In light of last week’s birth control pill recall, I’ve been talking with a lot of women about the whole question of what they and their partners would do in the event of an unplanned pregnancy. Most of them said they’d discussed this with their partners and were on the same page, but there were a few who knew that their partners would not want them to abort, even though that was their preference.
I have had only one pregnancy scare—when I was a 20 year old college senior. I had been on the pill for a year and didn’t realize that every now and then, it would make my period dry up completely (this happened about once a year throughout my twenties.) Cue the freakout. It was about three months before graduation, I’d been accepted to grad school and was planning to move to New York. I had a quavery-voiced phone call with my boyfriend, who lived a few hours away, and he said, without hesitation, “If you’re pregnant and you don’t want to keep it, I hope you’d at least consider having it so I could raise it by myself.” It was 100% the right response, and while it didn’t make me any less apprehensive about possibly being pregnant, it did at least reassure me that he knew the decision was ultimately mine and would not abandon me or try to skip out on his responsibility. He was a righteous dude…still is, in fact. And women should expect nothing less than that.
But for women who are concerned about their partner’s differing views on contraception and abortion, check out this advice from Dan Savage to a young reader. It’s not only solid gold advice, but introduced me to the term Bitch Puddin’, which I will be adding to my vocabulary forthwith:
I am a 16-year-old female. I have been in a monogamous relationship with a boy for seven months. My first, his too. …he started doing something when we are in the midst of being sexual that I don’t understand. He will stick the tip of his hard penis just inside the opening to my vagina, again and again. I guess you could call it “probing.” I know enough to know that there’s a slight risk of pregnancy, as pre-come can get a woman pregnant, and he doesn’t wear a condom when he does this. We are planning on having complete vaginal intercourse in the next few months, with condoms and birth control, but this is happening now, and it worries me.
This is what I need advice about: I know that there is a very small risk of pregnancy even if we use condoms and birth control. I couldn’t handle a child at my age or the humiliation of being pregnant at 16 and having to walk around town with the evidence out for all to see. I would have an abortion. He disagrees strongly with abortion, but he’s not the one who would have to go through it all! So I would probably end up having an abortion without telling him, which seems completely unfair.
No Clue What To Do
Probing is low-risk for pregnancy, NCWTD, but there’s still some risk. What worries me is that this activity makes you uncomfortable and either you haven’t said anything to your boyfriend, or you have said something and he’s doing it anyway. Tell him no more probing, if you haven’t already, and if he initiates probing after you’ve made it clear that you’re not comfortable with it, break the fuck up with him. Which brings us to…
You’re going to have to go Bitch Puddin’ on his ass, NCWTD. Memorize this, say it to him, and mean it: “If I let you stick your dick in my vagina and I get pregnant, I am getting an abortion. If you can’t live with that—if you aren’t willing to shoulder the psychic risk of knowing that your girlfriend would get or actually got an abortion, while she shoulders the actual physical risk of an unplanned pregnancy—then I am never going to let you stick your dick in my vagina. You’re free to disagree with my choice, of course, but you can’t prevent me from making that choice. So what’s it going to be?”
SRSLY. Especially regarding the “probing”, which is a classic bad rookie move and needs to be called out immediately.
Granted, going all Bitch Puddin’ on that dude might be tough for a 16 year old girl lit up with hormones and first love. But I hope she manages to do it anyway. And regardless, 16 year olds aren’t the only ones getting pregnant, and that advice holds for every woman who might need to remind her partner that he’s not entitled to make decisions about what she’d do in case of pregnancy, or get butt-hurt and pressure her if she doesn’t agree with him.