I’m a bit pissed off about this whole free-contraception-for-beneficiaries thing. And it’s not because of the policy.
It’s because of the number of people who should know better saying “Oh well, it doesn’t sound that bad.”
The number of people who claim to give a shit about reproductive freedom, but are quite happy to assume the worst of beneficiaries, who apparently just don’t know that sex leads to babies – babies they should not be having because look, while we all agree with social welfare and supporting families and stuff it shouldn’t just be handed out to sluts.
The number of people who want to shy away from the word “eugenics”, when this policy will pretty clearly affect certain groups of women – i.e. poor, brown, and with disabilities – disproportionately (albeit the “non-working” ones, because Labour bought into that fiction so NACT are hardly likely to let it go). Groups of women who dominant white western patriarchy have a slightly bad history of shitting all over in the reproductive department.
The number of people who would happily agree with concepts like “compulsory heterosexuality” – i.e. that we live in a system which makes heterosexuality the only viable option yet presents it as simply normal – but are now saying “oh, but the contraception is voluntary” – like anything is really voluntary when the entirety of the world in general, and the bureaucrat in front of you who controls whether your children eat this week specifically, is saying if you don’t do this you’ll just be proving you’re a stupid greedy hobag.
The number of people jumping on the bandwagon of “but what about the men involved? [remember, all sex is hetero, all pregnancies the result of PIV sex, and only cismen ejaculate/ciswomen gestate] Why aren’t we handing out vasectomies?” GUESS WHAT, THAT WOULDN’T BE OKAY EITHER. And I don’t know about you, but I think giving NACT another opening to push their perennial “let’s force women to name the father or no monies!” issue is not the most feminist idea I’ve heard all day.
The number of people who don’t get how obviously this is the top of a slippery, pre-ordained slope. It’s basic NACT governance: put together an extremist “advisory” group, act shocked at their extremist recommendations, implement policies which are watered-down versions of those recommendations, and once everyone – especially you so-called progressives – has gone “see, it’s not that bad, they’re reasonable people, actually I think this is quite a good idea” they get re-elected and really put on the thumbscrews.
I mean, y’all seem to fucking get it when it’s parental notification (i.e. a step towards full criminalization of abortion) or banning street prostitution (i.e. a step towards full recriminalization of sex work). But when it’s beneficiaries, somehow the Welfare Queen paranoia takes hold.
Here’s what plenty of people who should know better seem to be missing: This is not a socially liberal policy created in the interests of reproductive choice. This is about adding yet another signal to the pile that certain women should not have children.
It’s an absolute masterpiece: misogyny wrapped up in a vaguely feminist banner. That doesn’t mean you have to fall for it. It’s still sexist, classist, racist, and fucking contemptible.