This rant’s for women

Published 12:02 am Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pardon me. I am about to have a feminist rant.

The seeds were sown a week ago, at a town hall meeting hosted by Sen. Richard Shelby at LBWCC when a man suggested that single mothers who rely upon government help should be sterilized.

I agree that one ought to think about the costs associated with rearing children before getting in the family way. But I find it frustrating that those same people who suggest such radical measures also oppose mandating that employers include birth control in the health benefits they provide their employees, regardless of said employer’s religious affiliation.

Before the Obama administration reversed course yesterday and moved that requirement from religious institutions like Catholic hospitals, mandating that the health insurance companies absorb the costs, Republican hopeful Rick Santorum was having a rant of his own.

The policy, he said, was government getting too involved in people’s lives. Of course he thinks it’s time we stop this and that he’s the man for the job.

As a person who analyzes politicians’ words, I couldn’t help but wonder, how was the government’s mandate that birth control be provided “controlling” peoples’ lives more than churches who insist that women NOT use birth control?

Statistics show that that particular religious mandate promoted by the Catholic Church isn’t being followed. Ninety-eight percent of Catholic women have used a form of birth control at one time or another, and 99 percent of all American women have.

In the Catholics’ defense, they are at least consistent, opposing birth control, abortion and the death penalty as part of their right to life platform.

But the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which tracks reproductive health data, found that Catholic women of child-bearing age are 33 percent more likely than Protestant women to have an abortion. (“The Catholic Abortion Paradox,”

That birth control remains controversial is mind-boggling. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, “a child born as the result of an unintended pregnancy is at greater risk of premature birth, low birth weight and abuse or neglect.”

But back to the town hall meeting.

I’ve been wondering all week why the man advocating sterilization of women didn’t assign any blame for men. I’d be willing to bet he’d have blanched like a ghost if someone had countered that the fathers in those situations also could undergo surgical procedures. Unless I’ve missed some breaking news somewhere, it still takes two to, er, tango.

I’m sick to death of men – and especially conservative politicians – vilifying women on this issue.

Thanks. I feel better now.