Monday, November 17, 2008

Scratching the Itch

Scott reacts to E.J. Dionne's piece about how to make pro-choice policies more palatable to anti-choice people:

I certainly respect E.J. Dionne far more than I do Will Saletan. But it must be said that his new column has a pretty strong whiff of the "originating policies pro-choicers have been advocating for many decades" routine that Saletan has patented. Apparently, the solution to ending the conflict over abortion includes "contraception programs, even if these are a sticking point for some social conservatives, along with 'programs that are going to encourage women to bring their children to term.' Among them: expanded health coverage for women and children, more child care, adoption help, and income support for the working poor." Since pro-choice liberals have pretty much always supported these policies and they don't seem to stop the anti-choice minority from supporting criminalization (as well as opposing most or all of these programs, almost as if reducing abortion rates isn't a terribly important goal for American "pro-lifers"), it's not clear what's actually supposed to change about the abortion politics here.

Scott later makes an important observation:

But the real problem with Dionne's argument is his apparent belief that enacting this (as stated) worthwhile program would somehow "make cultural warfare a quaint relic of the past." This won't happen, simply because anti-abortion politics tends to be bundled up with an array of other reactionary attitudes about women and sexuality that undercut support for other policies that will reduce abortion rates

Now to the gross title of this post: "Scratching the itch" is how some people describe having sex. It also explains how I feel right now: I have an itch, caused by reading guys discuss abortion policies with great confidence (including what to offer pregnant women so that they'd give birth rather than have abortions), an itch that I need to scratch right now.

But of course guys can write about these questions, of course. And Scott, in particular, is good people. Yet I still itch. This particular topic often has that effect on me, because while abstinence policies, say, are always presented as gender-neutral, they never are so in practice. It's the Purity Balls we get, all aimed at girls, but the boys still seem to come across with the idea that a Real Man at least tries to get into her panties, just now not with condoms at hand.

Perhaps that would be something that the guys could write about a little more: How to get young men to practice conscientious contraception.