Monday, March 26, 2012

'The Purity Myth' is a Myth and WebMD Has "Feelings"

I am nearly finished with Jessica Valenti's book The Purity Myth. I hope to write several posts addressing her claims that virginity and desires for purity are a myth perpetrated by right-wing conservatives and "anti-choice" extremists. (that very title of "anti-choice" that she often uses, says a lot right there.)

However, there is something of this tidal wave irrationality that I would like to point out now. In the book, Valenti talks about how extremist pharmacists are denying women (often very young women) their 'right' to "emergency contraception" pills more commonly known as Plan B. Valenti claims that Plan B works by preventing ovulation and therefore claims her outrage over the failure of pharmacists to help prevent pregnancy in the first place. Never mind that the problem here hasn't begun with the pregnancy. It's not the pharmacist's fault.

The struggle begins with the man and the woman freely choosing to be sexually intimate and now wanting to "get rid of" any seeming "consequences." Valenti often criticizes her idea of the "purity" movement, saying that purity promotes an ideal of passive women who are asexual (I have never heard an authentic chastity speaker promote this).

"What about the women who want to have sex and don't want to feel guilty because there is nothing wrong with it?" she says. Indeed. There is nothing wrong with sex whatsoever. It's a beautiful and wonderful gift from God that is an icon, a window, into the intimacy He seeks with us. Sexual intimacy is a small window into the ecstatic union of Heaven. He created it, we didn't. It is very good. But there is a time and place for all things. It's very immature for us as humans to live grasping for whatever we want, however we want and then whining and blaming other people when we don't get what we want.

What comes after uncommitted sex? Why is it that people speak so often about "protection" and "safer-sex"? "Did you use protection?" people ask teens. It's wrong from the start. And when things begin badly, they often end the same way.

Ms. Valenti seems like an intelligent woman so I wonder if she is just ignorant on this matter of how contraception works or is just using partial facts to promote her agenda. Hormonal contraception isn't just engineered to stop ovulation, it works in a three part process to stop pregnancy. However, that's a topic for another time.

Any person who does some internet research can find all of the information as to how Plan B really works. So as I was perusing the internet for this very information, I came across an interesting post on the WebMD site. The article that is published says it has been reviewed by a medical doctor. Considering the information given in the last paragraph, I find that to be a little scary.

The article is titled, "Plan B: 11 Questions, 11 Answers." The article cheerfully describes what Plan B is and is not and how it is supposed to be taken, readily admitting that is works as an abortifacient.

Here is what I had to read a couple of times to wrap my mind around the gross distortion of the article.

The 11th question asks if Plan B works like the RU-486 pill-- here is the exact text:

 

11. Is Plan B the same as RU-486?

No. RU-486, sold as Mifeprex, is a prescription drug for medical abortion. Mifeprex is used after a woman is already pregnant. Plan B is an emergency contraceptive. It is used to prevent pregnancy. While some people do feel that pregnancy begins at the time of conception, many doctors and the FDA do not describe Plan B as an abortion pill but as emergency contraception.

Read the answer again. Note very carefully the part that ignorantly claims,  While some people do feel that pregnancy begins at the time of conception..."

What was that again? Some people do feel...? 


Are you kidding me? A MEDICAL website is promoting the agenda that conception begins when people "feel" that it does? Do we have any idea how stupid that is? Then the dialogue would be, "well, I believe that pregnancy begins at conception but if you believe it begins when the embryo implants in the uterus, then that's okay too. Whatever we feel is fine." That is nonsense.

When does your doctor say to you, "I feel that you have cancer, and our tests show that your body has cancer, but if you don't feel like you do, that's okay. It won't affect you if you feel strongly that you don't have it." We all know what the outcome of that prognosis would be. This is a practice commonly known as "denial." We deny things that are too horrific to deal with or are inconvenient to the lifestyle we want to live so we just "redefine" whatever we don't like and live in denial.

The truth is what it is, not how I feel about it. So let's be very honest. Pregnancy, the creation of a new child, a new person with unique DNA, a person who is precious and unrepeatable with an immortal soul, begins at the very moment of conception-- new life begins at that point. So yes, the birth control pill in all its forms can work as an abortifacient.

This is not a scare-tactic (although when we live in denial, the truth is indeed scary) nor is it right-wing rhetoric. Its the truth. All of us must hold up our thoughts, opinions and feelings to the Truth and allow ourselves to be purified and filled with light.

Don't buy into the 'myths' that are nothing more than denial mixed with fear and sin. All of us have denial in our lives. All of us are called to surrender our denial and the myths we carry in our hearts to Jesus who is the Way, Truth and Life. He will set us free.

2 comments:

R.E.O. Johnson said...

I had to read her "Full Frontal Feminism" for sociology class. The pregace claimed that after reading I would WANT to identify as feminist, that all my preconception were misconceptions. She was so, so wrong.

Maybe she stepped up her game for "The Purity Myth", but the book I read sounded like it was written by hedonistic blogger...which, of course, it was.

Too bad no one's approached me for a book deal on the account of my super cool blog about cool Catholics...yeah, I won't quite my day job.

waywardson said...

The Purity Myth addresses a very harmful concept of "purity". Specifically, the idea that sex makes someone (usually the woman) "impure", unclean, or less valuable as a person.

This concept is common among some conservative evangelical Protestants, but has been explicitly rejected by JPII.