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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. CFS

    They've been trying to take away our right to bear arms for years. Now they're working on our religious freedom. Will freedom of speech be next? Chip, chip, chip away at our rights and eventually we'll be in a wonderfully socialist society like China .

    March 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • KeithTexas

      China is Communist not Socialist. Many of your freedoms were already taken form you with the Patriot act, and you are free to practice your religion as long as it doesn't infringe the rights of others.

      March 14, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • El Flaco

      Attention Morons: No one is paying extra for birth control pills. Health Insurance companies prefer to give free contraception to the fertile women they insure. Statistics show that the unwanted pregnancies that are thereby prevented would be MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE than free birth control.

      Therefore, when you say that insurance companies should NOT provide free birth control, you are just asking for higher health insurance premiums.

      How many times do you have to read this before you understand it?

      March 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  2. CFS

    Why should the Church have to pay for something that it deems immoral? People keep saying that the Church is preventing women from getting birth control. Women can still get a prescription from their doctor and trot themselves down to the local pharmacy and buy it themselves. That's what I had to do years ago and I needed it to treat a medical condition not for birth control. It hasn't been that long ago when none of the health care insurance policies covered birth control. This is not an issue of denying access, it's an issue of religious freedom. Birth control is a choice not a basic human right!

    March 14, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  3. david

    what a joke. if it works for you fine, don't think it should work for everyone. Keep Jesus to yourself.

    March 11, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  4. Allie

    *facepalm* This is completely ridiculous.

    March 11, 2012 at 3:50 am |
  5. PRISM 1234

    What a timely and needed message in the society so polluted by degrading immages of women, blaring through the midia outlets in every shape and form into our society... How many times I pass through store's check out counters getting literally nauseated in my spirit by seeing women che'apening themselves, with fixed, plastic looking smiles on their faces att'empting to portray happiness, but not being able to hide the emptiness of their souls, revealed through blankness of their eyes, lacking the real sub'stance of what they are trying to portray with those smiles...... And headlines that stand out on the front cover of those magazines un-ashamedly s'tr'ip the women even more of any worth and dignity, merchandising them as mare objects, to feed the lewd lusts of sick minded persons to ent'ice their perverted imaginations....That's even more degrading and dehumanizing then the beggarly pictures they think to "enchant" them with....
    So, Is it wonder that we have mul'ti'tudes of crimes co'mmit'ted against women and girls in our society and worldwide?!
    Men are co'ndit'ions not to respect and value women. The corrupt human nature is going to do what is co'ndi'tioned to do. So, to have someone to speak out and stand firm in the co'nvi'ctions that are right, it's the first right step toward improvement. And it has to start with God's people!
    If God 's people won't do it, who then will? The world does not know righteousness and what is good, pure, noble and just. But God's people should!
    I wholeheartedly agree with this article, and co'mmend the woman who wrote it. I'm not Catholic , although I came from that background, but have left for their many wrong teachings. But I will not deny what they teach that is right....
    Evangelical churches that teach on marriages, the roles of each person in marriage, and how the whole mystery of marriage is the picture of Christ and His bride, the Church... the majority of Protestant, present day Evangelical Church can not hold candle to their teachings, not by a long shot! It seems that they, the Protestant Evangelicals, have missed it when it comes to marriage, real meaning of it, real love, the depth of it that's required in a marriage, and what role se'x plays in total intimacy. Most protestant evangelical people are co'nfused and have no guidence, and wolves in sheep clothing have taken them captive with their versions of teachings which only put them back into bondage. Thats' why in so many churches there is a certain presence of unholy spirit, and it is felt by those who have the gift of discernment....
    But those limelight seeking pea-co'cky "teachers" who have become regulars on "tabloid"-style TV hot spots, only make things worse for God's scatered flock, which don't know whom to listen too.... They make mockery of themselves, but what's worse, they throw mud on the name of Jesus Christ, whom if they knew by His Spirit, they would never speak the way they do.
    But it is all as the words of the Scriptures have foretold long ago, and by those we know the signs of the times we live in! And we see them before our very own eyes!

    March 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  6. pacman357

    I read the blog entry, not just the little teaser here. Cheee-rist, you must be a lot of fun. Not once have I heard anyone in the Obama administration suggest that "To be a healthy woman, you need contraception. All the successful women use it. You can’t live without it." The point is that women who WANT it should be able to GET it, regardless of their income bracket. I suppose you would prefer a world where uneducated, impoverished and unvalued women pop out babies like a Pez dispenser. If that is so, move to Africa. You should love it there.

    Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is great...if a sperm gets wasted, God (and you) get quite irate....

    March 10, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • karen

      Wow that is incredibly racist and elitist statement! So should only white rich people in the first world have children? This is part of the problem with this type legislation. It stems from a desire to control the masses.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • karen

      Eugenics is alive and strong in the US. As hard as people have worked for the rights of minorities and underrepresented, it is frightening to see how telling that mentality is.

      March 10, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  7. Beef

    Christians all knowing the mind of God. You're laughable. You dont even trust your own deity. I bet they pay for vasectomies. Hypocrites.

    March 10, 2012 at 5:24 am |
    • Michael

      Actually, they don't pay for vasectomies. It is about honoring the body cycles and functions of the male and female.

      March 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • K

      Michael,

      I'm a Catholic woman who's female "body cycle" cripples me for several days each month and prevents me from going to places such as work, running errands, and yes, even church. Taking contraceptives is not disrespectful in any way to female body. It's helping me be able to function as a normal human and not be prone with immense pain monthly. I'm sorry, but until you've hemorrhaged from your uterus, you don't understand. And you shouldn't get an opinion.

      March 11, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Nancy

      K,
      The church would approve of the use of oral contraception in your case since the primary purpose is for your health not for the prevention of pregnancy. This is common misconception that needs to be cleared up.

      March 13, 2012 at 7:27 am |
  8. small 'c' christian

    If the Catholic organizations in question hired only Catholics, then this would hardly be an issue. However, it would also be discriminatory, and open up an entirely different can of worms. So, as long as these organizations employ persons of non-Catholic faith, then they have a duty to provide ALL employees with the same health care as they would receive elsewhere, or risk an exodus of qualified employees who feel they need the care provided elsewhere. Howeveer, should an employee decline to avail themselves of certain services, then that is simply exercising their own rights to individual freedom. BTW, if an organization which employed me denied me any rights simply because I do not think as they do, I would either vote with my feet or engage a lawyer. Why should MY rights be trampled because they simply happen to upset members of another group?

    This should NOT be an election issue, people. A hemmoraging economy, blatant racism on the part of at least two would-be leaders of the free world, hawks who would happily start WW3 if it gets them elected, and all we can talk about is THIS?

    March 9, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Because catholics supposedly don't use birth control? If that were the case, the catholic high schools would be full of unwed mothers.

      March 10, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  9. Jim P.

    " I stand with my fellow Catholics " Your fellow *male* catholic heiarchy mostly. I understand something like 85% of Catholic women don't exactly stand shoulder to shoulder with you on this one.

    If your god wants you pregnant, contraception won't stop him nor will abstinence. It's in the book. :0

    March 9, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Michael

      Uh, that's not true. The poll so often cited was only concerned with women who were concerned about pregnancy. If you were to poll the total population of Mass going Catholics, most woment aren't using ABC. The only one's I know who are are being pressured by marginally Catholic husbands.

      March 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  10. J.W

    Can someone explain to me again why religious freedom only applies to contraception?

    March 9, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • karen

      It doesn't. Unfortunately, the argument at hands relates to who will pay for contraceptives and abortifacients.

      March 9, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • J.W

      So should everyone be able to opt out of things that they find immoral?

      March 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  11. Julie

    As a Catholic woman who has used birth control after 3 kids, I can tell you that the church has NEVER provided me with any form of child support. Someone let me know when they start.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • karen

      There are many services provided by the Church. I am sure if you are need the Church will assist you. Not sure how this relates to the argument, though.

      March 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Nicholas McGuire

      Catholic church has helped my Mom. My mother has 7 children.

      March 9, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Nicholas McGuire

      You could be helped too.

      March 9, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Jim

      They aren't asking the church to pay for anything. They are asking the church to provide insurance that allows you to have coverage for your contraceptives if you are an EMPLOYEE of the church. You know, a janitor, a systems administrator, etc. Please understand the facts at hand before you comment on them, and please don't take the explanation of some talking head from either side.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Perhaps the suggestion is that when the church starts taking the responsibility for all these unwanted children, then, perhaps the church can dictate who doesn't use birth control.

      March 10, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Michael

      Have you even read Humanae Vitae? I would recommend it. It will take you about 10 minutes. This birth control you take is spiritual poison, and physically bad for you as well. The World Health Organization cosiders birth control pills a Carcinogen on the level of Asbestos. Please consider what you are doing! You are meant for more then a spousal masturbatory device.

      March 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  12. JimboTron5K

    I love these articles. I wonder if she has ALWAYS felt that birth control denigrates her as a woman, or just now that it's an election year. Conservatives are REALLY over-reaching with this one. It's bad timing on a bad issue for them, and thus, bad judgement.

    March 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  13. Librarian

    This is about oppressing women. If you believe in religious freedom, then don't take the pills. I worked for a Catholic school and I am not Catholic. They hired me because of my qualifications not religion. That demonstrated freedom. Not paying for birth control pills but yet paying for IVF when the Church is against it is baloney.

    March 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • karen

      Not going against your moral beliefs is not oppressing women.

      March 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  14. tokencode

    This article denigrates the author as a woman. I'm guessing an abstinence program was very easy for this author to follow...

    March 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  15. Pfft

    This girl is a foreveralone for sure. No man wants to have his sack trampled on. Shut up woman.

    March 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  16. Bette

    How many more billions will have to be living (and starving) on this planet before people wake up?

    March 8, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  17. infalible

    The Poop has never been wrong before. Hiding pedifiles, encouraging silence in the face of molestation. You and your religion make me sick.

    March 7, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Sam

      I agree. The Catholic church is that which brought us the Middle Ages. If some brainwashed Catholic doesn't want to use birth control, then DON'T. Otherwise, leave everyone alone.

      March 7, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Michael

      hmmm. yes, rather like the Congressional page scandal and the continuing scandals in the Teaching profession. If only we could do something about people being wicked. The "Godless" model worked so well in Soviet Russia. Perhaps you'd prefer that?

      March 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  18. Superman

    are there still catholics that don't speak spanish?

    March 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • mickey1313

      rednecks and bafoons

      March 7, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Kelly

      Yes, me. And I'm a woman and I don't use birth control and I love it. My marriage is better for it and I love that I'm practicing my catholic faith as God intended.

      March 13, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  19. LarryW

    Yes. I understand that to you and the Catholic church, a woman is not a real woman unless she is a baby factory, and you and your religion want to ensure the barefoot and pregnant is the only way to go.

    March 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • karen

      Unfortunately, you miss the point. The Church is one of the few places where women are wholly valued, uterus and all. Read Theology of the Body and Humanae Vitae.

      March 7, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • JimboTron5K

      Lame. "The Catholic Church respects women as a whole, uterus and all." BS! Catholicism doesn't respect any woman who has an opinion that is different from theirs. 90% of Catholic women in America use birth control. Are they ALL going to hell, or just the registered democrats?

      March 8, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • karen

      I would say that those who do not.show respect for women with opposing views are many responding to this article. I find it curious that those claiming lineral, open-mindedness, only apply it to those that agree with them...

      March 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  20. Blake

    I respect your opinion Valerie (although I don't quite see your rationale) - as long as you don't seek to deprive the right to contraceptives to others, then there shouldn't be a problem...

    March 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • karen

      That is not the issue. The issue is religious freedom. There are plenty of places where people can get free or near free birth control. The government and media are turning this into a contraceptive circus to take attention away from the fact that this is a direct attack on religious liberty. So many people are screaming that they want the Church out of their contraceptives. The Church does want to be out of it, including NOT PAYING FOR IT.

      March 7, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • it's jimjim

      @karen – Maybe those churches could pay their fair share in taxes?

      March 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • JimboTron5K

      No, the issue not religious freedom. You already have religious freedom. The issue is women's health. Non-Catholic women working for the Catholic Church who take birth control do not in any way prevent you from exercising that religious freedom that vets like me gave to you. No one is forcing a BCP down your throat. Don't like birth control pills? Don't use them! THAT is religious freedom. Your religious freedom does not allow you to dictate health-care decisions to others that do not share your beliefs. Religion does not and should not trump healthcare. When Christian Scientists refuse medical care for their children because "God will provide" and then their child dies because their parents would not authorize a life-saving procedure, that's a criminal negligence, and the parents should (and do) go to jail. But here you have the freedom to choose NOT to take birth control. So exercise it! Stop taking birth control, problem solved. See how that works? You can make these decisions FOR YOURSELF, but not for others.

      March 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Karen

      Hey Jimbo, healthcare that is for disease prevention, I am a 100 percent for it. This does not count. It is completely a question of religious freedom and a direct violation of the first amendment. There are more women dying from complications related to ocp use than there are from not using it. Your attempt at a parallel fails. I am not dictating the choices of others. I do not believe that the Church should have to pay for ocps or abortifacients...two things that are clearly against moral teaching.

      March 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • PDXmum

      I hate to break it to you Karen, but 1000 women a day across the world die in childbirth. Childbirth is the #1 killer of women and has been for most of human history. Are that many women a day dying from birth control?

      March 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.