Friday, January 22, 2010

Blog for Choice: Trust Women

I try to keep this blog pretty neutral politics wise, and I do that because I think the sexual information I have is valuable to everyone, not just those that agree with my politics, and I would never want to scare off someone who wants to know about sex with my political ideology. That said, yes, this entry is going to be pro choice. If you leave because of that, just be sure to get information somewhere, because, honestly, good sex is one of the best things out there that no one should miss out on, not even pro lifers.

I have never been pregnant. I'd love to say it's because I've always been careful, always used a condom, never made a mistake, but, in all honesty, the truth is I'm a lucky bitch. I use condoms, almost always in conjunction with the pill, or I fluid bond with a partner and just take the pill, but I'm no where near perfect. I've forgotten pills, I've had condoms break or fall off. The only reason I've never had to make this choice is because I'm lucky. But I'm not the norm.

I used to work at a homeless shelter for 18-22 year olds. I started working there at 23, only months older then some of our residents. I loved the place. The job changed who I am as a person, and I would never trade the experiences I had there, but I had one major problem with the organization. They were religion based. Because they didn't except any state or federal money, they could have any policies they wanted. As a result, they were very strictly Catholic.

We were unable to provide condoms for the residents, or to even mention abortion as an option. The closest woman's health clinic that would perform abortions was an hour away. In a city know for prostitution, this women were given no choices. One resident was 17, and pregnant with her fourth child. She decided to have an abortion, honestly, in my opinion one of the most thought out decisions she had ever made, but we were not allowed to help. We couldn't arrange for child care or even allow her to pay another one of the residents to babysit (despite the fact that this would have been allowed had the resident been going pretty much anywhere else). We couldn't give her any money for the abortion. We couldn't provide her with transportation or money to take the bus. We couldn't support her or tell her of counseling options. This 17 year old child had to do all of that herself.

In a place known for vice, I always found it appalling that there were so few resources for young women in need of protection, in need of information, and in need of options. The organization I worked for did amazing things, but they made it very clear that women had a specific job to do. That they had a place. Even when they were oppressed, former prostitutes, too young to really be thinking long term, this women were not given every option. They were not to be trusted with the power of their sexuality and with the means to understand the possible consequences. They were not to be taught that their bodies were their own, not their dealer's, their pimp's, their boyfriend's, but theirs to do with as they chose.

I went against the code. I slipped the number to planned parenthood on the nightstand of girls who asked me for it. I found where they could get condoms for free and gave them directions. I made sure they knew how to use them. I could have been fired, but I saw it as giving girls back their bodies and giving them one simple message. It is your body, I trust you with it.

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