Poverty

Recent posts

What Would You Choose: Making Rent or Having Sex?

I’ve been noticing a nasty strain of classism going around when it comes to discussions of sex, contraception, and reproduction. It goes something like this: if you can’t afford contraception, you shouldn’t be having sex, because you’d be an unfit parent due to your lack of money. Statements like this ignore the fact that money is not the only factor that determines whether you are a good parent (and in fact, there’s not really a good way to chart a correlation; rich people can be bad parents, poor people can be good parents, and vice versa and everything in between). Statements like this totally miss the fact – demonstrated by scientific research – that when given access to free birth control, impoverished women take advantage of it, and drastically reduce their number of unplanned pregnancies. Statements like this also miss the fact that having to pay for birth control can make a significant dent in your budget, especially if you are already working with a low income or you must shop around for a birth control option that works for you. Continue Reading →

Sex As A Universal Human Right

If you haven’t already perused the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it’s worth a look. You might be surprised at the things you find there… as well as the things you don’t find. See, I’m beginning to think that sex should be added to the list. It’s already somewhat implied, between the articles about everyone having the right to life, liberty, and the security of personhood and the ones about having the right to have a family and take part in the artistic, moral, and intellectual cultures that surround them. Continue Reading →

Why Telling Women To “Just Close Your Legs” Isn’t Good

Every so often, I run across arguments about women in poverty or other difficult situations who should just, like, stop having babies already. The message “just keep your legs closed” is a prevalent one… but I don’t think it works, or that it’s remotely a good idea. First, until we get closer to universally accessible (meaning affordable) contraception, it makes no sense to berate women for their choices. Any “choice” made within an oppressive environment is not really a choice at all, or at least, not a freely-made choice. Continue Reading →

Why I Refuse To Use The Term “Pro-Life”

In light of Savita Halappanavar’s death due to being refused an abortion after miscarrying, using the term “pro-life” to mean “anti-abortion” is increasingly problematic. As therapist Lyla Cicero points out, “when a choice must be made between a mother’s life and a child’s, choosing abortion is still being pro-life, isn’t it?” Her piece on a pregnant teenager who identified as pro-life yet choose an abortion exemplifies this dilemma: the girl was choosing her life, choosing to delay having children, choosing to commit her time to working her way out of poverty. The irony, as Cicero notes, is that “The politicians who so vehemently call themselves pro-life are the same politicians who would resent [the teen mother's] living off the government.” That quote leads into the connections between pregnancy, poverty, and abuse. Continue Reading →