Birth control pills became available in 1960, but it wasn’t until 1972 that the Supreme Court struck down the last of the 100-year-old Comstock law that restricted doctors from prescribing contraceptives for unmarried women. Under the Comstock Act of 1873, it was illegal to discuss birth control or venereal disease, or to mail literature about bodily functions. Anatomy and medical textbooks were banned and confiscated. Women were chronically pregnant, often having 10 pregnancies and more, yet nurses and doctors who educated them about contraception were jailed. Now, we are back to banning books and blocking sex education.
Voices of the evangelical right have erupted with screams to protect the unborn without a care for the pregnant female. I use the term female intentionally because impregnated children are not women. They are innocents harmed physically and emotionally by amoral incorrigible men, many of them their fathers and relatives.
Incest and rape are common and typically not reported. I know many victims: friends, relatives and patients. Working for decades in ERs has been difficult when faced with abused women and children such as: treating a 9-year-old in labor, a toddler with venereal warts, an abused 5-year-old girl who showed me the condoms in her little pockets and told me what they were for and trying to save women from botched septic “back-alley” abortions.
Under the conservative Republican legislators like those in Montana, and the loss of a fair Supreme Court to partisan religious decisions, women and our democracy are under attack.
To win the Ovarian Wars, as women, we must associate with people who defend our personal rights, educate ourselves even when the truth is painful, support legislation for OTC contraceptive pills and Plan B (The Morning after Pill). Most important of all, vote for candidates who support modern medicine.
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