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Pro Contraception, Pro Abortion, Pro baby

Here’s me at the Museum of Contraception & Abortion in Vienna, Austria.  Pictured behind me & to my side are a variety of antique douche devices & methods that were used historically to wash sperm out of the vagina post-coitus in hopes of avoiding pregnancy.

Douching is not an effective method of contraception,

& while I would love to say that the notion is as antiquated as the devices at the museum, unfortunately I have had several women ask me about douching after sex to avoid pregnancy in recent years. These women were college educated & in their late 20s or 30s! Their confusion speaks to the fact that we have a long way to go on the road to universal access to comprehensive sexual education!The Museum of Contraception & Abortion in Vienna exists to further the mission of access to education. I spent over 3 hours in dialogue with the administrators at the museum sharing ideas, resources, & anecdotes. At one point in history abortion was punishable by death in Austria, & though it is now decriminalized it is not well protected legally; existing in a grey area. Contraception & abortion are not provided by the nation’s otherwise awesome socialized healthcare system, likely due to risidual religious conservatism from centuries of a Catholic ruling class. I was told that secrecy, stigma, & shame were the norm around contraception & abortion even in modern Austrian culture.  If you’re interested in learning more about the history of abortion in Austria, check out the documentary “The Long Arm of The Empress”.

Elisabeth, to my left, is an employee at the museum who is writing her master’s thesis on “The Symbolism & Social Significance of Contraception”. Here we are displaying a vasectomy diagram with sperm illustrated by green moving lights.
Brigitte, pictured here to my right, is one of the administrators at the museum. We had a fast wonderful connection. In this photo I am squatting over a bidet that’s exhibited with the other douche devices.Our initial dialogue mainly consisted of discussion of our respective countries’ politics & policies around contraception & abortion. After a bit of this discussion, & none of spirituality or magic whatsover, she cocked her head to the side & asked me,“You are a shaman, yes?”

“O, um, well, I identify as a witch for sure, but when I teach I don’t teach much about that. I stick to biology as much as possible.”

“But it influences your work & the way you are, I can tell”

Such a smart lady, that Brigitte.

I enjoyed this relic with its wonderful straight forward label.While folks might think that this condom, all contraception, & abortion are “Anti-Baby” I know that their availability in fact increases the quality of life for babies. Access to safe contraception & abortion methods means that babies can be conceived by choice rather than circumstance, & thus have much higher likelihood of being cherished & nurtured.In this context, contraception & abortion are totally Pro-Baby in that they enable intentional pregnancy experiences.

While I have always been passionate about access to contraception & abortion, nothing could fortify my convictions about the importance of this access quite like a 2 week immersion into infant & postpartum care with my sister & nephew.

Introducing Mr. Jasper Ray!My visit to the Contraception & Abortion Museum in Vienna was smack in the middle of 2 weeks spent sleeping on my sister’s couch & helping with diapers, cooking, cleaning, baby bouncing, & anything I could do to support the new family getting their basic needs met. Taking care of newborn babies is a beautiful & often harrowing experience that demands every fiber of vitality be devoted to nurturing our young. Even when the baby is planned, loved, & desired it’s really fucking hard work.The ability to choose to do this work consciously is so important. 
My beautiful sister Sarah & her new baby.

Pro-contraception, pro-abortion, pro-baby.

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