Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Prairie Muffin Act of 1606

Word today (h/t Salon via Atrios) that the government now is asking all American women to act as if they are pregnant, whether or not they actually are.

On the one hand this makes good sense: some children, as we all know, are indeed the result of unintentional pregnancies, and it would be healthier for those children if their mothers were healthy to start with. I'm all for having women in general, and mothers in particular, be healthy. It's virtuous. It's nurturing. It's American. Heck, it's even attractive.

On the other hand, it's hard not to see this as yet another harmless-seeming but nevertheless sinister step toward government domination of women's wombs. This is an administration that sees no difference between religious dogma and public health: Catholic hospitals don't need to offer contraceptives to rape victims; Christian pharmacists don't need to fill birth control prescriptions even if the Rx is for irregular menses; a fundamentalist Christian OB/Gyn who routinely drugged and paid his wife for anal sex (and claimed he only engaged in the sin of sodomy because he couldn't tell the difference between an anus and a vagina) singlehandedly blocked over-the-counter sale of Plan B.

After enough instances of that kind, it's hard not to suspect that at least some of those responsible for unveiling this initiative (after 20 years of discussion) are doing so, not solely because it's healthy for women and children, but because it helps establish government dominion of every woman's womb as a potential temple of Life.

Yes, every right-thinking woman in America should watch her weight and quit smoking and drink only within reason. Yes, women who may become pregnant should be even more careful about those things than men should, for the sake of any children they might have -- as an ethical matter, not a religious one. For the same reasons, everyone who cares about the health of mothers and children should also work to reduce mercury levels in fish, protect clean water, oppose industries that emit lead and dioxins, and, in general, vote Democrat. But that last set of initiatives doesn't do anything to dhimmi-ize women, so they get short shrift from theocrats.

In other words, be healthy, but also be clear that it's because you choose to be, not because a bunch of Christian Nativists are telling you to.

So let's call this what it really is: a really good public health idea that we hope helps women and children be healthier, that's at least partly based on religious dominionism, not public health. Being rational and uncrippled by cognitive dissonance, we can simultaneously support maternal health AND recognize this as the U.S. Government's official adoption of the Prairie Muffin Manifesto, which begins:

1) Prairie Muffins are committed to obeying God's law in every area of life, as they are aware of its application to their lives and circumstances.

2) Prairie Muffins are helpmeets to their husbands, seeking creative and practical ways to further their husbands' callings and aid them in their dominion responsibilities.

3) Prairie Muffins are aware that God is in control of their ability to conceive and bear children, and they are content to allow Him to bless them as He chooses in this area. ***

(It gets better after that!)


Anonymous said...

Um, quit smoking and be healthy? Sounds like good advise for men too!!!

plattecohighschooler said...

Definitely, Anonymous, But I must say, I do disagree with the statement that rape victims should have to be offered contraception by the Catholic shelters. If Atheists don't have to say "Under God" in the Pledge because it violates their theological (or in this case, antitheological) beliefs, why should the Church be forced to do something of that nature? I am a Methodist, a conservative(I know, BOOOOOO, but I don't like either party), and one who stands up for the rights of women (short of abortion), and I hate rape (it gives us men a bad stereotype) and it is a tramuatizing and disgusting thing for a woman to have to go through. But if that's the standard that people want to apply to the pledge, then they have to apply it to other things that involve forcing a faith to do something against their doctrine.

kristi said...

The Prairie Muffin site is incredible. You do know what a prairie muffin is, don't you? Prairie muffin is country slang for cow manure. Very revealing choice of terms there...

Katherine said...

Platte Co: emergency contraception, such as that offered to rape victims in the emergency room, prevents pregnancy from ever occuring by blocking ovulation.

The women are not forced to take it. Many do, because they do not want to become pregnant from a violent crime.

Your comparison falls short -- atheists do not believe in the existence of God. Denying women emergency contraception is tantamount to not believing in the existence of unwanted pregnancies that arise from rape.

In short, contraception and abortion are first and foremost a MEDICAL issue. We cannot live in a country in which the government forces MEDICAL issues on us, nor can we live in a country in which the government forces religious issues on us.

While you cannot understand the horror of having your body victimized and impregnated by an attacker, please understand that for the vast majority of women, carrying that baby to term is beyond their human capacity, regardless of their religious beliefs. Preventing pregnancy through emergency contraception is the best option, since the women will likely seek an abortion otherwise.

Dreamer said...

I must disagree, Katherine. Abortion is NOT first and foremost a medical issue. It might occur in a medical setting but that doesn't make it a medical issue. The killing of an unborn baby really shouldn't be so casually offered as credible option. I don't know what it is like to be raped or to carry a child that is the product of such abuse. But I have encountered a similar, unimaginabily difficult situation in my life and I can say that you'd be surprized at what you can do. I know the issue of rape and incest present a more challenging dilema when debating abortion because of the painful emotions they evoke in the victim, but a child's life is not insignificant either. It's time we recognize the sanctity of life. That baby did not cause the painful and hurtful act of rape to occur and aborting the baby is not going to take away the hurt.

xristim said...

My views on this subject are very impersonal -- I'll be 72 in mid-June and am enduring my second bout of ovarian cancer. I consider myself fortunate to be pre-dead. Pre-pregnant ceased to be an issue a long time ago.

Upon discovering that my faith had been arrogated by the XianXrazies, I formed my own schismatic Church of the Apologetic Apprentice Christian. No clergy. No hierarchy. No proselytizing. Membership one, and determined to remain so. Single command: Love ye then one another. Single duty: Care for the poor and needy.

"Apologetic" because each time I see or hear the self-appointed and self-anointed chewing God up like breath mints to be exhaled willy-nilly into the faces of strangers (including those quite content with other flavor faiths of their own), I feel apologetic. "Apprentice" because, in my estimation, the faith in over 2000 years turned out only one Master practitioner, and we rather ungratefully tacked Him to a cross.

Of course, good health habits are important for women. And for men. And for children. But I am suspicious of any study which implicitly suggests we'll end up with "brood corrals" for women before we end up with affordable health care (including prenatal) for all women.

I, of course, will continue to be tobacco-cured and alcohol-preserved. My age entitles me to play the odds. After all, when cancer struck, it didn't attack my tobacco-stained lungs. It went after my totally unoffending ovaries.

Anonymous said...


You're in good company; Jeffeson once said, "I am a sect unto myself."

Thanks for the comment, and our (ecumenical) prayers are with you re: your ovarian cancer.

lucretia said...

I wish you the best Xristim, and your propensity to enjoy in spite of!

Atheists, which I am not, have the same rights as any other citizen. Religion or lack of is a private matter. That was guaranteed by the Constitution, and I'd appreciate it if some of you would respect it.

Jefferson and some of the other fathers were Deists or
Atheists. They saw what religion did in the colonies as well as back in England. They wanted to spare the new country this horror--but unfortunately they were well ahead of their time. And of this time as well.

"Under God" was not in the pledge until 1954 when Eisenhour put it in because of fear of Communism (which was a set up really to keep the public in line). The phrase does not belong there because it's offensive to some people in this country who do not want to say it. This is their right---not YOURS--get that clear! Remember Savonorolla and what he did to Florence? Made people miserable in the name of the church twisting everything up that was useful. That's what is happening today in the U.S. In fact, I read the Christian Right is infiltering the mainstream Protestant churches--Methodist, Escopalian,Presbyterian-going in as members and trying to change their beliefs or ideas. These crazies actually think they've got the right to take over America and then the world because they are RIGHT. This is the kiss of death to any concept. Principally, because no one knows it all. It's not possible. We will learn a lot here and on the other side forever probably. That's good and exciting, and most of all open.

The Christian Right are tools of the Republican Right--they respond like a flower opening to the sun to rigidity encapsulated in dictatorship.

Platte your remarks are obnoxious to open thinking and get in the way of a reasonable discussion. To object to rape victims being offered contraception is unthinking. I believe Methodists stand for some kind of kindness and charity regardless of another person's "sin" or point of view don't they? And to say you hate rape because it gives us men a bad stereotype is a most self serving thing to think. Plus you don't like either party especially one who stands up for the rights of women is just stupid. Women have come a long way through many battles of all kinds just to get this far, and now we have gone back with the Bush Junta to a broken down way of thinking where women should stay in the home. The Right knows how to use people, and they are using people like you.

As far as you're concerned Dreamer (a good name for you) the sanctity of life is the point: it's the life of the woman we're concerned about. No human being, in this case a woman, should be forced to carry a foreign object in her body that she does not want. That sanctity comes first before a fetus.

Both you and Platte need to get around a little and get to know real people who through example can demonstrate to you humanenss.

Medical Mastery said...

I salute the government for making this courage to quit women on smoking..

They give time to have a solution on this problem.

More power!