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The War on Women

I’ve watched in silence and amazement as an institution that hid the systematic molestation of children for decades has now gone to war with the administration over the requirement that their public institutions — hospitals and universities must provide contraception coverage for women employees.  Let’s be clear the church has had no problem paying for Viagra for their male employees, but allow a woman to have control over her own body?  Heaven forbid.  This is a purely political act.  28 states already have that requirement for employers, and not a word out of the Catholic prelates.  But now — it’s a crises.

There is a war on women being led by churches and the GOP.  All three of the leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination have come out against abortion even in the case of rape, incest and life of the mother.  Rick Santorum wants contraception to be illegal because it “makes you do sex wrong.”  Romney and Gingrich have stated their support for “personhood” amendments which will ban not only all abortions, but most forms of birth control.  They have all stated the intend to defund Planned Parenthood, and all federal family planning.

This leaves poor women with no place to receive birth control.  Even women with insurance will be left having to pay out of pocket for their contraception a cost of $600 to $1200 dollars a year.  They will either go without, or use less effective methods which will result in more unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, more abortions (unless they’ve become illegal at which point it’s back to a coat hanger in a back alley) or unwanted children that will be a burden to their struggling families.  Yeah, that’s a great outcome.

I don’t think women are going to stand for this.  Look at the statistics for contraception use as compiled by the CDC.

I’m suffering under this toxic mix of religion and health care right now in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  We had one hospital in this city.  A few years back it was purchased by the Christus St. Vincent group.  They swore they would not impose their religious views on the hospital.  Well, they have.  A newer, smaller hospital opened, but it was too small to offer certain services, and now Christus is planning to buy them too.

Here’s what they’ve done.  My gastroenterologist was called into the administrator’s office and told to sign a document averring that he would not honor DNR’s (Do Not Resuscitate orders), he would undertake no medical procedure that would endanger a fetus even if the mother’s life was in danger, and he would not prescribe any medication which could be used as a morning after pill.  My doctor refused and was told he would no longer be allowed to use the hospital for certain procedures.  

The Right is always whining about how we can go somewhere else.  Well, the other nearest hospital to me is 60 miles away.  If I’ve been in an accident, if I’ve had a stroke or a heart attack I don’t have the luxury of an hour drive to a hospital that won’t impose their religious beliefs on me.

This whole firestorm over contraception is ridiculous.  An exemption exists for churches and their employees, but hospitals and universities aren’t churches even if they are run by religious institutions.  They are part of the public fabric.  People with differing beliefs attend and use those institutions.  There is nothing in this law that requires a Catholic woman to actually use contraception even if it’s paid for by her heath plan.

I’m so sick of men telling me what is best for my life and my body.

5 Responses to The War on Women

  • JaniceG says:

    Somehow, they avoid seeing the contradiction in their claim that it’s somehow tromping on religious freedom to *not* impose religious beliefs on hospital patients and employees who have medical insurance.

    • Gustavo says:

      Pope Benedict Regarding CondomsThe following is a great anlgaoy from an article in by Dr. Janet E. Smith that helps Catholics explain Pope Benedict’s comments on the use of condoms: If someone was going to rob a bank and was determined to use a gun, it would better for that person to use a gun that had no bullets in it. It would reduce the likelihood of fatal injuries. But it is not the task of the Church to instruct potential bank robbers how to rob banks more safely and certainly not the task of the Church to support programs of providing potential bank robbers with guns that could not use bullets. Nonetheless, the intent of a bank robber to rob a bank in a way that is safer for the employees and customers of the bank may indicate an element of moral responsibility that could be a step towards eventual understanding of the immorality of bank robbing. to read the entire article.VN:F [1.9.10_1130](from 0 votes)

  • Susan MacDonald says:

    Hi Melinda

    I’ve been following your blogs and you raise some extremely good points.
    I’m confused about your gastroenterologist not being allowed to permit DNRs. This is obtuse in the extreme. A DNR means that you allow natural death. How can the church be against this? Boggles the mind.
    Keep up the great work.

  • Melindas says:

    I guess the church’s argument is that by removing feeding tubes, or turning off a respirator that is somehow murder. I don’t want to live hooked up to a machine. I have a DNR. I have two friends who have the power of attorney to make health decisions for me. I hold that power for another friend because she’s afraid her husband won’t be able to let her go and die in peace. But I live in Santa Fe, and what if the hospital refuses to honor my DNR? That scares me to death. My mother died from lung cancer, and when she had an embolism at the nuring home I held her in my arms while she seized and then quietly died. She wasn’t going to get well, but when the nurse asked if I wanted the crash cart, and I refused she looked at me like I was an alien. I guess I’ve always felt there are worse things than death.

  • JaniceG says:

    Susan – Some religious views say that a DNR order is the equivalent of euthanasia or suicide

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