2012

14 March 2012: Men are off base on women’s issues

Men are off base on women’s issues

There’s nothing wrong with being ignorant about a subject. It’s holding forth and pontificating on it when one is woefully unlearned that ought to cause embarrassment.

In his vile comments about not only Sandra Fluke but also every woman that has practiced contraception—I won’t debase myself or you by repeating them—Rush Limbaugh strips himself intellectually naked before the world.

I admit to confusion about the debate on women’s health issues, primarily about birth control pills. The politics I understand all right: Catholic prelates and other like-minded churchmen—emphasize “men”—as well as conservative congressmen—emphasize “men”—issuing edicts intended to put women back in their place, their version of “religious liberty.”

No, I was confused about the health questions themselves. Not being a female, I never experienced female stuff such as menstruation and labor pains and am happy for that. I understand they’re not pleasant experiences and learned to steer clear at such times.

As a life-long learner and with my curiosity piqued, I naturally turned to experts on the topic—women—for clarification. I mean, why trust the intellectual authority of men whose proclivity is to think with the head not attached to their shoulders?

And boy, or should I say “girl,” did I learn! And still am.

Lisa Wirthman’s column, “Health vs. faith: The debate over insurance for contraceptives,” in the Denver Post was an excellent start. Wirthman gets to the core of the issue when she writes, “No freedom exists in a vacuum, especially when it infringes on the rights and safety of others.

“Allowing secular organizations to deny coverage of birth control jeopardizes the safety of women. It’s a consequence that can’t be ignored — especially on the grounds of conscience.”

Contraception is a moral issue not in the sense of ostensibly breaking a male deity’s law, but in that denying care is a fundamental violation of women’s human rights.

From Wirthman and several women friends I’ve learned birth control pills—BCP—work more than as contraceptives. According to Wirthman, “some 14 percent of birth control pill users, or 1.5 million women, rely on that method exclusively for treating non-contraceptive health issues like endometriosis and cancer.”

Cancer, I get, but “endometriosis”? Never heard of it let alone spell or say it.

It’s “a very painful condition where some of the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus,” one explains. “BCPs delay or eliminate the need for surgery depending on how bad it is.” I cringe even at the thought of that.

I’ve come to learn that while BCPs are still used for birth control, they also “help manage,” the operating phrase here, a number of conditions. They’re not your grandmother’s BCPs.

“More than half of pill users rely on contraception in part for medical reasons like reducing menstrual pain, treating excessive bleeding and preventing migraines,” continues Wirthman.

Today’s BCPs help reduce excessive bleeding due to a variety of reasons including heavy periods and fibroids. They help reduce painful cramping and PMS symptoms. They help control the formation and number of ovarian cysts, which are extremely painful, and help manage polycystic ovary disease, another very painful condition.

Note the repetition of the verb “help.”

Any of you pontificating males like to swap bodies with a woman undergoing those ordeals?

Are we regressing? That’s the goal of many, but not all conservatives, it seems. Contraceptive rights, family planning rights, early abortion rights, health insurance coverage rights and preventive health measures including education interventions to prevent teen and other unintended pregnancies are all under fire.

Not only is it frightful, it makes no sense. The best way to reduce abortions is to prevent unintended pregnancies to begin with.

Men that argue the process of conception is “God’s Will” need also to accept the premise many of them are unable to get or maintain an erection is due likewise to His Will. Viagra and Cialis violate, then, the Will of God and such users break more than one of the Ten Commandments.

Former Wyoming senator Alan Simpson (R), a rock-solid conservative, said it straight on Hardball with Chris Matthews: “Who the hell is for abortion? I don’t know anybody running around with a sign that says, ‘Have an abortion! They’re wonderful!’ They’re hideous, but they’re a deeply intimate and personal decision, and I don’t think men legislators should even vote on the issue.”

One wonders if Rick Santorum-types will ever get it when it comes to imposing their hung-up morality on the rest of society.

To avoid though being seen as a “dummy” like Limbaugh who Rachel Maddow effectively points out is one, they really need to, as Simpson says, “Get off of it.”

Don’t hold your breath in anticipation of that happening soon.

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