|The Conservative War on Women and Women’s Health|
We all must eat and drink water to survive; recognizing this as normal behavior appears to have no political consequences. Given mankind’s fascination with the culinary arts many opportunities for indulgence abound in every culture when it comes to eating. We no longer eat just for sustaining our existence; we eat for fun and pleasure. Some of us eat more than we should, but even those among us who are svelte and elegant enjoy the pleasure of a well-made meal.
Pleasure and necessity have been mixed together in the culinary arts. Many of us, and certainly most liberals, will confess to enjoying what we eat. When the topic turns from food to reproduction, however, a political divide has erupted that is separating conservatives from the rest of us. Life style and private behavior and not tactical differences in how to achieve world peace or prosperity here at home now dominate the political agenda of the conservative right. A personal health issue, birth control, is now center stage in Republican circles.
Procreative behavior without babies as the end result has now been labeled an act of depravity by the leadership and patricians of the right. Rush Limbaugh, that brusque spokesperson for the right, sees political overtones associated with access to birth control. Limbaugh said recently he wanted to watch a Georgetown University student going through the motions of procreation while using birth control because she testified before Congress that contraception is central to a woman’s rights to control her personal destiny and to manage her health. Somehow that got inflated with an illicit pleasure that no women should experience.
Not to be out moralized by Limbaugh’s commentary on what is appropriate behavior, the conservative Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum added to the monolog that birth control is not OK “because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” What does that mean? In what sense beyond not making a baby is this immoral?
What makes the potential for pleasure in any activity wrong in the minds of Limbaugh and Santorum? Is it wrong to enjoy what you are doing just because it is essential?
99% of women who are in relationships use birth control and 98% of Catholic women in this category do as well. Whether or not birth control is used to manage health or to prevent pregnancy is for most people an entirely private matter. For social conservatives however this private matter should not be supported in any fashion by our government. Something almost every women does has somehow become a subject for scorn. Currently every Republican running for the office of President has made this social conservative dogma a primary reason for seeking this office. They want us all to behave as they think we should.