Birth Control Poll

By: hawkgrrrl
March 6, 2012

It’s been interesting to listen to the debate men have been having about women’s reproductive rights, including claims from Rick Santorum that contraception gives one license to do things which ought not be done and perverted pundit Rush Limbaugh referring to an advocate of easier access to contraception for women as a “slut” to the disgust of his sponsors.  This is a political discussion, which means that there can be a difference between what one might do personally, and what one might legislate for society at large.  There are a few reasons people might legislate differently than their personal views in the case of women’s reproductive rights:

  1. Poverty.  There is an undeniable link between poverty and contraception.  Unwanted pregnancy is more common among the poor, who have less access to education, contraception, and financial and social resources needed to raise a child.  Interestingly, Freakonomics showed a clear statistical link between abortion rights and lower crime rates, both in the US (abortion became legal in the 1970s, crime plummeted in the 1990s), and in Romania (the reverse was shown – crime soared when abortion was outlawed under the communist regime).  This illustrates the poverty link and impact to society.  Another article points out that since 2007, Walmart and Target both provide a month’s worth of birth control pills for only $9, making this a discussion that a $108 difference in take-home pay renders moot.  This issue is firmly linked to poverty as only those living hand to mouth (students generally included) are worried about those amounts of money.
  2. Women’s rights.  There is no getting around the fact that pregnancy affects women more than it affects men; to date, no man has ever been forced to carry and bear a child against his will.  Access to birth control and abortion levels the playing field for women.  And most of the legislators involved in this discussion have been men.
  3. The cost of unwanted pregnancy .  Not only is there a financial burden on society for unwanted pregnancies and the care for children, a fact well known by insurance companies who will gladly provide contraception benefits, but there is the cost to society in terms of increased abortions (which are unsafe, but still performed, in countries where abortion is illegal).

Where do Mormons sit generally?  Somewhere to the left of Catholics, but to the right of Gloria Steinem.  Mitt Romney has been viewed as “not conservative enough” by some for his failure to unilaterally oppose abortion rights in Massachussetts, although it is somewhat clear that his personal views are more conservative than his political stance.  He also was credited with a great soundbite on contraception:  “It’s working.  Leave it alone.”  There is generally some reluctance for Mormons to curttail others’ choices given our own history of persecution, and when it comes to contraception, Mormon views have shifted substantially over the last few decades.

In light of this, I wanted to poll our readers to see where we all stand on birth control, including some of the stances that are less clearcut.  Let’s start with some demographics:

I am a . . .

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With regard to the Mormon church I am

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Politically speaking, I am (choose all that apply)

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Should men get a say in women's reproductive rights?

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Birth Control

First, let’s talk about birth control.  The Mormon church’s stance on birth control has changed over time as it has become more widely available and accepted in society.  While we used to have a stance closer to Catholicism a few decades ago, now there is no guidance in the CHI (Church Handbook of Instruction) prohibiting the use of birth control, although men getting a vasectomy are encouraged to discuss the decision with their bishop.  Since lay members don’t have a copy of the CHI, you can guess how often that happens.  When my parents joined the church in 1955, the stance was so strongly against birth control that my parents were persuaded to reverse a vasectomy and have more children.  Had they not done that, Hawkgrrrl might not have even been a Hawkthought.

In the recent Catholic debate, while the bishops have come out with a very hardline anti-birth control stance, actual American Catholic voters are aligned with mainstream voter values (58% of American Catholics approve women having free access to birth control compared to 55% of Americans in general who do).  And while Catholic leaders are against birth control, 98% of sexually active Catholic women have used it.  Rick Santorum (who is to Catholicism what Mitt Romney is to Mormonism in this election, for good or evil) drew fire for opining about the form of birth control common when he was a youngster:  women putting an aspirin between the knees.  (Cue forced laughter after an appropriate waiting period for this strained joke to settle in).

Another point to consider is that birth control pills are not strictly used to prevent pregnancy.  There are many female health problems that are treated with “the pill.”  It definitely isn’t just for contraception.  Let’s see what you think:

My views on birth control are (choose all that apply)

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With regard to my own contraceptive behavior . . . (up to 2 choices allowed)

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Morning After Pill

This form of birth control emerged in the 1990s and gained popularity on college campuses where it became known as the 72-hour pill.  It’s the pill a woman can take after rape, date rape, or consensual sex that she regrets, to prevent a pregnancy from taking hold.  Originally decried as a very early form of abortion, it has become more commonly accepted as a much better alternative to first trimester abortion.  The person taking it has no idea whether she is in fact pregnant.  Many women would like it to be easily available, for example in vending machines on college campuses.

The morning after pill prevents conception by creating a hostile environment and thus preventing implantation. If one is already pregnant and takes it, it will not cause you to abort. Conversely, the abortion pill (RU-486, also known as Plan B) will cause you to have an actual chemical abortion, although it is obviously not invasive (nor surgical) in the way an abortion is.

The church has no official stance on the morning after pill.  These links show there is still a lot of confusion on the church’s stance.  Given our abstinence before marriage and total fidelity after mantra, I’m not sure we’re going to hear a clarification any time soon.  Perhaps just some pamphlets for LDS adoption services.

Let’s find out what you think of these forms of contraception:

My views on the morning after pill are (choose the 1-2 answers that most closely fit your view).

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The church’s stance is that elective abortion is immoral.  If a woman has previously had an abortion and wishes to join the church, she must have clearance at the Mission President level or higher.  However, the church does allow for abortion (after prayerful consideration) in cases of rape, incest, if the health of the mother is in jeopardy, or if the baby will have severe birth defects.  These are not considered “elective” abortion. 

In these cases, the church encourages the couple to make the decision prayerfully and to consult with the bishop.  An story was told in which Romney, a young bishop, went to the hospital where a sister in his ward was going to abort a fetus and attempted to block her from doing so.  So, what do you think?

At what point in pregnancy does ending the pregnancy become abortion?

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Which most closely matches your political view about abortion? (choose the one that most applies)

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What most closely matches your personal views on abortion? (choose all that apply)

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Do your views on contraception reflect your view of humanity in general?  Do they reflect your political views?  Do they reflect your personal choices?  For good measure, let’s end with two broader poll questions:

What is your personal stance on so-called morality legislation? (choose the answer that most closely fits)

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Which description most closely matches your view? (Choose the best ONE for you)

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54 Responses to Birth Control Poll

  1. Stephen M (Ethesis) on March 6, 2012 at 5:47 AM

    Though if you mention Limbaugh, you should also link to the perversions on the other side as well (you can get more from Fire Tag)

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  2. hawkgrrrl on March 6, 2012 at 5:53 AM

    Yes, I saw that Daily Beast article today, and I heartily agree. It certainly points out that men can be misogynist pigs regardless of their political affiliations.

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  3. psychochemiker on March 6, 2012 at 5:55 AM

    This is just silly.

    Let’s change some of the nouns around.

    Women don’t have prostates so they aren’t allowed to have valid opinions or a say in discussions about the public policy regarding hormone testing and treatment.

    Black people aren’t white people so they aren’t allowed to have valid opinions or express those in discussions with regard to “race issues”.

    Seriously people, it is nothing BUT sexist to say men can’t express their opinions. And FTR, birth control (the pill) only costs 9$ / month at target and Walmart. Until there’s a study showing there’s a sizeable population that doesn’t have 9$ of choosable money (e.i., no cell phone, no starbucks, no dessert etc.) Basically, when it comes down to it, we all make choices with what we pay for in our lives for the things we think are important. Sex is not “a basic human right” any more than “birth-control” is. It is a choice one makes, and you should pay for your own f**king decisions, literally.

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  4. psychochemiker on March 6, 2012 at 5:56 AM

    And women can be sexist b*tches regardless if they are apostate Mormons or non-Mormons alltogether, what’s the point of a statement like that?

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  5. Stephen M (Ethesis) on March 6, 2012 at 5:59 AM

    Romney attempted to get someone to rethink — that is different than trying to block an abortion (blocking an abortion would be trying to get their doctor to refuse or trying to get a court order).

    I noticed you did not include the post-birth abortion of fetuses, something many cultures embrace, and still in use for sex selection purposes in some countries. If we are going to call babies fetuses, why not refer to infanticide as post-birth abortion?

    Personally I think that many things are things that government should encourage or discourage without forcing. Marriage is a good example of that sort of thing.

    Still, there are times when divorce is the only reasonable choice. We do not ban divorce.

    On the other hand, some things are just silly, such as the ultrasound legislation that is going around, given that ultrasound has been shown to increase the incidence of autism in mice and is already in use for abortions.

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  6. hawkgrrrl on March 6, 2012 at 6:25 AM

    psychochemiker – the point of the Daily Beast article mentioned was that the left was criticizing the right’s pundits for egregious sexism while not taking their own sexist pundits to task (Bill Maher being cited as the worst one out there). Comment #2 is a recap of the point made in the article Stephen M linked in comment #1. I really don’t get what you are driving at in comment 4.

    As to whether someone should have no say or some say in health issues that they cannot experience, that is a valid question. There is a tendency to stigmatize health concerns we will never experience (e.g. obesity for some, genetic disorders, diseases that are brought on by poor health habits, etc.). At worst, it’s easy to blame those with these health issues, at best we simply lack experience and empathy. So, to your point about prostates, I would say women should have less say than men, unless they are health care professionals or researchers in that medical field.

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  7. GBSmith on March 6, 2012 at 6:29 AM

    The poll was so long I forgot what I was going to say.

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  8. dankrist on March 6, 2012 at 6:54 AM

    Just a point of clarification on Plan B: it actually works primarily by preventing ovulation and making it more difficult for sperm to reach the fallopian tubes. Decreasing the likelihood of implantation post-fertilization is not it’s primary or most effective pregnancy preventing effect. In the vast majority of cases, it prevents ovulation (and therefore fertilization) to prevent pregnancy.

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  9. Stephen M (Ethesis) on March 6, 2012 at 7:12 AM

    One other point to keep in mind. Children used to be an investment — especially in rural and agricultural communities. Now they are a luxury good.

    I would be shocked to recover even 1% of the money I’ve spent on my children. But I’ve known ranchers and dairy farmers who became millionaires from the labor of their children.

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  10. Paul on March 6, 2012 at 7:40 AM

    Just a point of clarification. The consideration regarding severe defects in the fetus assumes the fetus would not survive birth, not just that the surviving child would have poor quality of life.

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  11. SilverRain on March 6, 2012 at 7:40 AM

    There is absolutely no way to “be fair” to both men and women when it comes to unexpected/unwanted reproduction. It can’t be done. Which just goes to illustrate the limits of believing that equality or fairness is the ultimate value.

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  12. SPE on March 6, 2012 at 7:43 AM

    Hmmm, prevent a few cells from sticking themselves in my unsuspecting uterus is JUST like murdering a child *eye roll* (FTR, I, and only I, am allowed to determine when a human being gets to grow inside my body and be PUSHED OUT OF MY VAGINA. I made that choice when I was ready, not when some old out of touch geriatric man said I had to.)
    I you are not me, and don’t have my uterus, fallopian tubes, vagina, and ovaries, STAY THE HELL OUT OF DECISIONS ABOUT MY BODY. My husband is not an idiot, and therefore respect my right to decisions about my body, just like I respect his right to make decisions about his.

    Controversial! What do you think? Thumb up 9

  13. aerin on March 6, 2012 at 7:50 AM

    I admit I have strong opinions about this topic. And it is complicated. Where should our society or government get involved? Long term what makes sense? What about paternity rights and payments? If a woman carries a child to term, is the biological father forced to pay no matter what his opinion is (I believe legally yes).

    Throughout the conversation, there is a benefit that all of us have from the use of contraception. Can you imagine if women just stopped? I wonder if some people simply don’t realize the consequences from each family/couple returning to ten or more children, women dying in childbirth, the workforce, etc.

    But from my understanding, the debate is about who should pay for contraception (like the pill), not whether or not the pill should be legal. Not whether or not vasectomies should be legal.

    I believe subsidizing birth control is a great investment. I think the more families are able to plan, the more self-sufficient they can be.

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  14. Childe Jake on March 6, 2012 at 7:51 AM

    hawkgrrrl, I appreciated the chance to take part in this poll. Thank you for taking the time to put it together–in particular, phrasing questions that take in to account the variety of points of view relative to one’s status in Mormonism (active, inactive, etc.)

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  15. Miri on March 6, 2012 at 8:19 AM

    I think the length of this poll is appropriate for the nuance needed in discussing the issue. And I’m glad we’re discussing it.

    SilverRain, the idea of equality is not that we measure everything to make sure we all come out the same. It’s that we go in receiving the same amount of respect and humanity, and I don’t see any limits to that belief. I think if there are limits, they exist only when people expect the wrong one of those two options (which some people undoubtedly do). But they’re limits of expectation, not of the principle of equality itself.

    And I definitely agree that women should have less (little) say in prostate issues. Why would we? The reverse is also true. I think the difference is that women AREN’T dominating the discussion and making all the decisions about prostate health. And here, the reverse is not true.

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  16. more options on poll on March 6, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    I wish there were more options on the abortion issue. while I do not believe I would ever get an abortion, I have no problem if other women choose to abort. it is their body, and their choice.

    And I hate when people bring money into it, because, really people! if nobody pays for birth control (sex is a choice, pay for your own stuff, I can’t remember word for word but someone said something like that in the comments)
    WHO pays for medicaid/medicare? Because as far as I know, low income women can have their birth paid for by the government, and last time I checked, the tax-payers paid for that.
    Also, the babies born unwanted, abused, drug addicted, etc, are thrown into foster care, they are paid for by the tax-payers.

    it still comes out of your pocket, one way or the other, but the aborted baby will probably be less out of pocket for the tax-payers than the long term care unwanted and/or sick children will cost.

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  17. Jeff Spector on March 6, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    I am with the women on this completely.

    Free or cheap birth control is a good investment AND also good for women who wish to decide when to have their children, if ever.

    And, as mentioned, those pills are used for more than just contraception.

    The other thing we can debate is whether they should be free. Usually, there is co-insurance and co-payments, not to mention that fact that someone pays the bill in the long run.

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  18. StillCOnfused on March 6, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    The question I didn’t like is: Which most closely matches your political view about abortion? (choose the one that most applies). I didn’t find any of the three to be acceptable. The “always” and “never” are too extreme and the only other option is whatever Mormondom feels.

    Also, I would separate into two questions how a person would feel about their own abortion versus how they would feel about others getting abortions. For instance, in my case, I would not get an abortion but I don’t tell other people what to do with their lives.

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  19. Douglas on March 6, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    If subsidized BC is so great, folks, then by all means set up a charity that promotes it. The issue is not the cost-effectiveness of “social engineering” with taxpayer-funded BC, it’s should the taxpayers shoulder the financial burden of “impoverished” women to use BC? I say, not no but hell no, purely on the basis that it’s adult consensual and elective behavior. Else, where does the nanny/welfare state end?
    Limbaugh blew what could have been a salient point by being crass and insulting. Even if this woman’s arguments for free BC AND forcing the Catholic-sponsored university that she’s studying law at to provide it are ill-reasoned and pathetic, it’s still not license to hurl vile personal insults. Rush, as a fellow ‘Suthunuh’, Ah expected Noah from ya’ll, suh….

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  20. brjones on March 6, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Douglas, I assume you’re equally opposed to the subsidization of the treatment of lung cancer for smokers, diabetes for overeaters, etc. Perhaps we should establish some kind of oversight body to determine exactly which treatments are related to conditions resulting from adult consensual elective behaviors, so we can make sure taxpayers aren’t helping to fund any of them. Or is there some other reason you and your friends like Rush Limbaugh are singling out the one adult consensual elective behavior that happens to relate to the empowerment of women?

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  21. Douglas on March 6, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Brjones, I find it interesting that you equate ‘empowerment’ of women with their ability to obtain taxpayer-subsidized goods and services. It would seem that true empowerment for a woman, no different than any man, is to spend the money she earned on things she wants, including BC pills. With discount retailers like WalMart and Target offering a 30-day supply of BC pills for $9, it’s patently ridiculous to expect a handout from Jane Q Taxpayer. If there are truly impoverished, amorous gals that can’t even swing that, then by all means “empower” your “sistas” and fund a charity that provides them free BC.
    Your citation of funding research for diabetes (obesity can be a contributing factor) or lung cancer (smoking is considered to be the dominant cause) isn’t equivalent since these are outcomes not always preventable. Whereas one can always prevent an unwanted pregnancy by refraining from sex. Not fun, but it’s reliable. But the specter of committing taxpayer monies to treat preventable health problems is a large reason why I oppose most socialized medical schemes, including Obamacare.
    When WILL Americans once again take responsibility for their own lives?

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  22. Justin on March 6, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    Re: abortions
    I’m for a woman’s right to choose an abortion — only if we are consistent and allow men the right to “abort” their rights to the child if they choose. Right now — choosing to raise a child or not rests solely on the woman’s shoulders. The man has no “choice” to abort his parental rights.

    I think everyone can agree that every human has a right over their own body — but I haven’t been unable to understand why being a woman can give you a right over the body of another person. Is it because she’s like the “landlord” of the property the baby is “renting” while he/she gestates?

    Re: birth control
    For me — the question is whether a human being has a fundamental right to be sexual without potentially conceiving new life.

    Is sex only about children? If so, then any form of artificial birth control is immoral. If we say sex can be about the sexual satisfaction of two people alone — then artificial birth control would be a responsible choice.

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  23. Mike S on March 6, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    This post brings up a lot of important questions as discussed above. One point that always bothers me, and it’s not limited to birth control, is the word “FREE”. What is “FREE” birth control? ALL medical care is paid for by someone – the patient, the insurance company, or the government. Insurance companies get their money from premiums, and the government gets their money from taxes. So it’s not “FREE”.

    It’s just like the patients I see who want an MRI, not that it will change my recommendations for their care, but because they have “good insurance” so it’s “FREE” to them. It’s NOT free.

    Now, we as a society or as individuals may decide that it’s cheaper to pay for birth control than babies, but talk about “FREE” drives me nuts.

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  24. Douglas on March 6, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Hawk, forgot to give compliments about need to empathize and be supportive even about medical problems brought about by behavioral choices. I agree that there is a tendency for LDS to get on one’s self-righteous high horse in this manner,ex.; saying negative things about a smoker who has now contracted lung cancer and is suffering. In fact, this particular circumstance, if a member turns his back on the cancer, would be where King Benjamin would say the man hath great need to prevent.
    This doesn’t translate into justifying Government intervention into the health care sector. Two words: moral hazard. That which Government, especially the Federal Government, subsidizes without accountability, even with the hope of curing the “problem”, often ends up exacerbating it. Hence why it’s better to get Government the hell out of the health care sector, and let the charity causes be the bailiwick of Churches and/or foundations.

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  25. Mormon Heretic on March 6, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    I’m glad Hawk mentioned the Freakonomics episode comparing abortion and crime. I know the study is controversial, and you may not agree with it’s conclusions, but I think it’s an interesting idea worth discussing.

    Are we happier to pay for prison sentences for children born to women who don’t want to be mothers? Given that choice, $108/year for birth control seems a much more cost effective option than locking up an unwanted child that turns to crime and ends up costing $50,000/year in incarceration expenses.

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  26. Douglas on March 6, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    There’s just a wee problem with justifying the taxpayers funding BC for the ‘Po’ as the ultimate crime prevention tool (eugenically preventing the criminals from being conceived).
    1) Are lowering birth rates of groups prone to criminal behavior attributable solely to availability of free BC, or are there other factors (e.g., three strikes laws(
    2) Since free availability of BC would tend to promote promiscuity, and w/o controls to increase the hazard of an unwanted pregnancy (ergo, no welfare), and you’re dealing with folks that by definition have demonstrated a propensity to irresponsible behavior, who is to say that the net effect is an INCREASE in AFDC recipients and, down the road, fatherless young cretins running amok in the ‘hood?

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  27. SilverRain on March 6, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Miri, the limit is when respecting one person disrespects another. For example, giving women full control over reproductive rights means that men have no control. That may be the right thing to do, given the biological inequities, but it is a good idea to recognize that it isn’t equal, and can’t be equal. How do you measure financial support against biological risk? They are apples and oranges.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t support the government making birth control “free,” but not because I oppose birth control per se. I would rather donate to a private organization that makes birth control “free” than donate to the government. The government already has a HUGE spending issue. I’m not about to make it worse.

    Just because I believe something is worth paying for doesn’t mean that I should force everyone else to pay for it too. There are a great many worthy and worthwhile projects out there. But involving the government in them smacks of a lack of personal responsibility and a willingness to try to control everyone else around me.

    The government has a near monopoly on the use of force. That should be used very carefully, not to make everyone else support my personal projects. Unless, of course, it is the rare case of that everyone personally uses (such as a road) in one way or another. And even then, it should be limited in scope to the community most responsible for it.

    Because while it may be a project I support this time, when I have authorized the government to mandate funding of a project, the next project they choose may not be something I support.

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  28. SingleintheCity on March 6, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    I’ve been on birth control for medical reasons since the age of 15. I’m now 31 and *gasp* still holding on to my “virtue”. Birth Control does not equal promiscuity. Birth control means that I am able to function as a contributing member of society without debilitating pain from endometriosis. I think it’s sick and wrong that any insurance company would deny covering my needed medication while Viagra is covered.

    I work for an insurance company and know that covering birth control is a good investment. If your company/religious group purchases insurance without birthcontrol coverage, your premiums will be higher.

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  29. Michael on March 6, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    If gays and lesbians are not allowed to have sex just for the fun of it then there is no way in heck that straights should be allowed to have that privilege. We have abandoned our doctrine of life in the Church and given in to a pragmatic half-way measure that allows breeders to avoid breeding. The purpose of marriage is to pro-create. I am commanded by the Prophet to abstain from all sex and have been forbidden to marry according to my natural attraction. Therefore, these survey results and justifications by straight, married members are nothing but a sham.

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  30. FireTag on March 6, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    The interesting thing to me about the notion that contraceptives should be “free” to women under the Obamacare regs is that under the Obamacare regs, there is NO REQUIREMENT that drugs medically necessary to save the woman’s (or man’s) life be supplied FOR FREE. You can require co-payments for, e.g., insulin, trauma surgery, or chemo-therapy, regardless of sex or economic status, but may NOT impose such costs for access to contraceptives?

    Doesn’t that strike anyone as being more in the lines of a political agenda than a logical strategy to reduce financial burdens on poor women?

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  31. FireTag on March 6, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    The other general thing I note in this discussion in the tacit assumption that the human being who will be born, grow and become a man or woman DEPENDING ON THE DECISION to actively intervene in the pregnancy or not has zero moral standing in the discussion. We normally accept the notion that society DOES have responsibility to speak for those who can not yet speak for themselves; the environmental movement, for example, speaks for the moral rights of future generations, and even for other species.

    In any event, the moral calculus, IMO, requires that we try to consider the consequences of our reproductive choices into the future, with due consideration of individual equity, even if those “individuals” are not yet present when the decision is made. A day after pregnancy, the world may not look very different depending whether termination is chosen. Five years, or twenty years into the future, the world on an individual level will look very different; few children born in poverty commit suicide compared to the number who are aborted, so an abortion is NOT usually for the benefit of the children. Arguments otherwise seem to me to be simple rationalization.

    I end up with a moral principle at this point of history that says you optimize the number of children you can care for (permitting contraception) but do NOT throw barriers in the way of any potential individual who makes it past the natural conception (and natural miscarriage) barrier without exceptional reasons.

    The person or persons responsible for an unwanted pregnancy vary from situation to situation, but the child who is conceived is LEAST responsible for being unwanted.

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  32. FireTag on March 6, 2012 at 4:18 PM


    These “cheaper for society if these people didn’t exist” arguments are factual, but they were the mirrors that led to negative eugenics and then to genocides in a mere two generations at the beginning of the LAST century.

    Cheaper for society tends to very quickly turn into cheaper for the elites in society, and then into the dehumanization of those who could more efficiently serve those elites in some other role.

    We should be very, very wary of the assumption that economic or political power is correlated with moral wisdom. Unless, of course, you want to give ME all of the political power. :D

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  33. NewlyHousewife on March 6, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    The last question seems a bit one-sided in the way it was written.

    So badly wanted to choose 3 instead of 2 answers for the feelings regarding the day after pill.

    Personally, I just don’t know what I would do. Chances of another kid by choice are slim.

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  34. anne on March 6, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    I find the use of “po” women needing birth control coverage for free so they can continue being irresponsible quite disgusting.

    I have been the poor, white, educated and married women who was glad to have good credit or otherwise the $35 cost of my no generic birth control pill would have been out of reach. I am still paying on that card.

    I have been the late 30′s, educated, white, married mother of two, waiting at the pharmacy to get Ella (Plan B with a different mix of active ingredients) after a late night condom mishap.

    Both times I benefited from good credit, having only one of two nurse pracs at my doctors office willing to prescribe Ella to me (can’t prescribe against my conscience), a local pharmacy willing to call all over to find the drug and a car to go get the medication.

    Birth Control has many uses and timing having children within marriage is a huge one. Especially once you realize how much a pregnancy affects your health, including anemia to almost killing you.

    Lets remember close to 99% of the women and men in your lives use birth control of some kind during their lifetimes.

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  35. FireTag on March 6, 2012 at 4:47 PM


    I was born 9 months to the day after my parents’ wedding. My timing could hardly have been more inconvenient for my parents in starting their marriage relationship and trying to get on a financial footing to build a home (and for my grandparents as well). My birth made it dangerous for my mother to ever bear other children, so all of her “timing choices” vanished very quickly.

    I’m awfully grateful for my life.

    I guess our viewpoints are strongly influenced by our personal histories.

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  36. anne on March 6, 2012 at 4:55 PM


    I have my very own wonderful surprise who is 8, here due to birth control pill failure (mini pill used with Breast feeding). Timing is not always perfect, but Birth control helps. It helped me pick when we started and when we ended, but as you see it was not perfect.

    My point was that many people use birth control at some point in their lives to facilitate family planning and use within marriage is huge.

    I am glad you are here too.

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  37. Douglas on March 6, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    (Singleinthecity) – please cite an example of where a woman verified to suffer from endremetriosis was denied hormonal contraceptives. MDs, please correct me if I’m wrong, but is this not standard treatment? No valid medication would be denied, so something seems fishy about your assertion. Also, the comparison to Viagra is wrong. Viagra is not elective and should not be prescribed casually. A better comparison is to treating feminine frigidity. Both constitute significant medical/psychological issues.
    Silverain – excellent Libertarian post! Welcome Aboard! (No, I’m not LCR Tom Dodge, late of the USS Stingray, aka “USS Rustoleum”)

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  38. Taylor Berlin on March 6, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Just wanted to second SingleintheCity. I think it’s important to realize that birth control can be used to treat many conditions. I was a virgin until my marriage and used birth control on and off since was a teenager for medical reasons. I now use birth control for two reasons. To prevent pregnancy in the meantime and also to regulate my cycle so it will actually be easier for me become pregnant when/if I decided to have kids later on.

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  39. Taylor Berlin on March 6, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    @Douglas I don’t know of anyone being denied treatment with endometriosis, but I do know of a student who was denied treatment for her polycystic ovarian syndrome. This is just one article about it:

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  40. SilverRain on March 6, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Douglas, I already admit to some Libertarian leanings. I just believe they have a limit. :) Hence my confirmed centrism.

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  41. FireTag on March 6, 2012 at 7:03 PM


    Please note, in light of your link’s title, that Ms. Fluke was denied the opportunity to testify in that panel because the hearing was not about contraception, but about church-state relations, about which Ms. Fluke has NO expertise at all. Her background is in domestic violence and human trafficking, according to her Georgetown Dept’s bio.

    In fact, in a Washington Post article by Ezra Klein, who has impeccable credentials as a mainstream liberal (look up “Ezra Klein journolist” sometime), he states that Fluke specifically told him that she knew of Georgetown’s coverage policies as a Jesuit institution prior to enrollment and chose to come there as a graduate on a public interest scholarship program (she graduated from Cornell in 2003 with a BS in Policy Analysis and Management and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies). She has spent her three years there advocating to change the policy of the university, so it is clear that her agenda has been to enter a religious institution in order to change the practices of a religion. That shows what she thinks she has to contribute to a church-state relationship hearing.

    That’s a little bit like me asking to be baptized into the LDS for the express purpose of agitating against — err, reforming — your incorrect practice of the senior apostle becoming the next prophet. :D

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  42. Taylor Berlin on March 6, 2012 at 7:18 PM


    Yes, I see your point, and perhaps I chose the wrong article for my purposes. I didn’t attach the link to bring up any other issue than to show that there has been a woman who was denied birth control to treat for her condition.

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  43. Risa on March 6, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    The more correct term is hormone pills as women use them for health reasons other than preventing pregnancy. I have severely low estrogen levels and use “birth control” pills to regulate it so that I don’t descend into a completely debilitating depression. Sandra Fluke, who Rush Limbaugh called a slut and prostitute, never testified on behalf of herself, but for her friend who was denied access to birth control/hormone pills and lost an ovary as a result of unchecked cysts. Psychochemiker is wrong. You’re not paying for other people’s choices. Insurance companies are paying for HEALTH CARE! I pay my insurance company to cover my health care costs and treating my depression with hormone pills falls into that category. Furthermore, these pills are not just $9 a month. Different pills cost different amounts and every woman has to find the right mix of hormones that work for her. Back when my insurance didn’t cover my birth control prescription I was paying $60 a month. Check your facts.

    It’s sad that this debate has devolved into commenting on other people’s sexual practices when it’s really about health care. Because if we want to go there, I believe it’s against my personal freedom for Rush Limbaugh to have his Viagra prescription renewed each month.

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  44. Taylor Berlin on March 6, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    AMEN, Risa. It can be a struggle to find the right medication that doesn’t make you sick or have too many bad side effects. I’ve gone through about 3 or 4 before I could find one I could stand. However, I’m lucky that I’ve found one that is fairly cheap. But birth control costs can vary from cheap to very, very expensive, especially if you don’t have insurance. Ultimately, I don’t think birth control needs to be free, just affordable. It’s just smart. Healthier women, healthier babies, less abortions.

    Maybe when that birth control pills for men become widely used, birth control won’t be such a hot topic . . .

    The way women’s issues have been discussed lately, I’m becoming nervous about my status in this country.

    And Rush Limbaugh . . . don’t get me started. What a creep.

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  45. Amanda L on March 6, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    I don’t think the health insurance policies of an institution should be governing our decisions on whether or not we’ll work or attend. Do we KNOW that Ms. Fluke chose to attend Georgetown so she could lobby to change the policy, or did that school work best for her, and while there, she attempted to rally for some positive change? There are too many assumptions being made here.

    On a different note, personally, I think expecting people not to have sex, whether they are poor or not, is like asking them to not drink water. It’s going to happen whether you think it’s irresponsible or not and whether there are contraceptives or not. The decisions we make as a society should keep that in mind. (It’s kind of like the abstinence only vs comprehensive sex ed debate.)

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  46. FireTag on March 6, 2012 at 11:51 PM


    You can read Klein’s article after his interview with her and decide for yourself:

    Georgetown Law is, in fact, a PLUM choice that will work with ANY activist’s career, and a “public interest scholarship” is given, according to the Georgetown site to which I linked in my previous comment, for those who wish to apply law to the public interest. This is certainly in keeping with Ms. Fluke’s credentials in domestic violence and human trafficking.

    I think it is not too much of a stretch to presume she intends to continue being an activist. But a graduate law degree from Georgetown doesn’t just equip you to do good things for victims of domestic violence. It vaults you immediately into the elite 1% we have been talking about for months. The political patrons she has already gained give Ms. Fluke access to a very secure future, and notice that she had to have those patrons to get called to testify in a House hearing in the first place.

    Witnesses are NEVER called by a committee so the committee can learn information. They are called to make a political point for committee members; that is simply how the Washington game is played. Hearings are political theater; the real work is done by staff behind the scenes.

    So it is interesting to read what she actually said in the hearing when asked about her reasons for attending a Catholic institution. As noted in this link:

    “She observed: ‘Conservative Catholic organizations have been asking (us) what did we expect when we enrolled at a Catholic school. We can only answer that we expected women to be treated equally, to not have our school create untenable burdens that impede our academic success.’

    “I cannot imagine how a Georgetown law student could expect the Catholic Church to treat women equally. It doesn’t let women be priests.”

    So, in exchange for a punched ticket into the political or economic elite, and significant financial help to attend one of the most expensive schools in the country in her own case, Ms. Fluke believes her fellow students are being treated unfairly by being asked to pay for medicines that are almost certainly less expensive than her textbooks? And further, that the appropriate remedy for that unfairness is for the church to give up what IT regards as core principles, even if you or I do not share that theology?

    I’m not sure it would be UNFAIR if the Jesuits insisted that all students, male or female, getting such a plum degree to put on their resumes take a Jesuit vow of chastity for three years following graduation. :D

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  47. Ray on March 7, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    My general take is very simple:

    Once “individual moral issues” enter the communal political arena (especially when that means legislation is being proposed), they cease to be individual moral issues. Thus, the rules change in a very basic way from a primary focus on “personal choice” to a primary focus on “protection of the weak or a abused”.

    1) Santorum is an extremist – and, imho, an idiot. To over-simplify the issue of birth control by calling it license to sin is mind-boggling-ly simple-minded, especially for someone in his position.

    2) I believe birth control should be *available* but not “enforced” in any way. If “available” means “free” for a portion of the population, fine; if it means “affordable” for another portion of the population, fine.

    3) I wrote about the overall issue of when moral issues become political issues on Mormon Matters. It’s the only Niblet nomination I’ve ever received for something I wrote, if anyone cares about that: ;)

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  48. Ray on March 7, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Oh, and the example I used for that Mormon Matters post was abortion.

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  49. FireTag on March 8, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    As a follow-up to 46, I just caught a TV news report from Meghan Kelly (who put herself through law school at Albany without ANY health insurance coverage), who noted that the AVERAGE starting salary for a Georgetown University Law School graduate is $160,000 per year.

    Yep. All of the folks who will never have a sniff of a $160 K annual salary should pay to subsidize Ms. Fluke still further. It’s only fair. (And, yes, I’m still annoyed).

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  50. salt h2o on March 9, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    I don’t quite understand this debate: I’m happy to fund preventing the procreation of liberals. I consider it an investment in my children’s future. :)

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  51. FireTag on March 9, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    salt: Guiltily LOL.

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  52. [...] are celebrating International Women’s Day with fabulous fantasies for the church!! Others by turning women’s bodies into a battleground!! Rush Limbaugh made an ass of himself, then offered a [...]

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  53. Douglas on March 12, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Firetag, you were probably so captivated by Ms. Kelly’s beauty, poise, elocution, charm, wit, and knowledge, that you didn’t notice that her given name is spelled M-E-G-Y-N. Understandable, though. If she ain’t the hottest news and on this rock then she’s definitely in the top five. The daughter of a good friend spells it likewise. Look for that kid come the Olympic trials for gymnastics this summer.

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  54. FireTag on March 12, 2012 at 2:17 PM


    I stand corrected. I will plead that my eyesight is such that I’m usually wearing reading glasses to comment here, and listening to TV from behind me. If I’m actually looking at the TV, I’m not paying attention to the spelling of the guests’ names. And that’s true regardless of the gender or age of the guest.

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