I haven’t shied away from sharing my own opinions in this column. Although at times my pieces may have been light-hearted (anyone remember the best places to have sex on campus piece or the anal sex article?), I do believe that sex is political.
From Salic law to the Tuskegee syphilis study to Lawrence v. Texas, political systems have long attempted to control whom, how and why people can have sex and access to sexual health resources. It seems almost impossible to think about sex in modern America without bringing up perhaps its most politicized aspect: abortion and reproductive justice.
I knew when I first began writing this column that I would probably discuss abortion, but it’s taken me a semester and a half to sort out how and what to write. Despite the overall decline of abortions in the U.S., women aged 20 to 24 made up the largest percentage of those seeking abortions in 2014 and 2016.
In high school, my friends and I had a contingency plan in case of unintended pregnancy: a road trip to the nearest clinic over 100 miles away. There were, at the time, 12 abortion providers in the state of Tennessee, leaving nearly 96 percent of counties without a provider. But even these options would not be available to us, as Tennessee has a law requiring written parental consent for minors seeking abortion services. Ironically enough, Tennessee state law also includes a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ clause which allows some minors to legally consent to sex.
In Chapel Hill, the nearest abortion clinic is right up the road from campus at the Planned Parenthood off 15-501. On Friday mornings, I drive past the clinic on my way home from the gym and often see a regular group of anti-choice protestors on the side of the road. They are, from what I’ve ascertained, all male and all white. Though it’s hard to tell, seeing as they’re frequently dressed head-to-toe in camouflage.