02
Feb
12

why aren’t we (women) all screaming?

So the buzz on NPR this morning is that “Catholics” are upset about a new proposed law that would require all insurance companies to cover contraception.

At the same time, reportedly, 98% of the women in this country use contraception at some point in their lives.


There are approximately 313 million people in this country, and, according to this chart, 24% of them are Catholic. It seems safe to assume that approximately half of that 24% are female, 98% of whom apparently use contraception — 36,808,800, according to my calculations; would it be presumptuous to think that perhaps this 37 million are not at all upset?

Has anyone asked them?

And even if no one has, one can still presume.

So who’s upset?

The cardinals, priests, bishops, the POPE forcryingoutloud?

Why do they even get to voice their opinion? They don’t need contraception. They’re MEN, who can’t procreate, because they’re not supposed to be having sex. (If they are, they’re probably molesting young boys.) They shouldn’t get to decide this.

So either Catholic women are using contraception and not talking about it (shame on them), or, well, what? What’s the alternative here?*

Why is this even an issue? As we are living on a planet that’s about to collapse under the collective weight of humanity, can “they” possibly still believe that the “be fruitful and multiply” is a good edict to follow? I’m sure that’s useful to the woman in Kenya with 14 babies and living through famine.

Women who have a say in their procreation have more power. Is that the problem? We all know how “the Catholics” (not to mention the rest of the men world) feel about women with power.

Does anyone else have a problem with a religious organization, run by “celibate” men, telling women that they have no right to claim control over when and if they procreate?

And if we all have a problem with it, why don’t we say anything?

And now the biggest supporter of breast-health and breast-health-awareness has decided not to give money to Planned Parenthood to be used for breast cancer screening by women who maybe can’t otherwise afford it.

Terrific.

And then we have women putting themselves forward as viable candidates for this country’s highest office, namely Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman, (whose primary selling points seem to be general attractiveness and nice hair rather than intellectual rigor or experiential qualifications), questioning the fairness of laws protecting women’s rights to access to contraception.

Is this the best we can do?

We  should get to decide if and when we have babies or not — especially since women who have children are automatically considered to be less viable in the workplace. How many men give up their careers against their will because they had children?

And if the insurance companies are going to pay for Viagara, they should pay for our Apri, or our IUD, or our diaphragm.

*I have very good, self-aware, contraception-using, parents-of-gay-children, female friends who consider themselves to be “good Catholics.” I don’t get it. The people running your particular show are telling you that you’re sinning and you’re wrong and you and/or your children are going to burn in hell, but you go every week and find great comfort in the ritual or something. Maybe it’s the incense. I don’t get it. I. Don’t. Get. It.

Maybe someone can explain it to me?

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3 Responses to “why aren’t we (women) all screaming?”


  1. February 3, 2012 at 5:05 am

    The contraception thing, I think, dates to Thomas Aquinas, who was the early philosopher for the Catholic church. He challenged the idea of Divine Command theory (which is all about, “if conduct is right, do the gods command it; or if the gods command it is it right?” which is how Socrates went about disproving the idea of Divine Command. Basically it’s, if conduct is right because the gods command it, then anything they command will be right; if they command it because it’s right, then there is an idea of right which exists outside of the gods; either way bringing the idea of the rightness of gods, via Divine command, into question.) Even though this was for the Greeks, and their many gods, it was an old dilemma which Aquinas couldn’t get over. He agreed with it, I think, so he thought about it and decided that goodness and conduct had less to do with Divine Command, than with what was natural. He looked to nature for clues as to what God was all about. If man was of nature, then there were consequences for behaving in an unnatural way, as in the flowers don’t get watered, they are punished by death. So he developed the idea that anything unnatural would result in damnation. Which is why contraceptives are seen as interfering with nature, stem cell research is a sure way to hell and all of that. Of course, there is much hypocrisy in it, and there is also the idea that if man is of nature, then anything he does is natural, which the debunkers love to use.

    The Catholic church has done few favours for women. During the 14th century and the period of the Council of Vienne, they developed the no-abortion rule. Up until then it was only seen as a small sin, akin to killing someone’s pet. The idea being that it was not wrong to kill anything that didn’t have a soul, and only creatures shaped like a human could have a soul. During Council of Vienne, the scientists mistakenly observed that a foetus was a homunculus right from the start, therefore it had a soul. So, by their laws, it was a major sin to have an abortion now that they had seen this. Later on, with better technology, it was observed that a foetus only developed a human shape later into pregnancy, as so, by the original terms of what the church called a sin, i.e., that only something with a human shape could have a soul, an early abortion should still have been allowed. But they never changed the doctrine back to make up for the 14th century scientists who got it wrong.

    I read all of this years ago, and I’m not sure how accurately I recall it, but thought you might find it interesting.

    • February 3, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      Ah, Thomas Aquinas. Don’t get me started.

      Also just ran across this old Jewish prayer: “Blessed are You for not making me a Gentile. Blessed are you for not making me a woman. Blessed are You for not making me a slave.”

      It’s always good to see the “evils” all grouped helpfully into one place.

  2. February 4, 2012 at 2:45 am

    You’re right. As far as the Pope is concerned, in the words of the infamous Earl Butz, “If you don’t playa da game, don’t maka da rules.”


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