Mothers Don’t Need Planned Parenthood: An Open Letter to the President of NOW

Dear NOW President Terry O’Neill,

I heard your comments on MSNBC.

“Moms loved Planned Parenthood- independent moms, Republican moms, and Democratic moms because high schoolers and college students, their daughters get excellent service. They get honest services and they get services they trust. So- so, to the degree that Hillary Clinton is saying that somehow, Planned Parenthood has done anything wrong, I would take issue and disagree extremely strongly with her. Planned Parenthood has nothing to apologize for, nothing. I have only admiration for her…”

Speaking as a mom, I don’t know where to begin. I do agree with you that pictures of aborted babies are inappropriate. As a pro-lifer, I’m embarrassed by my co-activists that use such images. These children were horribly abused and disrespected in life, why are we further disrespecting them in death? Setting aside the fact that the images only serve to shock, they don’t add anything to the debate. So that is one thing we agree on.

What we don’t agree on is how “honest” and “excellent” the service is at Planned Parenthood. Over 300,000 abortions were performed at Planned Parenthood in 2011. Assuming that just over half of them were girls, you can say that at least 150,000 girls were slaughtered at Planned Parenthood. These were 150,000 potential friends for my child, 150,000 classmates, 150,000 teammates, roommates, housemates, later on co-workers, parishioners, in-laws…

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These girls were robbed of their most fundamental right, the right to life, before they would ever have the opportunity to date, vote, get a college education, to run a business. Sure, they may have been born in poverty, but they could’ve worked their way out. They could have given us the opportunity to really help them.

This is completely ignoring, however, the mother. The mother who was lied to, told their child was nothing more than tissue. Everyone knows that is a lie, but when you’re desperate and alone, you will believe whatever will help you get through. Now, these videos are helping to further prove the lie.

So, Planned Parenthood can give my future daughter pills to prevent pregnancy? These pills and other devices can have horrible side effects. They can even kill her. Instead of controlling her body like a dictator, like her body was the enemy, wouldn’t it be better for her to learn about her body like she can through methods of Natural Family Planning. Sure, she will have to control her sexual urges when they are at their strongest, but this will help her ultimately be a better person. It has been shown time and again that self-control in one area in your life improves the rest of your life.

And don’t you dare give me that line about all the other basic services she can get at Planned Parenthood:

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So, please act like what you claim to be, a group dedicated to the advancement of women, not a lobbying group for Planned Parenthood. Trust me, they have plenty of money and lobbyists. They don’t need you. Women need you.

Sincerely,

Bethanie Ryan

A concerned mother and feminist activist

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Theology of the Body Thursday #11: The Pill for Men?

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Recently I was reading America and the Pill (stay tuned for a review). Chapter 5 of the book talks in great detail about the attempts to create a birth control pill for men. Just this week, we have seen studies show that the Pill for women may be connected to a rare form of brain cancer. This book brought up some interesting reasons why a birth control pill for men has never been created and sold.

It is not a matter of science. As they were developing the pill for women, the scientists gave the pill to men in an insane asylum just for the heck of it. Before you judge, rules and regulations surrounding testing on humans were much looser in those days, everyone was doing stuff like that and no one thought it was wrong. Anyway, the tests helped scientists develop many ideas on how to make a pill for men with mixed success. Shortly after the pill was released for women, scientists predicted that a pill would be out for men within a few years. Well, it’s been 58 years and we’re still waiting.

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Why?

In past generations, pharmaceutical companies were worried that men wouldn’t take it. No point in committing man-power and money to a pill that won’t sell. Why wouldn’t they take it? Because they linked their fertility to their masculinity. Being sterile would make the man feel like less of a man.

This argument killed the pill for men, but it didn’t kill the pill for women and our fertility is an even bigger deal. Our entire bodies are in it. Our moods and physiology are completely wrapped up in our cycles. When new life is created, our bodies change to make room and to be prepared for motherhood once the child is born. How is it that men associated their masculinity with their fertility, but women had a much easier time throwing their fertility away?

This is not as much an issue in today’s generation. Today’s men do not associate their masculinity with their fertility. Some men in the survey conducted by the author in America and the Pill even welcomed such a change. (However, a recent article in The Guardian argues differently.)

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So, where is it? Male scientists didn’t and still don’t want to expose men to the risks. They don’t want to expose men to the side effects. All of the formulas that were tested in the beginning on men had the same side effects as the women’s pill. But when the women test subjects complained about side effects, they were written off and ignored. Scientists thought they were exaggerating or that the effects were psychosomatic. Silly women! When the male subjects complained, the offending formula was thrown out. God forbid we mess with a man’s sex drive!

Notice: Sex-related pills for men work to make them more virile while pills for women suppress our fertility and our sex drive.

I have to ask along with Matt Walsh, where is the feminist rage? It’s no surprise that women were written off in the 50s as being silly, but why are women being written off now when the pill that many use can give them brain cancer!

And why are we willing to give up our fertility so easily? Because we can die bringing life into the world? Because women are still given the bulk of the responsibility in child-rearing? Because, as the aforementioned Matt Walsh pointed out, we’ve been sold on the lie that our worth is based on our job? We have gone from one extreme of expecting all women to be mothers to the other expecting all women to be sterile.

Let’s find a balance. Let’s respect the woman who has 4 kids before she’s 30. Let’s respect the woman who runs a Fortune 500 company. Let’s respect the woman who, for no fault of her own, cannot have children.

LET’S

RESPECT

WOMEN.

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Theology of the Body Thursday #9: You don’t need a degree to figure this one out.

Sarcasm Alert.

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A conversation overheard at the laundromat:

“He rides her and then spends $50 on this pill then she takes it,” a talkative patron says incredulously.

“Really?” the friendly worker responds.

“Yeah, and she’s all like ‘I love him’ and ‘we’re going to get married’ and I’m like, ‘are you stupid?'” the patron explains.

“No kidding,” the worker agrees.

Yeah, he totally loves her and I can think of two ways you know for sure.

  1. The most obvious: he doesn’t want her to have his baby. He’s willing to go to extremes to make sure she doesn’t have his baby. A baby would be a permanent link between the couple, and why would he want that? As some people say, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?
  2. He’s willing to flood her body with powerful hormones on a regular basis so he can get his kicks. I’m not going to deny that women can get pleasure from sex as well, but in this relationship, she’s taking all the risk and he’s taking a substantial chunk of the reward. She’s suffering the side effects of the Plan B pill. She’ll have issues in the future for taking the Plan B pill as a primary form of birth control when even it’s makers didn’t intend it thus.

Yup, this sounds like true love to me and this guy is a real keeper. And even a couple of non-Catholic, non-theologians gossiping at a laundromat can see that.

Seriously, though, if you are in a relationship like this, get out! You deserve better than this.

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The Birth of the Pill: A Review

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I came across this book after reading a review on a conservative Catholic website. The reviewer marveled at the fact that Eig clearly did all the research and was very candid in telling the story, but still came across as pro-birth control.

I have to echo that sentiment. I can only speak to his research into Margaret Sanger since she has been a subject of my research for over a year now. He was completely accurate in his description of Sanger’s life, thought, and person. He was completely and perfectly candid about everything that led to the creation of the first birth control pill.

He didn’t put the creators above criticism. He even made a pretty even-handed attempt at explaining the Catholic Church’s view. It was lacking any real detail, but he got the gist quite nicely and he referenced such scholars as Dr. Janet E. Smith in his selected bibliography. He does, however, make it sound like the Church’s view on birth control was something that was just made up for the first time in the 1930’s. I think I can forgive him that.

Another brief criticism: in the end, he only sites one study that seemed to demonstrate that the pill has no long-lasting effects. Given the author’s bias, that shouldn’t come as any surprise.

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This image, which is shared in the book, really tells you all you need to know about why birth control meant so much to Margaret Sanger.

 

I got it from the library, but I fully intend to purchase a physical copy of the book. This is the highest compliment from me because I will only buy physical books that I intend to either share or use as a reference. Otherwise, I always either get it from the library or buy a Kindle version.

I think that anyone who works in women’s health or works to promote NFP needs a copy of this book. It will allow people who work against artificial birth control to understand the other side and the personalities that created it. The book is unquestionably pro-birth control, but the story is through and honest. It reads like an exciting novel, yet is full of facts. I really can’t praise this book enough. Get a copy today!

Theology of the Body Thursday #7: Optional Birth Control, Required Birth Control

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This summer, it came to the media’s attention that some students coming from South Africa who have earned government scholarships to go outside of the country to go to school were essentially forced to be injected with a long-term birth control device.

While this story was all over the news in the region, some people declared the story to be pure sensationalism, full of lies. Others justified the idea by pointing out that the tax-payer is giving them money to go to school and the tax-payer deserves a return on their investment. Still others mentioned that the scholarships are only for a specific period of time and taking time off to have a child would royally mess up the system.

Nonetheless, just this week this story came up again, as more students left to go to school in Cuba and the government had to specifically say that “the health department had not prescribed contraceptives for those who were awarded bursaries.” (“Bursary” is basically the British word for “scholarship.”) The students were warned not to get pregnant.

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Source I’m not going to talk about a slippery slope, as tempting as it may be.

I’m not a fan of slippery-slope arguments. Sometimes they are true, usually they are not. Instead of launching into some sort of slippery slope argument, I want to go straight to the source. Why is artificial birth control okay and how does that opinion lead to the potential of abuse?

We recognize that having children is expensive. We observe that women will drop out of school or the workforce to have children. Society (and the women themselves) want women to stay in school or the workforce. To change school and the workforce to be more mother-friendly would take a lot more effort than just taking a pill or injecting a drug or device.

So women have and take the option of taking artificial birth control. Now, what about people who are invested in these women? No man or woman is an island. We all exist dependent upon everyone else. Shouldn’t those who have an invested interest in the women have a say in a woman’s use of birth control? Our answer to that question can lead to the abuse of an already unnatural and morally problematic situation.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own – 1 Corinthians 6:19

Why do we have to disrespect a woman’s body by controlling the amazing ability to bring forth new life? Why do we have to disrespect the sexual act by sterilizing it? Why does a pregnant woman have to drop out of school or quit her job?

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Earlier this week, the US Supreme Court heard a case of a pregnant woman who was discriminated against when she requested to go on light duty. I look forward to hearing the results of this case. Pregnancy discrimination is a vile injustice that does nothing but further encourage abortions and put women in poverty.

Just as a pregnant woman shouldn’t be forced to choose between her child and an education and career, a fertile woman shouldn’t be forced to chemically sterilize herself in order to pursue an education or career. I think that most people, regardless of their views on abortion or birth control, would agree with that.

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An actual card available on Etsy. Uteri are pretty awesome!

 

Humanae Vitae Study just around the corner!

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LIGHT SHINES ON CRUCIFIX IN VESTIBULE OF BASILICA

Starting in just a week, we’ll be hosting an ENDOW study of Humanae Vitae. It’s never too late to join. Visit here to sign up and buy your book. ENDOW has recently lowered their prices substantially. For only $20, you can learn why the church teaches what it does about birth control and marriage so you can better appreciate the awesome power which is WOMAN!

Where I Agree With Ignorance

Okay, you might want to sit down for this one. In fact, if you are of that persuasion, a strong drink beside you would be a good idea. I’m going to say something I never thought I would say.

I found an article on Return of Kings which I agree with.

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Really, mom? What the heck?

Return of Kings is probably one of the most disgusting websites out there that does not contain explicitly porn. It basically exists to enrage both New Feminists and Second-wave Feminists alike. When it first started out, I remember that it’s first several articles were critiqued on major Second-wave Feminist blogs which, incidentally, probably gave the darn website more attention than it would have garnished on its own.

But then, yesterday, they published something that I actually agreed with. I wasn’t happy with the tone. It was written in their characteristically cynical voice and, of course, it was insulting to women, but they showed this:

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And this:

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Those are actual birth control ads.

This is how the ROK author introduced it:

An off-brand IUD (intrauterine device) product that goes by the name “Skyla” recently put out a series of banner ads not just trumpeting the just-how-busy girls are these days, but just how much their hobbies and extravagant dreams are stand-ins for motherhood. Musical instruments and introductory textbooks, we learn, are the same as fulfilling your biological imperative of producing healthy offspring during your prime years. Having children is mutually exclusive with a rewarding life.

I’m not going to touch the “biological imperative” part with a ten-foot pole because it makes it sound as if we’re nothing but breeders. But I do have to applaud this: Having children is not mutually exclusive with a rewarding life.

Now, I could flood this post with pictures of celebrity moms, but we all know they have the money to afford childcare and all of those luxuries the rest of us can’t have. And this would seem to further imply that financial success=a rewarding life.

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You can have a rewarding life in any number of ways. In our society, we have so equated it with financial success, it’s hard for us to see it any other way. But we don’t need money to make us happy. We don’t need career success to make us happy. Studies say we need community, meaningful work, and…leisure to be happy. Children don’t get in the way of any of those things. My two-year-old tells me when it’s time to take a break. My son’s unexpected and traumatic arrival added fuel to my passion for all women’s issues. Some people find community through having kids. Kids lead to a rewarding life.

Of course, I’m still having trouble with all of these things. I wanted a career and I’m sure some of my single readers do to. So, let me share some more ordinary moms (like there is a such thing):

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First of all, there are a number of professional organizations that are for mom entrepreneurs, or momprenuers! Like the one with the above logo, there are a couple even for specifically Christian momprenuers. And these are not small organizations. There are tons of momprenuers out there and apparently they are a new thing in the business world so their numbers are only going to grow!

Original caption: Left to right, Kitty Spinelli, of Skaneateles, and Maria Miller, of Syracuse, are co-founders of Joseph's House for pregnant unwed women. Michelle Gabel | mgabel@syracuse.com

Original caption: Left to right, Kitty Spinelli, of Skaneateles, and Maria Miller, of Syracuse, are co-founders of Joseph’s House for pregnant unwed women. Michelle Gabel | mgabel@syracuse.com

Speaking of momprenuers, Joseph’s House, a home for women who choose life for their children and have no where to turn, was founded by two women who are not only mothers, but grandmothers. This amazing charity started from scratch has just celebrated their second birth in the home.

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Joan Nolan

Joan Nolan, one of my bosses and friends, is one of the main driving forces behind John Paul II Center for Women and Gianna Healthcare. She’s not only a mom, but she’s a mom in a very big family. The majority of the women working with her are also mothers (some with even bigger families). As an organization, we want to help women to recognize and appreciate their inherent worth and dignity. We want to combat all of those voices telling women that they are not enough.

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My mom runs from cameras.

I could not conclude this post without mentioning my own mom. Connie Seiglar is the COO of Northeast Missouri Health Council. Not only is she a mom, but she never stepped foot into a college classroom. She got her MBA from the School of Hard Knocks and she is one of very few COOs in the country who can say that. She has always had a successful career. And she had two pretty cute kids, if I may say so myself.

Birth control messes your body up. It “fixes” a natural body process. We all have “f-ed up priorities” (to quote the ROK article). Many women on birth control think that hobbies and a career will fulfill them and they want to have consequence-free sex. The “men” of ROK think that having no-strings-attached sex with spine-less women will make them happy. I think that writing the next Great American Novel will make my life complete. We are all wrong.

God first