taking it too far. It really does seem like people are trying to turn this into the handmaid’s tale, giving women no choices and forcing them to bare children, or women are handling it in an unsafe way. Okay, so birth control and abortion are against your religion, but what happened to separation of church and state? There should be no laws based on religion and people’s beliefs, those are supposed to be between you and God. Stepping away from religion, laws like these are also sexist. Everyone has probably heard this before, but why force women, why not make men get sterilized? Other than that, it’s an invasion of privacy, let women do what they want. As long as no one is hurting anyone, there doesn’t need to be these types of rules.

  3. I enjoyed this article way more than I thought I would. I do not think there was a single statement that I did not agree with. The republicans attempt to control women’s bodies at all costs is infuriating and disparaging. We are 21st century women and equals. Nobody is trying ban condoms or vasectomies for men. They simply try to control women’s choices and options in life. The pro-life stance is just a cover to control women. If republicans were so die hard pro-life, I am sure they would not approve of Trump’s policies to split immigrant children from their families. If the republicans care so much about the lives of children, how do they continue masses of children to be slaughtered at their schools and not push for gun control? Simply because the conservatives do not want to regulate guns, only the bodies of women.

  4. I find the hypocrisy of pro-lifers to be frustrating. Pro-life really is just a disguise for pro control of women. It reflects a larger issue in society that women are systematically controlled by laws that show blatant disregard for the woman’s health. Which, if the fetus were to even continue to develop, the woman’s health is of the utmost importance in the development of the fetus. Upon visiting the link to the Think Progress article on vaginal ultrasound probes I read Kentucky’s mandatory waiting period and counseling requirement. Which is disturbing because if she decided to come in to the clinic in the first place her decision and reasoning, whatever it may be, are legitimate because she is saying that she does not want a child. She does not WANT to be a mother (yet or maybe ever, that too isher choice). She doesn’t go so that she can be guilted into keeping it. She is seeking help for removal, for her own reasons that do not need to be justified to people who for some reason are granted control over her life without having to live or be a part of her life. Control that has no logical reasoning other than for the purpose of control. And no one knows under what circumstances she became pregnant, why should she be subjected to an invasive probe as if she were livestock? It’s bad enough that there is even controversy over rapists penalties now we almost allowed the government to stick a rod into a woman’s vagina because she is asking to have an unwanted fertilized egg safely removed. Why are we allowed to shoot someone who trespasses in our homes, but we aren’t allowed to terminate unwanted creatures in our wombs. Pro-lifers need to re-evaluate which life is more valuable, the one that’s actually alive or the one that ‘could’ be alive.

  5. I haven’t read or watched the Handmaid’s Tale but it is definitely on my list. In high school, we did read some of Margaret Atwood’s other works, including The Year of the Flood and Oryx and Crake. The stories she wrote were her ideas of what the world could become, making them both thrilling and thought provoking. Analyses of her works center mainly on explorations into feminism and women, but the religious aspects were what resonated with me the most. The processes of growing up in religion and becoming nonreligious have shaped many parts of my beliefs and who I am. One thing I really dislike is the idea of parents raising children in religion. I believe that people should choose religion for themselves and not be forced into it. I understand that parents are supposed to raise their kids in ways they see fit, but I would argue that religion isn’t included in that, and I would definitely have had a happier life without the constant insistence of religion as a child.

  6. I have watched the Handmaids Tale Television series on Hulu. Let me just say the show was unbelievable to me. To think if that were actually to happen. If women were to be used for only the sole purpose of reproduction. Then I kept watching and I began to see similarities of real life and the book/series. It actually wasn’t hard to believe that one day this might happen. I mean a lot of people never thought Trump would be president. Republicans aren’t afraid to speak their minds about abortion or any other subject. I never understood how men could make decisions about what women get to do with their bodies. You don’t hear women demanding that men get vasectomies. If you are pro-life and you’re standing up against abortions then you need to be standing up against all the other laws that help people live. Believe it or not food stamps help children who barely have anything to eat and have a single mom or dad trying to provide. You need to fight for free healthcare in case the babies that don’t make it because of health issues. Being pro-life isn’t just one law. If you’re pro-life you have to back up the laws that help the baby’s that become teenagers and adults live. Otherwise making abortion illegal isn’t doing anything to help babies survive you’re just delaying the process.

    • I saw the movie and read the book in the 90s. At the time I didn’t find it all terrifying. I didn’t see a lot of parallels to life at the time. The book scares me much more now. We must stand up to any dictatorship the regime has in mind, Particularly one that will harm women. As it is, they’re making inroads.

  7. It seems contradicting of them to not want abortion but also not want to give women the means and access to the very thing that will prevent the need of needing an abortion. Why would you not want women to have safe sex and access to contraceptives that will make the need for abortions be so low. This is just another way to exert power over women and make it to where they don’t even have the say or power over their own body. And to be threatened with violence when you are claiming to be pro life is ridiculous especially when you have no idea what that man/women is doing at the clinic, clinics such as planned parenthood offer primary health care and other health services, there is no way to know what those people are even there for, and being pro-life but at the same time threatening people doesn’t make sense.

    • Yeah, it’s not consistent because it’s not real. What they say isn’t real. They really just want to control women. And make them feel bad about themselves. It’s the only thing they’re consistent at.

  8. This topic is very powerful and has been a conflict for quite a long time. I have noticed an interesting fact of people who support abortion are usually condemned by religious people. They are usually accused as killers. In my observation, not only Christians and Catholics but also Buddhists against abortion. Atheists often don’t put their fingers on people who chose abortion. However, it is even more ironic that a large group of people (men, especially.) refuse using condoms for contraception. Men can always have excuses for not using a condom. Therefore, the responsibility of contraception is on women’s duty. Whether women taking tablets or putting IUD inside of their bodies (does men care which mean women use? Just don’t get pregnant anyway.) It looks there are always some ways for women to say no to their irresponsible partners, but it’s not in reality. When a thing matters to life, women have no right for their own bodies anymore.

  9. I grew up in a religious household and both my parents were “pro-life”. It wasn’t until I got pregnant in high school when my parents and I were faced with a difficult dilemma— abortion or teenage pregnancy. An abortion and having a teenage daughter who had a child out of wedlock goes against my parent’s religious views. My parents were not only “pro-lifers”, they also believed in me having an education so that I can have a prosperous life and having a child would get in the way of that. Although my family didn’t think abortion was right, they would rather have me abort then struggle later in life. So after hours of thinking about the right choice to make, I decided to have an abortion. To this day, it is not a decision I regret.

    Access to abortion and birth control shouldn’t be stopped. In some cases, such as mine, it is needed.

  10. It’s women who have to go through the pain of childbirth. Not only that, a ten-month gestation period is often quite a hindrance to a careerist women. Shouldn’t women have the right to decide whether they would conceive or keep the foetus? It’s a simple logic which they fail to or, rather, don’t want to understand.

  11. “No Abortion – But No Birth Control, Either” analyzes several, ridiculous beliefs of members within the Republican Party. As a young female in today’s world, I find it extremely shocking and unfair that so many males, especially Donald Trump, have control over my body and my sexuality. It is absolutely nonsensical that the Republican Party supports a platform that is against abortion, yet shuts down the usage of birth control which is the most common form of contraception that gives females the chance to prevent the pregnancies that they are supposedly so concerned about. I believe this is more of a way to exude their own power over females rather than creating a platform that is beneficial to females and males in American society.

    • I even know a lot of Republicans who think this is ridiculous. But they end up doing this crazy and very hurtful legislation because of their religious fundamentalist coalition.

  12. Most of the so called “Pro-life” people i know are extremely religious. It’s really sad how some religions have so much control over people and tend to soak them up into believing in things that only promote women oppression. If they truly care a bout the life of a human being they should consider the fact that before contraception and even now there are women killing themselves because they don’t have control over when and sometimes with who they can conceive a child. What happens with their lives? do they not matter? Why not reflect on their believes and attempt to understand that if they were more accepting on giving women more control of their bodies and using contraception, we would see a decrease on abortions.

    • Their idea of religious liberty is having the freedom to force other people to follow their religious dictates.

      You should sacrifice for your own religion, not expect everyone else to sacrifice for your religion.

  13. The topic of abortion is always a sensitive topic. Women should have the decision to decide what they want to do with their life and their body. I personally go to planned parent hood clinic and get birth control for myself. Why? Because I don’t want any children at the moment and want to have control over my own body. Even now there’s this thing men are doing where the take their condom off while having sex without their partners concent. If a women think she’s being safe by using contraception and men are doing things like this a woman has every right to decide what she wants to do with her body.

  14. I don’t understand why people feel the need to control other’s choices in life and I agree that all these “pro-life” people aren’t really pro-life as they don’t really care about the children being born. They care more about the fact that the child is born rather than if the child will have the tools it needs to survive in life like food, water, shelter, stable parents and more. I hear more and more on the news and on social media apps like twitter that they are trying to get rid of emergency contraceptives like plan B and no longer fund great companies like planned parenthood and it makes me upset. I feel like if it doesn’t have to do directly with you, who are you to tell someone whether they have to have that child or not.

  15. The party that supposedly stands for less government intervention in our lives doesn’t seem to find it a contradiction to have the federal government tell women what they can and can’t do with their bodies.

  16. Katsuto Matsumoto

    About this article, I could really understand and agree with it. It is unconsidered about women’s lives. In my opinion, there are a lot of cases that men escape from their partners after making their partners pregnant because men don’t want to take responsibility and their body won’t change at all. It is totally wrong, and there are not enough punishment to avoid it. Before making the law about no abortion they should make some laws that men can not escape from that kind of situation. However, I think that important thing is planning about their life carefully and if they don’t want to get any children, they should avoid sex without condom or other way of contraception because there is no sin for children who are killed by abortion.

  17. FHill_Spr'17JR

    I think issues like this stem from the first amendment. People often use the first amendment to defend their right to freedom of religion. However when people defend their freedom of religion other groups get discriminated against. If I remember correctly Hobby Lobby is a company affiliated with Christian values. It is not right that a company can force their religious beliefs on their employees. They may say that they are not obligated to give birth control because it violates their religious beliefs. However, that discriminates against the people who need the birth control. So I think if people stop using the first amendment to defend their actions regarding gay marriage, birth control, and other issues, we can see some progress in these issues for the better. No company should be able to force their religious beliefs on their employees.

  18. I refuse to use the word “pro-life.” I’M pro-life. And also pro-choice. Those hunderheads are anti-choice, I say, and that’s all I’ll grant them.

  19. And, by the way, Georgia, one Republican Sen. Mark Obenshain back in 2013 actually introduced a bill that would force women who had a miscarriage, to report it to the police within 24 hours or face arrest and prosecution for violating an class 1 misdemeanor. The bill failed, but then the republicans nominated him to be the next State Attorney General.

    Under Virginia law, a Class 1 misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of “confinement in jail for not more than twelve months and a fine of not more than $2,500,” so Obenshain’s bill could lead to a woman who decides to take a day to grieve the loss of a pregnancy she’d hoped to carry to term spending a year of her life in jail for that decision.

    Would our nation, under such a regime look like anything other than a radical Muslim nation under control of the Taliban or ISIS?

  20. this is a very powerful topic to be discussed. In the minds of many pro-lifers, abortion and contraception are entirely separate issues. In fact, many forms of hormonal birth control can be abortifacient (cause early chemical abortions) by obstructing the implantation of the newly formed human embryo in his or her mother’s womb.

    • Yes, I personally know many people who are “pro-life” who are also pro-contraception. Even Christian fundamentalists who belong to churches that don’t believe in birth control. And it’s not just my personal experience. 98% of US women have used birth control and more than 2% of US women belong to churches who don’t believe in it.

      Whether or not some forms of birth control can cause abortion, birth control is the most effective means of stopping abortion.

      Obamacare made birth control free and widely available and abortions plummeted. Check out this Los Angeles Times article: Abortion rate declines to historic low, with Obamacare a likely contributor, study says

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