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May
18

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an open letter to republican women

Dear Republican Women, I have always believed we are women first, Democrats or Republicans second. I believe strongly in the power of sisterhood, and have taken pride and solace in the fact that women look out for each other and support each other.

Women's Hands

Suddenly, though, it seems we’ve let politics override that. Why are we letting men tell us what we can or can’t do with our bodies, with our lives? Why are we not fighting for our rights as women — together?

We have been hearing a lot from your male colleagues lately, but you have remained surprisingly quiet — yes, even you, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann. Is this because you realize that much of what the Republican men have been involved in is wrong on so many levels? I am very angry about the so-called “Republican War on Women” but I know many Republicans are women — and many are my friends — so this actually breaks my heart. I’m genuinely interested to hear what you think about all of this. Please leave comments below or email us at info@stylesubstancesoul.com. By opening up the discussion, listening to each other respectfully and trying to understand each other, we can hopefully close some of the gap. Let’s go over some of the activities of the past week, starting with the picture that threw many people over the edge: Do you think that anything about women’s birth control should be decided solely by a group of men? And what do you think about the Virginia bill that requires women seeking abortions to first undergo a transvaginal ultrasound which has been called “state-sanctioned rape?” Do you think it is ethical, humane or compassionate to force a woman to undergo an invasive procedure which is medically unnecessary? Many people are mortified by a comment made by Rick Santorum’s SuperPac backer Foster Friess, who told reporter Andrea Mitchell, “Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.” Santorum dismissed this statement as a bad joke, but he has said contraception “is not okay,” and his platform is all about abstinence.  So women who don’t want to get pregnant need to just say “no” – even if they’re married? How do you think their husbands will react to this? (Your own Bob Dole, by the way, was the poster boy for Viagra which is covered by most insurance companies. So, men are encouraged to seek sex but if we agree, we have to pay for our contraception? Then why aren’t diaphragms sold over the counter like condoms?) More to the point, have you ever used birth control?  Do you think it should be covered by your insurance company? Every survey shows that an overwhelming majority of women — even Catholic women — have used contraception at some point in their lives. If it’s against your religious belief, don’t use it, but why should a woman have to abide by someone else’s religious beliefs? Which brings me to the big point – the separation of church and state. Our country was founded on a philosophy of religious freedom — not Christian freedom. Religion and Christianity are not synonymous. Our citizens are individuals of every race, color, religion. Do you think it’s right to pass laws based on religious beliefs? Our founding fathers were all about escaping religious tyranny and giving everyone the right to practice their own religion. I will leave you with these words from Susan B. Anthony who fought so hard and so courageously to win women the right to vote: “No self-respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her sex.” Let’s discuss.

Comments

  1. Mighty quiet here… I appreciate your approach Lois. We (women) need to work together and support each other in our varied beliefs about a lot of things. And yes, let’s open up a dialogue! I hope some Republican women will chime in here: I’m always interested in listening, and considering other points of view.

    • Thanks, Jennifer. I hope you’ll share, and maybe we can get some Republican women to weigh in here. Would love to open up a dialogue …

  2. Ginny Gerth says:

    This hits it right in the face! Good for you!! I think there ought to be a march this summer. And as childish as it sounds, it’s time to withhold until these men realize that while they think they can control women, when it comes down to it, we control life.

    • I agree about the march. And as far as witholding, that’s something the Republican women should definitely consider. Thanks, and hope you’ll share.

  3. I agree with everything you said. *Some* Republican women (notably Ann Stone, National Chairperson at Republicans for Choice) are just as angry as we are (yesterday, Stone called her party “gender stupid”), but they are drowned out by the voices of intolerant and reactionary fear. I personally think their motivation is less religion and more demography, because they’re afraid that Caucasian Americans are on a path to becoming a minority so they need to make more babies! That perspective would at least resolve some of the logical fallacies in their position. The only other explanation is that they want to take women back a hundred years and the most effective way to do that is to legislatively control and assault their bodies. These fanatics won’t be happy until they’ve put The Handmaid’s Tale in the nonfiction section.

  4. I am more socially liberal than what many would call a Republican Woman – and I fall along the far right spectrum fiscally and somewhere in the middle on the social scale. As for the Virginia law, I think we, as a people wholely and reprehensible undereducate our women about our bodies. A TV ultrasound is not rape, nor is it really invasive.. no more than a pelvic exam or pep smear. It does however give a woman, if SHE chooses to look, a much better education on the status of the fetus/child she is carying. At 6 weeks gestation, one can see a heartbeat and at 11 weeks, quite a bit more.. I am toen by this as I know it will cause many to seek an alternative.. and those who make the choice to continue, may suffer more emotionally for knowing – but they are educated and making an educated decision/choice. Virginia is also discussing an embryonic “life” debate – where the status of an embryo is in question. In my opinion, this one needs to be thrown away as it will ultimately limit the choice of women and men to persue In-vitro fertilization. As for the Catholic institutions being forced to pay for insurance converage for contraceptives, I am against that. It’s really not a religious freedom thing in my opinion, it’s a government overstepping its bounds thing – I don’t understand why the insurance company cannot add a rider for this coverage, at the group rate to those who work for Catholic institutions. Having a right to contraception in my mind is way different than having a right for someone else to pay for it. Infertility coverage – same scenario in my mind, some companies offer it, most don’t. Admittedly, I am so anti abortion that I could easily fall into a pro-lifer generalization, but I am also of the mindset that any governement, especially ours that purports to be a goivernement by, of and for the people needs to stay out of my kitchen, my parenting(including my children’s lunch box)
    , my bedroom and my body.

  5. Kenni Judd says:

    Outlawing abortion will NOT increase the affluent white population. Women in that group will always be able to obtain safe abortions — privately, under an altered code, from their local physicians, or by traveling to a country where the abortion can be performed without such subterfuge.

    Poor women, however, will die from from unsafe, illegal abortions — and their fetuses will die with them. Or, they will bear a child which further chains both the woman and the child into poverty and public assistance (for which GOTP does not want to pay).

  6. Although I think abstinence is an ineffective method of birth control, because people just aren’t going to do it, I also wonder about it. Why is it women’s responsibility to just say no? Are men so incapable of self-control? Or are they easily lead astray by wanton hussies and gay men? I don’t see birth control as simply a women’s issue. It takes two to make a baby and it should take two to bear the responsibility for it. That includes the cost of raising them, educating them etc. These are areas where the Republicans want to cut budgets. I don’t get it.

  7. I’d like to address the requirement that a woman be made, unnecessarily, to hear the heartbeat/find out the gender of the fetus. It is medically unnecessary, and it also assumes a bit of idiocy on the part of women who are coming in for abortions. It assumes that these women have NOT put a lot of careful thought and deliberation into this decision. It treats them as if they just woke up on a Tuesday morning and said “Hey, I’m pregnant. I think I’ll get an abortion and then do lunch at Denny’s!”

    No, they HAVE thought about this. They HAVE weighed options and given this consideration. They don’t need a medically unnecessary procedure (which I just bet the state does not want to pay for) to insinuate that they have not given this careful thought. It is Virginia’s way of saying “You have decided to have an abortion? CLEARLY you are not thinking clearly. Here…listen to the heartbeat. still? Good lord, woman, you’re making the wrong decision!”

    Women who are making this choice are not doing so lightly. It is an irreversible decision, so it is something that must be carefully considered and weighed. To assume that a woman in this position is not doing this is an insult.

  8. @tina – interesting point about having a rider to insurance coverage for birth control. I will never have any use for Viagra. Do we add a rider to insurance coverage for that? How about treatment for prostate cancer, do we add a rider for that. Since breast cancer is mostly about women, will we need a rider for that too? Insurance is for everyone and at my stage in life I no longer need birth control, but I don’t want that option taken away for any woman who wants it. I have a son, no daughter, but I am a woman first. We need to stand together to protect our rights. And we need to listen to women. 98% of Catholic women have used birth control??? And please someone let me know how many Republican women are abstaining and not using birth control.

  9. Tanya Little says:

    I do not associate myself with either party. I have both liberal and conservative views, though mostly liberal. I do, however, think this “war on women” is absolutely ridiculous and asinine. Not only is it demeaning toward women, but completely useless as a political topic. Our education system is broken, our economy is in shambles and most every country hates us because we impose ourselves where we don’t belong. Why are we talking about basic human, basic WOMEN’s, rights instead of trying to fix what is ACTUALLY wrong with our nation. This topic is wrong on so many levels. -.-

  10. Tanya Little says:

    After reading Tina’s comment, I have one more thing to add.. Catholic institutions will not be required to partake in the birth control coverage. Also, the ultrasound they are requiring is far different than a simple pap smear. I have had one, as had my sister. Mine was fairly uncomfortable, but not too awful (not something, however, that I would wish to repeat). My sister, who is quite small, felt much pain from this. I also agree with Misty. I do feel that this is insinuating that the women seeking an abortion are just completely uneducated.

  11. I am fiscally conservative and sit more in the middle when it comes to social issues. I do not like Obama, but the idiots running for the Republican side are just as bad. Why would anyone vote for Santorum? Why are we having this discussion about contraception and abortion? Who gave these men, most of whom had very little to do with raising their own children so have no idea what they are talking about, the right to decide about my health? Why did we vote them in and how do we get them out…NOW! And if these men really think birth control is unnecessary, that women should be held responsible for miscarriages (guilty first until proven innocent), and abortion should be made illegal, then all of them need to be neutered. We don’t need them procreating any more. God knows we have enough imbeciles in the world already.

    As for Tina’s comment, I disagree. Having had an abortion, I went in knowing exactly what I was doing. I didn’t need to be “educated” about my decision. It was a hard decision. I did not make it lightly, and I don’t know if I would do it again, but it was the right decision for me at that time.

    Personally, I don’t think Viagra should be covered and birth control not. If its for these men who don’t believe in birth control, absolutely not. We wouldn’t need it.

  12. Just watched a bit of the movie Freakonomics last night where they made the direct correlation between Roe v. Wade decision and the reduction of crime in our country 20 years later. Our Republicans appear to have nothing but hatred for the poor who rely on welfare to feed their children. From what I hear, their desire is to end welfare altogether. How then will these children survive? Is there no consideration for quality of life? I look forward to the day when we all act out of compassion for each other, cooperate to make life better for all.

  13. Sally Franz says:

    At the heart of the issue is this, Republican men, no… Neo-conservative men who have hijacked the Republican party for their own gain have spent the last 20 years building a system and power machine that is hard to stop. They are spinning out of control and are fueling the hate system.

    Watch carefully. They will have us at each others throats and then the fox goes in for the hen. They will change laws so that they can stay in power. The Patriot Act is a good example, talk about Orwellian 1984-Speak. They will give themselves more and more and be watched (stopped) less and less.

    So let’s use this current fight to stand together. Let’s surprise them by refusing to hate. Let’s refuse to let them repeal laws that protect women (birth control, abuse). Let’s make sure there is Separation of Church and State. Women need to fight together or the fox will indeed swallow thew hen whole.

  14. Kim Fenner says:

    Anyone who says a vaginal ultrasound is not invasive probably hasn’t had one. I had one after a miscarriage. It was very painful and definitely invasive.

    I have 3 daughters and 2 grand daughters and I feel like I have to protect their future. Republican men are out to push us back 100 years (at least).

  15. I love that you are doing this. I have been watching Mad Men and thinking about how women were treated then and how “normal” it was. How we just accepted our subservient place. I believe there are still many women out there who still feel financially or emotionally dependent on men; who have been brainwashed to believe they could not get along without the men in their lives. So they dare not even THINK the men are wrong, never mind actually act on it.

  16. Priscilla Nelson Johnson says:

    I do not consider myself a Republican, nor do I consider myself a Democrat. I think that both parties are nothing but a self serving reelection machine and with that in mind they make “promises” that they can not keep as well as override what is good for the nation as a whole.
    I have a couple of points…
    I do believe in 100% separation of Church and State. Therefore, no government should tell religious organizations what their doctrine should be, as well as, no religious organization should dictate our governing laws.

    I appreciate the point that Sally Franz made. The problem is the neo-conservatives that have used the Republican party as a platform. And yes, shame on those Republicans that have “allowed” it in order to get nomination votes.
    I will add the I greatly resent the name calling I have seen lately. Not ALL Republicans are “women haters” “assholes” ‘DEMONS” etc. Just like not ALL Democrats are “Communist”, “Uneducated” etc. I come from a family of Republicans. The men in my family are amazingly supportive human beings. My Dad was a very conservative (economically)Republican that was 100% supportive of women’s rights and social issues (including gay rights!). As a woman I was raised with no barriers. I NEVER heard the kind of stuff that is being assigned to “all republicans”. I do RESENT the negative and nasty names being thrown out there. It is an insult to my Dad as a “republican man”. I know from experience and involvement that MOST republicans DO NOT support the current rhetoric out there.

    The majority of Republicans (both men and women) I are sickened by the neo-conservative rhetoric we are all hearing. They might not be making a “scene”, but they are as concerned as to how the “minority” is trying to take over. As an independent I do not chose “my candidate” based on party fanatical loyalty. Registered Independent and proud of it! I have eliminated 3 candidates and I am currently researching the other two as to how they have voted on EVERY issue (time consuming!). It is then that I will make my educated vote! One is a Democrat and the other a Republican.

    Just because “many Catholic women use contraceptives” does not give the government the right to force a change in the organizations doctrines. Separation of Church and State works BOTH ways. This coming from a non religious person!

    My Mom is “Republican woman” and no man has EVER told her how to vote, dress or act! My sister is a “Republican woman” and NO man has ever told her how to vote, dress or act! And, yes, they have voted Democrat as well!

    Let’s be very concerned, let’s keep the discussion open. And by all means let’s make others aware of the consequences of the political rhetoric out there. But please, lets do so without the name calling as well as the judgmental “grouping” through statements like “all republican men and women”. Just like in the Democratic party most are middle/moderate “liberals”, in the Republican party most are middle/moderate “conservatives”. In the media (corporate money making business) the “middle/moderate” voice doesn’t sell. So, they give “time” to the extreme neo-conservative and neo-liberal voices.

  17. Let me start by saying that after reading your article, I debated on posting a response. The reason being that it appears that while you say you want to understand Republican women, it seems more like you have already made the assumption that those of us who don’t belive like you do are somehow “wrong”. That being said I do feel it is important for people to realize that there are women who view things differently that those who are making the most noise so to speak.

    I do agree with you that the Virginia law goes to far. Having had a vaginal ultrasound when I was pregnant with my second child, I can tell you that it does feel invasive and I do not think there is any reason (other than to force and agenda on a woman) to perform such a proceedure on a woman prior to her getting an abortion. While I personally do not feel an abortion is right for me, I do recognize the rights of other women to make that decision for themselves. I also think that the majority of women who make that choice have done so after much thought and that they have agonized over the decision. I see no reason to further their mental torment by subjecting them to the vaginal ultrasound.

    Now for the issue of birth control. Personally, while I do feel that birth control should be available to women and men, I do not feel that insurance companies should be forced to provide it to them. Equating Viagra with birth control makes no sense. Viagra is utilized to treat erectile dysfunction which is a medical problem. Birth control is most often utilized to prevent pregnancy. In cases where birth control is used to treat a medical condition then, it should be covered by insurance but cases where it is used to prevent pregnancy, then no, it should not be. I would equate the use of birth control pills with condoms which are not covered by insurance companies. Condoms can help prevent STDs so in some ways it makes more sense to cover them but I don’t hear people discussing that.

    I think that we have become so caught up in wanting insurance companies to pay for all of our care that we have aided in forcing their prices to skyrocket in recent years. Not only have costs for medical care risen dramatically forcing insurance companies to lay out more money per individual, but they have also added to what they cover over the years also adding to their costs and ultimately ours. I believe that we need to take more responsibility in our own healthcare and that the smaller medical costs should be paid by the individual and insurance utilized for the higher ticket items. If we can afford to have cell phones, cable tv, ipods, etc., surely we can afford the occasional trip to the doctor. That being said I do recognize that there are those who cannot afford that. The system needs to find ways to deal with those people through clinics and such to take the burdon off of those families.

  18. Priscilla Nelson Johnson says:

    May I add. WE are creating a divisive atmosphere by the continues use of “republican women should…” It immediately creates a defensive atmosphere. Let’s change it to “ALL women”, regardless of political and religious affiliation. should be vigilant as to our rights to make our own life altering decisions. I resent any man OR woman telling me what I need to do, or how I should think. The key is for ALL women to have the right to choose either way.

  19. You are missing the main point here. You are being manipulated by the Liberal Progressives and main street press. They want to distract you from Obama’s economic failures.
    No one is going to take away your right to use contraceptives. The religious organizations just don’t want to go against their beliefs and pay for birth control (no matter how Obama disguises payment). Obama is just looking to give away more “things” to basically buy more votes. It’s that simple. Please don’t get distracted. There is no free lunch. Why let Obama spend today, borrow today and let your children and grandchildren live with massive Greek Style Debt in the future? It is already too late. A Debt Crisis is coming, not “if” but “when”.
    Additionally, please read the constitution. There is no “separation of Church and State”. The First Amendment to the Constitution says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. Again, the Liberal Progressives have “changed” the meaning to help them manipulate you.
    The Federal Government should only be active in areas the affect all Americans. They are meddling in deciding the Winners and Losers in this country only to separate us angling for votes. Again, it’s all a manipulation to get us to vote emotionally, not logically.
    Don’t get distracted, just follow the money.

  20. Kathryn Belzer says:

    Congradulations on offering the forum for discussion. I do think that the points made here with respect and clarity beat the quality of the candidates debates by a country mile. The wisdom of separation of church and state is immense. The authority in matters of pregnancy and birth must rest with those who bear the responsibility for the potential birth or other result. Many of these pregnancies are not by choice, a simple morning after pill would save a great deal of pain if there were the will to provide for this remedy to unwanted possible insemination. Men and women who have always had enough to share with one more cannot appreciate the need of those who are not.

  21. Libby Trueblood says:

    First, of course anything to do with women’s rights should not be left to the discussions of let alone be decided on by a panel of corrupt old men. But… there is no “war on women” – this phrase was invented by the media and the Democrats in Congress. The discussion is about whether or not private businesses should be “forced” to provide coverage for “birth control” pills or devices.

    In the desire to open a dialogue with all women, I think a better approach would be to not contribute to the “divide and conquer” strategy that has worked so well for our government (which does NOTHING without the participation of BOTH parties) by continuing the divide and conquer ‘labeling’ – like “Republican Women.’ Since when does a ‘political label’ describe how women feel about pregnancy, the prevention of pregnancy, or the termination of a pregnancy? It doesn’t. It never has. Those things are personal and social issues, not political – so let’s stop allowing the government to exploit the issue by ‘making’ it a political issue! The “government” has no legal/Constitutional RIGHT to be involved one way or the other!

    Nobody has threatened to take birth control pills off the market (does anyone REALLY believe big pharma would EVER allow that to happen? Come on…)

    As for abortion… Nobody has threatened to make abortions illegal – not seriously. The whole “abortion issue” is a great big cash cow for BOTH parties and neither is ever going to kill that cow. It’s not going to happen. But if it ever did? Guess what party would be thoroughly delighted. If you didn’t guess the Democrat party you’re wrong. The DNC would be bringing in more money into it’s coffers and more votes to their fixed elections than ever before! They’d love nothing better! Stop letting both parties use us women as political fodder. It’s disgraceful and dehumanizing, two things women have fought for CENTURIES to over-come. Let’s not go backwards!

    What this whole alleged “war on women” boils down to is government using “force” upon the Catholic church to do something it does not want to do because it does not believe in birth control. WE don’t have to agree with the Catholic Church – hell, most Catholic women don’t, be what we truly must do is SUPPORT the church’s right to it’s religion and IT’S choice!

    Do we really want to keep allowing the government to FORCE people, businesses, and religions to do things that go against their beliefs and feelings? Really? No, I don’t think so. I know I sure don’t. I want the federal government OUT of my life! Completely. Period!

    I would never terminate my pregnancy and kill my unborn baby – which is what abortion is: killing an unborn baby, but I do not advocate the reversal or nullification of Roe v. Wade because I know that women have always – for thousands of years – purposely aborted their babies for whatever reason, and they always will. I do not want women to be forced into risking their lives AND their so-called “reproductive rights” by having so-called “back-alley” abortions by hacks instead of doctors.

    “Reproductive Rights” ? What does that even mean? It’s like the misleading phrase “pro-choice,” which ‘means’ “pro-abortion” (why not call it what it is? good question to ask yourselves), and is just as disingenuous and misleading as someone who supports unjustified illegal wars claiming to be “pro-life” instead of saying what they really mean, “anti-abortion.” Anyway…

    Nobody has threatened to “remove” a woman’s right to reproduce or not reproduce. Women can have all the babies they want to (whether they can afford them or not) and they can have no babies if they don’t want to. So, can we call it what it really is? “anti-government control” in ALL aspects of ALL our lives, men and women alike.

  22. Please remove me from your emails.

  23. NotARepublican says:

    I’m not American. But I live in a world that is adversely affected by the US. I cannot believe the way these horror-film characters some of u have elected r behaving towards fellow human beings. It is not about religious freedom, it IS about misogyny, that is so obvious it is that its ridiculous. So why try to engage respectfully with ppl who despise what u physically are? Ppl who think a woman asserting her natural equality is demeaning a man by doing so?
    To Priscilla, who doesn’t like the insults thrown at Republicans: those insults are as close to the truth as one can get. If you support a party that does these things to women, you are a misogynist. Sometimes the worst insult you can think of is inadequate. The word ‘sexism’ doesn’t cause the cultural reaction that the word ‘racism’ does, and yet it causes the same miseries. Replace the concept of ‘women’s rights’ with ‘rights of Jewish ppl’ and see if the ugly truth hits home. Women won’t be rounded up & gassed because they’re bodies r useful & necessary, but the deep level of hatred is there. Domestic violence rates everywhere are almost as bad as anything that happens in war. This is because we treat women like animals in politics & the media without even realizing that we are doing it, & because ppl are too ‘respectful’ towards the ppl doing it. It’s not because women stand up for themselves – its because the same ppl (generation after generation) who ruin our societies are ruining our societies with their psychotic demands for unearned power. The only way to beat them is to see them for what they are, the vanguard of death & destruction, and to FIGHT the next war BEFORE the soldiers & the guns come out. If you won’t do it for the woman next to you, then do it for your sons & daughters.

  24. I’m independent. I lean right fiscally but left socially. Mostly I just want to be left alone to live my life in peace (live and let live!), but I don’t feel like I’ve been able to do that lately.

    If you haven’t already, please google “United States vs. Lee, 1982.” This case was about an Amish employer who did not withhold Social Security from his non-Amish employees because he disagreed with the institution on religious grounds. The Supreme Court decided that, #1, because paying taxes was vital to the best interest of the public at large, the need to pay taxes was more important than religious beliefs, and #2, when a religious institution enters into for-profit business they accept that they are then subject to the same laws, regulations, etc. as any other business. In the current situation, considering over 98% of women take birth control pills at some point, providing birth control coverage would be in the best interest of the broad public, and while churches themselves would be exempt from providing coverage, church-run businesses would not.

    There is a war on women brewing, and I’m surprised at those of you who can’t see it. Below are just a few of the things (in addition to what’s already been stated– no women on the congressional committee, forced ultrasounds in Virginia, personhood bills in so many states) that have happened recently to make me sit up and take notice.

    Utah passed a bill, sponsored by Sen. Margaret Dayton, a Republican, into law in February of 2010 that allows women to be criminally charged if they cannot prove a miscarriage was accidental, despite the fact that about 15% of recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. Women could be legally held responsible for miscarriages caused by “reckless behavior.” Missy Bird, the director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Utah, “there is nothing in the bill to exempt a woman for not wearing her seatbelt who got in an accident.” In Georgia Republican Bobby Franklin sponsored a similar bill in 2010 and 2011 and is still under consideration in 2012. The bill would make miscarriage a crime unless the woman could prove that there was no human involvement in the miscarriage.

    That same guy in GA also introduced a bill in February of 2011 to reclassify victims of rape, stalking, harassment, and family or domestic violence as “accusers” rather than victims. If that doesn’t sail right to the heart of what these people think about women in general, I don’t know what does.

    In February of 2011, the Maryland Board of County Commissioners cut the funding to Head Start, which provides early childhood education to the children of low-income parents, by 50%. Commissioners Smith and Delauter (Republicans) said that women should be married and at home with their kids, as their own wives are, and that if more women stayed home with their children, the program would be unnecessary. We all know from experience how impossible this is, especially in our current economy, not to mention that it completely disregards a woman’s right to choose how to live her own life.

    In October of 2011, the House passed a bill called the “Protect Life Act,” sponsored by Republican Joe Pitts, Pennsylvania. This bill allows hospitals to refuse abortions to women, even for women with life-threatening complications in need of an emergency abortion, so it got appropriately dubbed the “Let Women Die Act” by opponents.

    In February of 2012, every Republican in the Senate Judiciary Committee voted AGAINST reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, which funds services to protect adult and teen victims of domestic violence and sexually motivated crimes. VAWA offers legal aid for victims of violence, programs and services for victims with disabilities, community violence prevention programs, and funding for rape crisis centers and hotlines.

    Currently federal funds cannot be used to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion, except in the cases of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother. Republican Chris Smith, New Jersey, wanted to restrict this further by covering only abortions for pregnancies caused by “forcible rape,” excluding the cases of incest-rape, of women who are drugged or threatened into submission, and cases of pregnancy from statutory rape. His proposal faced strong criticism, and he finally withdrew the “forcible rape” qualifier in February of 2011.

    I really could go on and on. In a time when we should be focusing on getting the economy back on track, creating jobs, and taking care of the poor, homeless, and others who have have been affected by our financial crisis, instead we’re talking about Catholics taking birth control, whether or not those new cells in my uterus should have more civil rights than even I do, and what really qualifies as “rape.” The only way to get back on track is to get these uncompromising my-way-or-the-highway neo-conservatives out of office.

  25. I don’t like politics and this is why, but I do consider myself conservative on most things. First of all, no, Viagra should not be automatically covered by insurance but a CHOICE as a rider for an employer group. Same with birth control. All this talk like women are being suppressed because we can’t have birth control? Says whom? It’s available, I go to my ob/gyn once a year and get a prescription and go fill it. Nowhere am I told I can’t have it. So I pay for it. There’s no federal mandate that Viagra is covered either. If you have an insurance policy that covers Viagra and not birth control, guess what, it’s most likely your employers decision. Benefits are just that, a benefit, not an entitlement, no one deserves to get it for free! I don’t agree with the abstinence fight either, it isn’t practical. But it takes 2 to tango and both have easy access to purchasing condoms. If you don’t like your insurance policy talk to your employer. We need to stop letting government dictate any of this.

  26. I so admire the time. thoughtfulness and passion represented by each of these comments. I am a huge believer in open healthy and informed dialog. I am always educated and inspired by the women in the StyleSubstanceSoul community and this is no exception!

  27. Before all else, I am a Catholic. I am neither Republican nor Democrat because I have major ideological differences with both parties because of my religious beliefs. I suppose I lean more to the Republican side because I’m wary of government controlling things that the states can and should handle, but I am also anti war and capital punishment. I am, however, also anti abortion and anti euthanasia, so I don’t fit in well anywhere.

    My issue with recent debates is that I think it is a gross violation for the government to require Catholic hospitals to provide, cover, or refer people to any practices against their faith. The bishops have made it clear that they will shut down their hospitals before they allow such a violation to occur, which would be a great tragedy because of the millions of poor men and women served by their missions and traditions.

    I am not a perfect Catholic. I have used birth control. I have dear friends who have had abortions, who remain dear friends. I have absolutely no judgement against anyone who has. It’s a horrible situation for anyone. The church is also very sympathetic to woman who have had abortions, and holds regular healing retreats for those who are burdened by guilt following abortions, or who just wish to grieve what they’ve lost.

    I understand the other side, though. I understand the line is very thin for women who have gained so much, and why it is so dangerous that we even lose a little. I understand that there are horrible, heinous situations when women find themselves pregnant, and that abortion really isn’t a black and white issue. For example, the church allows women to treat their own cancer while pregnant even when the death of the baby is likely or even definite. It allows treatment for ectopic pregnancy, which is abortion when the fallopian tubes are removed. These are just two examples.

    I struggle with many of these issues, but never do I think it’s okay for me to impose my will on the Church. I don’t want the church to come down to my level. I want to rise to a high level of purity and perfection. I know I never will, but it won’t help me if the church compromises its beliefs. The real issue in this case is the government overstepping its bounds and trying to force Catholics to deny fundamentals of their faith.

    I know my view as a woman is not a popular one, and I understand why. I want to thank you for giving me a place where I feel comfortable expressing myself. Your post and your comments were generally very civilized, and for that I am thankful.

  28. With so many politicians all knickers in a twist over the horrors of contraception, I think it’s important to note that for every dollar the us government spends on contraceptions, it saves almost four dollars in Medicaid expenditures, according to the nonpartisan gutty schemer institute.
    As for the teapot tempest over the mandate that religiously affiliated institutions offer contraceptive coverage in their insurance plans, the commenter above who referenced US v. Lee is spot on. Besides, catholic institutions in several states were already complying with IDENTICAL requirements made by their state governments, without complaint. The bishops hate the democratcic party, they’re using this non-issue to whip up the base and I honestly wonder how they sleep at night. Methinks the church hierarchy doesn’t give a damn about the poor. They’re too busy worrying about a bunch of fertilized, non-implanted eggs.

  29. Sorry…stupid autocorrect. I meant contraceptives and Non-partisan Guttmacher Institute in my comment above.

  30. A Catholic hospital or University is NOT the Catholic church and has many employees who are not Catholic. In this economy most people can’t turn down a job anywhere. I don’t know any other Catholics who don’t use birth control, so please, it’s all about the old men shoving their erroneous beliefs down everyone else’s throat and then trying to make themselves appear to be the victim of religious intolerance.
    And what hypocrites – look how long it took the Catholic Church to do anything about child molestation INSIDE THEIR CHURCHES, and they had to be dragged by their feet into even admitting it and the same for the snail’s pace of their response.

  31. I keep thinking of a quote from Alice Paul, woman sufferage leader
    “Too many terms corrupts politicians so they only want to be reelected
    Everyone needs to contact their politicians and let them know how they feel. Also, local editorials are very powerful. Emails to friends with email address of your local/state politicians.

  32. I wanted to point out that birth control actually does treat medical conditions, some of which are much more serious than erectile disfunction. For example, it is used to successfully treat PCOS and ovarian cysts, which if untreated can lead to horrible pain and the removal of ovaries. It is also used to treat PMDD, which is PMS on steroids. Without birth control, women with PMDD would have to live monthly through unbearable cramping, nauseau, extreme emotional response, and the like. Certain kinds of birth control also successfully treat acne in women for whom other options don’t work. I personally know women who take birth control for these reasons, and I myself take it for acne.

    There are actually more medical reasons to provide insurance coverage for birth control than there are to provide insurance coverage for Viagra.

    T. Lawson: I see your point, however I think that your logic actually proves why birth control should also be covered under medical insurance if Viagra is covered. The whole point of Viagra is to enable men who have become unable to get/maintain erections to be able to have sex. That’s it. Yes, it’s a medical problem, but that’s the entire point. If a man doesn’t have sex, is there any point in taking Viagra? No. That is exactly what birth control is for. Without birth control, there are women who won’t have sex (or will be much less likely to have sex) because of the risk of a physical consequence: pregnancy. I know I would be one of those women. In my opinion, these reasonings are very similar, similar enough so that both medications should be covered by insurance. Additionally, insurance does not cover conditions in women that cause them to be unable to have sex. I have vaginismus, which makes it impossible for penetration to occur. I have looked into treatment, and thankfully there is treatment out there. The only problem is that it is freaking expensive, being a combination of both physical and psychological therapy. And my insurance covers barely a fraction of it, despite the fact that without this treatment, I cannot have sex. I guess they think that it isn’t necessary for me, a woman, to be able to have sex, while it is necessary for a man to be able to do so.

  33. On a side note, for those who like to bring up the Catholic priest abuse scandal as some kind of counter-argument to this issue (which is entirely separate), you need to understand how seriously the safety our children is taken. You can’t walk into a Catholic school these days without being buzzed in and run through a background check system. You are required to have STAND training at all Catholic churches, schools, and institutions if you work with children in any capacity. Anyone even under an ounce of suspicion is removed while they are under investigation. There is a 0 tolerance policy, and has been for the last decade. (I agree, way too late, but they are extremely vigilant now.)

    I should also point out that roughly 10% of the population are pedophiles, and roughly 10% of Catholic priests are pedophiles.

    There is no excuse for the horrors children have faced at the hands of priests/nuns, and those disgusting adults should be outed and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

  34. RoseMary M. says:

    The responses you are getting to this article both here and on the Huffington Post website are very interesting. (The Post put it under “Politics” not “Women”). Thank you for starting this dialog.

  35. If women are going to be required to listen to their babys’ heartbeat, then the Fathers should be publicly identified and required to pay for any and all expenses. A lot of married men might think twice about having their name in the paper when it is not their wife or girldfriend’s child.

  36. I’m Left on social and right in fiscal and constitutional issues. The gummint shouldn’t be telling a woman what to do with her body, neither should it be paying for it, but ESPECIALLY contraception. If you want to have sex, fine, swing from the ceiling if you like, but pay for your own protection and consequences of poor decisions. Taxpayers paying for contraception is like taxpayers paying for motorcycle helmets for those who ride. If you want CHOICE, great have choice, but if you don’t want the public in your uterus then the public shouldn’t be in your uterus for ANY reason. It’s your uterus, do with it what you please, but leave me out of it.

  37. I am an American who happens to be a woman and who happens to vote. I am in shock and awe of current events. All male birth control panels, aspirin, Virgina and the latest attack an attack on the Girl Scouts. I believe the first woman elected to the house was a Republican. Thanks for the article.

  38. I applaud all of you who have taken the time to speak up, no
    matter on what side of the issues you stand. It takes this kind
    of dialogue to begin to make a difference. The more of us who
    express our concerns, the more we can begin to be taken seriously.
    In reading through all of your comments, I respect your right to
    believe whatever you want to believe, as long as it doesn’t create
    ill will or harm to anyone else. That is the essence of having a voice.
    In reference to the issue of separation of church and state, the big buzz today is over the issue of government interfering with insurance paying for birth control. we need to look at both sides. Government shouldn’t legislate religion and religion shouldn’t have power to legislate government. It should be of great concern to all of us as women to allow any religious faction (often disguised as pure politics) to legislate our bodies and our choices. Roe V. Wade was a step in the right direction. Now we have those who would return to government being allowed to dictate who should and should not have an abortion. There are many examples of
    how ultra-conservatives are attempting to infuse our government with their religious ideology.
    If we want to get religion out of politics, we need to look at both sides.

  39. To the commentor who said that government should not be paying for contraception, and used a biker and his helmet as an analogy… I have to disagree with you.

    Those who, for whatever reason, cannot afford birth control are the ones who need it the most, because how in the world would they be able to afford the cost of pregnancy and birth in itself, let alone raising a child? Also, the biker who chooses to ride his motorcycle and not wear a helmet most likely won’t affect anyone else – if he crashes, the damage to other people won’t be affected by whether or not he wore a helmet. If a woman who can’t afford birth control so has no access to it gets pregnant, not only is her life affected, but so is the father’s, and of course, the child’s, and that child’s children, and so on.

    Birth control, abortion, reproductive rights – those are all issues that are much bigger than themselves, so I believe that every woman or girl who finds herself in that situation should have all of the options in the world available to her, that way she can make the best choice for herself and her family. No one else but she can know for sure what is the best choice.

  40. Roberta S. says:

    Here is the link for the National March Against The War On Women. Each state is forming their own. You can find your state here. We must be heard and never let them forget we are a powerful group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/300397393356744/

  41. Laura is Undeterrable says:

    If this situation were different, such as a company run by a Jehovah’s Witness, and they refused to cover blood transfusions, this would be a very different discussion. Would there be an outcry if someone died because they couldn’t afford the blood transfusion and it wasn’t covered by insurance? I think so. But, because it has to do with SEX suddenly it is just us horny women that want to have magic pills so that we don’t have to take responsibility for anything.

    Maybe we should all wear burkas and not leave the house. That way we wouldn’t tempt any poor men with our evil ways.

    Overall, I see 2 issues. First, the government is simply telling companies that they can’t decide what is or is not medically necessary for employees. Second, this whole political discussion is further proof that women that have sex, even within marriage, are still vilified.

  42. Back up, women and men have a choice when having sex, making love. Getting pregnant is not like catching a cold, you know how it happens. Make responsible choices is the first place.

  43. JustThinking says:

    As a woman who was molested as a child, I find defining a pelvic ultrasound as a rape, extremist, alarmist, manipulative and offensive. I had this procedure it was not pleasant but that is not the point, while I don’t think a woman needs to have one if she decides she needs an abortion, to call it rape minimizes the victimization of actual rape victims.

    I don’t define myself as conservative or liberal.

    I don’t care for the rhetoric on either side of the issues.

    I don’t know if laws should be passed because of religious bias today, however, historically that is where most laws originated. Laws against murder, theft, certain types of sexual acts, alcohol, all originated from the religious beliefs the founding fathers had. Southerners even justified slavery by using the Bible. We may not want to do that today,however, to imply that our founding fathers did not have Christian ideals, on the whole, and that those ideals did not affect laws is disingenuous. As a country, we nay have decided that Christian ethics and laws have no validity today, but that certainly was not the philosophy of our Founding Fathers or the ACLU would not just now be fighting to eradicate the Ten Commandments ( basic tenets of Jewish and Christian faith) from courthouses around this country. Now would “in God we Trust” be on our money.

    I think we can argue, honestly, that yes there were Christian ideals in play originally, in the founding of this country but, as a whole, most liberals no longer think those ideals are relevant or desirable, by the whole.

    I wish there was an honest way to respect either side of this issue so that we can move forward productively.

    I does not seem like much to ask that church run institutions not have to pay to provide birth control coverage if it is truly against their convictions but then I say they should also not cover Viagra that equitable. WOmen who want birth control still have access to it, if they are low income they can get it from the health departments or clinics in their areas with low or no costs and a rider on insurance allows for more affluent women to access without much trouble.

    Historically, this country was not founded on the separation of church and state. That terminology cannot be found in any of the original documents for this country it has just become a rallying cry for those that have no respect for religious institutions. Most of our founding fathers had deeply held religious beliefs and if one does any real research on the subject it is easy to find that they(the founding fathers) thought those beliefs should actually effect how government ran.

    Finally, most who came to this country originally, came to find a place to escape religious persecution so that they could practice the religion that they embraced. It bothers me how the facts of this country’s history have been distorted for the comfort of those who do not believe. I am not saying that religion has any place in today’s governing of our country but to pretend that it had no historical significance, while common in many circles, just is not true.

    I strongly believe that women should have access to birth control and a choice of whether or not to carry pregnancies to term. I just do not believe that it necessary to muddle the issues with hateful rhetoric or inaccurate information.

  44. I’ve had MANY – and I mean MANY TR ultrasounds in my life as I first experienced 2 years of unexplained secondary infertility, and then went on to have a high risk pregnancy. I can honestly say that a TR ultrasound is not only uncomfortable – many times causing bleeding – but they are also pretty humiliating as they leave you in a very vulnerable place physically and mentally as you try to explain to the tech (who is male half the time) why it is you are getting the ultrasound. Is “rape” a fair term? Well, if I am being forced to let someone stick something up into my nether region that I do not want up there…. well…then…. yes. It is of course, in all fairness, a very extreme term to use, but extreme times call for extreme measures. As for what constitutes a “life” – I would like to point out that the republicans are using the Christian definition for that. In Judaism (which, believe me, I have my own issues with) you wouldn’t say a “mourner’s blessing” for a fetus, as it’s not considered a life – and in fact, some sects don’t consider a baby a life until it’s been out of the womb for a full week. Judaism also puts the “life” of the mother as the more important life to consider and there is no anti-abortion stance in Judaism – instead everything is on a case-by-case basis. In general though, if a pregnancy puts a woman’s life at risk – physically or mentally – abortion is allowed. It’s also allowed if it is deemed that the unborn child would be in pain and would suffer due to genetic reasons. Again, on a case-by-case basis. Because women are individuals and HIGHLY valued in Judaism. Now, I am not saying my religion is better than Christianity and therefore our country should be following MY religions rules – I’m saying that no one is considering that MY religion supports ME. I’m not Christian and I shouldn’t have to be governed like I am! As someone who isn’t Christian, I already have a LOT of Christianity pushed on me due to holidays, work/school calendars, and consumerism as a whole, and I am very tolerant of that – technically, I’m the minority here – but keep your laws off my body, please. Also – as far as birth control goes – I have to agree with what everyone else has said in regards to Viagra and IT’S insurance coverage. Nina Turner is officially my hero: http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_1_5/1299339_Bill_introduced_to_regulate_men_s_reproductive_health.html

    HELL YEAH!! EVERY Woman should get behind this bill.

    I don’t care if you are a democrat, a liberal, a republican or an independent. I don’t care if you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim or a Scientologist. WE are Women. WE can do amazing things with our minds and bodies – but they are OUR minds and bodies to use as WE see fit. WE MUST STAND TOGETHER.

  45. Betty Claypool says:

    I am first a woman, no one, no one will tell me what to do with my body. I have three daughters. I fight for their rights and my granddaughters rights and my great granddaughters rights. No Man will ever tell me or my girls what to do with their bodies. We will make that decision.

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