Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Modest Proposal

Last week, a county board of commissioners in North Carolina rejected a “state family planning grant that would cover contraceptive supplies along with other medical services related to family planning.”   Chairman Ted Davis said, “If these young women were responsible people and didn’t have sex to begin with, we wouldn’t be in this situation.”  

We’re in the midst of a war on women—specifically, women having sex outside of marriage—and a good solution has been hard to find.  Shame and stigma doesn’t work anymore.  Gone are the days when pregnant young Suzie is sent to stay with her aunt until the baby is born.  Now, teen moms are celebrated on television.  Unfortunately, the Constitution prohibits us from arresting consenting adults for having sex. 

What about the church?  The Catholic Church promotes abstinence outside of marriage and discourages the use of birth control even within a marriage. But studies show most Catholic women have used some form of birth control.  How often do we see huge families anymore?  That can’t all be due to the rhythm method.  In fact the Catholic Church has done such a bad job discouraging sex outside of marriage and the use of birth control among its own members, that they’re actively fighting the federal health care law that require insurers to cover contraception.

Clearly we’re going about this all wrong: shame, legislation, and God have not stopped women from having sex.   No, in order to seriously reduce the number of women having sex outside of marriage, we need to make sex for women as undesirable as possible.  We do that with three little words: Female Genital Mutilation.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has been practiced for centuries in parts of Africa and the Middle East.  There are a few different kinds of FGM, but the most common procedure involves cutting off a girl’s clitoris.  She may be two weeks old or fourteen years old.  Without the clitoris, sex for the girl will not be pleasurable.  She will still be able to have sex and get pregnant, but because the act itself may be painful now, she will surely wait until she is in a happy and stable marriage.

Now, some short-term problems have been associated with FGM, such as infection, hemorrhaging, and psychological trauma.  But once trained doctors are performing the procedure in a hospital environment, the number of infections and death by hemorrhaging will decrease if not disappear completely.  And if the cutting takes place while she’s still a baby, she’ll no more traumatized than a boy is from his circumcision.  

Imagine a generation of women growing up, not wanting sex.  Imagine the money we will save not having to pay for birth control or unwanted pregnancies.  Without physical desire to distract her, she can concentrate on school, her career or, better yet, her husband!

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