Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hey Mona Charen: Focus On Your Own Damn Family

Neocon columnist Mona Charen plays the scold, and blames Rep. Linda Sanchez for an unemployed woman’s desire to have multiple babies:
Consider Rep. Linda Sanchez, who represents the district in which Suleman lives. She announced last November that she is pregnant, though single. "I don't know how it'll be received," Sanchez told the Los Angeles Times. "I hope people will recognize that to be able to plan that in your life — I don't think that marriage and childbirth are black and white. There are certain instances in which you have to do things in reverse order." Yes, well, she needn't have worried. Everyone was totally understanding. No marriage yet either.

People think the old stigma about unwed childbearing was all about sex. It wasn't. It was about children and what's best for them. Of course some women want babies the way others crave shoes, but babies are not, or at least shouldn't be treated as, consumables. Badly done all around.

Rep. Sanchez’s spokesperson was forced to respond to this attack on the Congresswoman’s character by revealing personal information that, frankly, is none of Mona’s (or anyone’s) business:

Because your research did not seem to go further than opinion-based statements, I want to let you know a few facts about Congresswoman Sánchez:  One, she is a 40-year old woman in a long-standing committed and loving relationship; Two, upon regular checkup, her doctor recommended a planned pregnancy at this immediate time in her life for a healthy delivery that was best for the child (in fact, putting off her pregnancy may have resulted in the need for fertility treatments, with the result of risky multiple births); Three, she has an established and prominent career as an attorney, a former labor leader, and current Member of Congress; Four, she resides in a home she owns in California, and when in Washington for votes, resides in a condo she owns there; and Five, maintains a salary that is sufficient to provide for herself and her future child.
So, it has come to this. Two women make personal, private family planning decisions, and Mona Charen thinks it’s incumbent upon her to stick her big nose where it doesn’t belong and play judge and jury over others’ decisions.

I really wish Rep. Sanchez’s spokesperson had not issued that statement. “Choice” is meaningless if women are forced to publicly defend their decisions to budinskies like Mona Charen. Unless we are interested in becoming like China with its “one child” rule, women’s decisions over when, why and how many children they choose to bear should be kept between them, their families and their healthcare providers.

I don’t know Nadya Suleman, I don’t live her life, I don’t know what would compel her to want 14 children any more than I know what inspires the Duggar Family to want 18 kids or the Quiverfull crowd to pop out as many babies as they can (and nobody asks any of those folks if they can adequately provide for all of those kids).

But it seems a little hypocritical to me to trot out a fetus fetish at rallies all around the country, spout bromides like “families are the cornerstone of American society,” and then wonder why some people are so hung up on having kids. Charen might wring her little fingers over a society that treats babies as “consummables” but the far right treats them as political props and fundraising tools.

Of course this is about sex. What else could it be when a prominent neocon like Charen criticizes a professional woman, a Congresswoman, for choosing to have a family? Get real. We can't win for losing here.

Mona Charen and the rest of that crowd need to mind their own fucking business.