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May. 20 2010 - 12:32 pm | 189 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Birth control still restricted by various deranged religious groups

As long as we are on the subject of birth control, which I suppose we are, let us discuss what it is exactly that birth control entails and what it means to oppose the right of a woman to access such a thing as shes fit.

When considering to what extent one’s fellow man poses a risk to a fellow, it’s worth remembering that for much of the 20th century, women in the West were restricted by force of law from preventing such a drastic and personal condition as pregnancy by way of the safe and effective birth control methods that had already long been in existence, and in fact could be prosecuted in the U.S. simply for sending out a piece of mail in favor of such methods. It is even more worth remembering that even today, a large percentage of females are still prevented by those with whom they happen to share a national government from deciding for themselves whether they wish to be fertilized. The reasoning, of course, is either that the gods do not care for our females to decide for themselves whether they are impregnated through a particular act in which they would like to engage, or that it is the national duty of a population’s females to produce children against their intentions and in support of the state’s viability as a state, as the preservation of the state is the obligation of the population for some reason so esoteric as to be understood only by the sort of people who deem women to be a national resource.

Outfits like Pathfinder International, then, are far more necessary than they are funded, and those thinking of making additional charitable contributions ought to consider aiding this organization, which fights the lonely battle of ensuring that half of humanity is not used against its will by the various Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, and Evangelicals of the sort who criminalize women’s control over their reproductive processes, as well as secular statists of the sort who force abortions in China, all of whom have collectively divided the planet’s uteri into their own various spheres of influence.

Now that I’ve alienated everyone, here is an interview I conducted recently with Pathfinder International spokesperson Jaime-Alexis Fowler:

1. Briefly, why is Pathfinders important at this particular moment in history?

Right now more than half the world’s population is under the age of 25. That’s 3 billion people, the largest generation of young people in history—and they’re all entering their reproductive years. Their sexual and reproductive health needs are largely going unmet (roughly half of all new HIV infections are among young people, the leading cause of death among 15-19 yr. old women in developing world is complications from pregnancy or childbirth). The world’s failure to recognize the importance of reproductive health, especially for young girls, is forfeiting the futures of our young people and may bankrupt countries all around the world. But we have an opportunity to make a change. Adolescence presents a crucial window to influence healthy life-long behaviors that can enable young people to transform their lives & their communities. Prioritizing reproductive rights & health services can help individuals create opportunity and also help resolve a myriad of social and economic problems for communities and countries. If we can increase contraceptive usage and encourage changes in traditional practices like early marriage, we can change the future of our planet.

2. What specifically does the group do on the ground in those nations where you operate? What sort of services can women receive?

We work in about 25 countries—predominantly in Asia and Africa—providing technical training for our local partners and service providers (ie, IUD insertion trainings, emergency obstetric care training, etc), building community awareness about health services, instigating community outreach/education programs, advocating with local governments to invest in reproductive health/family planning as well as provide a range of services including HIV prevention, treatment, and care, contraceptive information and services, prenatal/maternal services, safe abortion/postabortion care, etc.

3. How much of your effort involves raising awareness, and how much involves providing goods and services?

It’s really both. You can’t have one without the other. Most women and families around the world are aware that there are ways to plan their families/make decisions about their bodies, but often they either don’t have access to those services, or don’t have the full range of information. I believe the recent stat is that about 200 million women want, but lack access to contraceptives. I find that pretty unbelievable considering I can walk to a CVS and obtain just about whatever I need. So we focus on both ensuring the goods and services are available and promoting awareness about them. If for instance, you do a ton of community outreach promoting the goods/services and a woman goes to the clinic only to discover it’s out of stock, or the nurse has left for the day, she’s going to go home and tell her community about her bad experience—and then other people will be disinclined to go. If she goes into the clinic and has a great experience, she’s then going to share that with her friends and more women will go in.


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    I'm the author of Flock of Dodos: Behind Modern Creationism, Intelligent Design, and the Easter Bunny; my second book, Hot, Fat & Clouded: The Amazing and Amusing Failures of America’s Chattering Class (Being a Partial Record of the Incompetence of Our Republic's Mainstream Pundits, Most of Whom Deserve to be Exiled or at Least Have Their Cars Vandalized), will be released in 2010. I'm a contributor to Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Skeptic, and The Onion, and my work has appeared in dozens of other publications and outlets. I also serve as director of communications for Enlighten the Vote, a political action committee dedicated to the advancement of the Establishment Clause.

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