Contraceptives and the way things “should be” or Where is that time machine?
At some point while crossing the 49th parallel two years ago, I must have encountered and passed through an undisclosed time warp. I didn’t feel anything untoward, no nausea, no visual distortions, no rumbling or vibrations of my 2006 Montana other than the normal rubber tires on asphalt one would expect from driving on an Interstate. No, nothing happened, at least as far as I can remember, to suggest I was traveling back through time.
Indeed, so subtle was this passage, I wasn’t even aware such a phenomenon of physics had occurred until just lately. But it must have been so; it’s the only possible explanation.
I’ve passed twenty-six months here in the United States and though I’ve often been surprised, sometimes discouraged, even appalled, always perplexed, occasionally amused, soundly entertained, highly annoyed, both bored and engrossed at the same time and quite fascinated by the political and social spectrum around me, only recently have I surmised I’ve actually time-traveled.
What else can account for it?
Did my ears deceive me? Didn’t I just hear the leading wannabe-president-of-the-United-States-of-America, Rick Santorum, just announce that once he was in office he would --
“Confront the dangers of contraception and groups who think it’s okay. It’s not okay, because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, for purposes that are, yes, conjugal, but also procreative…”
“How things are supposed to be?” A state mandated “sexual realm?” The “dangers of contraceptives?” Uh-ubba-ubba-uh… whew! Gosh. Wow! Me at a loss for words?
Did he say “a license to do things?” Is that next? My mental image: “I’m here to apply for my license to enter the sexual realm, sir, and here’s a copy of my marriage certificate… What do you mean by I’m too old? ...No, I’m not fertile, but I am married... I have to meet both requirements? ...What’s that you said; sex after menopause isn’t how things are supposed to be…”
Then, before I had a chance to catch my breath, and my mind was still reeling with questions and scenarios, not least of which was: Don’t married women use contraceptives, too? I got another whammy up the side of the head.
Santorum goes on to say:
“…if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure.”
Sex "deconstructed" to the level of mere pleasure? Duh!
I once wrote a comment on an article on sex education where some dimwit wrote that would put "ideas in our kids' heads" (now there's a thought: put some ideas in their heads like protect yourself from disease or unwanted pregnancy -- seeing as abstinence only is working SO well...) and such education was a plot by Planned Parenthood to make our young people into sex addicts so they'd have more abortions, providing profits to PP... Well you get the drift. I wrote that sex was part of being human, a biological imperative and therefore we had no need to be turned into addicts. We are born such.
I was a tad surprised at the number of women who wrote a response to my response to his response (are you still with me?) saying we are not ALL addicted to sex. According to these women, most women don't like sex, find it "icky" and one even wrote it was "akin to swimming in a septic pond."
Really? That's when I realized I must be a slut, though I never though of myself as such before.
Okay, I'm going on record to say I like sex, have always liked sex since I first discovered it, still like it at sixty and hope I continue to like it unto death. I consider it fun, a sharing of my physical self with another, pleasurable, free -- (what other fun thing is free these days?) -- a good way to spend an otherwise dull afternoon and very nice indeed.
Until the past decade, the only downside was the remote possibility I might get pregnant. (I did seem to suffer from excess fertility in my younger years -- three unplanned pregnancies in as many years -- even with the evil assistance of demon contraceptives and no, none of them were terminated.)
Luckily, both contraceptives and I grew up, got better at our respective roles, more efficient.
Enter Santorum’s billionaire sugar-daddy, Foster Friess, who said –
"You know, back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly."
Which isn’t even original having made the rounds of bad jokes back in the early sixties, when “the pill” first came on the market, though it is still as crass as it was back then. One could even purchase a “birth control pill” in the gag shops. It was a disc-shaped sponge with instructions that read, “Place on right knee. Bring left knee to other side. Squeeze tightly.” I wondered then, as I wonder now why men thought this so funny. Do they truly want women to keep their legs tightly together?
Assuming I’m remembering correctly, the years of my youth being such a distant epoch, men used to expend a great deal of time, energy and financial resources on trying to pry those knees apart – but perhaps men have changed since then. Certainly the baseness of their wit has not.
How about using a big safety pin for contraception, fellas: pin your zippers to your navels?
Am I the only one who sees something slanted in all this: Oh if only those sluts would keep their legs closed we wouldn't have any of these darn ole troubles. Yep, since the days of Eve, you women have been nothing but trouble. Don't blame us menfolk; it's all the evil, sinful, lustful women at fault. And imagine their gall. After seducing us poor innocent men into having sex, they want to avoid the God-given consequences of their evil act.
Now I know the debate began as to whether or not health-insurance coverage should include contraceptives at no co-pay, and as employers are the major sources of health insurance in the United States, such requirements would cut across ALL employers, including – gasp,no!—those institutions run by the Catholic Church. Which, apparently, is a blow against freedom of religion.
Though one might ask why any of us should be limited to the medical care our employer decides is right for us based on his religious, political or moral stances alone. What if your employer is from one of those religions that doesn’t agree with blood transfusions; should YOUR coverage be so limited in the name of HIS religious freedom? But that isn’t the issue under discussion so I won’t go there. Nor will I bring up how I feel about employer based medical care, either. I’m against it, by the way. It seems to me to put American industry under a terrible burden, making them less competitive as no other country demands this of employers… oops. Sorry.
So vociferous was the response, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a congressional investigation into the whole contraceptive-coverage versus religious freedom issue, chaired by Republican Darryl Issa. How many women were invited to speak, or sit on the panel? ZERO!
And when some women questioned that, they were told only clergymen were invited to speak.
What does this Government Panel and the Catholic Church have in common? A group, entirely male, deciding the future of contraception – an issue that affects only women. The one true thing that can be said of both of these groups is that none of them will ever be pregnant.
Never mind that 98% of American Catholic women use contraceptives at some time in their lives. Forget that 99% of ALL American women use contraceptives. Against God’s plan for us, this “license to do things in the sexual realm.“ Not unless we're prepared to drop baby after baby until we drop ourselves.
It isn’t the question of whether or not contraceptives should be provided at no cost that has spurred me to write. (I always had to pay for it, even under our Canadian health care system -- money well spent considering the cost of having and raising a child.)
No, it is the quote above that disturbs me: the anti-contraception promise of the GOP’s leading (for the moment) presidential candidate. It smacks of the antiquated control over my gender so rampant in history. It isn’t a political issue, contraception, or shouldn’t be.
Connor Friesdorf of the Atlantic finds it "baffling," adding that "Any politician who regards the adult use of contraceptives as a matter under his purview cannot lay claim to the limited government label."
I suppose nothing inflates the ego quite like being a “leader.” Apparently, Santorum, like so many others, is suffering from the delusion his beliefs are everyone’s beliefs – or “should be.” His anti-contraceptive, anti-woman, anti-sex message is distasteful to anyone of a thinking mind and a love of freedom.
Really, what does he think he’s doing? If he wants to be President, doesn’t he, like, have to get people to vote for him? Women make up 52% of the electorate, and out of that majority, 40% are unmarried, many unmarried with children, most doing things in the sexual realm. Wake up, Rick! You don’t win elections by catering to the people who share your views and will vote for you anyway.
Michael Scherer of Time notes that 99% of women aged 15 to 44 have used contraceptives, and only 8% of voters view it as morally wrong. "In politics, it is generally not a good thing to characterize something nearly every adult in the country has happily used as wrong."
Contraceptives as controversy?
That’s why I’m sure I’ve time-traveled. No doubt about it. Yes, I’m back in the years of my adolescence when only married women were allowed access to contraceptives – and the rest of us just prayed to whatever higher power we held. The way things “should be.”
I can’t believe we’re here.
And what I really can’t comprehend is this discussion over contraceptives, complete with congressional dog and pony (all male) show, considering all the real issues facing us. War, famine, economy, crippling debt, a polarized population, a frozen government, a financial house of cards crumbling around us, unemployment, homelessness: worthy of discussion, debate, action? No-- all of it pales beside the spectre of contraceptives.
I don't want to hear about contraception, an issue long-settled and accepted.
Most everyone who does not think sex is akin to swimming in a septic pond, (which I will continue to believe is the majority of us, though if I am naught but a lonely freak and the "nice" women of America really do abhor sex, it does explain a few things I've found puzzling) -- sorry -- most of us who are sexually active also think birth control is a completely cool thing, as noted by our lack of ten children.
So enough with the holier-than-thou routine! It's old. Can we please separate religion and state and get on with the business of deciding a government? Your religion is your business and mine is my business. So is my sex life. I have no need of guidance from a bunch of elected officials and religious leaders (most all of whom are male and some of whom are supposed to be virgins and therefore all are unqualified to speak for me.)
I found a great photo that says it all. See below:
I don't want to hear the candidate's religious beliefs. I expect our leaders to be tolerant of those whose beliefs are different from theirs. I certainly don't want to hear their views on how I, or anybody else should comport themselves sexually.
I'll tell you what I do want to hear.
I want to hear what these jack-asses are going to do about those truly important issues, like jobs, ending the squandering of money and lives on war, protecting the rights of the people who put them in office, keeping the nation safe without trampling all over our civil liberties, fixing our infrastructure, keeping the mail going, sorting out our economic woes and balancing the budget. You know -- the stuff we elect people to do.
We don't look to DC for spiritual and moral guidance. That's not the job the candidates are applying for. Someone should explain to Mr. Santorum and all the others who would make personal decisions for us the difference between the offices of President and Pope.
What is this obsession on controlling the private, personal lives of the people? Politicians who honestly seem to believe they have that kind of power! (What slow learners!) Gay sex, sex education, family planning, contraception: sex, sex, sex! Common sense would dictate this election should be all about the economy. But apparently, it's not. It's about sex.
“The government has no place in the bedrooms of the nation.” – Pierre Elliot Trudeau
- Sometimes it's hard to be a woman
This article is about reproductive rights and choices,pro-birth control,not the ethics of abortion (though no discussion of this issue can avoid that heated debate.) It examines the ever-tightening of controls over women's reproductive choices.