Saturday, October 2, 2010

Defending Contraception and Reproductive Rights in Mississippi

Another post from PK ATHEIST

I appreciate the warm greetings from you that I received with my first post and the additional post about the issue of "coming out" fully or not.

I've been thinking a lot about birth control lately given that there is said to be a push on by the Republicans to fight cheaper birth control in the new health care bill. I hope that all of us will fight to keep birth control (and abortion) legal and available for all. I realize that there will be people of varying political opinions in this group of Mississippi atheists, but only the most backwards of religions are against birth control and abortion rights and I think we all need to stress that at every given opportunity. Even here in Mississippi. Even members of those backwards and woman-hating religions often choose to use birth control and abortion for themselves, but by funding church donations they don't fight for the right for others to have the same choice. Perhaps we should remind them when we can?

personhoodRecently, I reread the part of Bertrand Russell's autobiography in which he described his efforts to get birth control in the 1890s. He said that in his early married days in (at least his part of) England even the Protestants were negative about it like the Roman Catholics are still now. I cannot help but think how much misery has gone on for years with this anti-birth control and anti-abortion attitude. The U.S. Supreme Court case Griswold v. Connecticut and its provision of rights for birth control for those who are married was as recent as 1965. I think more people need to be reminded that they can and may lose their choice about how many children to have -- or whether to have children at all -- if the forces of fundamentalism and Roman Catholicism have their way as too many Mississippi politicians want them to do. 20% of the population has chosen not to have children for reasons of choice or economic necessity, yet that right of choice may be taken away by the very ones who will not finance any help for the poor. Mississippi's governor is a good example of one who will do nothing for the poor or unemployed.

When I first read Bertrand Russell's, "Why I am Not a Christian," I thought it should have been more accurately entitled, "Why I Am Not a Catholic" since the criticisms to me at the time of that reading did not apply to the more liberal Protestant denominations or the more liberal Jews. I wonder if I will think that on reread as fewer seem to be speaking up against the extremism. When I first read the book I thought that the more liberal denominations were doing enough good to be needed.

Like most people who are aware of their ancestors at all, I know that I lost more than one great-great-great + grandmother to death in childbirth.

The proposed "personhood" amendment for fetuses in Mississippi would potentially endanger even one's right to the Pill. I trust those of us who are concerned are following this closely and trying to fight it.

It seems to me that birth control and abortion rights are getting to be too much on the back burner in even so-called progressive organizations. This post is meant as a call and reminder for us all to wake up and see if we can stop the unnecessary misery that is coming otherwise if we snooze.

I was angry when I heard the head of a Mississippi soup kitchen saying that the problem in Mississippi was lack of education. The problem in Mississippi is those who cannot afford children are having them and their choices in that respect are shrinking even as jobs vanish even for those without encumbrances.

--PK ATHEIST IN SOUTH MISSISSIPPI

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