My Take: Contraception denigrates me as a woman
February 16th, 2012
12:13 PM ET

My Take: Contraception denigrates me as a woman

Editor’s Note: Valerie Pokorny is actively involved in marriage preparation programs, natural family planning instruction and chastity education in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas.

By Valerie Pokorny, Special to CNN

(CNN) – In the face of the Health and Human Services mandate to provide contraception coverage, I stand with my fellow Catholics hoping our religious freedom will be respected.

But more importantly, I stand as a woman hoping who I am will be respected.

Four times a year, I walk into a room of Catholic moms and their middle school or high school daughters to help them see why being a woman matters, as part of the Archdiocese of San Antonio’s Mother-Daughter Programs on the Gift of Femininity.

Read the full story here from CNN's In America Blog.
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Content Partner • Opinion

soundoff (435 Responses)
  1. MKinSoCal

    While I respect your right to your opinion. the fact of the matter is you are woefully out of touch with the actual practices of the vast majority of Catholic women. The point of this whole discussion should not be what is "right" or "wrong", but the fact that it is the individual's decision to make that choice. If you don't like or agree with contraception, that you are certainly free not to use or promote it.

    March 7, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  2. Laura

    You want your religious freedoms protected, well so do I. I do not subscribe to your religious beliefs yet you see no problem trying to impose them on me. If you don't want to use birth control, then don't use it. However, don't ban medications that are used for a variety of medical conditions because of your religious beliefs.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  3. OhPleaseYerKillinMeSTOP

    Hie thee to a nunnery...

    March 7, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  4. JPX

    So let's review, republicans are pro-life, pro-war, pro-death penalty, and pro-we-choose-for-you. Something doesn't sound right here. Religious kooks love to "protect the unborn" but don't care about them once they are actually born. I think republicans are a loathesome bunch but I find it especially upsetting when women align themselves with the republican party. Why would you want to be part of a club that hates you?

    March 7, 2012 at 7:57 am |
  5. JPX

    My take: Valerie Pokorny, you're a deluded idiot and your "take" sets women back 100 years. More evidence that religion poisons everything.

    March 7, 2012 at 7:51 am |
  6. ep tor

    If you shave your armpits and legs you'll feel better about yourself.

    March 7, 2012 at 1:08 am |
  7. Sue Thom


    March 6, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • JPX


      March 7, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • Tammy

      Thank you!

      March 8, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Tammy

      I take my thank you back. In my religious delusional state, I didn't read the part about the imaginary deities. The deity is not imaginary – just beyond human sensory perception and mental comprehension for the most part . However, too many people who call themselves "religious" have decided what this deity's political positions are and try to impose them on everyone else. Atheists shouldn't judge people of faith and people of faith should not judge atheists. Most of it is beyond us – let's just try to care more about our fellow humans.

      March 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  8. J.W

    Lets be honest. This whole thing really is about contraception, not religious freedom. Republicans definitely do not want separation of church and state.

    March 6, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  9. Tex71

    If contraception "denigrates" you, so do all those other hellspawned brainchidren of the demon Science, like antibiotics, clocks, toothpaste, electricity, the internal combustion engine, and clothing. Stop using them immediately or accept being a hypocrite and a tool.

    March 6, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    March 6, 2012 at 6:54 am |
    • todd in DC

      Yup, just ask those dead tornado victims.

      March 6, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  11. GLADOS

    I miss Chell...

    March 5, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  12. Dr. Lane

    Lamar, you are incorrect when you state that the seperation of church and state was for the purpose of keeping the state
    out of the church's affairs. It is actually the opposite. Our founding fathers were very familiar with the over-reaching influence the Church of England enjoyed in governmental matters. American colonists' also let religious beliefs dictate how laws were adopted and applied. The founding fathers wanted to establish a government that would be free from religious oppression so that no one group could exclude another based on religious choice.

    March 5, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • max33333445555

      no. thats exactly wrong. the glenn beck version of the founding of this country is a simpleton's dream. the pilgrims came here for religious freedom. the founding fathers didnt actually want independence but were forced into it by misteps of the english monarchy. these misteps had nothing to do with religous persecution but a misguided tax policy.

      as a matter of fact, religion was a serious potential problem for the MA patriots that were the first to fight the brits. as they attempted to enlist the support of the other colonies they were concerned they would not get it because the MA colony was seen as populated by religious fanatics. fortunately that did not happen.

      March 7, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • max33333445555

      oh, one other thing. even the pilgrims did not support catholicism. they were protestants and very much opposed to papists

      March 7, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  13. Anne Boyle

    Contraceptions and the rhythm method are both a conscious attempt to prevent pregnancy. It is up to women to decide their choice and that choice belongs to no one else. If an avowed Catholic does not believe she should take contraceptions, that is her choice. In a country of freedoms, that decision should not be imposed on all women.

    March 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • karen

      No one has said it is. This is an issue of religious freedom. The Church should not be forced to pay for it. The media is working really hard to make it a contraception debate. It is a matter of religious liberty.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • mastermind

      what about the rights of the baby??? who is protecting their rights. the right to live!!! Abortion is murder. plain & simple.

      March 6, 2012 at 6:52 am |
    • Rbnlegnd101

      No one is saying that "the church" should pay for it. This isn't about "the church". This is about other businesses that are run by people who want their religious views to apply to their employees who may not share their same religion. The church, the actual church, has it's own exemption and is not part of this discussion. Although the right has done a really great job of making it sound like it is about the church. That's how effective spin works, and it's doing great here.

      March 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • todd in DC

      Mastermess, the "baby" is a bunch of cells smaller than a dot on this i . The woman stuck to this is a living, breathing human. I'm guessing that you pose no solutions to paying for said "baby" for it's prenatal care, it's health insurance, its schooling, and its college.

      It's your "baby". YOU PAY FOR IT.

      March 6, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  14. Charlotte

    How this twit can claim that contraception denegrates her as a woman is unfathomable. She is clearly not posessed of much in the way of intellect or empathy for women. A man in a woman's body, essentially. No REAL woman would feel denigrated by the potential to have access to contraception because it's about a whole lot more than just making sure you don't deny your instincts while at the same time preventing the greatest evil that mankind has heaped upon Mother Earth – severe overpopulation. The fallacy that we are supposed to go forth and be fruitful and multiply died about three thousand years ago when the targets of that directive died. At the time, yeah, it was a matter of survival of the species because there were so few and the mortality rate was so high. Now people are living to 100 years old and there are far, far too many people on the planet to be sustained by its dwindling resources. To continue thinking of women as vessels for givingt life is the height of stupidity, hubris and ignorance.

    March 5, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Charlotte

      ...but then, that pretty much defines the Church, doesn't it. Stupidity, ignorance and hubris. You people who think otherwise are just propagating evil. Most religions are responsible for most of the world's evil and this is just another clear example.

      March 5, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • karen

      The stupidity really falls on your plate. Overpopulation as a Malthusian concept has been force fed down people s throats for so long that they cannot think wihout it. Look at China. It s efforts to get population down to 1 (currently at 1.6), has resulted in the death of millions of women. Is this the same freedom that you are vying? Is this the population control you support. Population growth is necessary for the maintenance if the economies of society. China and several European countries are struggling and will continue to struggle because they drank the overpopulation kool-aid. Without new people the economy fails. We have a deficiency in distribution of resources.

      March 5, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • karen

      Charlotte, research Margaret Sanger. Research eugenics. This woman who had been hailed as a pioneer for women by providing contraception is no more than a bigot who spent her efforts trying to eliminate blacks, other minorities, and the disabled.

      Gulp, keep drinking the kool- aid

      March 5, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Jenn

      Far from a twit. I have immense respect for what she is saying. The argument is about the legislation that is going to force churches to go against their beliefs and provide birth control to its employees. That goes against everything this country was supposed to be built upon. It's not freedom of religion if you have to compromise to fit what others think it should be. If you want your employer to provide contraceptive coverage- then common sense would say do not work for a christian organization. Find employment that provides with it without asking your employer to compromise their religion. You wouldn't like it if they asked you to compromise what you believe in. Just like if you don't like kosher food for lunch- don't work in a jewish organization. If you want a hamburger...don't work in a vegan establishment. Seems pretty simple to me....but then again America is becoming a very unfriendly place to be a christian. Every other religion is respected and protected- except for christianity. They are under constant attack now.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • jimtanker

      It is not about forcing churches to go against their beliefs. It is about the fair treatment of all people. Since 96% of all practicing catholic women in the US use birth control and 98% of all catholics in general then this makes it a moot point anyway.

      Catholics are using birth control anyway so it really doesnt matter.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  15. Maryjo

    "Your fellow Catholics" of which I was one, leave the Catholic church. Issues like birth control, excluding women, and abuse will be it's demise.

    March 4, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Lamar

      Good for you MaryJo., Christianity is not for those whose flesh is weak.

      Thousands of folks like you have chosen the easier path – you have plenty of company.

      Christianity demands more of people, and places the sacredness of Life above all else – it is the only religion one feel I can be proud of, it places the dignitiy of humans above all else.

      People who think contraception is their ticket to freedom are deluded. Abortion stops a beating heart, and is murder – plain and simple, and all those who partake and condone it, are tinged by guilt of murder in varying degrees.

      As a society we bemoan that society is divided, more wicked than ever, less carying than ever... why is anyone surprised when it is legal for women to abort their own offspring?

      Good bye MaryJo, happy Trails.

      March 4, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • PetallessRose

      Congrats, MaryJo! You leave behind the judgmental zealots like the previous commenter. Kudos to you.

      March 5, 2012 at 2:37 am |
    • Renae

      You scream about immorality, yet you want the immoral federal government to pay for your religious beliefs? That's just LOL hilarious!

      March 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  16. WCCT


    You don't approve of contraception because your religion tells you not to. Whatever, that's fine. Stop grasping at straws for other reasons why what your religion tells you makes sense. And consider this for an example of the genius of women in your tabloid rags: they get people to pay them tons of money for simply having their picture taken. Genius!

    March 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • That sound like a genius

      Ah, yes they pay tons to strip.Does it make one a genius if they strip for the money genius? 😉

      March 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  17. Liz S.

    You do realize that your fellow Catholics - of which I am one - are mostly not with you on this? Most of us use contraception. Contraception has liberated us from being slaves to our biology. To some extent it's given us control over the trajectories of our lives. I agree with Aezel - you really are out of touch with reality (including the reality of the people sitting next to you in the pews).

    March 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • CMoses

      As a Catholic, you need to be willing to accept the authority of the church and what it teaches. There's a term for Catholics that pick and choose what they want and what they want to follow and what they don't want to follow. They're called Protestants.

      March 4, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Lamar


      And your point is? Just because most catholics (supposedly) don't agree, does it make it wrong? Get an brain!

      And whose statistic are you citing ? Your own backyard ticky tacky notebook with your liberal friends?

      March 4, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Contraception has freed women from being slaves to their biology? Maybe, in a sense, but in another real way, contraception has enslaved women to surgery, chemo and radiation when they develop breast cancer because they messed around with their hormones for years.

      March 4, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Galileo Galilei

      CMoses "As a Catholic, you need to be willing to accept the authority of the church and what it teaches."

      Yes, the church is all wise and knowing.

      Galileo's admonition stopped the Copernican movement dead in its tracks. For Galileo, his admonition marked the beginning of a period of silence. He busied himself with such tasks as using tables of the moons of Jupiter to develop a chronometer for measuring longitude at sea. He endured his rheumatism, enjoyed the attention of his daughter, Maria Celeste, and adjusted to a world which elevated mindless conformism over scientific understanding.

      CMoses – "The church has been around for two centuries, and will be around for many centuries to come."

      More like 21 centuries and as long as there are followers, it will be around.

      March 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  18. Ken Margo

    This is the perfect reason for the separation of church and state. Why choose the church teachings (What men think) over what women think that want to use birth control. Also men who are for contraception need to speak a little louder on this issue. After all your choice is being taken away also. The best way to put the church in its place is to stop supporting them financially. If the church coffers dry up because of this, they will back off big time.

    March 2, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • CMoses

      The Church is not going to back off on this one. The church has been around for two centuries, and will be around for many centuries to come.

      March 4, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Lamar

      Ken ? Margo ? Which is it?

      The separation of church and state was for the state to get out of Church's affairs. This is precisely the basis of this country – the first amendment accords freedom of concience. The State is getting into Church's affairs.

      Get Obama /Democrats/ Liberals/ Left wingers/ eugenicists/ out of my Church!!!!

      March 4, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Renae

      By implication, then, you think the government should heed the teachings and dogma of the Catholic Church and force the Vatican's will on the US? Is this what you are saying?

      March 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  19. Aezel

    "I stand with my fellow Catholics hoping our religious freedom will be respected."

    LOL. Your "fellow Catholics" don't stand with you you clueless b***h. 98% of Catholic women use contraception. 65% of Catholics support this measure. You are in the minority, even among "your people."

    Typical religious loon, completely divorced from reality.

    March 2, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • karen

      Really, do you know this is true? What is this based on? What are your sources? CNN said so?

      I think if you polled devout Catholics, the numbers would be markedly different.

      Whether or not you like it, the moral teaching of the Church is one of respect for husband and wife. There is nothing withheld from the other. Love is given freely, fruitfully, faithfully, and totally.

      March 3, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • CMoses

      1) the poll came from a group originally founded by Planned Parenthood.
      2) the poll did not differentiate between C&E Catholics and Catholics in good standing that actually attend Mass on a weekly basis
      3) the poll said that 98% of Catholic women "had" used birth control in their lives. Didn't seperate those that used it as a contraceptive vs. those that used it for other medical reasons. People who quote it also present it as if all 98% are still using it
      4) the poll didn't ask how many are "currently" using it
      5) the poll didn't ask how many have used it in the past, but have now started using more natural methods to be more fully in Communion with the Church.

      March 4, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Renae

      CMoses, taking you at your word, then that means at some point in their lives, 98% of Catholics were disobedient to Church teachings. Luckily, this nation isn't run on Sharia law or Catholic dogma. I'm sure those 98% were very happy about that!

      March 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • CMoses

      Actually, @Renae, 100% of Catholics have been disobedient to Church teachings. It's called "sinning" and we all do it all the time.

      March 9, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  20. Taroya

    What y'all seem to not notice is that there is a great deal more responsibility than whether or not to raise a kid.

    Already we do not have sufficient resources on this planet to feed, clothe, and shelter everyone. And you want to add MORE?

    Why? To watch them starve?

    That is the repub goal, as they are the ones that have voted to remove assistance to women and children. Isn't that kind of sick?

    In addition, I am insulted that you think I am capable of raising a CHILD, but not capable of making a CHOICE.

    On top of all of that, why does my insurance cover Viagra, but doesn't want to cover birth control?

    And since when is it okay for you to shove your religion down my throat in this country? You are the one that likes it; YOU KEEP IT. Preferably to yourself.

    Just because birth control is offered and covered by health insurance it doesn't mean that you HAVE to use it.


    I am only capable of raising a kid, not of making a CHOICE!

    March 1, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • karen

      Make your choices. I don't want to pay for them.

      March 3, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • karen

      The problems of poverty have less to do with the number of people on the planet and resources. Instead, it is related to the distribution of resources.

      Look at Europe. They have negative population growth. Their growth relies on immigration only. Populations that will die off. There is a natural order. We are so good at.screwing it up. Unfortunately, we will not feel the ramifications of this until it is too late.

      March 3, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Lamar

      Those who are capable of kiling their kid, don't deserve a choice.

      March 4, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • J.W

      So if every family had ten kids you think that the United States could sustain that?

      March 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Renae

      Thank you, Lamar, for determining the fate of all mankind! Your hubris is a slap in the face of God.......

      March 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Corwin7

      @Karen...since when are you required to pay for Taroya's insurance?

      March 7, 2012 at 12:52 am |
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