Consider, for a moment, the terrible implications of that concept. Ask yourself whether the federal government is an entity to which anybody (except people you dislike intensely) should apply for guidance about anything. When was the last time you spent a sleepless night mulling over some difficulty, such as, say, how to search and seize a computer without a warrant, when suddenly it came to you. Of course! Federal guidelines to the rescue! Or perhaps your ruminations meandered down other paths:
“Hey, Federal Guidelines, do you recommend acceptable levels of at least 90 industrial contaminants for my drinking water?” (you betcha!)
“Hey, Federal Guidelines, is it a pretty good idea for my brain to absorb 1.6 watts per kg of radio frequency electromagnetic fields from my cell phone?” (it sure is!)
“Hey Federal Guidelines, I live alone and make $9,900 a year. Do I live in poverty?” (of course not!)
OK, now consider the terrible implications of the following sentence from a recent WaPo article: “New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves — and to be treated by the health care system — as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.”
I always knew this day would come. I was just expecting it in 1952.
I reveal no secrets when I say that federal governments the world over are endlessly fascinated by the idea of human wombs bubbling over with fresh fetus-flesh; it’s not like there’s anything shockingly nouveau about the idea that pre-menopausal women should be universally regarded as warm chunks of incubating muscle. It’s just that when this kind of regressive crackpot misogynist bullshit is implemented as social policy, the viscera quiver involuntarily, for the icy shadow of patriarchy passeth overhead.
Because, the guidelines aver, half of all pregnancies are “unplanned,” they enjoin all women who are not hairy-chinned old crones to be prepared for pregnancy at a moment’s notice. It is incumbent on women to maintain themselves as well-oiled meat generators from the minute they hit puberty until time squeezes the last little drop of fertility from their state-owned loins. This is especially important for South Dakota girls, who never know when they might be raped and thereupon forced by the state to bring the result to term. Healthy rape-spawn at any cost, that’s the motto!
The guidelines for perpetual pre-pregnant rosy pinkness include such insanities as never drinking, never smoking, and never having a cat. Not being pre-pregnant is apparently not an option. There is no mention of birth control. There is no mention of abortion. There is no mention of the HPV vaccine, exercise, diet, or any other health-thing that doesn’t have to do with reproduction. And lawd knows there’s no mention of men’s role in all these unplanned pregnancies. The guidelines love a uterus!
The spinster aunt is all for the uterus, and all for women’s health. All for it. What she objects to is the framing of women’s health within the context of a patriarchal view of women as broodmares. If we didn’t titillate the federal government with our wanton fecundity, nobody would give a fig if women wallowed all day long in cat shit with a bottle of gin in one hand and crack pipe in the other.
But I hate to see the feds so et-up about unplanned pregnancies, so I have the solution. I propose that all males, upon the onset of puberty, freeze a quantity of sperm and undergo federally-guidelined vasectomies. Thereafter all pregnancies would require a sperm bank withdrawal and would necessarily be of the planned variety. Then women could return to their regularly scheduled, fully-realized, pleasantly unguidelined personhood.