Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jesus would NOT be interested in my uterus!

Four relevant anecdotes about birth control:

1. I remember Mike sharing his surprise when he was watching a TV show about overpopulation with his cradle Catholic dad...who made a comment to the effect of "that's what birth control is for!"

2. In 1990, Mike and I attended a Catholic "Engaged Encounter," at which a couple did a (PG-rated) presentation on "natural family planning" (NFP, otherwise known as the rhythm method) and said it was the only form of birth control for married couples and "the use of NFP raises the dignity of persons from mere toys for sexual pleasure to co-creators of human life." I'm guessing I was one of few non-Catholics there. Later on the issue of birth control came up again, and I stood up and stated the fact that the "NFP is not a reliable form of birth control." I think I shocked everyone, because no one responded. Yes, I was a young interloper and was probably forever banned from Catholic Engaged and Married Encounters (not like I would ever have gone back)!

3. In 1993, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America issued a 21-page social statement (The Church and Human Sexuality: A Lutheran Perspective) on sexuality and invited churches to have dialogue. This was a radical notion for the Catholics in our Lutheran-Catholic community. I still remember Wynn, an older, very conservative Catholic (who must have been a spy...why else would she worship with such heretics?) making a comment about sexuality only being for procreation. Mike laughed out loud and proclaimed that it's too bad he and I couldn't have sex, since we were not ready to have children yet. According to the Catholic Engaged Encounter site, "the three reasons why people do not use NFP are 1. ignorance 2. lust and 3. fear," and "some unnatural forms of contraception actually cause early abortions." Oh, and "fornification is a mortal sin," but we knew that, didn't we?

4.When I was in my late 20s, a few female coworkers and I wrote a memo to our firm's benefits director (and copied the CEO), demanding that our medical coverage include birth control benefits. We solicited scads of other employees to join us in including their names. We were upset to learn that our benefits covered fertility treatment but not birth control. (Little did I know I would avail myself of the fertility treatment 10 years later.) Now many insurance plans cover Viagara, but not the pill or other forms of birth control.

Cue the Catholic/Conservative War on Women

Last weekend I found myself listening to a traditional Catholic who asked us what we thought about Obama and the birth control issue. She said she'd heard that Obama plans to force Catholic hospitals to offer abortions, too (from her very reliable source--a friend). (In fact, the conservative web sites are all touting this, claiming that the morning-after pill is abortion pure and simple.)

Sarah Palin will "fight to the death to stop birth control coverage." Newt Gingrich claims Obama has declared a "war against religion," very convenient for him as a newly minted Catholic. Rick Santorum believes that a president should preach about the sanctity of marriage (no birth control) and contraception is "a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be." He abhors the "radical feminist pitch" that "men and women be given an equal opportunity to make it to the top in the workplace." This man scares the sh_t out of me.

As Nicholas Kristof writes, "The cost of birth control is one reason poor women are more than three times as likely to end up pregnant unintentionally as middle-class women." Yes, that's right--better access to birth control = fewer abortions. This has been proven! I think that one of the roots of this conservative Christian war on women is they do not want unmarried women having sex (because it's a mortal sin, don't you know?).

The Catholic bishops are out to lunch. Nearly every American woman has used some form of birth control, according to this informational Mother Jones article about Catholic women and birth control. They're so busy waging a war on women and reproductive rights that they can conveniently avoid the molesters and mutineers under their noses.

Percentage of American women
who have used birth control (Guttmacher Institute)
All I know is that Jesus would not care one bit about women's reproductive organs and how they choose to plan their families (or lack thereof). Jesus would not be spending all this time ranting and raving about birth control. He would be caring about the poor, feeding the hungry, and preaching justice.

I don't need birth control anymore, unless you count permanent sterilization, which my health insurance covered--just wait until they start on that!!! But I want the damn politicians to get their noses out of my uterus and start focusing on the true meaning of Jesus' life and prophecy...peace and justice for all.

Apologies for the punctuation error--grr!!


  1. We were taught that the rhythm method was the only birth control method allowed by the Church. Yeah okay! Kind of hit and miss. We were also taught that having sex just for the sake of sex was a sin. Sex was for procreation only. Not for fun. So how could the rhythm method be ok? Lots and lots of hypocrisy in the church. These men fit right in.

  2. I think that's why they've renamed the "rhythm method" as "natural family planning," because they want people to think it's more effective with a new name!