I Don’t Think I’m A Slut

Randy: … and a pink Trans Am in the driveway, and some incredibly gorgeous guy that you meet like in France, and you do it on a cloud without getting pregnant or herpes.

Samantha: I don’t need the cloud.

Randy: Just a pink Trans Am and a guy?

Samantha: A black one.

Randy: A black guy?

Samantha: A black Trans Am. A pink guy.

          (Sixteen Candles, 1984)

Being a teenager in the 80’s, I took a lot of things for granted. There would be John Hughes movie opening at least once a year, AIDS was a gay man’s disease, regular gas was 55 cents a gallon, and if I ever felt the need I could go to Planned Parenthood to get free condoms and cheap birth control pills. I was far more worried about getting pregnant; I didn’t want to be that girl walking the quad with an armload of books carried over an ever-swelling belly.

Access to a safe and legal abortion was something I took for granted. Sure, I heard about protests at abortion clinics but really, it was more important to figure what I was going to do on a Saturday night. Go out with my boyfriend? Score some illicit beer? See the latest Michael J. Fox movie? The possibilities were endless!

As a young 20-something in the late 80’s, I used Planned Parenthood for my annual Pap smear and to get a years-worth of birth control pills. Even though I had insurance through my employer, I felt embarrassed to make an appointment with my regular doctor. I was able to pay for my exam and the pills. Nobody was the wiser and I was protecting myself from an unwanted pregnancy.

However, in 1991 at age 22, I got pregnant after a drunken New Year’s Eve with my boyfriend. In a tequila haze, we stupidly had unprotected
sex. Even though we got engaged soon after, this sailor was not Daddy material. I found out soon after our engagement (but before I knew I was pregnant) that he was married to a woman in Texas. Seriously?

My best friend hauled me down to Walgreens and forced me to pick up a pregnancy test. Nervously I cracked the packaging and peed on the stick. As the plus sign popped up I knew I would terminate the pregnancy. I did not call my fiancé but waited to tell him in person the following weekend. He was saddened by my decision but agreed it was for the best.

Since this all happened over 20 years ago, I can’t recall the details. I know I was referred a clinic in the city where I worked. I didn’t tell my parents. I went to the clinic one day and took another test to verify the pregnancy. I remember muttering, “Fuck you!” under my breath to the few protesters outside the clinic. I was assured that my insurance plan covered a therapeutic abortion, only to find out that it didn’t since I was a Federal employee on a Federal version of the plan. I opened my wallet and paid the fee with my MasterCard.

Nobody went with me. I drove home 30 miles wearing a heavy-duty maxi pad and cramping like mad. I went to work the next day. I was still living at home and I worked at the same base as my father. I didn’t want him questioning why I called in sick.

Later that year my fiancé and I broke up. Well, he was still married, engaged to me, and screwing around with a fellow petty officer on his ship, knocking her up on a 6 month Navy cruise. That summer I confessed to my mother what I’d done that winter. I don’t know what made me tell her. She said, “Why didn’t you tell me? I would have taken to you to the clinic.” As far as I know, my father still doesn’t know.

I met my husband the summer of 1992. When we got serious I told him about my abortion. His reaction was along the lines of, “Oh, okay. You did what was best in your situation.”  And with that, my past was laid to rest. We got married in November that year, moved across the county in 1995, bought a home in 1996, and decided to have a baby after his 6 month Navy cruise in 1998. Our son was born in 2000 and today he’s a crazy tweenager. Oh, he’s a burrito wrapped in an enigma and smothered in secret sauce and we wouldn’t have him any other way.

As a married woman, I took the birth control pill because I didn’t want an unplanned pregnancy while my husband was deployed. In fact, I thought I was pregnant in early 1998, before one of his cruises. Had I been pregnant that time around we would’ve had a baby. As I peed on that stick I asked, “If I’m not pregnant can we get another kitty?” We adopted Nicholas from a PetSmart center that weekend!

As for the abortion debate, it remained on the periphery. I read about the protests. I was shocked about the clinic bombings and outright murders of courageous doctors. I tried watching Rachel Maddow’s “The Murder of Dr. George Tiller,” but I couldn’t make it through the first half-hour. I donated money via the United Way to Planned Parenthood and NARAL. But nothing could prepare me for 2012…

The onslaught of state and Federal legislation trying to regulate women’s reproductive rights frightens me to no end. Every day there’s a new, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” coming from Texas, Alabama, Virginia, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, et al. Let’s give a zygote more rights than a woman of legal voting and drinking age! How dare women want their health insurance plans cover hormonal contraception! Why, back in my day the women just put an aspirin between their whore legs to keep us horny men out of their vajayjays! Since you’re a slut on the Pill, I want video of all the sex you’re having with all the men on campus. And if you want a Constitutionally-legal and safe abortion, we want to ram a trans-vaginal probe into your vagina for a medically-unnecessary ultrasound. Can’t do that? Shit. Well, we’ll make you look at the image of your abdominal ultrasound that’s still medically unnecessary and will cost you an additional $150-200 on top of the abortion.

What in the bloody hell is going on in the United States? Why are we even debating these issues? Last I recall, Roe vs. Wade assured us that we could get a safe and legal abortion. Like the bumper sticker on the back of our truck says, “Don’t Like Abortion? Don’t Have One.” Nobody wakes up and says, “Gee, I think I’ll go out and get knocked up so I can get another punch on my ‘Buy 9, Get the 10th Free’ abortion card!”

For all the men who are trying to protect us from the evils of hormonal birth control, I have two words. Shut. Up. Really, just shut up. There are plenty of good religious women out there in a variety of faiths who take the Pill behind your backs. The argument has been bandied about how the Pill is used for other issues but let’s face the facts. We don’t want to get pregnant at your whim. We don’t all worship your god or gods. We can be fine citizens with good moral values without your help and still use hormonal birth control. Therefore, back OFF.

So what’s the real threat? Why are Republicans and the ultra-religious community fighting this battle now?

Oh wait, I get it. I really do! You are afraid of the Power of the Vagina and the Unholy Feminine Wiles of the Breasts because you have outdoor plumbing and can’t hide your arousal! You’re afraid your penis will betray you when we walk by in a tight pencil skirt and heels. The party in your pants goes into hyper-drive as a hottie in tight yoga pants passes you in the grocery store. Because that’s what you want all the time…sex, Sex, SEX!!! That’s why you Right-Wingers must take the steps to protect us frail, pitiful women because you might jump our bones because you’ve been overcome by wanton animal desire!

To the women at the state level who seem to think every sperm and egg is sacred and that we don’t know how to regulate our own bodies: why do you hate your own kind so much? Is it such a burden to be a woman? Sure, monthly periods and paychecks that are what, only 75% of the male paychecks, suck. You should be fighting to preserve our hard-fought victories, not setting our cause back 50 to 100 years. As I mentioned before, nobody is forcing you to get an abortion. Nobody is forcing you to use contraception of any sort. If you choose to have litters of children, good for you! But stop trying to force your religious beliefs and moral codes onto the rest of us.

Let us women worry about what goes on in our own households. Leave it to us to protect our bodies from the imminent penis threat. Stay out of my bedroom, where I might enjoy some kinky horseplay and dirty talk with my husband. And let us work to protect reproductive rights for all, male and female, for future generations. I want the girls and boys of my son’s generation and beyond to enjoy healthy sex lives free of government interference. I don’t want them living in a Handmaid’s Tale society. Do you?

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Samantha Caputo is many things: A nail polish junkie, a Doctor Who fan, and a lover of kitties and New Beetles (but not those new New Beetles. They look weird). She’s been a Fed for over 24 years and knows a thing or two about life as a military wife. Underneath the conservative pencil skirts and high heels, Samantha is a Lefty rabble-rouser with opinions about most everything under the sun, except Thai food. The jury’s still out on that issue.