Tuesday, May 30, 2006

There is a Bomb in Gilead--and Hitler's giving medals...

Apparently this news didn't have a chance to register on my headline-radar from the other weekend, seeing as I was out of state visiting my fiancee....yeah, and she's pissed about it too. Shocked, appalled and both of us growling mad. Just for the record, we don't plan on having any children, though it seems that the conscious and deliberate intent of adults means approximately nada these days....

What I'm referring to, of course is this:

Forever Pregnant
Guidelines: Treat Nearly All Women as Pre-Pregnant

By January W. Payne
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 16, 2006; Page HE01

New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.
Among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.

While most of these recommendations are well known to women who are pregnant or seeking to get pregnant, experts say it's important that women follow this advice throughout their reproductive lives, because about half of pregnancies are unplanned and so much damage can be done to a fetus between conception and the time the pregnancy is confirmed.

[..Statistics on infant mortality and low prenatal health conditions...yeah, that's a big problem for a supposedly-developed country, not denying that...]

Preconception care should be delivered by any doctor a patient sees -- from her primary care physician to her gynecologist. It involves developing a "reproductive health plan" that details if and when children are planned, said Janis Biermann, a report co-author and vice president for education and health promotion at the March of Dimes.

[....Okay, here comes the really really pressuring part, though---]

Experts acknowledge that women with no plans to get pregnant in the near future may resist preconception care.

"We know that women -- unless you're actively planning [a pregnancy], . . . she doesn't want to talk about it," Biermann said. So clinicians must find a "way to do this and not scare women," by promoting preconception care as part of standard women's health care, she said.

Ahhhh, right....."standard women's health care." Would you pray tell me then, how does one get out of standard women's health care and all its prying questions and assumptions? Is it not enough to state your intentions to abstain from breeding?--must one have a complete sterilization to be considered exempt from the new healthy-baby agenda? And what about lesbians?--now that we have a 'gayby boom', will they be taken seriously if they say their form of birth-control is "not sleeping with men"? Are clearly masculine women and even pre-op (or non-op, non-hormones) transgendered men going to be embarrassed by their doctors treating them like every other biological woman, just 'cause they're theoretically able to conceive?

And what about the other side of the equation--biological men of an age to be sowing their wild oats and spreading sperm?--you don't see them mentioned in this little pack of guidelines, even though they provide half the genetic material and generally a good deal of the initiative behind every pregnancy, planned or (inevitably) unplanned. Shouldn't every teenager post-puberty and up be treated as a potential father/sperm-donor whose health should be kept in optimal stud condition, and his lifestyle habits and disease risks evaluated in respect to his breeding potential?--or would that be some kind of a personal intrusion? Even if that sort of treatment and questioning made for greater awareness and self-control and "planning" on their part as to the whole baby-making thang?

Look, people -- I'm not against having healthier babies (it's a lot better for making healthy adults, afterall), and ironically enough I'd been recently posting to one of my groups (post reproduced earlier here) on the need for better prenatal heath -- but for both parents-to-be in every case. Meaning that everyone ought to take care of themselves the best way possible for their intentions, whether to breed or not to breed. That's the way it ought to be, and that's the way for people to be responsible adults and handle their own affairs. I don't think that the government has any right leveling a mass assumption of 'pre-pregnancy" on teenage girls and women, and I think that it's a step backwards towards paternalism over women's bodies and restriction of their lives on behalf on their reproductive potential...which we've had workplace issues over before.

Apart from the cultural implications, it is very clear to me that this polite new semi-mandate has one main goal in mind coming now from this administration...and that is neither to reduce unplanned pregnancies (how can it, if it only targets women?) nor infant mortality (joint genetics, quality of care and access to it are also high factors), but purely and simply to reduce abortions....directly, the ones done for reasons of threatening maternal health, but with more insidious effects on the whole area of sex and reproduction. To encourage every woman to think of herself as already pregnant in taking care of herself --contrary to the idea of encouraging planning-- sends the message that it's ultimately out of her control so she might as well prepare for it, that every pregnancy planned or not must be carried to term so long as she's healthy anyhow, and (this to men, eventually) that a woman taking good care of herself healthwise must automatically be a woman who is open to bearing children. Which really is a step backwards in terms of seeing the individual rather than just a vessel of fertility or not.....but hey, didn't Martin Luther say something about breeding being women's sole sanctifying purpose in life? Faith-based organizations will take note of this, believe me...

Oh.....plus it sends the usual double-standard message that it's okay for men to be overweight, unfit, undisciplined (and unattractive) schlubs with irresponsible diets and all the smoking and drinking they want, so long as they're healthy enough to have sex (and take a pill to get it up if they have to). Performance is everything, substance is nothing....and why should men have to worry about their future babies?

Meanwhile, I think that in a few years we'll be seeing exemplary mothers (for birthing, not for raising) presented with medals by the Fuehrer--sorry, President--for their services to the nation. Afterall, you need a lot of healthy young to raise for cannon-fodder in perpetual warfare and a military/police state, not to mention satisfying the growth needs of that great brazen idol known as The Economy.......

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.

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