Whose Body Is It Anyway? Birth Control Pills and Women in America

There seems to be a really bizarre movement going through our Congress which involves birth control and the Federal Government or Catholic Hospitals and Insurance and President Obama and Politics. The most outrageous of them is something like a Congressional hearing where the one woman who wanted to speak was removed because she had no standing to speak to them. Seriously? Really?

How does birth control get to be this political? I don’t want to get into the whole Catholic Freedom of Religion issue. It’s way too complex. But Congress is not a religious organization. And in a nation that has only elected one Catholic president in its 225+ years (and he was shot!), in a nation that has never voted for a Jewish person, an Islamic person (Really, Rick Santorum, Obama’s one of mine), a Buddhist, a Taoist, a Pagan, or anything else, I have trouble believing it’s about Catholic rights. In a nation where Republicans struggle with voting for a Mormon male, I just can’t even conceive (no pun intended) of the idea that our Congress is standing up for the rights of Catholics — or that it won’t stand up for the rights of women to speak about something this important to them.

I am not going to wade into the abortion issue either. I don’t want controversy here. I don’t have that much time or energy.

Here’s my point. If we men don’t want women to get pregnant, we have either got to stop having sex with them, have vasectomies, or allow women to have access to birth control. It’s actually that simple.

If we don’t want them to have abortions, then we need to give them access to birth control before that becomes necessary. And when I say, “access”, I mean in all 50 states, even in the middle of nowhere, even when there’s only a Walmart or Kmart around, even when the insurance company doesn’t want to pay for it, even when the government doesn’t want to pay for it, even when the women can’t afford it — if we don’t want to be daddies, they have to have access to birth control.

Beyond that, though, if they are Americans, we need to grant them access to their voices. We need to listen if a woman says she doesn’t want to have sex, doesn’t want to be raped, doesn’t want to be a mother yet, can’t afford a child, wants to have a career first. We need to listen to a woman if she does want to have sex, wants to be a mother, can afford one, doesn’t want to have a career other than motherhood and anything else she says about her body. We don’t have to always agree with it, but we have to hear it. We have to encourage them to say it. We have to discuss it. We have to engage them in discussions about our part in the whole birth control thing, but we have to hear what they have to say. If we don’t do that, they aren’t really Americans. Americans elect a government, Americans have voices, Americans count for something, Americans consider it a crime when they are attacked physically or threatened emotionally. They have the right to have their grievances redressed. If our Constitution says that we don’t have to allow occupying military forces to stay in our homes, then we certainly have the right not to have them occupy the bodies of any American.

We can’t wave the flag about how great America is if half the population doesn’t get their rights. We can’t talk about how free we are if half of us aren’t free to think or do with our bodies what we choose. And, as men, we can’t talk about how important the rule of law is if we think it doesn’t apply to us. No man gets to determine if, when, or how a woman thinks, acts in regard to her body, or has access to the tools which allow her to make those decisions. Some guy at a drug store in the middle of nowhere — or the middle of somewhere — gets to determine both if a woman has sex and whether or not she has access to birth control. It’s not right. By my understanding, a man shouldn’t get to determine either of them, but he definitely shouldn’t be able to determine both.

It’s not American.

Peace,

John

But, more than that,

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