News Contraception

They Are Coming for Your Birth Control: Condoms are “Murder” and Contraception is “Rape”

Robin Marty

Birth control opponents are up at arms that someone has the audacity to suggest being able to prevent pregnancies should be something to encourage.

Note: Think that anti-choice politicians and activists aren’t trying to outlaw contraception?  Think again.  Follow along in an ongoing series that proves beyond a doubt that they really are coming for your birth control.

How do you make an extreme anti-choice advocate angry? Suggest that not being forced to have one child after another after another after another might be a positive goal toward which to work.

Human Life International is aghast at the idea that global groups might think it would be beneficial to both women and their families that they have some control over when they get pregnant, spacing children far enough apart to be able to recover physically between births and actually care for the children that they give birth to. In fact, the idea is so upsetting, they are up at arms with the assumption that their tax dollars might somehow go to fund this — despite the fact that it would save money in additional medical costs.

Via LifesiteNews:

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Declaring birth control a right means “everyone else must pay for…the new right” Clowes told LifeSiteNews, “even if those forced to pay for it may object to it on moral grounds. This violates the more basic human right of freedom of conscience, which has for some time now been dispensed with by UN ‘human rights’ champions.”

The UNFPA estimates “222 million women have an unmet need for contraception” and that providing this “need” will cost $4.1 billion.

Providing such funds, the report states, “would save approximately $5.7 billion in maternal and newborn health services” – an argument similar to that made by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in the United States.

The article claims that IUDs and hormonal contraception both work to keep fertilized eggs from implanting, causing “abortions.” But even more interesting is the comments, where even barrier methods of contraception is considered “murder” of children. As one commenter stated, condom use is “murder in potential as much as a conceiveved [sic] fetus is human life in potential.”

The answer to avoiding all murder is still the same: sex only in marriage, and while using natural family planning. Anything else is “rape.”

Yes, you heard me, they are redefining rape again.

For those having sexual relations within natural marriage and want to regulate births, there is natural family planning. Those having sex outside of marriage, be prepared for an unfulfilled life where sexual intimacy is surrounded by unnatural, unreliable, and deadly methods of birth control and is typically an expression of consensual, mutual objectification- which, for all intents and purposes is a form of rape.

The only thing seem to enjoy more than defining rape? Apparently, coming up with new reasons to come for your birth control, of course.

Analysis Politics

Campaign Fact-Check: Ted Cruz Claims GOP Threats Against Birth Control Are ‘Completely Made Up’

Ally Boguhn

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Monday dismissed criticism of Republican efforts to deny people reproductive health care as being “completely made up” by the “condom police” in an effort to scare voters—glossing over his own attempts to block access to contraception.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Monday dismissed criticism of Republicans’ efforts to deny people reproductive health care as being “completely made up” by the “condom police” in an effort to scare votersglossing over his own attempts to block access to contraception.

At a town hall event in Iowa, Cruz responded to an audience member asking about “making contraception available to women who want to control their own bodies” by rejecting criticism of the Republican Party’s actions on reproductive health, and mocking 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by calling her the “condom police.”

“Now listen, I have been a conservative my entire life,” said Cruz, according to a CNN report. “I have never met anybody, any conservative who wants to ban contraceptives.”

Cruz went on to deny that accessing contraceptives was an issue that needed to be addressed, telling the crowd, “Last I checked we don’t have a rubber shortage in America. When I was in college we had a machine in the bathroom, you put 50 cents in and voila! So yes, anyone who wants contraceptives can access them, but it’s an utterly made-up nonsense issue.”

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Commenting that Clinton leaped to discuss “made-up” reproductive health issues to distract from the rest of her platform, Cruz asserted that the Democratic candidate simply falls back on the “war on women” in an effort to “scare” voters into supporting her.

“So what do you do?” Cruz asked. “You go, ‘Ah, ha! Condom police. I’m gonna make up a completely made-up threat and try to scare a bunch of folks into thinking someone’s going to steal their birth control.”

“What nonsense,” Cruz complained.

But Cruz’s claim that Republicans have never attempted to roll back access to reproductive health care and contraception is undermined by the candidate’s own efforts to do just that.

In August, Cruz pledged his support to Georgia Right to Life’s call for “personhood” legislation, which would recognize “a continuum of human life and personhood begins at the moment of fertilization.” During his 2012 Senate run, he also backed a similar measure, the Life at Conception Act, although he did not sign on as a co-sponsor when Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) later introduced the bill.  

Such legislationwhich redefines fertilized eggs, zygotes, embryos, and fetuses as persons with legal protectionswould effectively end legal abortion in the United States. It could also, contrary to Cruz’s claims, ban many common forms of contraception, such as the pill and IUDs

And Cruz’s support of “personhood” legislation is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his efforts to deny people reproductive health services. The Texas senator has relentlessly worked to defund Planned Parenthood no matter the cost—even if it means restricting access to care or shutting down the federal government to make it happen.

When asked in July about whether he would champion a budget showdown over pulling funds from Planned Parenthood, Cruz said, “I would support any and all legislative efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.”

Recent analysis conducted by the Guttmacher Institute found that Planned Parenthood plays a crucial and hard-to-replace role in providing contraceptive care for Americans, and for low-income women in particular. According to its report, “36% of the 6.7 million women receiving contraceptive care from safety-net family planning health centers in 2010 were served at Planned Parenthood centers.” 

In October, Cruz lauded Texas’ decision to pull Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood, encouraging other states to do the same. “I’m proud of Texas for leading the way in affirming the sanctity of life, and I thank Gov. Abbott for his principled commitment to protecting the lives of unborn children,” Cruz said in a statement on the state’s move. “I encourage every state to follow Texas’ lead in stopping taxpayer funds from going to Planned Parenthood, and I will continue to lead the fight in the United States Senate to defund Planned Parenthood at the federal level.”

Back in 2013, Cruz led the charge on an effort to exploit the federal budget for political purposes by holding it hostage in attempt to stop or delay the implementation of parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the law’s mandate that employer-provided insurance plans cover contraception. The presidential candidate also filed a 2014 amicus brief in conjunction with Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), and David Vitter (R-VA) specifically supporting the challenge to the ACA’s contraception mandate, which the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ruled against in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. The landmark decision granted corporations the right to deny their employees access to certain kinds of contraception based on their religious beliefs.

More recently, Cruz spearheaded a March push to upend a local Washington, D.C. law protecting the city’s residents from discrimination based on reproductive health decisions. The Republican contender introduced a measure to stop the city from implementing the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014, which banned discrimination based on an employee’s “reproductive health decision making, including a decision to use or access a particular drug, device or medical service.” Cruz’s measure to block it, if it had succeeded, could have made contraception more difficult for many to access.

Commentary Religion

Pope Francis’ Call for Equal Pay for Equal Work: Toothless, But Promising

Erin Matson

Sadly, the more Pope Francis speaks, the more things stay the same.

The patriarch of the world’s largest patriarchy has done it again. Pope Francis ruffled feathers once more Wednesday in an address on marriage and family by calling for an end to the gender wage gap. “Why is it taken for granted that women must earn less than men?” he told a general audience in St. Peter’s Square. “No! They have the same rights. The discrepancy is pure scandal.”

This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard Pope Francis say something that sounds tolerant and socially liberalit’s impossible to forget his call in 2013 for the Vatican to focus more on social justice and less on fighting against abortion, birth control, and marriage equality. But what followed from the official dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church was anything but adherence to the Pope’s wise-sounding words. These are just a few examples of institutional intolerance in the name of the Vatican since then: refusing to renew the contracts of teachers who are gay, mounting ongoing legal challenges to the birth control benefit in the Affordable Care Act, and attempting to block access to abortion for migrant teenager survivors of rape in the federally funded facilities charged with serving them.

Sadly, the more Pope Francis speaks, the more things stay the same.

With this latest statement in favor of equal pay for equal work, the cruel irony is that Pope Francis has a massive problem with women in the workplace. This is no better illuminated than by examining his own workplace, where an overbearing “Girls Not Allowed” sign might as well hang above every Catholic pulpit around the globe. “The Church has spoken and says no,” Pope Francis said when asked about women’s ordination in 2013. “That door is closed.”

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There’s nothing quite like a call for equal pay for equal work from a boss who openly denies every actual and prospective woman employee her ability to work as an equal.

However hypocritical, the fact that the Pope is speaking of women’s rights at all is a welcome development. Women are human beings who should enjoy equal civil and human rights, however much the Vatican typically tends to oppose them. His comments on paycheck fairness are a baby step toward a broader recognition of women’s humanity and dignity that is desperately needed within the Catholic Church and its prodigious lobbying efforts in the United States and around the world.

His comments, too, also open the door toward broader questioning. For example, if women should be paid equally in the workplace, people should be free to ask questions about other rights in spite of long-standing discriminations. Why should women and men who are gay stand to be fired, as they currently are within Catholic (and non-Catholic) workplaces? Why shouldn’t good Catholics as a matter of social justice support a robust Employment Non-Discrimination Act without gaping-wide religious exemptions that would allow institutions to continue discriminating at their preference, even if the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stands in opposition?

For that matter, why not support an end to discrimination against women in the workplace on the basis of pregnancy and their reproductive decisions? If Pope Francis believes women have the same rights as men, why can’t women make their own decisions about abortion and birth control, and otherwise participate in society on their own terms? And the Vatican could stop working to oppose the UN Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Womenafter all, women should have rights, right?

While The Amazingly Tolerant Comments of Pope Francis™ are indeed toothless, they sow the seeds for future liberal inquiry in the culture as a whole. Listening and compassion, see, begets more listening and compassion, and ultimately, these things can lead to progress.

This is why hardliners—clerical and secular—get so angry when Pope Francis does progressive things like convene a global warming summit in hopes of securing ratification of a climate change treaty. For those efforts, and a Koch-funded group stand united in criticism of the Holy See—the former claiming that environmental efforts operate as “cover for an anti-life and anti-family agenda,” and the latter warning him not to do a “disservice” to his “moral authority.” In other words, there’s a good chance something refreshing is afoot.

Still, it’s hard not to get cynical when Pope Francis is saying one thing about women’s rights to equal pay and turning the other cheek to the equal promotion of women in his own flock. As Sister Carol Keehan, CEO of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, said one day earlier at a conference in Rome on women within the Catholic Church:

Sometimes you hear people say that [women] can’t be in that role because a woman wouldn’t be respected, it has to be a priest, a bishop … the truth of the matter is that … we raised that question in the U.S., that the Secretary of State could never be a woman … cultures didn’t accept women being in the room with men, all kinds of excuses … we’ve now had three successful women secretaries of state and there’s no countries refusing to talk to them. Just because it’s always been, doesn’t mean it always has to be.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that we can’t hope for Pope Francis to issue his call for equal pay for equal work when he comes to address Congress in September. That speech will surely be televised, and it would be delicious to watch the face of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) sitting behind him during those words—especially when his Republican counterparts have consistently blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act that aims to guarantee women equal pay for equal work.