Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Just So You Know:

If you can bleed, ladies, you're pre-pregnant.

I probably don't have to tell you how much this disgusts me, how heterosexist, classist, and generally indicative of ass-haberdashery it is. I feel like every time someone Up Top gives us another guideline that suggests women are portable baby-makers I make a blog entry that screams the same tired response into the wind. So, here it is, with monkeys:

Monkey monkey half unplanned? Monkey monkey suggests monkey provide monkey birth CONTROL monkey. Monkey monkey control own destinies, monkey monkey not slave to bodies. Monkey monkey happy kids monkey monkey happy parents monkey monkey self-actualization. Monkey monkey monkey men's responsibility? Monkey monkey alcohol monkey monkey pot monkey monkey sperm? Monkey monkey rise in domestic homicide during pregnancy? Monkey monkey single women? Monkey monkey no man to clean litter box? Monkey monkey monkey women should go from Father to Huband, so as not to have to touch cat piss? Monkey monkey WTF?

There. That was much more satisfying, and just as likely to actually do anything. Meanwhile, I plan to deal with this on a personal level: before making any appointment with healthcare professionals -- whether or not I've seen them before -- I intend to ask them if they're adhering to the new "pre-pregnant" guidelines for treating women. If they are, I'll take my business elsewhere. This is America, where money talks. What will yours say? Men, if you're pissed off, you can do this too. That's the beauty of voting with your dollars.


Blogger elw said...

GAAAAHHHH!!!!! Oooookay.... breathe... that is so goddamned annoying. If my doc is adhering to those guidelines I will be very very very disappointed as she is an absolutely wonderful doctor. This is just getting fucking ridiculous.... oh wait, did I say getting fucking ridiculous? I meant "absurdly batshit insane". Yeah.

11:29 PM  
Anonymous Al said...

While I think the ideal of treating women as "pre-pregnant" is idiotic, the actual goals of the stupidly-named-and-reasoned federal guideline are perfectly reasonable.

"...take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control."

That article is making a big deal out of the "pre-pregnancy" aspect of things, but generally speaking healthy people will have healthy babies... and one of the goals of the federal health guidelines is to reduce the number of babies with birth defects. Guidelines can't afford to assume that only women who want to get pregnant will get pregnant, so the guidelines need to assume that any woman that can give birth may do just that.

Yes, it's unfairly weighted towards women vs. men, but if the goal of the guidelines is reduction of birth defect rates, then women are (as far as modern science knows) a much bigger factor in that equation. You may not plan to have children, ever, but most women do... and those guidelines need to be written in a manner such that if you were to change your mind someday you'd be in a better state of health to do so.

The only problem I see with this new "pre-pregnant" guideline is that it's got a really shitty name.

4:25 PM  
Blogger Turtle said...

Thing is, Al, it's great to want healthy women and children, but they skip out on one of the best ways to make sure those 50% of unplanned children are healthy, and that's provide access to birth control and sex ed so that women CAN plan to have children when they're living life at it's best. It's restrictive to say, "you should always be healthy because you might be pregnant" when we have so much that could be available to help people not be pregnant.

Simply telling women "you're pre-pregnant, so don't drink?" What if they want to drink? What if they want a Whole College Experience?

And why are they not advising ment to be pre-pregnant? There are many things men are advised to do in order to become successful fathers. I'm especially all about the "not beating your partner" bit, as spousal abuse during pregnancy is more likely than many alcohol related defects, and can cause more damage to both baby and mom.

It's more than just poor wording. It's the calculated omission of the woman-as-person from the equation of reproduction, so as not to piss anyone off politically. It also omits men beyond their contribution to the act, and presents a view of babymaking as pollination, wherein women are flowers that must remain as healthy as possible so that when they are pollinated they can bear fruit that's not too bruised to join the workforce (erm... I got a little Marxist there).

I'm no health nut, but I know that all of these things are healthy things to do. If it had been couched as "maximizing women's health" I'd be behind it. But when you're actively focusing on women's health as reproductive health, and not focusing on access to birth control or men's role in reproduction, you're not really concerned about women, but about controlling their bodies. Osteoporosis, heart disease, breast cancer, physical and sexual violence should be addressed with women of all ages, as they are huge health risks for women at younger ages than previously thought. But instead, we are told that obesity and diabetes, because they affect the fetus, ought to be primary concerns.

I'm not saying that there isn't a clear neet help women be healthy. I'm saying the calculated selection of women shows an interes only in their health as spawn-producing bodies, not in their health as productive, vital members of society.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Serena said...

I say that if I have to be reduced to something as ridiculus as a pre-pregnant time-bomb waiting to be knocked up at any given moment, then men need to be recatagorized into something equally as animalistic and mundane.

Also, when will somebody finally take the focus off turning us into baby-making machines with no reproductive rights (those rights apparently belong to limp-dicked, out of shape, half-flacid men folk) and redivert those heavy pockets to something that will actually benefit our society, rather than funding and marketing stupid research studies. I think everyone can agree that a healthier person makes a healthier baby (duh), but I would think there are alot more factors involved other than not drinking and keeping up on your folic acid intake that result in healthy babies.

Personally, I'd love to see universal health care, or heck, having our counrty support a policy that actually provides women with decent pre-natal care and (gasp!) decent maternity leave so she could actually take care of said child once its born. I just love how the study points out that low income women have higher infant fatality rates. Gee, I wonder why. I'm sure it has nothing to do with thier inaccess to affordable health care, their inability to take off from work, and their having to burn the candle at both ends to make ends meet. Yep. Its gotta be that folic acid.

7:45 AM  

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