But what does this poster series celebrate:
Four thousand years of choice!
So women were oppressed and not oppressed at the same time!
Some feminists take great pains to emphasize that choice is not only about abortion. And I'm sure they would want to take pains to emphasize it's only about contraception.
But what do the posters emphasize?
Abortion and contraception!
And the sheer stupidity of the campaign is such that you can tell it was made by an artist, not a historian.
Various methods of contraception and abortion are referenced, without mentioning one very salient fact:
Up until the twentieth century, abortion and contraception were extremely unreliable means of controlling fertility.
Before the development of modern medicine, any attempt at intrusive abortions, i.e. pulling or sucking out the fetus, was essentially suicidal. If you managed to get the baby out, your chances were good you'd die of septic shock.
So this idea that Eskimo tribes used walrus ribs without anesthetic to successfully perform abortion techniques is ludicrous. (And who calls them Eskimos any more? Tsk Tsk!)
I mean sure, they probably tried doing that, but I bet a lot of women died in the attempt.
That's something to celebrate?
And then there are all the references to contraceptive methods.
You'd think with all these folk methods of contraception, the development of the Contraceptive Pill would have been redundant!
The truth is that virtually all methods of contraception were very unreliable until the invention of the Contraceptive Pill (bar NFP if it is used properly). Herb-based abortifacients were unreliable because of the issue of proper dosage and proper mixture. These methods were developed by midwives, not scientists. Condoms could be a little more reliable, but then men didn't want to use them.
And I had to laugh when they referenced the story of King Charles II and the development of the condom. He fathered 12 illegitimate children, possibly more. What a ringing endorsement for condoms!
If these methods were so effective and so widespread, why were they a big secret? Why didn't the average woman on the street know about them? And if she did, why didn't make use of them?
The fact of the matter is, contraception was not widely known because it was not effective. Do you really think a reliable method of birth control would have been kept in the dark?
The truth is there were basically three ways women effectively controlled their fertility before the advent of abortion and modern contraception: abstinence, non-procreative sex and infanticide. (You might also add prolonged breastfeeding, but Western women often sent their children to be fed by wet nurses.)
But I guess a poster with a dead newborn would not be terribly good for their movement.
So the reproductive choices that women had throughout most of human history are the following:
- Crappy contraception;
- Dangerous abortions ;
- Prolonged breastfeeding (which kills the libido-- an added means of fertility control);
- Or non-procreative sex;
This poster campaign should have been more properly titled 4000 years of attempts to control fertility, most of which were abject failures.
I almost feel like saying: Come on, feminists, you can do better than that.