One might think that after centuries of beheadings at Taliban prayers and wretched souls burning at stakes, humans would have figured out by now that sex and religion don’t mix at all. Since Adam and Eve and Steve and Daisy Mae – or versa vice – were born of myth, ribs, and real sex, it seems that humans are extremely concerned about who’s getting too much sex and who’s getting too little. I have been going to churches for my 82 years, 27 years as a Roman Catholic and 55 years as a Lutheran, and sermons about sex were never memorable or noteworthy. “Don’t do it” never struck me as an adequate discussion of all of the possibilities for terror and error sex.
So now Measure 1 in North Dakota resurrects arguments about sex more lasting than a four-hour priapism. The proposed constitutional amendment creates a permanent unemployment program for lawyers with just five words: ‘The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage ofdevelopment must be recognized and protected.” I suppose Priapus, the Greek god of fertility who had a humongous and permanent erection, would vote “Yes!” on the measure.
Our cousins, the chimps and bonobos -- who share 99% of our genes -- seem to know more about sex than we do. Opponents of Measure 1 have charged that it is all about abortion. It’s true that it is about abortion, but actually it’s all about sex.
A recent New Yorker cartoon titled “Creator’s Remorse” shows a gowned God in the heavenly clouds looking down upon Planet Earth and saying: “What the hell was I thinking?” Perhaps he was thinking that He had really screwed up the sex thing.
When my father was 99 years old I took him to a clinic for a nursing home-required physical. I called the doctor a few days later for the medical report. His examiner said: “Well, Ed, I have some good news and some bad news. What do you want first?” I said, “Give me the bad first.” The doctor said, “Your dad has leukemia.” I followed up with: “What’s the good news?!” He replied: “With that kind of leukemia he could live to be 120.” What stage of his life was my father at? Was he still at “a stage of development?” I think so. He was a feisty 99 at the time. Supposedly even the fingernails grow for three days after death.
I easily concede that “life” begins when the quickest sperm assaults the egg. But let’s remember at that stage the fertilized egg is smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. Let’s also remember that both life and death begin at conception. One of our “savage” Indians, Crowfoot of the Blackfeet tribe, had the best description of life that I have run across: “What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”
We are currently having a big battle in Minnesota about transgenders, athletic teams, gender bathrooms and other facilities, and how taking showers with other diverse humans may screw up our lives forever. It’s all about sex again. And it’s all about religion again. I’m not going to go into details about what happens to an embryo, but in summary, it is a female for the first six weeks after conception. Even Arnold Schwarzzeneggergroper was a girlie man until he was six weeks old. At six weeks, sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen take command and begin to produce penises, uteri, oviducts, testicles, vaginas, and other fantastically useful parts.
It has been estimated that about 100 billion humans have lived on earth since Eve ate the apple. We can safely say that there has never been two humans on earth completely alike, even to the tiniest cell. So why are we so surprised to have homosexuals, bisexuals, gays, lesbians, transvestites, transgenders, and heterosexuals? Aren’t we all part of the human gang? We were all females for the first six weeks, even the Muslim Taliban -- and even the American Taliban of popes, cardinals, and bishops in the Vatican. My God, even Pat Robertson and the Southern Baptists were early females! When we as six-week embryos waited for our hormones, we got doses of genetic stuff that made each of us unique and lovable. But the wait also created an impenetrable sexual maze for most of us.
Sometimes the fetus has the right chromosomes and genes but not enough hormones to make all the necessary parts. That’s when a “boy” comes out of the birth canal and the obstetrician triumphantly yells: “It’s a girl!” But it’s actually a boy with some girl parts. In fact, he may have both sets of genitalia.
All “personhood” attempts in conservative states are based on making abortion illegal. The proponents often use the Biblical verse from Psalm 39 to support their position: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” So life begins at conception. Can a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender person point to this Bible verse and say that God gave him-her a physical in the womb and gave permission for the birth? Aren’t all humans “knit together” in the mother’s womb? If you believe in the literal translation of the Bible, how can you say that homosexuality is “intrinsically evil” and that secular policies such as same-sex marriage are a violation of Biblical maxims?
The Bible is a confusing, controversial collection of profound wisdom and ignorant claptrap. Now I see some theologians have decided that the Old Testament should not be part of the “Bible.” I guess God didn’t have much to do with the Old Testament. I love the story about God sending bears to kill 42 teenagers who harassed a prophet about his baldness. Do people actually believe that crap just because it was written in the Bible?
Each female in the world, if relatively healthy, is capable of having about 40 children in her lifetime. That’s why females use contraceptives and abortions to limit the number of children. Sex has to bring pragmatism to relationships. Patriarchal religions, whether voodoo, Vatican, Southern Baptist, Taliban, or Muslim, have always tried to control women and use them for their sexual desires. The desire is always there, as it is there in every male of all the species – with few exceptions. That’s evolution for you. That is not Biblical. That is reality.
The Vatican, as an example, is now dramatically opposed to the use of contraceptives. But even Vatican Roulette, the inexact fumblings of thermometers and calendars, is “contra” sex. Is recreation or procreation the main goal of sexual intercourse? I wonder how many Catholic couples with two children have limited themselves to just two sexual acts in their childbearing lifetime? C’mon, fess up.
The Guttmacher Institute conducts sexual and reproductive health studies and research around the world. Medical reproductive experts say up to 25% of fertilized eggs end up in Kotex, Tampax, or the toilet. If personhood legislation or constitutional amendments pass, lawyers would have wet dreams about the number of lawsuits based on actions of pregnant women who had miscarriages. Can you imagine what even lousy lawyers will do with “at any stage of development?” They will have a field day from the development of a month-old fertilized egg to the development of a great-great grandma! Was she drunk? Was she negligent causing an accident? Did she live a healthy lifestyle? Did he have dementia? Was she aware she was pregnant? Did he have suicidal tendencies? Were his testicles really near his stomach? We have over 1,000 maternal deaths per year in the US, about 60% of all maternal deaths in the developed world. Shouldn’t we be figuring out why we have such a negative birth record instead of recording everything that happens in the bedroom?
It is an established fact that people are going to keep having sex at the rate that people have had sex for thousands of years. Hasn’t that been irrevocably established? With more than 40% of pregnancies in the world unplanned and unwanted, isn’t it about time we did something about it? We have tried abstinence education. The southern states that have spent hundreds of millions on “Don’t Do It” have found out that they do “it” anyway. Those states have higher teenage pregnancy rates than states with a minimum of sex education.
St. Louis doctors through the Educators for the Contraceptives Choice Project have discovered they can dramatically reduce teenage pregnancies by providing medically accurate information and free contraceptives. The doctors implant long-acting reversible contraceptives such as intrauterine devices and hormonal implants. Because these contraceptives are much more effective than the pill and condoms, the pregnancy rate among users has been reduced by a third. The US teenage pregnancy rate is presently the highest in the industrialized world. The rest of that world actually teaches teens about sex. We don’t. Our children have to find out about it in the backseat or locker room.
Measure 1 is about Roe v. Wade and the elimination of legal abortions – and sex. People through thousands of years have tried to control sexual urges and have failed. We have used cow manure as a contraceptive, the Vatican has tried celibacy with spectacular physical and economic failures, beheading infidels has not done it, burning sinners at the stake even failed to convince sinners. Sex in all its marvelous and tragic forms is here to stay.
In 1936, before legal abortions, a group of experts determined there were about 681,600 illegal abortions resulting in the death of 8,179 women in that year alone. American hospitals have kept a list of devices and toxic fluids which have been used to abort fetuses. This is only a partial list: coathangers, curtain rods, garden hoses, glass cocktail stirrers, telephone wires, nut picks, knitting needles, chopsticks, bicycle pumps, phonograph needles, Lysol, bleach, glycerine, kerosene, vinegar, and potassium permanganate corrosive tablets. They also tried swallowing massive doses of Castor oil, quinine, and turpentine. Do we really want to go back to Amateur Hour in the clinic?
I have never seen a placard at an abortion center protest with the message: “I will Buy Your Fertilized Egg For $254,000!” That’s what it takes to raise a child these days.
Abortion has been legal and illegal since the pyramids were built. The Vatican has nothing on the record until around 400 AD when St. Augustine came up with the idea that abortion was a sin – but a fetus had no soul. He didn’t say anything about life beginning at conception. By 1140 AD church canon law determined that abortion was murder – but only if the fetus was fully developed. In 1591 Pope Gregory came up with contraceptive recipes that were widely distributed. Research proves they still work. By 1869 Pope Pius IX decreed that abortion at any stage would be punished by excommunication. By 1968 Pope Paul VI forbade abortions and all contraceptives – except Vatican Roulette. In that decade we had Talabanish Catholic priests calling for the murder of all abortion doctors. And so the fight goes on. We now have about 6.7 million pregnancies a year, with two-thirds resulting in live births and one-fifth ending in abortion. So we have about 1.3 million abortions and 900,000 miscarriages. All the Measure Ones in the US will never contain hormones and acts of love.
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