Dear Madame L,
I saw on the TV news that Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum believes that the Obama administration's proposal to provide for reproductive health care for all women in America will eventually lead us down the road to the guillotine, as in the French Revolution.
Do you think the government should force the employee health insurance programs of Catholic hospitals to provide for birth-control methods for their non-Catholic female employees?
Let's Keep Our Heads!
Dear Keeping Our Heads,
Madame L has been reading about Rick Santorum's views on birth control, which he appears to believe are typical for Roman Catholics; and Madame L wishes the Santorum family all the best.
She would never criticize their birth-control beliefs or practices and frankly wishes she didn't have to consider what anyone else is doing about birth control.
Shouldn't this be a personal issue? Shouldn't a woman herself or with her partner be able to choose what she will do about family planning without unasked-for-advice and intervention from the government, church, or news media?
But, alas, women's health has been politicized by so-called conservatives and libertarians, people who think that they're so very right and are the only ones who are right that they therefore are qualified to tell other people what to do.
So, here we are. With Rick Santorum saying, "They are taking faith and crushing it. Why? When you marginalize faith in America, when you remove the pillar of God-given rights then what’s left is the French Revolution. What’s left is a government that gives you rights. What’s left are no unalienable rights. What’s left is a government that will tell you who you are, what you’ll do and when you’ll do it. What’s left in France became the guillotine."
So, as Madame L understands it, Rick Santorum objects to the government telling "you" (the Catholic church and its universities and hospitals, all run by men, mostly men who aren't married and should be celibate) what to do and when "you" will do it, because he wants women to be subjected to the government's and church's telling them what to do and when to do it.
Is Rick Santorum aware that Catholic women practice birth control in roughly the same numbers that Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, and non-religious women do (about 68% to 75%)? Is he aware of a Centers for Disease Control study that found that 98% of Catholic women practice birth control methods disapproved by their church at some point over their lifetimes?
What would Rick Santorum do if Catholic institutions said they opposed child labor laws or believed that people couldn't work after the age of 60? Would he proclaim it the end of the world when state and federal labor laws forced those institutions not to employ children or required them to allow older people to work?
Madame L thinks not. Madame L thinks it's a shame that this issue of labor and equality laws (providing equal protection and health care for non-Catholic women of child-bearing age who are working for Catholic institutions) has been shanghaied by the radical right, to the detriment of women.