Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Gender Inequality and the Case of Contraception

Equality between genders.  Is that what our western culture should attempt to attain?  Would this be the most fair and just way for our civilization to move forward in the 21st century? There are attempts at beginning equality in employment, with women catching up to men in terms of responsibility and salary.  In medicine, my field, medical school student gender proportions are running close to 50-50.  In nursing, men have a long way to catch up.  In the management of home life along with care of the children, men are said to be more participatory these days than in the past allowing women to leave the house.

But also these days, women have been the political and philosophic or religious targets regarding issues of their potential for conception of new members of the family and the sustaining of pregnancy to delivery.  Currently, these issues have arisen with perhaps more civil and uncivil agitation than in the past with regard to contraception and abortion.  In the United States, these issues deal with the declared rights of women for control over their own bodies before and after pregnancy.  State laws are being written to suppress any such considered rights with requirements that can lead to severe penalties  applied to the women and their physicians if the requirements are not followed.   The goal of some creating such laws applied to women is to prevent contraception and diminish the opportunity for abortion.  Some laws are designed to subject women to severe legal penalty for various behaviors and acts during pregnancy which may harm a fetus.  It may require a woman's medical record to be scrutinized by government to assure that a woman is following  the rules.
And yet, in this area of potential restrictions regarding pregnancy as applied to women there appears to be no interest in gender equality.  Men have so far been immune from these laws which appear to favor conception and deny contraception for women or deny a pregnant woman control over her body. Specifically,  a husband who has a vasectomy for contraception purposes has so far not been under the watchful eye of the politicians  or their activists.  (There currently however is one exception in which a law proposed in Missouri by women lawmakers would make vasectomy for contraception purposes illegal.  It may not be formally debated or signed into law perhaps because of resistance by the male lawmakers.) And definitely men still have control over what happens to their bodies.

I wonder how my blog visitors feel about gender (either gender) inequality in general and the current gender inequality with regard to conception.  Write and let me know. ..Maurice.