Judy Lawson: Free to live your own life, not make health choices for others

by Symptom Advice on March 8, 2012

In response to Mary Powell’s letter (“Rights of Christians Infringed upon,” Open Forum, Feb. 17): no Mary, Christians and Catholics are not in fact afforded less rights than everyone else. And I say that as someone who went to (Catholic) church every Sunday and a many, many “holy days” for the first 18 years of her life. In this country, Catholics are free to make whatever choices they are comfortable with for their own lives. no one is forcing them to use contraceptives or to engage in sexual intercourse against their will. they are not, however, free to make choices for other people’s lives. You don’t hear gay people claiming that everyone must be gay, or people who advocate the right to a woman to choose whether or not to have an abortion saying that “everyone must have an abortion whether they want to or not.” no, what these groups advocate is that everyone should have the right to choose what is right for themselves and their families at whatever situation and point in life they might find themselves in. What Catholics (and many other Christians) seem to want is to force their antiquated view of morality on the rest of the world.

If you don’t want to use birth control Mary, then don’t. If you don’t want your daughters to use oral contraceptives, then explain to them why you think it is the wrong choice. And feel free to spread that message as widely and loudly as you are able (hopefully using scientifically based facts, not baseless propaganda). But don’t think that you have the right to force that point of view on anyone else. That’s the problem with the Catholic point of view on this issue.

Churches, whose main purpose is the dissemination of religion, are exempt from Obama’s ruling. It’s only when churches choose to take a wider role in society (e.g., running a university or a hospital) that they are not exempt. In that forum, they serve a vast array of people from many religious and non-religious backgrounds. In that capacity, they are ethically bound to offer all services that are scientifically and medically appropriate. It is up to the woman and her doctor to decide what’s best — not the morality of the Catholic church.

And by the way, Mary, shame on you for spreading false information about contraceptive use under the guise of a “knowing professional” (i.e., a nurse). You insinuated in your letter that PID and infertility were caused by “multiple abortions and from years of contraceptive use.” Associating OC use with PID is patently false. PID is primarily associated with sexually transmitted diseases (primarily Chlamydia and gonorrhea). the only way you could associate oral contraceptives with PID is the fact that women who are on the pill are less likely to use other forms of “barrier” birth control (i.e., condoms) that prevent these diseases. But in fact, a 1982 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that: “Annually, an estimated 50,000 initial cases of PID are prevented and 12,500 hospitalizations are averted by OC use. consequently, protection against PID is one of the most important noncontraceptive benefits of oral contraception.”

And a number of the other negative situations you mentioned in your letter (e.g., “depression and suicidal thoughts from post-traumatic stress disorder from post-abortion trauma”) would actually be prevented by the use of oral contraceptives as the cause of the abortion would have been averted in the first place. And what on earth, Mary, does “drug and alcohol addiction in a 22-year old girl after sex with five men” have to do with a woman’s right to choose oral contraceptives (whether for the purpose of preventing unwanted pregnancy, or to regulate irregular and painful menstrual cycles, or to control PMS symptoms, or reduce the negative affects of teenage acne)?

Shame on you Mary for using your degree as a nurse to aid in the spreading of misinformation about oral contraceptives. And shame on the Catholic Church for their positively medieval stance on this issue.

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