Tuesday, April 19, 2005

What A Piece Of Work Is Man!

Once upon a time, birth control was illegal. In 1873 Anthony Comstock pushed a bill through Congress which defined contraceptive information as obscene. Then racism came into the picture:
"At the turn of the century a conservative reaction against voluntary motherhood agitation set in, focused on the "race suicide" alarm popularized by President Theodore Roosevelt. Race suicide moralists propagandized against the "selfishness" of women who avoided their maternal duties by using birth control, deploying racist fears (in a period of heavy immigration) that "wasp" dominance would be undermined by the high birthrates of those of "inferior stock."
The long arm of religion was never far from the marital bed, either, and theological influence informed much of the law and opinion against birth control.

But that was a long time ago, and since Griswold v Connecticutt, we've become more enlightened, knowing that control over one's own body and future, as well as one's intimate life is a first principle for a compassionate society, and that access to good birth control is a crucial element in cutting abortions and child abuse.

"What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form, in moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!" Isn't it nice to know how far we've come from those benighted days?

(Snark courtesy The Bard.)

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