Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Uterus: Ladies First, INC

"Because when a corporation has more protections than a woman, the best way to keep lawmakers out of your business is to be your own business."

On Saturday, I attended a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. There was cake, free stickers, donation jars, and forms that we could fill out in order to "incorporate" our uteri. I decided to name my uterus "Ladies First, INC," because when it comes to reproductive rights, the feelings, opinions, beliefs, and morals of the woman attached to the uterus should always, in my opinion, come first. There were some other good names too - my favorites included "No Country for Old Men, INC," and "No Man's Land, INC." Are you sensing a theme here? Because you should. 

While any day is a good day to stand up for our rights, this protest in particular was sparked by a recent flurry of idiocy. A few weeks ago New Hanover County, where Wilmington is located, was offered a $9,000 grant that would pay for family planning services - in particular, for IUDs for low income women. The members of the New Hanover County Board of Health - all of them men - turned down the money. The Chairman of the board, Ted Davis, stated his reasons: “If these young women were responsible people and didn’t have the sex to begin with, we wouldn’t be in this situation." Commissioner Jonathan Barfield said he was “one of those abstinence guys” and agreed with Davis. 

I find it infuriating, frustrating, and ludicrous that going out of your way to get the birth control you need in order to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is viewed by men with power as "irresponsible." Personally, I think taking your health into your own hands and thinking ahead about your reproductive choices is about as responsible as you can get. Ted Davis and his friends on the Board of Health think sex = irresponsible, period. And that just won't work, not for me, and definitely not for my uterus. 

Since the vote, there has been public outcry, a protest (which I was sadly unable to attend), and the Women's Uterus Incorporation Day. While filling out a form and naming my uterus doesn't accomplish anything literal (I'm pretty sure my corporation is in name only, and doesn't actually enjoy the rights and privileges of a real business) it's the act that's important. When fucked up shit happens, we have to react and voice our anger. I'm hoping that the Board of Health will realize the error of their ways, accept that they serve both the men AND women in our county, and stop using women's health to make a political point about their own "values." 

Ladies First, y'all. Because if we don't look out for ourselves, no one will.