October 22, 2012 (HLIAmerica.org) – The Obama administration and the Democratic Party seem to abhor the fecundity of American women. They tout hormonal contraception, abortion, and sterilization as the trifecta of optimal women’s health. They are so zealous in their pursuit of an androgynous society (deliberate or not) that they are willing to trample on religious liberty to get it as they have unquestionably proven with the HHS mandate.
This requirement that all employers provide insurance coverage for contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization or face fines of $100 per day per employee provides no conscience exemption for either individual citizens or religious institutions whose religious principles are violated by complying with this mandate.
This quest to abolish distinctly feminine physiology flies in the face of reality. God did not create genderless human beings. Maleness and femaleness are not just minor incidental aspects of our identity.
Men and women are created by God to be equal in dignity but unique in our complementary natures. In Mark’s Gospel we hear Jesus say:
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate.
Therefore, this push to erase the differences between men and women by quashing a woman’s fertility is demeaning to the dignity of women. Womanhood is not a malformation. Fertility is not a disorder. Pregnancy is not a disease.
Unfortunately, President Obama and his entire administration view contraception and abortion as the panacea for maximizing women’s health and wellbeing. One of the first acts of President Obama after his inauguration was to overturn the Mexico City Policy that banned United States foreign aid from being used to promote abortion. In doing so, President Obama aligned his policies with those advocated by the radically pro-abortion International Planned Parenthood Federation, and Marie Stopes International. They see worldwide promotion of abortion and contraception as essential for the common good.
This ideology ignores the experiences of Chile, Ireland, and Poland that clearly show the maternal mortality rate and women’s health is more closely related to the education of women and the availability of clean and competent health care facilities than it is to the availability of abortion or contraception. This ideology also denies the real health risks inherent to these population control efforts.
Using contraception and abortion to lower maternal mortality rates is akin to using starvation to cure obesity. The “cure” is more dangerous than the disease. The World Health Organization lists hormonal contraceptives as Group 1 carcinogens, the same classification as cigarettes and asbestos. The Center for Disease Control acknowledges on its website that oral contraceptives increase the risks for developing breast, cervical and liver cancers.
The younger a woman is when she begins using contraceptives, the greater her increased risk for breast cancer. Some may counter this observation with the fact that using oral contraceptives decreases the risk of ovarian cancer. While this is true, the baseline risk for ovarian cancer is much lower than that of breast cancer. The lowered risk of ovarian cancer in no way balances the increased risk of breast cancer. To suggest that it does would be like saying increasing your risk of having a fatal car accident is balanced by decreasing your risk of being hit by a train.
In addition to the increased cancer risk, contraceptives can double the rate of HIV transmission and increase the risk of blood clots, strokes, and hypertension. The increased risk of high blood pressure is most pronounced in smokers and in adolescent girls. Yet all of these risks are ignored as the Obama administration strives to put contraception into the hands of every American woman. Under the President’s health care plan, girls as young as 12 can receive these potent drugs at no cost and without parental knowledge or consent.
If an adult woman wants to use contraception she is certainly free to do so. However, to expect others to pay for her wholly elective lifestyle choice, especially when it violates their religious principles, is clearly unreasonable. No professional medical association claims that women are healthier when they use contraceptives. Rather, the medical establishment acknowledges that the risks of contraceptives are acceptable for women who freely choose to be sexually active while wanting to avoid pregnancy. In other words, contraception is not essential to women’s health.
In spite of this, the Democrats are claiming that the Catholic Church and others who oppose the HHS mandate are waging a “war on women.” Yet it is the Democrats who insist that women must endure all of the risks of contraception in order to fully participate in American society.
For example, President Obama’s campaign ad entitled “Dreams of our Daughters” repeats the canard that women cannot succeed professionally unless they are provided contraceptives at no cost. Such thinking implies that women have no choice but to be sexually active and that women bear the entire responsibility for the consequences of sexual activity. It effectively denies that men have any requirement for responsible sexual behavior.
As faithful Catholics and as Americans, we cannot allow this ideology to shape our country’s laws and policies.
We must demand respect for religious liberty.
We must insist that the sovereignty of the family be preserved and refuse to marginalize parents in the health care decisions of their children.
And most importantly, we must reject all candidates who view feminine biology as an obstacle to success, motherhood as an inferior vocation, and pregnancy as a disease that must be prevented with contraception or “cured” with abortion.
Reprinted with permission from the Truth and Charity Forum