Wake Up! Conservatives Initiate Battle in War on Contraception


Life is full of choices.

We choose whether to get up on time or hit the snooze button, whether to reach for a donut or a salad, whether to take that job or go back to school, whether to drive or to walk, whether to stay up late or go to bed early, whether to raise a family or not, and so on and so on. We are faced with so many choices in our daily lives that it is often hard to recognize the ones that confront us every so often that are much bigger than ourselves.

So let this serve as your wake-up call. The right you thought you had to determine the course of your own life? It’s under attack, and if you don’t stand up, you could lose it.

By now you’ve probably heard about the draft regulations being kicked around within the Department of Health and Human Services, the ones that say it is okay for doctors and nurses and other health professionals to refuse to give you your birth control. Many experts and policy-makers have written about this, expressing their outrage not only at the ridiculous, hypocritical nature of this attack, but also at how radically ridiculous it is to try and conflate contraception and abortion. Organizations, journalists, and Members of Congress have all eloquently spoken out against these regulations, and I have no desire to rehash what others have said so well.

Instead, I would like to point you to the bigger picture, the one that keeps me up at night.

For several years now, people have been talking about the "War on Contraception", that there is a growing movement within extremely conservative circles to not only overturn a woman’s right to choose abortion, but to take it even further and eliminate the right to contraception as well. These people believe that contraception is the root of all of society’s evils, and that we would all be better off if women stayed home and raised babies. "Barefoot and pregnant" is practically their rallying cry.

Yet many Americans, especially American women, do not realize that one of their most fundamental and cherished rights – the right to choose for themselves whether or when to have children – is under attack. Unfortunately, this war is very real, and the battlefield is expanding daily. The potential HHS regulations are just the latest salvo in the "War on Contraception", brought to you by our friends who hate abortion but want to limit access to common-sense measures like family planning, which reduces unintended pregnancy and thereby reduces the need for abortion.

Still, for some reason America doesn’t seem to get it. We, as a collective people, do not seem to understand that while we won Griswold and Eisenstadt and Roe v. Wade, the fight is far from over.

What was won can always be lost, and right now the radical right is putting everything they have into making sure that we lose what is our unending, inalienable right as women – the right to choose our own destiny.

That which we take for granted is too often gone, erased from our lives by our own ignorance. We will cry that it was taken from us, stolen in the dark of night by thieves both radical and cunning. In truth, however, we will have only ourselves to blame, for we not only left the front door open, we left our rights in a box on the front porch and went to bed with dreams sustained by the certainty that the box would still be full in the morning.

We must do better.

We must do more.

Each and every one of us must make our voices heard, or else live with the knowledge that we gave our rights away. We must shout from the rooftops that we will protect our rights and that we expect our elected leaders to do the same. We must choose to stand up and be counted, for it is the most important choice we will ever make.

What can you do to make your voice heard? Send a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Leavitt now.

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To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • invalid-0

    I don’t understand? When you were created, you and every other woman were give a natural cycle of fertility, right? So, use it. Give yourselves more credit as thinking, intellectual human beings and use what your creator gave you as a gift. “…the sparrow has everything it needs to sustain its life…and are you not greater than all the sparrows…” It’s really simple, and you don’t have to take any medication with side effects to do it – it’s natural! Pretty neat, huh? Oh, but wait, no company can make any money from it because there is nothing to sell or create – it’s all already right there in your wonderful body! Here’s the other part – you and your loving husband get to practice it together and if you are trying to space children or wait – he has to find other creative ways to love you – other than what men love (penetration). You’ve got to be kidding me… You mean there is a system that is natural, created by God (who is all loving) and my husband (during my fertile period where we are trying to NOT get pregnant) will try to “court” me in very loving creative ways because that’s how men respond naturally/sub-consciously when they can’t have whatever whenever!!!? Wow. Sweet. Sign me up. What? I’m already signed up – cool. TRUST IN GOD AND ALL WILL BE REVEALED.

    • invalid-0

      The earth is overpopulated and unsustainable. Contraception helps prevent a person, who already does not exist, from being created. Some prevent a blastocyst from implanting (blastocysts are not people, they are not skin, not nerves, not anything) thus also preventing a person who already do not exist from developing. Contraception prevents abortion because you can’t kill someone who doesn’t exist.

      Contraception provides the most humane way to ensure that living things that already exist have the resources that they need to survive. Those who choose to conceive place their desire to have a baby above the needs of people who already do not have enough. Choosing to conceive removes already scarce resources from the needy and diverts them to additional people.

      People who believe that god will provide all and has designed earth to sustain an infinite number of people are delusional. We are already suffering from there being too many people and we will not dig our way out until we cut our population to sustainable levels.

  • invalid-0

    This may come as a surprise to you, but WOMEN actually enjoy penetration as much as men do! I’m curious as to what your “creative” methods include. Oral sex? I don’t enjoy receiving. Mutual masturbation? I don’t find that enjoyable either. I’m sure you’ve just overlooked the fact that while sometimes it may be easy for a particular woman to observe her fertile states, for other women this is impossible due to many biological and external issues. Lets not forget that many women may ovulate not once, but TWICE in any given month. Given these many pit falls, this “method” may be perfect for a couple who desire children and won’t have a problem if they happen to become pregnant in the process. As a woman who does NOT desire children, I will gladly stay with my contraception of choice and remain happily, and healthfully child free.

  • invalid-0

    Is the only way you feel loved by reaching orgasm? What about snuggling, talking or massage? The greatest way to show love is through mutual sacrifice, and by foregoing that which is pleasurable (consciously & sub-consciously) brings two people closer together. As far as the “abnormal cycle” is concerned, you have to “get to know” the patterns in your cycle and you can do this together with your husband through observation and tracking. Even though cycles differ (sometimes radically) there are ALWAYS patterns – like Math and everything else in our universe. Also, it’s very effective – 99% (Creighton Method) same as the pill (probably the 1% is user error in both the pill and NFP). You don’t hear a lot about NFP because no one makes money from it so there’s no advertising, etc.

    Also, one other fact about the pill… Because it “fakes” the body into thinking it is pregnant – you are effectively ALWAYS pregnant when you are on the pill. This can’t be healthly because no one is always pregnant – body can’t handle over time. It’s also kinda funny because in an effort to never be pregant you are (in effect) always pregant. “Kind of ironic – don’t you think?”

    • invalid-0

      Mutual sacrifice, my ass. It is Women who CREATE LIFE. That you’ve fallen for the usual crap that some white male god in a long, white gown hops between clouds and demands some sick reverence in the form of avoiding sex would be hilarious if so many other quacks hadn’t fallen for it as well.

      As for the pill, I used to have a disease called PCOS, which I won’t describe here, you should go and look it up. The treatment for this ailment is the pill, and in six months it did its proper job.

      Why aren’t you out protesting airliners? They are totally unnatural, right? They “fake” flying when humans really can’t do it, yes? Jesus certainly never flew in one! Get your perverted head out from between strangers’ legs and get thine ass over to the nearest airport…. or just go rent a porn if you are fixated on other people’s sex lives.

  • invalid-0

    Greetings,

    Just some quick points in my free time:

    *Women can most assuredly have a baby without him compromising her professional future and most conservatives recognize the inherent dignity of a woman’s desire to transcend her existence in the workplace.
    *The evidence suggests that contraception causes more abortions to occur because more abortions have actually occurred since contraception’s inception— and this without any significant decrease in the aggregate number of deaths at all when correlating the evidence with the time of abortion’s legal inception.
    *Courts decided Roe/Wade and the Connecticut case not the collective American population, as you intimate. It would be interesting to see the results if the collective American pouplation could vote about the veracity of this issue. I think we both know what the results would be, though.
    *And, while it is certainty not your intention, thank you for comforting and confirming me that I am making a difference.

    Timothy+

    • invalid-0

      Timothy+,

      Where do you get your “evidence”? Contraception obviates abortion because it prevents a person who doesn’t exist from being created. As for getting rid of blastocysts, this may be true but it doesn’t matter because blastocysts are not people. Blastocysts are not skin, nerve, blood, any specific cell type and so are not people. So, if you are stating that contraception that prevents blastocysts from becoming people have technically increased abortion, then perhaps. But it just doesn’t matter because, again, blastocysts are NOT people.

      The use of contraception is a very moral, as in good, choice because it:

      – It vastly reduces abortions of sentient fetuses (who are people)
      – Helps create a sustainable world by limiting the number of people who already do not exist from being creating thus reducing already limited resources available to people who existed prior to the creation of a new person.

      We need to lower human population to a sustainable level and contraception allows that to be accomplished without harming anyone. It just takes an awakening to realize that meeting the needs of those already living supercede one’s desire for a child that does not exist.

  • invalid-0

    I never viewed cuddling, talking or massage as a substitute for sex. Those forms of intimacy are always present in my relationship and are enjoyed in conjunction with the physical sexual act of intimacy. To imply that a couple is lacking intimacy if they don’t abstain from intercourse for one week out of every month is ridiculous and frankly, insulting. Again, this method may be perfect for you or other couples who are comfortable with the fact that she may very likely become pregnant in the process. I’m a strong believer in doing what’s best for yourself and your family even if that means upsetting other people’s sensibilities.
    By the way, I don’t use the pill as you so boldly assumed.

  • scott-swenson

    To show that even the hierarchy of the Catholic Church can evolve its thinking, and still disagrees even about Natural Family Planning, this article is interesting,

    In 1966, there was a Papal Commission on Birth Control. This Commission voted 30-5 to relax the concerns on birth control. But in 1968, Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae reiterated the anti-birth-control stance. He said this was necessary because the commission was not unanimous, that governments could force sterilization if sterilization was "ok", and that men who used women for sex would lose respect for them. His final point is that God created sex to create children – and that man should not interfere with this system.

    The ban includes all impediments with the sexual act – sterilization, withdrawl, the pill, condoms, etc. Note that the rhythm method (not having sex on certain days with the intent to avoid child-making) which once WAS banned is now considered to be OK. The church called this "Natural Family Planning". However there are priests who still argue that the rhythm method – since it involves sex for pleasure while trying to avoid kids – is therefore wrong. Even abstinence in a marriage is apparently wrong, since married people should follow God’s will to try to have children.

     

    The article goes on to debunk those who claim that everyone believes as they do.

    In the US, up to 80% of all women are now on birth control. Even though
    the Catholic ban still stands in 2007, studies show that up to 96% of
    all sexually active Catholic women HAVE used some form of birth control
    other than the rhythm method at some point in their life. One Poll
    shows that 88% of Catholics (male & female) feel the official
    doctrine should allow use of pill and condom. Another poll had a result
    of 90%. A third poll showed 82% of Catholics felt that even in the
    current state of affairs, you COULD use birth control and still be a
    "Good Catholic".

    A survey at an abortion clinic found that 40% of women getting
    an abortion were Catholic, 40% were from other religions and 20% were
    non-religious. This is even though only about 24% of US people are
    Catholics. It seems to indicate that because Catholics are pressured
    not to use birth control, they have to resort to an abortion if they
    accidentially get pregnant at higher rates than other groups are. That
    would seem to be a worse option.

     

    Please note, those of us outside of the 18-20 percent of Americans who are part of the fringe far-right and increasingly far outside the mainstream, are not asking that you believe what we believe with respect to contraception, or anything else. You are free to practice your beliefs, the simple request is that in America, you know, that pluralistic democracy we all love so much, you allow others to follow their own beliefs and paths. I’m very happy that you feel so righteous in your beliefs, they suit you well. Guess what? You don’t get to tell everyone how to live. That’s how God (if you believe) designed this place, so thanks very much, but most of us are thankful we were created with free will, and can see through to our own personal relationship with nature, God, creator. No interpretors required, but thanks for offering.

     

    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • invalid-0

    You know what they call people who practice natural family planning?

    …Parents!

    Haha! Only, that joke might become frighteningly real if we don’t fight for what is ours. Major kudos to the author for this piece!

  • amanda-marcotte

    I don’t want to go without sex.  Certainly not to please people like you who view me as an ambulatory womb.

     

    Give me one single, solitary reason I should give a flying flip what you think about how I conduct my sex life.  How about that?

  • amanda-marcotte

    Abortions went "up" is because they weren’t counting them back then.  Try again.

     

    I’ve used the pill since I was a teenager.  Number of abortions standing at zero. According to your logic, I should have had an unusually high number of abortions because I’m a devout contraceptor. Please explain how I’ve not had abortions, since I use the pill, which to your mind causes abortion.  In my experience, it has successfully prevented the main cause of abortion, unwanted pregnancy.

     

    Next you’ll be saying umbrellas cause the rain, with your magical thinking.

  • invalid-0

    There is a large amount of evidence that human being’s fertility does not work the same way that other mammals does. While other mammals have very obvious signs of ovulation, and thus fertility, human Women do not. Our fertility is hidden from us because it enables us to be sexually receptive more than just a very brief time of the month (which helps in keeping the men around in the first place). Unlike other animals, our offspring requires a great deal of time and development in order to feed themselves. Thus, we need both men and Women (and sometimes a whole tribe) to successfully raise a child. How do you keep a man around who would otherwise, like all other male animals, leave after a successful conception? You make yourself sexually available and copulate whenever you both want regardless of if it’s a good time to get knocked up or not.

    The common methods of allegedly tracking a human Woman’s fertility are also very easily misinterpreted. Basal body temperature – can show a spike at random times especially if the Woman is overly stressed or has any infection. Cervical mucus – thins and thickens at various times of the month and a disruption of hormonal levels can cause a change when ovulation does not occur. Calendar method – only relevant for a Woman who has a perfect 28 day cycle, is never stressed, never has a change in her diet, and never becomes ill (basically no Woman who is actually alive).

    Plus, there’s the lining of the uterus itself to consider which is something that no Woman can actually check herself safely or hygienically. During various times of the month, the lining of the uterus softens. If a fertilized ovum is present during this time, it has a more successful chance of implanting than at other times during the month. However, this cycle of softening is not dependent up on ovulation and seems to have its own hormonal schedule which means that even if a fertilization takes place, the lining may receive the proper hormonal message to soften. This accounts for many couples frustration with infertility and is also why RU486 (since you will recognize that name) is being tested as an infertility drug to help thin the lining of the uterus.

    Since fertility is very vague for Human Women, those who MUST, for whatever reason, prevent a pregnancy are advised to seek out an/multiple form(s) of contraception. What your little post assumes, Wrongly, is that every single Woman is the same both physically/medically and at the same place as you are in your life. This is simply not true. A Woman like me who is finishing a high level degree cannot afford to become pregnant and cannot even risk the chance because becomming pregnant will kick me out of my program. A Woman like my best friend who suffers from an uncontrollable seizure disorder cannot become pregnant AT ALL because the medications she is on cause severe fetal defects. A Woman like my own mother cannot become pregnant because she is fighting cancer. And there are literally millions of more reasons why many Women simply cannot rely upon NFP.

    To you or someone in your position, it may not be a big deal to become pregnant when you’re not ready. That’s fine and you can choose to utilize NFP if you desire to do so. However, there are some of us who CANNOT become pregnant because it would put our health, life, or future aspirations at risk. NO ONE can force us to risk those things which is why ensuring that contraception remains LEGAL and easily accessible is so very important to all of us. With contraception legal, you can choose to utilize it or not depending on your own health, life, and wishes. With contraception illegal, those of us who cannot become pregnant have no choice but to risk, in many cases, our very lives based on other people’s beliefs. That is unacceptable AND unAmerican.

  • invalid-0

    *Women can most assuredly have a baby without him compromising her professional future and most conservatives recognize the inherent dignity of a woman’s desire to transcend her existence in the workplace.

    I’m sorry but this is just absurdily false. Conservatives are the ones who frequently fight against things like: Family Medical Leave Act, Maternity Leave, Affordable Childcare, Medical insurance coverage for low income children, a minimum wage, expansion of the WIC program, and other similar measures that make it easier for people to have and raise children. Most conservative representatives have very low ratings on child welfare issues despite claiming that they are “concerned with family values.”

    *Courts decided Roe/Wade and the Connecticut case not the collective American population, as you intimate. It would be interesting to see the results if the collective American pouplation could vote about the veracity of this issue. I think we both know what the results would be, though.

    Actually we DO know what the results would be because of public opinion poling. The majority of Americans do not favor re-criminalization of abortion.

  • invalid-0

    And do you still hold this belief in yourself and what God gave you once your knocked up? Or do you stop trusting God and go see a doctor/other medical person for prenatal care/labor & delivery?

  • invalid-0

    Nope. They have other uses, too. One in particular is for the treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome. (Nasty thing, that. Obesity, excess facial hair, predisposition to diabetes, etc.) Oral contraceptives have been shown to reduce all of them. I have PCOS. Is my ability to keep myself healthy (and nondiabetic) going to be limited by someone’s “conscience”?

    If contraceptives are banned and I do develop diabetes, I guess I can take comfort that the right-wingers will support affordable health insurance.

    Oh, wait……

  • invalid-0

    on all the blogs concerning this subject. But none of the anti-abortion activists seem to be listening. I have PCOS too and I can add predisposition to high blood pressure to that list. Mine was dangerously high (196/110) back in November, but with FOUR BP meds to take, I’ve gotten it down to a safe level (107/63). My healthcare provider hasn’t prescribed a BC pill for the PCOS yet because A) I can’t afford it (three of my four meds are generics, the other is samples she supplies), and B)the Pill has a tendency to raise blood pressure.

  • invalid-0

    Finally someone has mentioned the other uses of birth control! I, too, have PCOS and have been taking the pill for several years. Without the pill, I don’t menstruate. For all of you out there who think the pill is so evil, I think it’s pretty great considering it’s saving my life right now. You go without having a period for 2 years and see what your OB has to say about your health. I know what it’s like, I’ve been there. I’m going to continue to fight for my rights, not just because I feel I should decide how I want to plan my family, but because I know there are many more women out there like me who truly rely on the pill for their well being. I know I want to have a family some day and if I didn’t take the pill now, I probably wouldn’t be able to have children at all due to the severe consequences of this syndrome. To all of you who judge me for taking the pill, think about the consequences those of us will be suffering if we didn’t have it.

  • invalid-0

    Hi,
    Amazingly, a robocall invited me to a conference call of registered pennsylvania independents with john mccain tomorrow Thursday 30 july.

    So why not? I want to frame something around the notorious viagra/birth control video perhaps extending to Griswold.

    Help me.

    1. Has McCain ever clarified his viagra/birth control blunder?

    2. Can you suggest a question that is a poison pill (also i know obama is a blank slate that takes whatever is written on it, but if you can find something that pins obama down on anything related to guaranteeing all American women contraception on demand or not that would be wonderful.)

    Thanks in advance,

    Hal C.

  • invalid-0

    Come on, you are a thinking, intellectual human being, so use your natural intellectual gift and you will discover that there is one fatal flaw with your argument: many women in the world do not have the luxury of relying on their natural cycle of fertility in order to space children or wait or practice her natural gift with her “loving husband”. Women are forced to have sex by their husbands, rapists, soldiers, etc. regardless of where she is at in her “cycle”. In these cases she is screwed regardless of whether she trusts in G_d or not.