The Bogus Birth Control Debate

President Obama’s mandate requiring free access to contraception with virtually no employer exemption is at core a consitutional threat to religious liberty, not a heated debate about contraception and Church teaching. However, it quickly turned into that.

So now that we’re on the subject

Advocates of President Obama’s contraception mandate should admit that its main purpose is sexual liberation and not “women’s health,” according to a feminist author who supports the mandate.

“The phrase ‘women’s health’ in the birth control dispute is the latest nimble euphemism,” author and blogger Pamela Haag wrote in a Feb. 17 essay published on the “Marriage 3.0” blog.

Access to contraception, she said, “isn’t really about my ‘health.’ It’s not principally about the management of ovarian cysts or the regulation of periods.”

“Birth control isn’t about my health unless by ‘health’ you mean, my capacity to get it on, to have a happy, joyous sex life that involves an actual male partner,” wrote Haag, criticizing White House supporters for discussing contraceptives mainly as “preventive services” for women’s health.

“The point of birth control is to have sex that’s recreational and non-procreative,” wrote Haag approvingly. “It’s to permit women to exercise their desires without the ‘sword of Damocles’ of unwanted pregnancy hanging gloomily over their heads.”

And now that women are speaking out

In recent posts on CNA’s Catholic Womanhood page, columnists attacked the mandate from various angles – some addressed the issue of religious freedom while others questioned the validity of abortifacients, sterilization and contraception being labeled as “basic medical care” for women.

The articles come amid a storm of protest over the administration’s Jan. 20 announcement that religious institutions will have to cover these services in employer-provided health insurances plans.

Here’s one.

Now, before anyone gets too hot and bothered over the topic du jour of contraception and whether or not the government (ahem, the taxpayers, aka you and I) should pony up the cash to make it free for all, let’s take a moment to examine the science behind that wonder pill that has freed women from the tyranny of childbearing and the slavery of motherhood … and ask ourselves frankly, “has it all been worth it?”

I’ve seen more passion on Facebook in the past 3 weeks over bedroom matters than can be contained in the entire Twilight series … and then some.

It would seem that the argument, rather than being framed as a matter of religious freedom, (Should the Catholic Church be forced to violate her own beliefs and recount her stance on a major moral issue at the behest of a civil government?) has become something more of an entitlement issue (Do American women have the right to demand, from their fellow citizens, a subsidized supply of contraceptive drugs or devices in order to manage their sex lives?)

So it’s a lively debate, to put it mildly. Women are engaged.

Including this powerful nun named Mother Angelica. Whose concern is at least as much about constitutionally protected religious liberty as anything.

Sheila Liaugminas

By

Sheila Gribben Liaugminas, of Chicago, is a member of the Voices editorial board, and was host of The Right Questions on Relevant Radio and Issues and Answers news show. She and her husband have two sons, one a seminarian and the other a college student. Follow updates on this story (and contact Sheila) at www.inforumblog.com.

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