Why the Contraception Debate Isn’t About “Women’s Health”

Posted By on March 29, 2012

The hue and cry from the feminist corner during the debate over the Obamacare contraception mandate has painted religious conservatives as backwards, uneducated rubes who are out to prevent women from receiving quality health care. Never mind that the debate is not and never has been over women’s health care. The debate is squarely centered over who is obligated to pay for health care and what constitutes said health care. According to feminists and other pro-taxpayer-funded “health” activists, hormonal contraceptives absolutely fall under the “health care” heading, so anyone opposed to state-funded birth control is simply out to get women and deny them their right to good health.

This is patent nonsense, as two excellent articles this week aptly illustrate:

Contraception Isn’t Healthcare; It Isn’t Even Helpful ~ Although the exception rather than the rule, those demanding free oral birth control quickly and often point out those women who need birth control to treat their medical conditions. They become downright indignant and sanctimonious about those poor women, those poor women in pain, who will suffer if the government doesn’t force religious organizations to provide free birth control for everyone….

I will state the obvious: Contraception is about contraception, not my medical affliction. We’ve established that contraception is insufficient in addressing medical problems anyway and rather causes more medical problems, but even if it the pill did appropriately treat my medical condition, most women want contraception for contraception…. This battle that these so-called feminists are waging supposedly on my behalf is exploiting my disease so they can have free birth control. These are healthy women who want a pill to make their bodies unhealthy (and infertile) at their whim. Meanwhile, women like me with legitimate health problems who want to protect our fertility are left without acceptable options. This “poor woman” found and paid for her own treatments in spite of those who feign to care about her and are using her for selfish gain. I took care of myself. Since getting birth control is infinitely easier than what I endured, is it too much to expect these women to take care of themselves as well?

Abortion pill safety concerns ignored and Australian woman dies ~ Australia has had its first death of a woman using the abortion pill to terminate her pregnancy at home.  The Australian confirms that the woman died of sepsis “some days after” having the medical abortion at one of Marie Stopes International Australia’s (MSIA) 14 Australian clinics back in 2010…. Are we putting women’s health at risk here?  It causes me concern that in the area of abortion and contraception normal medical rules seem to fly out the window.  Laws and guidelines are openly flouted or fudged over, almost in a pro-abortion and ‘right to choice’ fervor…. It does make you wonder whether if we had a drug which had seriously injured people in another area of medicine we would continue to use it.  Especially because this is a situation where, in reality, there is not even a medical problem with the mother but simply a natural state of being.

If so-called “women’s rights activists” really care about women, why do they continue to push a chemical/ hormonal cocktail with known medical risks (including, but not limited to stroke, loss of natural libido, and early abortion)? Why do they celebrate a pill that can terminate a child but also has the possibility of killing the mother in the process? It really begs the question: Who is pro-woman? Is it the pill-pushers (who want taxpayers to fund their habits) or those out there seeking real solutions to genuine women’s health issues without resorting to deadly means (funded through our tax dollars)?

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About The Author

Jennie is the wife of Matthew and mother of ten children, all of whom keep the household bubbling with life, learning, and levity. Jennie co-founded LAF in 2002 with Lydia Sherman and has been delighted to hear from women all over the world who enjoy their femininity and love to cultivate womanly virtues.

Comments

13 Responses to “Why the Contraception Debate Isn’t About “Women’s Health””

  1. cdmi says:

    Mrs. Chancey,

    This is why a normal debate/discussion leaves people angry and resentful. And it is why things escalate over time.

    If you believe that birth control use for medical reasons is not a valid argument for the birth control debate that is fine and you are absolutely entitled to your opinion. I do not have the right to change it no matter what I believe.

    However, your tone hurts people. If you want to educate, or increase knowledge to the masses about your opinion, than why do you use the tone that you do? “Because the other side does” is not a valid argument because we should not stoop to another person level.

    I admire your passion in regards to this issue. If people were this passionate about this issue, as well as others, I believe we may have come to some type of resolution long ago. However, I do not admire your tone in regards to it. It is your tone that has caused some individuals to believe the items you mention in your post. And it is the manner in which you give your ideas that causes individuals to not come and “sit at the table”.

    Flame me, rebuke me, criticize me, let everyone see how “horrible” the other side is. But please know, the tone to which you speak to “the other side” causes people to just give up trying to understand your position and opinion.

    cdmi

  2. hollymurphy1 says:

    I find it so amusing that processes that are clearly invasive, harmful, and suspect can be labeled health care. Intelligent women can read the problems themselves, and yet we can be labeled backwards. These same women would be freaking out if we tried to offer them anything else that might harm them, but as long as we don’t mess with their reproductive rights. So, use what you want, but my concience does not allow me to pay for it. Whose rights are being trampled!!

  3. cdmi, I am not sure where my “tone” is offensive. The tone of articles from the “other side” is reprehensible and completely writes off taxpayers like me who do not want to fund contraception and abortion. Don’t take my word for it. Here are some that have come through my newsfeed in the past few months:

    http://jezebel.com/5847721/will-conservatives-outlaw-birth-control – Conservative initiatives are “nutty” and “scary”
    http://feministing.com/2011/08/08/sex-birth-control-and-the-far-right-social-agenda/ – Conservatives want to “force women to breed” and are “regressive” (and other ad hominem attacks with no basis in reality)
    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/02/19/birth-control-spawns-right-wing-hysteria – The right wing is spreading “hysteria” over birth control.
    http://www.alternet.org/visions/154643/the_right-wing_plot_to_control_your_health_care – Right-wingers are plotting to “control” women’s health care. (The shoe is firmly on the other foot when we have liberals telling us we have to pay for other people’s health care choices whether we want to or not. Who gets “control” if we have no say in how our tax dollars are spent?)

    Where have I “flamed” you? I don’t find that anywhere. You are just as entitled to your opinion as I am to mine, but you are not entitled to my tax dollars. Sorry. That’s just constitutional fact. No one on the conservative/religious side of this issue is saying you do not have the free choice to go out and buy birth control if you want to use it. You have a right to spend your money on what you like. You just don’t have a right to spend mine. ;)

    Let’s at least agree that women’s health is not served by people redefining “health” to include choices that destroy human life.

  4. Regina says:

    Thanks Mrs. Chancey or Jennie( I’m not sure how I should address you)
    for this post. I wonder just how many babies over the years have been prevented from being born who might have been the one to cure cancer or some other terrible diseases? How many could have been a Mother Theresa or Dr. Rev Martin Luther King?
    Thank you again for this article and I’m happy to see this site is still around.

  5. snvarbor says:

    You are right, you are right, you are right. Just some affirmation for you because this was great and true. I shared it to Facebook. I wish I could send it to Slate, but they are very mean and hateful about the truth in this subject. I wish we could get this to the mainstream media, why do they ignore this? The truth is hard for them and against their agenda.

  6. jolene407 says:

    For what it’s worth, readers should not forget that some medical conditions are indeed best addressed by contraceptives. In fact, I use contraceptives to protect my future fertility.

    I had a series of uterine polyps at a relatively young age and was told by more than one doctor that my best option for regulating my body’s tendencies not to properly shed the uterine lining was to go on low-dose birth control. Having too many of these polyps can leave your uterus scarred and make you less able to have children. Thus, I have been on birth control for the last eight years. I have not been sexually active during that time, as I am not married.

    I suppose my birth control might not be considered a legitimate medical need if my tendency to get uterine polyps should be interpreted as God telling me that I ought not bear children. However, I have never felt this interpretation of God’s will aligns with what prayer leads me to believe and hope he wants for my life.

    Also — relatedly — to those who argue that your tax dollars should not be spent to pay for policies you do not support: I do not believe capital punishment is God’s will, but my tax dollars still pay for it. (Proverbs 24:29, “Do not say, “I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will render according to the man according to his work.”) I do not believe the war in Iraq is just, but my tax dollars still pay for it. (Matthew 26:52-53, “Then Jesus said to him: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword.”)

    If you are an American citizen who gives to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s, your tax dollars likely pay for causes which you do not support.

  7. Jolene, no one here has argued that birth control is never used for legitimate medical purposes, but the fact that it is abortifacient and has a long history of boosting (rather than reducing) out-of-wedlock births and escalating the destructive “hook-up” culture of today means it’s not something Christians should be promoting, encouraging, or funding. I’m not going to argue with you about capital punishment (which was commanded in Scripture for capital offenses, including murder), but, yes, we absolutely should protest our tax dollars going to anything that is against God’s law or against our consciences. We live in a country that still (for now) allows us to directly contact our representatives and express our opinions and to throw people out of office who blatantly ignore the rule of law, the constitution, and foundational morality. I am required to “render to Caesar,” and I do, but God has also given us the wide open door of representative government that allows us to tell those running the country what we believe they should and should not do with our tax dollars. Thankfully, the blessing of children also means Caesar exempts us from a lot of the enforced “donations” we must make every year. Having these legitimate deductions means families can keep more of their hard-earned money and put it into things they support and need (including medical research into alternative cures that will allow women to say “no, thanks” to hormonal contraceptives and all their side effects–both physical and moral). God bless you as you serve Him according to your conscience.

  8. I agree that the contraception issue isn’t about women’s health, it’s about population control. The goal is to take away the excuse for not using contraception, it is now free. Then they can implement limitations on family size, just like in China. There will be no excuse why you can’t limit your family size because the contraception is given by the government. Then they will only pay for the delivery of the first two children and use such controls to gear society to their humanless Satanic vision.

    If you think I’m being fanciful, just look at Henry Kissinger’s depopulation paper, he wrote at the State Dept. Or just read the writings of our “science” czars who seem to hold the human race in absolute contempt.

  9. SusanneT says:

    There are obviously health issues involved but the real issue about contraception should be about women’s moral health, their femininity and the family.

  10. LoriKay says:

    The argument that birth control pills are used for more than just contraception frustrates me. The issue that seems to be avoided in the media is that synthetic hormones don’t cure anything. They are used to mask symptoms while the root cause of the disorder they are prescribed to treat is never directly addressed. The list of ailments hormones are prescribed for seems to be ever growing, but includes menstrual irregularities, cramping, acne, PMS, PCOS, and endometriosis. These are real problems and women deserve real solutions that will restore them to good health and allow their bodies to work the way God designed them to work. Synthetic hormones only offer temporary relief from symptoms and not a cure. Menstrual issues can often be safely and sanely treated naturally without filling a woman’s body with artificial estrogen.

    Sadly I think many in doctors don’t mind prescribing birth control pills as a quick “fix” instead of working with the patient to find the cause and a real solution. This is why I find this controversy so frustrating – Why are so many women up-in-arms to fight for their “right” to have the medical community treat them poorly? I don’t get it.

  11. LVH says:

    I think topic of healthcare and who should pay for it is a good one to have. However, I want to focus on your concluding statement here:

    “If so-called “women’s rights activists” really care about women, why do they continue to push a chemical/ hormonal cocktail with known medical risks (including, but not limited to stroke, loss of natural libido, and early abortion)? Why do they celebrate a pill that can terminate a child but also has the possibility of killing the mother in the process? It really begs the question: Who is pro-woman? Is it the pill-pushers (who want taxpayers to fund their habits) or those out there seeking real solutions to genuine women’s health issues without resorting to deadly means (funded through our tax dollars)?”

    Women right activists support these medications because they are safe** and fits in line with their rhetoric–women should have control over their bodies. Websites, like Planned Parenthood, are pretty clear in their medication and procedure summaries regarding side effects and warning signs.

    **I’ve seen you ask these questions a few times in the past. I would hope that it is common knowledge that most medications (both prescribed and over-the-counter) carry risks that can range from mild to severe. Hormonal birth control and RU-486 are no exceptions. Yes, the risks from taking hbc include blood clots and stroke (which can lead to death) but they are rare. Deaths from RU-486 are rare as well.

    To put things into perspective:

    NSAIDs, [think aspirin and ibuprofen] can cause serious gastrointestinal (GI) adverse events including inflammation, bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach, small intestine, or large intestine, which can be fatal.” These drugs are also considered to be safe.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m getting the feeling that you don’t believe that medications can be considered safe if severe complications or deaths may occur. If so, I’m curious to read about your position on medication safety, pharmacology and toxicology.

    Second, I’m also curious about why pro-lifers do not spend time talking about the many risks and complications associated with pregnancy & childbirth; post-partum hemorrhage, pre-eclampsia, sepsis, placental abruption, vaginal tearing, post-partum depression and death.

  12. LVH, see LoriKay’s comment, which sums up a lot of our approach to medicine. When my baby sister was a toddler, she was very sickly and caught every illness that came along. My mother began investigating the cause of her compromised immune system and started questioning (in 1980, before it was vogue to do so) the validity of giving children many doses of antibiotics for common illnesses. Her research (and she was a licensed nurse) led her to believe that overusage of antibiotics was creating a host of problems that would come back to haunt our culture years down the road. Fast-forward to today and you have story after story of “super bugs” that are immune to antibiotics and children whose immune systems have been compromised by overuse of antibiotics.

    We’re not Luddites when it comes to medicine, but we do not reach for the medicine bottle first thing. We take care of headaches, for example, by drinking lots of water (dehydration is a key cause of headaches), bathing the temples in lavender oil, and trying other natural, non-medical remedies before swallowing pills that can damage the liver with long-term use. A friend of ours had severe migraines for ten years, and his doctor just kept telling him to pop pills and lie down. Eventually, they became so bad that he went in for a brain scan. The doctors discovered a mass growing next to his brain stem. Thankfully, it was benign, and they were able to remove the whole thing in one surgery with no adverse effects. The surgeon told him the growth had been the cause of his migraines. That’s ten years of popping pills before anyone bothered to look into the cause of his symptoms. As LoriKay remarked, most drugs are designed to mask symptoms (relieve pain) rather than find the root cause of the symptom and treat it. We just don’t go down that road. If pain continues after natural/nutritional remedies have been exhausted, we get checked by a physician who understands that the human body is a total system designed to alert us (pain) when something is wrong.

    We also acknowledge that we live in a fallen world. Our bodies don’t work as they were designed to do (perfectly), so we need to study and understand how best to keep them healthy in a world that presents challenges including food-borne illnesses, disease, and malnutrition. Thankfully, there are many thousands of excellent doctors studying the best ways to treat our bodies through non-invasive and non-damaging means. This goes for women’s health, too (I linked earlier to a medical research group that addresses fertility and women’s health from this holistic perspective with excellent success). And, yes, pregnancy does have its risks, but that’s because we do not have perfect bodies unaffected by sin. It’s not because pregnancy is a disease. We need to stop treating it as such and instead embrace it as a normal event. A good, old-fashioned pregnancy and birth has recently been called “the most scientific,” in fact–meaning that women and children fare better with a non-interventionist approach to pregnancy and childbirth. Doctors and invasive procedures (like C-sections) are there for emergencies (just as they should be), but the vast majority of women will never need those interventions.

    Finally, all OBs and midwives explain the risks of pregnancy right at the beginning so mothers know what signs to watch out for in case of trouble (bleeding, cramping, loss of appetite, sustained fever, etc.). But the risks of stroke and hemorrhage for women are very low during pregnancy (a recent study puts it between .07 and 2.4%, depending on the type of stroke–and that included women who were diabetic or smoked), while the risk of stroke for women on the pill or other hormonal birth control is twice as high as for women who are not using hormonal birth control. Doubling your stroke risk? Doesn’t sound like good medical advice to me.

    But we have to come back around to the core issue here: hormonal contraceptives are known abortifacients (click “birth control” in our sidebar and check the archives for plenty of articles). They were designed to get rid of children–not to treat women for other health issues. I’d much rather see funding going to disease prevention and real cures than to pills that cause harm and do not treat the root causes of real illnesses. LoriKay hit the nail on the head: “Sadly I think many in doctors don’t mind prescribing birth control pills as a quick ‘fix’ instead of working with the patient to find the cause and a real solution. This is why I find this controversy so frustrating – Why are so many women up-in-arms to fight for their “right” to have the medical community treat them poorly? I don’t get it.”

  13. hchenninger says:

    In my case, although I already was on contraceptive medication, my doctor helped me to use a stonger contraceptive to balance the truly destructive and debilitating mood swings that I was experiencing at that time in my life. I needn’t go into details, but I was facing the possibility of being institutionalized at the time. Now, a few years later, I find that even to miss the four days when I take the ‘inactive’ pills in the pack are an emotional agony, and I can’t wait to get back on to the active ones! While I realize that a stronger psychiatric medicine could probably have the same effect, I think it would have a greater impact on my body and psyche than ‘the pill’ does. As it is, I pay for my own pills rather than relying on state help, but I don’t think it is quite right to say that they don’t have a deeper medical relevance than contraception. For many people they can and do have.

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