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Saturday, April 03, 2004

Good news

Stephen F. Austin has not bowed to pressure from religious conservatives to deny students health services. I'm glad they took a stand; if they had buckled on this, next thing you know, the Jesus freaks would be pressing for biology to be replaced with creationism.
Thank you to everyone who sent emails protesting this. I am sure that Rep. Christian still feels that it is his right to tell young women what to do with their bodies, but for now, he doesn't have the university's cooperation.
Here is the original article in the local paper regarding the controversy. It's quite telling. For instance, the incident that arose the ire of the constituents was free HIV testing offered by Planned Parenthood on campus. According to my sister, who is a student there, the line was practically wrapped around the block for this service. Widespread HIV testing can do wonders in slowing the spread of the disease. However, testing on college campuses is tacit admission that there is the potential for students to be infected, an unfortunate truth that I guess some people think is best to ignore. Possibly the way that it's easier to pretend that you never took biology and man was created by God 6,000 years ago. Except in this case it kills.
Of course, Rep. Christian knew that this was a good opportunity to score anti-abortion points.

The only extra thing Planned Parenthood brings in is abortion options, and I don't believe it's proper for SFA to enter into that debate.

Honestly, you would think they were performing abortions in the student union. The mere existence of Planned Parenthood on campus is not entering a debate abortion, unless of course the forces of sexism want to make it an issue. Of course, the real issue is this: Alot of righties spend years building up their own daughters and using the schools and clubs to build up other people's daughters to fear Planned Parenthood, to think that it's a bunch of militant lesbian feminists who will remove your uterus and make you a lesbian if you dare walk through their doors. God knows the first time I heard a nice, ordinary doctor mention his respect for Planned Parenthood, I almost fainted from shock. (I assure you my parents had absolutely nothing to do with my mistaken impression of Planned Parenthood. It was the way that religious people in my community mentioned Planned Parenthood in hushed tones like they might mention the Church of Satan.) I think the fear is that if these young women saw that the Planned Parenthood workers are mostly young women, not much different from themselves, then the fear will fall away.
Now it may be true that the students can get the education and services they need elsewhere, if they take time from their studies and social life to do the footwork. But why make it harder than necessary? And what about the students who may not even know that there is information to be had? I remember one friend of mine telling me that he didn't know why condoms kept breaking on him until he stumbled onto a Planned Parenthood demonstration and realized he was putting them on wrong. He didn't even know there was a right and wrong way to put on a condom. Who knows how his life might have turned out if he kept breaking the damn things right and left without knowing what he was doing wrong?
I flash back on my idea that alot of people's opinions on the young are shaped by resentment. Because they didn't have education and birth control, their sex lives have been dominated by their fertility. Maybe they haven't had as much sex as they'd like. Maybe they had to marry the first person they ever dated because of an unplanned pregnancy. Maybe their ignorance racked hell on their health. Regardless, these are all petty reasons to hold back from younger people. Imagine if people in the past didn't allow the youth to have books or lightbulbs because they didn't get those things in their own youth.


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