Didn’t My Mom’s Generation Already Win This Fight?

I have former student who posts regularly on Facebook, and we’ve gotten into more than one political discussion.  What bothers me is his insistence that liberals are best represented by the extremists among us, while the religious zealots of the Right are the exceptions, rather than the rule.  He insists that there are no real religious overtones in the conservative movement.

Yet somehow, over the last several weeks, I find myself listening to frontrunner conservative presidential candidates actually engaging in disparaging discussions about contraception.  Not abortion; contraception.  In a world where we know that countries with widespread contraception use have longer life expectancies, higher literacy rates, greater economic prosperity, and greater support for human rights.  Why is this an issue?  Because the Catholic Church forbids the use of contraception (though the majority of its members use it).

I have mixed feelings about the whole Catholic Church insurance hullabaloo.  On the one hand, I believe in religious freedom, and mandating that a church provide money, or at least insurance premiums, to provide a service it believes to be against its central tenets seems to infringe upon that vital freedom.  On the other hand, is allowing them not to cover contraception, something I would consider of vital interest to everyone’s health and welfare, the same as saying a Christian Science organization (like the Monitor) doesn’t have to provide health insurance at all?  I guess many conservatives would argue that companies shouldn’t be required to provide health coverage.  I can’t help but think a universal payer plan would solve all these thorny problems.

I guess what it all comes down to is that I just don’t get what seems to me like an almost fetishistic obsession the Catholic Church has with contraception.  Another Facebook friend, a staunch Catholic, has been trying to explain to me how much more reverential sex is when a man “respects his wife’s fertility.”  How sex without artificial birth control is “respectful of life” and therefore makes sex into a sacred act.  How this brings him closer to his wife.  I dunno.  I’ve had some pretty spiritual sex using contraception.  And sometimes DH and I just want to have a little fun.  Why must it always be deep and meaningful?  And must it really be fraught with the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy to reach that level?  For me, that would be a real barrier to any sort of deep intimacy.

All of that aside, I just can’t believe this country is having this discussion.  Simply believing that insurance should cover contraception does not equate with “being paid to have sex” any more than covering Viagra does.  In fact, it equates even less.  I guess we’re still caught in the paradigm of our language.  A man who wants Viagra is a stud, a player, a “dawg” (said with a nudge and a wink).  A woman who wants to be responsible about bringing children into the world is a slut.

But religion doesn’t play much of a part in the conservative movement.

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Paula is an author of historical fiction as well as a wife, mom, and teacher.
This entry was posted in Family, Life, the Universe, and Everything, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Didn’t My Mom’s Generation Already Win This Fight?

  1. Jim says:

    Here’s a thought: Pay for your own freakin lifestyle choices.


  2. Karl says:

    I both mainly agree with your post. I agree that it is an individual choice whether or not a person uses contraception and I agree that any church organization shouldn’t have any say in this sort of matter. But on the other hand I also think that if people were to hold sex and sexuality in a higher regard that it would be a lot more intimate and special to the youth and younger generations of our time. This though doesn’t really have much to do with the use of contraception more so that I believe that most generations have lost the true intimacy of sex and replaced it with a party hard die young lifestyle. That being said I have no true experience on this matter as I have decided to keep myself for marriage and have only had 21 years of life to base my experiences off of.

  3. admin says:

    Well, Karl, I’ve been a one-man woman my whole life. My husband and I have been together since high school. I admit, I feel a little sad for my current high school students when they talk about “hooking up,” because I do wonder whether they’re cheating themselves of something I have and deeply appreciate. On the other hand, I know others my age (49) and older who have led pretty promiscuous lifestyles and have no regrets, so who am I to say?

    Ultimately, though, I think contraception does great things for sex, both committed and casual, and I think sex can do great things for relationships, so I just don’t get the anti-contraception bandwagon.

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