12 October 2007

BSB Flashback: Everywhere Babies

1 May 2007

Author: Susan Meyers
Illustrator: Marla Frazee

Meyers' playful prose coupled with Frazee's awesome baby portraiture combine to remind us that babies are cute. Not exactly mind-blowing stuff. But what could have been just another baby book separates itself from the pack because of the talented Frazee... there's just something about the way she draws babies that just makes them seem not only adorable, but epic.

Unfortunately for Meyers and Frazee, as with all art, once a work is released into the public sphere, you cannot control what people do with it. In this case, Everywhere Babies has become a political prop as groups on both sides of the abortion debate have grabbed a hold of the book to advance their political interests. Pro-life groups use it to drive home the obvious point: babies are awesome. Pro-choice groups use the book to tell a cautionary tale about a world without Roe v. Wade. (There would be babies everywhere... Everywhere Babies!!!)

With the Supreme Court recently upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, expect to see more of Everywhere Babies as both sides gear up for a potential Supreme Court reconsideration of Roe v. Wade.... a bizarre showdown where 5 dudes in robes have the power to determine what women are (or are not) allowed to do with their bodies.

Everywhere Babies has also found its way into federally-funded abstinence-only education. Last week, the Washington Post reported that abstinence education programs are destributing material with misleading information, that makes condom-use seem less effective than it actually is. (For example, while studies show that the chances of unintended pregnancies while using condoms is 2%, government funded programs incorrectly say that it is 1 in 6 or 17%... Everywhere! Babies!!!)

This should not come as a surprise. At this point, misleading people is standard operating procedure. Though, maybe... if you combined the administration's misleading Sex Ed policy with its failing Foreign Policy, you might come up with something a little more productive. Can two wrongs makes a right? Let's give it a shot:

Current Foreign Policy: Use misleading information to get us into war.
Current Sex Ed Policy: Use misleading information to keep us from getting into bed.
New Foreign Policy: Use misleading information to keep us from getting into war and getting screwed.

Current Sex Ed Policy: Condoms and other forms of contraception are not effective forms of birth control. Abstinence only.
Current Foreign Policy: Talk is cheap. Diplomacy is for the weak.
New Sex Ed Policy: Abstain from talking to anyone. If you isolate yourself from the rest of the world, no one will want to have sex with you anyways.

Current Foreign Policy: Pulling out is not a strategy for victory.
Current Sex Ed Policy: The Rhythm Method is a form of natural birth control.
New Foreign Policy: Set a timetable for pulling out of Iraq before things get even more heated and explosive.

It's not perfect, but policy never is. Next, we combine No Child Left Behind with Environmental Policy and see what comes out. (Though it's risky... you might get something like: We'll try to reverse the negative trends of climate change, but if the climate doesn't start showing adequate yearly progress, we will start imposing sanctions by cutting down trees and shutting down forests.)


Saints and Spinners said...

I thought it was a political prop because of the same-sex and interracial couples depicted casually!

Sarah Stevenson said...

Thanks for making me laugh about stuff that normally makes me want to cry or throw things.