Politics and Sex
here's a heads-up. When I say politics and sex, I'm not talking about Bill and
Monica or all the other sex scandals involving politicians. I'm talking about
politicians who want to control your sex life. It's pretty explicit, which
means, of course, that some of you will not want to read it. But in case you
do, here it is.
Thanks to the Republican primary debates on TV, you probably know there's a
militantly Catholic Republican named Rick Santorum running for President.
Here's his picture. Thanks to his Catholic upbringing, Rick believes every sex act should result in
No baby? No sex. Really. For Rick (and the Catholic Church) sex isn't about pleasure. It's serious business. Thou shalt use no birth control. Make that baby! Rick's got seven children already. I don't know their ages and I don't know his wife. But if she's past menopause, no more sex for Rick.
Fuggedaboudit! Never, says Rick, not even if the woman's been raped or has a life-threatening
medical condition. That's Rick on the left wagging his finger again. To make his point. And as I'm sure you know, the no-baby-no-sex rule means no oral sex. Whoa!
What would Bill and Monica think of that? And I'm sure I don't need to tell you
this also means no sex involving other orifices, either. Every egg is sacred.
Every sperm? Not so much. No masturbation police. Yet.
Vaginas and Rectums
I told you this
would be explicit, so don't say I didn't warn you. Last week, the
Republican-controlled Virginia General Assembly introduced a bill that would
require every woman seeking an abortion to have an invasive procedure called a
transvaginal sonogram. Not an external ultrasound. A transvaginal sonogram
requires the insertion of a wand-like device into the woman's vagina to take an
image of the fetus. Without her consent.
In case you don't know what the thing looks like, here's a picture. How'd you like one of those suckers shoved up your ... whatever?
Women were outraged. What a surprise! One female lawmaker called it "state-rape." Another introduced a bill that would require a rectal prostate exam for men seeking prescriptions for Viagra. Way to go! Needless to say, that bill was voted down immediately.
What happened next was priceless.
The outrageous proposal went viral.
On the "Saturday Night Live” segment "Really? With Seth and Amy,” Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler ridiculed the bill. "Really?" Amy sneered: "Don't get me wrong, Transvaginal is my favorite airline. I have so many miles on Transvaginal that they upgrade me to ladybusiness."
Meyers continued: "They also passed a bill saying that life begins at conception. What’s next? Life begins at last call? Life begins when you click ‘send’ on your match.com profile. I mean, really!”
Comedian Jon Stewart joined in on The Daily Show. He said he thought Transvaginal Ultrasound was the name of a jazz fusion band he once saw in a concert. Booyah!
It gets better.
A video uploaded to YouTube mocked the legislation. The parody compares the proposed law to other situations when an ultrasound is unnecessary, such as registering a child for school. "Here in the Commonwealth we have streamlined our registration process,” a high school employee says in the video. "So all we need you to do is fill out these forms here with your proof of address and we’re going to get you hang out here in the principals office for 24 hours and bang out a trans-vaginal ultrasound. You and your mom.”
that for ridicule? And you know how
ultra-conservative Republicans hate ridicule.
That made Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, a Roman Catholic protégé of religious broadcaster Pat Robertson, throw up his hands. Bob has been mentioned as a possible vice-presidential candidate. He and his ultra conservative Republican minions in the state legislature dropped that bill like a ... well, like a baby with shit in its diaper.
should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their
consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure," McDonnell said.
Way to go, Bob. What took you so long to wake up?
As Steve Jarding, a professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, put it: "If people are laughing at you, you know you've gone too far." But Jarding warned: "When the female anatomy becomes a policy term in your state ... that's not where you want to be."
True. Because women who live in Virginia aren't out of the woods yet. Another proposed bill would give embryos the same legal protections as persons and criminalize their destruction, in effect outlawing all abortions and some forms of contraception. Another bill would end state Medicaid funding for abortions sought by indigent women whose fetuses are grossly deformed.
And let's not forget that it's happening on the national scene, too. After a 3-day furor, the Susan G. Komen breast cancer charity dropped plans to withdraw funding from Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides abortions but also provides many other desperately needed medical services to women, like mammograms, pap smears and other life-saving reproductive services.
was recently forced to back off requiring religiously affiliated universities
and other organizations to provide free birth control to their employees. I
don't know whether it required them to provide free Viagra to their male
It seems to me we're becoming the United States of Religion. Believe it or not, in addition to fighting crime in New Orleans, I worry about this. Hey, got religion? Fine by me. As far as I'm concerned, anyone's free to believe whatever they want. I just wish they'd stop yammering about it as if they've got a special halo that makes them superior to everyone else. Got conservative religious beliefs? Also fine by me, as long as you don't try to force other people to follow them.
Folks, this is the United States of America, and unlike women in most Middle East countries, American women are not second class citizens. No politician or religious leader should be dictating rules about what anyone does in the privacy of their bedroom. Or their medical decisions.
Why do I care about this?
Because I've got
a daughter, that's why. And these proposals by the religious fanatics would
impact her quality of life, not to mention the quality of life of millions of
other American women. So here's my
Rick Santorum should get a uterus transplant and experience first hand the joys of a 20-hour labor and delivery. Then he can be a stay-at-home dad and have as many kids as he wants, instead of running for President so he can cram his religious beliefs down my throat and yours, and force everyone in the country to conform to his beliefs.
As for those
Roman Catholic institutions that don't want to provide medical insurance coverage
that includes birth control to female workers. I think those hard-working
under-paid women should go on a sit-down strike. Booyah! Let the priests and the
bishops and archbishops change the bedpans for a week and see how they like it. Maybe, in addition to giving these women the medical insurance coverage they so justly deserve, they'll also give them a raise.
Some want to pretend this is a religious rights issue. That's a smokescreen. It's not a religious rights issue, it's a human rights issue. This isn't the Middle East where men subjugate women. This is the United States of America, where women have the right to make their own medical decisions and decide when and how many children they want. I know I'll get a lot of blowback on this one. So have at it. The comment form is right there. NOPD homicide detective Frank Renzi signing off.