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Posts Tagged ‘contraception’

Stop all this rampant casual pill-popping wanton humping, for God's sake...

In yesterday’s Irish Independent rambo-catholic David Quinn sought to portray himself as a martyr for free speech. Whilst he demonised women for seeking the morning after pill in Boots (preferring restraint or chastity!) Quinn also whined to high heaven about being the victim of repressive feminazis on Twitter. Poor Dave! Apparently some had the cheek to define his views on women’s control over their own bodies as ‘medieval’. He also claimed he’d been insulted and called a cunt. He scrambled about in the dark for 40 dazed seconds wondering ‘how we ever got to a point where there’s even a demand for a product like this’. The word demand here of course meaning a desire for sex outside of a committed relationship, such as a deluxe married one. There are no offers of stats accompanying this ancillary demand. Rather, he seems to have taken the product name: ‘Morning After Pill’ to heart, like Head & Shoulders shampoo could mean decapitation to a psycho. Availability of such a product will simply encourage the easily swayed fairer sex to indulge in quick-fix hot rampant park-n-ride humping at a moment’s notice.

The type of woman Dave sees wanting this pill: ‘Young, single women who were out on the tear over the weekend.’ Why don’t you just call them ‘slags’ and be done with it, someone snapped back on Twitter. Women scrambling for this €45 ‘abortifacient’ offering − in David’s comely eyes a kind of preemptive breakfast muffin termination − doesn’t seem to include 30 or 40-something women like me dealing with a burst condom scenario. Sorry Dave, but I do tend to like it a bit frantic and it’s happened twice, or a married woman worried her ordinary pill may not work after a bout of sickness/diarrhoea. And a myriad of other situations where emergency contraception is needed, including in cases of sexual assault. Imagine in the dark old days if such a service was available to women, especially young women who fell pregnant through incest, rape and abuse. And don’t say those scenarios were rare! If there was a morning after pill in 1983, for instance, maybe the young woman who died giving birth in that dreadful desolate place at Granard might never have been put in such a lethal position.

Instead, P for Pill in the Quinn context seems to spell PROMISCUITY to a congregation of tunnel visioners. He refers to pro-contraception folk as ‘moralising anti-moralisers’. It’s an inversion of the truth to portray those on the liberal side of the sexuality debate as the newfound ‘old right’. Such a dishonest move turns all logic and meaning on its head. ‘The problem with your thesis is that you want to legislate for an aspirational society that doesn’t, and may never, exist,’ another twitterer responded. Nor does he mention anywhere in his quickie-porridge-oats analysis, health concerns or issues surrounding the actual taking of the morning after pill. Even that would be a type of progress or perceptibility. He prefers to finger-wag at the female sexual gambol, citing that ‘demand can only be high where there is a high level of self-defeating, self-destructive behaviour’.

I seem to recall similar fears about the potential for mass-hysteria triggered divorces back in 1997 too. And God forbid if we should ever have abortion available in Ireland, we’ll be dashing out to get preggers just for the Nilfisk novelty of it all. While I’m all for the I Believe In Talking Snakes lobby having their divine say, it’s worth remembering that concrete church & state roadblocks obstructing liberalism began to crumble back in the late-1980s, when contraception became more freely available here in all its ambrosial forms. So the marauding tart tanked up on cheap booze and gagging for it without any prior contraception sorted, is tired nugatory nonsense. Coincidentally this change in our society arrived around the same time news broke in the international press of rampantly repressed Irish clergy brutally raping children on an industrial scale. Here’s hoping Boots launch a 2011 Here Cum The Girls campaign, with two for the price of one thrown in for good measure. In the meantime you can read Dave’s latest sermon here − I’m off out to buy some lube and jump on the first cock I see.

June Caldwell is a writer, who after 13 years of journalism, is finally writing a novel. She has a MA in Creative Writing and was winner of ‘Best Blog Post’ award at the 2011 Irish Blog Awards. You can read this post on her own blog here:

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What a month. First the European Court of Human Rights tells Ireland to get its house in order and make life-saving abortion services available to women here. Shape up and reform your laws, the situation is no longer tolerable, the court told the Irish Government in December. Now mega-chemist Boots announces that they will sell the morning after pill to any woman over the age of 18 who requests it. Talk to a pharmacist, meet the medical criteria, come up with €45 and you can use this effective, tried, tested, reliable medication. Everyone else in Europe has been doing it for decades, so why can’t we? Well sisters, yes we can! From today, we can. We might pay slightly more to do so than women in other countries, but yes we can.

The tide has turned. It’s going out on an era of repressive, fundamentalist theistic control of women in this State and it’s time to make some sandcastles. Of course, one morning-after pill does not a revolution make. Well, yes, actually it does. For those of us whose small, personal revolutions have been facilitated by the ability to control our fertility… for those of us who have taken emergency contraception when we needed to …. for those of us who have avoided undesired pregnancies… for those of us who have had a choice that begat more choices, the morning-after pill has meant a personal revolution. And sure isn’t the personal political? Hell yeah.

Women in Ireland are about to cross the Rubicon. It’s not that we couldn’t get the morning after pill – the Irish Family Planning Association and other organisations have brave-faced opposition from religious fundamentalists and a reluctant State and made it available to women via their clinics. And GPs are willing to prescribe it too (some GPs that is). Technically we could get the morning after pill it’s just that it has been hard. If you’re lying in bed in Kerry with a beautiful boy and a burst condom and it’s Saturday morning, getting hold of emergency contraception to use when it is most effective has been a scary chore. If more chemists follow in Boots’ footsteps (and they will) emergency contraception will become widely available across the State – particularly at weekends, when it is most needed. For women in Ireland, using emergency contraception will become a financial transaction stripped of moral judgment, a decision for an individual woman to make when she has weighed up her individual circumstances. Not a decision for a priest or a refusenik GP. Not a choice denied to her because of where she lives or what day of the week it is. Hallelujia. Choice is truly liberation.
It’s a good day for Irish women. So many of them have worked hard to get here and it’s an achievement we can all share. We stood up for ourselves and kept demanding. Of course, it’s ironic that it has taken a multi-national pharmaceutical retailer making a commercial decision to finally open the doors, but sometimes you take victory where you can find it. It is a victory for choice, freedom and dignity. See, we can make our own decisions. We are responsible adults.

Things are looking up.

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This morning my colleague P treated us to a glorious impression of his 15 year old son, slightly worse for wear and trying to pass off being mouldy sodden drunk as ‘I ate a bad curry, Dad’. Apparently the young offender had been out with friends and got their hands on some booze. P wasn’t impressed but knew there wasn’t a whole lot of point punishing him just then. Apart from anything else the lad was green, sweating and well on his way to a punishment far greater than his annoyed if slightly bemused father could ever contrive. Faced with his son slumped in an armchair and slightly slurring ‘I’m fiiiine, Da’ in the optimistic belief that he could actually pull this off, P decided to engage him in a full length conversation just to see him squirm; I’m told this is one of the perks of fatherhood.

After a while, the conversation took a turn in which P asked if there were girls down there drinking with them. His son gingerly admitted to their presence. P said something along the lines of ‘well would you please be careful and don’t do anything silly, because you’re too young to be a father and I’m way too young to be a grandfather’. His son muttered something back at him and P decided to pursue it. He asked the lad if he needed any condoms and was greeted with the spectacle of his son writhing about on the chair and trying to fold his own limbs into himself in an effort to escape this mortifying question. P persevered until the desperate boy suddenly rooted about in his pocket and produced a condom which he waved about for a moment and squirreled away again. His father was both shocked and relieved.

This scene met with a lot of amusement and curiosity in the office. “Aspirational condom, if ever there was one”, “Ya, check the sell-by-date – dead giveaway”. When asked if he’d followed through and inquired whether his son had actually ever had sex and if he’d used protection, P said ‘Jesus, no! I couldn’t believe I actually got that much out of him!’.

I have since wondered just how common these sideways, awkward facts-of-life conversations  between father and son actually are? I had ‘the talk’ with my Mam quite early on and didn’t really have a problem asking her to explain things I didn’t understand. I don’t recall a specific conversation about contraception with her, good Catholic girls having no need for such things etc, but I think had I enquired frankly I’d have been told frankly. I’ve since spoken to other men about how and from whom they learned the facts of life and the existence of contraception. Both said they learned nothing either at home or at school about contraception. Nothing. “Most of it was innuendo from the lads. Just sniggers and stuff we saw on tv”.

What were readers’ experiences, the whos and whens? Do you believe girls and boys are treated differently when it comes to communicating sexual matters?

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