Here’s the thing, I totally get the personal responsibility argument in a lot of places. I may not always agree with where the line is drawn, but I get it.
My problem comes in when we apply it unevenly. In this case I’m talking about abortion.
99% of the time, if someone’s argument about a woman’s right to choose comes down to personal responsibility about sex, they are in fact, only thinking about WOMEN choosing not to have sex. “Keep your legs closed” or some variation thereof is often used in conjunction with the argument.
Well. Here’s the thing, if we were truly attempting to teach responsibility about sex, we’d be talking to men too. And let me tell you, there aren’t a whole lot of snappy slogans for men who engage in sex with a female partner telling them to keep their zipper shut if they don’t want children. Hell, there’s barely any snazzy slogans for them about STDs. Either NO ONE has sex, or EVERYONE has sex. Okay?
BEYOND THAT, this advice ignores two very important things.
1. You can be just about as responsible as fuck and still end up pregnant. You can be on birth control, use condoms and fuck on sheets made of spermicide and STILL GET PREGNANT. Absolutely no form of birth control will tell you they are 100% effective. It’s why people who don’t want children are advised to use multiple forms of birth control. (This btw, doesn’t even go into rape and forced pregnancy.)
2. Not all women seeking abortions are ‘unmarried whores’, as the opposition likes to paint them. What do you say to the married couple who simply can’t afford another child, or perhaps simply doesn’t want another child for reasons that are, frankly, none of my or anyone else’s business. Are you really going to tell me that two people in a monogamous committed relationship, who probably use at least one form of birth control, are being irresponsible by daring to have intimate relations with their partners?
Are you honestly going to campaign that married couples should avoid PiV intercourse if they don’t want ‘consequences’ of sex? (I’d rather love to see the male Anti-Choicers flinch when they realize they’re advocating for less of their preferred form of sex.)
So if you want to advocate personal responsibility, don’t use it as a thinly veiled way to punish women and ONLY WOMEN for having sex. Orgasms feel good and are good for you (ask a doctor, I have time), and yet we’re basically criminalizing them, worse, we’re only criminalizing them for 50% of the population.