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Jewish World Review Oct. 24, 2000 / 25 Tishrei, 5761

Julia Gorin

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Consumer Reports

RU-486: "A Victory for Women" …R U Sure? --
I WAS BARELY a teenager when I started hearing other girls speak of the various methods used to avoid pregnancy.

The first one I found out about was the condom, which seemed the most readily available and trouble-free way to go about it.

Then I heard some girls were willing to get acne, gain weight, and pay a little extra for a pill the doctor would prescribe.

When I was 18, the existence of the female condom was made known to me at college orientation. (I still can’t quite picture what that looks like.)

Finally, a married cousin of mine told me she had her doctor surgically install an IUD, or intrauterine device, to prevent pregnancy.

Each new method sounding less appealing than the last, I had to wonder: What was so wrong with condoms? Hello? Condoms?

"Yuck!" exclaimed a sexually prolific friend of mine, wrinkling her nose at the very suggestion. "You can’t feel anything with one of those."

Was I talking to a guy? This friend, a survivor of some high times in the 70s and 80s, told me she used a diaphragm—a contraption often accompanied by spermicidal jelly and an installation procedure which made me marvel how she found time between dates to apply the mess. I began to understand that women were willing to go to quite some trouble for unobstructed sex.

And now they’re willing to bleed for it. Enter the abortion-inducing RU-486, which causes one woman in 500 to hemorrhage to the point of requiring a blood transfusion. Yes, the Sexual Revolution is in full swing.

As any honest observer by now must surely have noted, the Sexual Revolution was a giant leap forward for men—but a setback for prostitutes. It took away much of the latter’s business, what with women giving it away. (Often for not so much as a dinner, let alone a ring—because, they scoff, they’re above that.) As for its ultimate effect on the non-hooker female population, just look at that one gal in 500.

"French women have been using it for years!" I keep overhearing from various table conversations consumed with buzzing about the newly approved abortion drug. In France, too, school nurses distribute a morning-after drug cocktail to teenage girls.

And the government funds the RU-486 procedure. Examples for this country to follow next? Haven’t the French always set an example for the world of what not to do?

Yet we move ever closer in their direction. With the popular new demand that insurance companies begin covering contraceptives, we are—as "Politically Incorrect" talk show host Bill Maher recently put it—"one step away from saying that getting laid is an entitlement."

The argument is that the expense involved in securing, for example, an oral contraceptive is a disincentive for women to practice prevention. But if we’ve arrived at the point where a woman, instead of insisting that a man come prepared, uses birth control that is a financial burden to her, she might as well pay for the sex too—and bring the Sexual Revolution to its logical conclusion.

To give credit where credit is due, the Revolution did contribute to the explosion in the women’s health industry, thanks to the STDs women began acquiring with about the same frequency as men--whose quest for unbridled sex was now rivaled by the fairer sex’s.

And now it’s brought us RU-486, which causes nine to thirty days of cramping and bleeding more profuse than in surgical abortions—accompanied by nausea, headaches, vomiting and/or diarrhea, and a fetal expulsion which can occur unexpectedly at the grocery store, to be scooped up by the bleeding woman and taken to her doctor so he can confirm that all the tissue exited the body or else perform a surgical abortion to finish the job and prevent a fatal infection.

"A great morning for American women," declared a National Organization of Women spokesperson. For abortion activists, "a sweet victory."

And for men? A sweeter one.

JWR contributor Julia Gorin is a journalist and stand-up comic residing in Manhattan. Send your comments by clicking here.


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03/17/00: Patronizing the patron
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10/29/99: Bomb all bans
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03/19/99: The Thin Yellow Line
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10/19/98: Got milk? Don’t know. Do I?
07/30/98: Kofi Annan's crimes against sensibility
05/15/98: Susan McDougal: a real stand-up kinda guy
01/08/98: In defense of the appetizing shiksa

© 2000, Julia Gorin