Commentary

Roe v. Wade and male contraception: An angry grandmother is confused

July 1, 2022 10:59 am
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 24: People protest in response to the Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. The Court's decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health overturns the landmark 50-year-old Roe v Wade case and erases a federal right to an abortion. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 24: People protest in response to the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. The Court’s decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health overturns the landmark 50-year-old Roe v Wade case and erases a federal right to an abortion. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Now that Roe v. Wade  has been overruled, this grandmother is very confused because decisions about our bodies have been taken over by the government. Females are now subject to government control about what they can and cannot do with their ability to reproduce. So in fairness I want the next topic addressed by lawmakers to be male contraception.

Now that women have lost the power of choice to make their own decisions, let’s look at what is in store for men and the potential for laws about what happens to their semen. I mean, it does take two to make the world go round.

I want my grandchildren to protect themselves from sexually transmitted disease, death, and an unplanned pregnancy. But now I am at a loss how to keep them safe. Should I ask the U.S. Supreme Court and Tennessee legislature for all of the answers?  Maybe we can line up the public officials and require them to answer my grandchildren’s questions. Maybe sex education will be taught by a special committee, sort of like the novel by Margaret Atwood, “The Handmaids Tale.”

So below are concerns that I assume the Tennessee lawmakers and Supreme Court justices will answer for me. I look forward to the public hearings they will hold about male contraception and safe sex.

  • Will condoms still be available or will people need the okay from an elected official to use them?  Perhaps  people can simply drop by the office of any legislator to get condoms that have been sanctioned by the state of Tennessee. I wonder if the legislature will regulate the semen that is left in a used condom. It’s a complex issue.
  • What will happen to the ability for men to get drugs for male performance? Can men only get Viagra if it is to be used for reproductive purposes? I know that the government and insurance companies will want to be fair and balanced and we may need public meetings to discuss this.
  • Will the government decide who is eligible for vasectomies?  I really want to listen to the legislature talk in public about what actually is involved in a vasectomy.  

I am both curious and furious about the overturning of Roe v. Wade and wonder why our legislature needs to be involved  with recommendations about what is best for male and female bodies versus consulting personal physicians.

Now that the Tennessee Legislature and the U.S. Supreme Court have made decisions about what women can do with their bodies, now it’s time for them to address male contraception: Will the government decide who is eligible for vasectomies?

I write about this from personal experience.

While I still had the ability to conceive, I was attacked by a rapist. I was out for my 5 a.m. walk on Nashville’s West End Avenue and was grabbed by a man who tried to drag me behind a building. My adrenaline went into overdrive and I fought very hard and screamed and I got away. 

I was lucky.

He did not have a gun to my head and if there had been a gun, I would have done whatever he said to stay alive. If you know a person who has been raped at any age, you know that the trauma never goes away. 

I had told my close friends that if I was ever raped, I wanted to go to an emergency room with doctors who would do whatever was needed to prevent a pregnancy whether that was a “morning after pill,” or a D&C. 

I would not have that choice if I was attacked now. I believed, and still do, that if I had the right to pray, get counseling and  make my own decision about what was best for me, so does every female and I believe that it is no one else’s business. 

Reproductive rights are complicated. Many people make pronouncements about what they will or will not do on this issue. There is a strong part of me that believes that life might begin at conception. But that is my belief and my business. I believe that the choice of having an abortion is between a woman, her physician, and whatever mental or spiritual support she needs. I hope that instances of abortion are rare, but I do not know what I would have done had I needed to make a choice. And it would not have been the choice for anyone but me. I cannot even fathom what will now happen to children in our state who have been victims of incest and rape.

So, if I had not been lucky and escaped my rapist, would I have needed to get the okay from the Tennessee legislature to take actions to my body that would have insured my mental health? It has never been an easy decision for any woman I know to choose to get an abortion.

 Please help me, members of the U.S. Supreme Court and Tennessee legislature. What is this confused grandmother to tell her grandchildren about birth control, unwanted sperm, condoms, in vitro fertilization, vasectomies, rape and incest? 

Somehow, I believe as enlightened as my grandchildren will be, that the decision and burden about what to do to prevent pregnancy will fall on the females. It has been that way since the beginning of time. Some things never change. And the rich and powerful will manage. They always do.



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Saralee Terry Woods
Saralee Terry Woods

Saralee Terry Woods is an uppity independent who ran BookManBookWoman Bookstore for more than 25 years in Nashville.

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