Thursday, February 16, 2012

Attention Stupid Old (and not so old) Men

Do the world a favor and please keep your Jesus out of my health matters.

I understand there is a passage in the Bible about being fruitful and multiplying, but that passage also came from a time when infant mortatlity was high and multiple children were necessary to help do the work needed for a family to survive.  Authors weren't taking into account that the population of this planet would one day be 7 billion.  Let's face it, the very sexist authors of the Bible also enjoyed the idea that childbirth is something that should make women suffer.

The stupid old men who control the Catholic Church (and the stupid young men who follow them) will never know what it's like to have children.   Despite this, they seem to think they know best when it comes to a woman's health.  Organizations run by Catholic Church seem to think it's fine to allow their insurance companies to deny women access to birth control, even though the employees may not practice a religion that believes a radical Jewish man who was executed for treason by the Romans in ancient Palestine is somehow responsible for the state of their soul after death due to some bizarre system of cosmic justice. 

They feel this way even though it costs them nothing. They believe this even though the majority of Americans, in fact the majority of Catholics, use birth control and support the coverage of it.  I'd like to know who is forcing their beliefs on whom right now. 

The problem with this minority of religious nutjobs, including the Cathlic clergy and right-wing Quiverfull types, is that they really have no clue about pregnancy and childbirth.  They deny that this is a health issue. 

To them, pregnancy is what they see in the movies.  A woman finds out she is pregnant. She joyously looks at the positive test with her husband.   Maybe she has a complaint or two about morning sickness, but otherwise nothing really changes.  She gets this adorable "bump" in her belly.  After a soft-focus montage, lasting only minutes, where we see her panting and sweating and holding her supportive husband's hand, she is presented with a healthy baby.   Soon everything is back to normal, except now she has a child, a special blessing that will bring constant and lasting happiness.

Prior to the last century, childbirth was the leading cause of death in women.  Pregnancy is not something any woman should take lightly healthwise.  It's true that thanks to the advances in modern medicine both mother and infant mortality rates have dropped, but I think availability of reliable birth control is also a factor (fewer babies being born means fewer mothers dying from childbirth).  Even today women can still suffer all kinds of life-threatening complications such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, which often mean ending a pregnancy in order to save a mother's life. 

What really happens to a woman when she is pregnant?  You think that "bump" is beautiful?  Imagine carrying around an extra 30 pounds and seeing your body all stretched out.  Morning sickness isn't always just in the morning and can last all 9 months for some women.  There is the pressure on the bladder that makes her have to go to the bathroom constantly.  She may suffer from swollen feet and ankles. She may also develop hemorrhoids.  Pregnancy can be painful and uncomfortable and forces a women into many unpleasant physical changes. 

Once it's time to deliver the child, a woman may endure hours, even more than a day's worth of painful labor.  Yes, we all know childbirth hurts, but I don't think anyone who hasn't done it will never know how much.  Again, it's not what you see on TV.

Once the baby is delivered her body may now be permanently altered.  Her feet could be bigger (and will now need a whole new shoe wardrobe).  Her breasts will have changed shape.  She has stretch marks on her belly.  Maybe she now has varicose veins.  Her bladder may be weaker and she has to be careful of stress incontinence.  If she's not a rich celebrity who has the time and money to pay a trainer and a nutritionist, she may not lose all of the baby weight.  All of that might cause her husband to feel less attracted to her because she doesn't look like she did before the baby, and that can cause problems in the marriage.  Life does not just automatically go back to normal once the baby pops out.

What about other health issues related to birth control?  Many women take the Pill because it helps prevent ovarian tumors and PCOS.  It can also help ease extreme menstrual discomforts such as severe cramping and irregularity. 

Maybe it's because religious nutjobs believe in the curse of Eve and crap like that and probably think women deserve it.  If a woman doesn't want all of the physical pain and discomfort, she shouldn't have sex, right? How about men?  Are men not supposed to have sex?   The same insurance plans that can't cover birth control can cover Viagra.  Should a priest's conscience tell a single Jewish male doctor at a Catholic hospital that he can't have Viagra coverage?  I would hope so if  they say a married female Jewish female doctor at the same hospital can't have birth control pills.

Access to birth control is not just a health issue, but it's also a money issue.  It's far less expensive to prevent a baby than it is to raise one.  Children are a luxury that many families simply can not afford.  Children can't be responsible for the sins of their parents, so therefore the child must somehow be clothed, fed and housed if the parents are unable to provide these things for the child themselves.  That puts the burden on the taxpayer.  Oddly enough many of birth control's most vocal adversaries seem to have issues with the idea of public assistance for needy children.  The Catholic Church officially supports such programs, but just as the majority of Catholics use birth control, many of the hard-line crispy Catholic types outside of the clergy do not share this belief (e.g. Rick Santorum).  Women with children may be less able to contribute to the economy in other ways and can be less productive.  They miss work days due to sick children.  They have less money to spend because of health care costs.  Why deny them a chance to dictate their own destinies and financial futures?

So why should these stupid sluts who are evil enough to not want to risk their health or their finances to have babies be covered?    Birth control is cheap, right?  If you want birth control, just go to the doctor and get it and pay for it.  The problem is that it's not cheap at all.  Even insured women have to struggle to cover the costs (I speak from experience on this).  Women have been pushing for better insurance coverage on this for years because of this.  Most of us hear about the president's mandate and say, "It's about time!"

It's universal.  It's necessary for both physical and financial health.  It's expensive.  Those are three very good reasons why we need comprehensive birth control coverage.  Stop this ridiculous smokescreen of religious freedom.  If birth control is against your religion, don't use it.  As for you stupid old men, until you can have babies yourselves, until you're actually having sex (in this case, diddling altar servers doesn't count), you have no say in this matter.  You can't force your religious beliefs on my health care just because you find it morally wrong.

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