If God’s Dead, What’s He Doing in My Uterus?

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If God’s Dead, What’s He Doing in My Uterus?

Margaret Sanger began life as one of 11 children whose mother died young. So maybe it's not entirely surprising she began her professional life as a nurse. But what explains her foray into political life as the world's greatest champion of birth control? And what lessons can we take away from a life courageously lived in the service of women's liberation at its most fundamental: the freedom to not bear children.

margaretsanger.jpg

Irish-American birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger outside Brooklyn courthouse in 1916.

I take for granted not having kids. More: I take for granted not having to have kids. That's what choice means: the absence of coercion. That's what birth control activists work for: freedom of choice. That abortion and contraception are still controversial; that their advocacy is still considered the work of the devil; that presidential candidates can waffle on the topic; that health workers are subject to harassment and violence; that abstinence is the official remedy for teen pregnancy — these conditions remind us there are forces obstructing social progress.

Let's see, who springs to mind? Okay, he's German and he works in Italy, and he's merely a figurehead, but this one guy, who's incapable of bearing children and forbidden from fathering them, wields inappropriate power over the destinies of women around the globe by his pronouncements on the disposition of our reproductive organs. I'll give you one guess.

Last week, Italy's largest newspaper, the Corriere della Sera (The Nightly News) ran a half-page ad marking the 40th anniversary of a previous pope's encyclical, Humanae Vitae, which banned contraception. The ad was placed by 50-plus Catholic groups begging His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to lift the ban. On their knees. They couldn't even afford a full-page ad. You'd think the paper coulda cut 'em a deal.

What's the Latin for chutzpah? Who made Joseph Alois Ratzinger God? Sure, the Catholic hierarchy has great taste, Swiss Guards, all that Michaelangelo and Bernini shit, the list is too long, prime real estate, sublime architecture, but why are they allowed to dictate reproductive policy? Why does the President of the United States smile and shake this guy's hand? And while we're at it, where do we get off criticizing Iran for having mullahs? How can we say a word against sharia when we allow the boys in the Vatican to influence our secular affairs? Children, how do you spell Separation of Church and State?

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Leonardo da Vinci's St. John the Baptist, 1513-16, oil on walnut wood, the Louvre.

Let me get off the soapbox and acknowledge my lack of originality. Let me point, as John the Baptist pointed, to the mother of all birth control advocates. You can watch her on this archival video from 1957, a true time capsule. Interviewer Mike Wallace smokes throughout their dialogue and pauses to hawk Phillip Morris cigarettes, to which he attributes "a man's mildness." Margaret Sanger, a sturdy 78, is asked yet again to justify her audacity at standing up to the Catholic Church, 40 years after she opened the first birth control clinic in the United States. She hangs tough against the moralizing mindset that advocates suffering in the name of a God long-since pronounced dead. She's an inspiration to anyone who thinks women's health begins with the woman.

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche declared God dead in The Gay Science (1882).

(originally posted July 27, 2008)



Comments [219]

Lake's picture

Pre-ejaculation can get you

Pre-ejaculation can get you pregnant!!!

All this talk about Dudes is making me nauseated.....Can we talk about PUNAMY.....please?????

Lake

Not2Taem's picture

Relying on pulling out is a

Relying on pulling out is a great way to make a baby. Most guys start to come a lot sooner than they realize. And when they actually do feel it, they have to stop and think, "Can I hold it off and stay in a little longer?" Really, its right up there with rhythm method.

Nat's picture

Yep. Here is the link to the

Yep. Here is the link to the story. Sickening stuff.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/world/5375029/vatican-defends-brazil-excomm...

LongBeachDogLover's picture

I agree with you Minnie.

I agree with you Minnie. Access to safe birth control is imperative. No 'religious' organization should ever pry into the bedrooms, or consensual sexual lives, of their parishioners.....ever.

However, as I said.......I believe that birth control and abortion, are two entirely different subjects.

The Pope is out of touch with reality. No doubt.

Lake's picture

"The Pope can go blow himself

"The Pope can go blow himself as far as I'm concerned."

LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wink

Thanks Minnie

Lake

Tex's picture

Lake, never in my wildest Vp

Lake, never in my wildest Vp dreams did I ever think comments would warrant a link to Deliverance, but, sweetheart, that was priceless.....

Thanks

Tex

Twitter Time @kdhales

Tex's picture

Most women just don’t take

Most women just don’t take the time to understand what motivates men. I do…. I see it, I feel it, I understand. That in turn, makes me a stronger woman, more in touch with my own destination.

LB, you have made the statement on numerous occasions that you have NEVER been with a man. I lived in the heterosexual world for some time. I will not debate this issue with a woman who simply "states" she understands what a man needs versus what he wants.

Respectfully,

Tex

Twitter Time @kdhales

minniesota's picture

LBDL, respectfully, I saw the

LBDL, respectfully, I saw the consequence of the Catholic Church's birth control stance on the physical, mental and emotional health of my mother. The Pope can go blow himself as far as I'm concerned.

As far as abortion is concerned, it pains me to think of it. But, not everyone agrees as to when life starts. My opinion is that adult women and girls of child-bearing age need access to safe, early term abortion and that decision should be between the woman and her physician.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

LongBeachDogLover's picture

I'm not making any excuses

I'm not making any excuses for irresponsible behavior. I would NEVER do that.

What I am saying is we are wired differently for a reason.....And, regardless of what we may feel is the right thing, or how we may feel men should behave in '2009, we can't control the fact that men are different.

Their reason for sleeping with a woman is motivated from factors that we, as women, rarely take the time to understand. They are not driven by love, and the need to build family units, as women are. Most men don't need to 'cuddle', and say I love you to have awesome sex. These are factors, and conditions, that women place on men..... Right or wrong, men will never take responsibility for what their urges produce. Period.

Most women just don't take the time to understand what motivates men. I do.... I see it, I feel it, I understand. That in turn, makes me a stronger woman, more in touch with my own destination.

Lake's picture

I would like to interrupt

I would like to interrupt this debate for "the bear grease and head to the woods to release his seeds."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uzae_SqbmDE

Lake

Tex's picture

My point exactly - MEN are

My point exactly - MEN are IRRESPONSIBLE - they have been let off the hook way too long. If a man needs to "breed", he can grab the bear grease and head to the woods to release his "seeds"! It is 2009 and the reasoning is actually very simple - I truly don't think we have to transcend the time continuum for men to grow into responsibility. A man can have pleasures without getting a woman pregnant. It's not their need to breed, it's their need to get their rocks off - prove their domination over their "woman," OR they have been told it is their "religious" right to do as they will. If you're talking about breeding and the importance of, then you're talking about underdeveloped countries which brings us back to what LMZ said.

To relieve men of their responsibilities just because they are "men" is an injustice to all humans.

...it is a woman’s responsibility to control what happens to her body..... LB, if it were that simple, we wouldn't be having this discussion....

Twitter Time @kdhales

LongBeachDogLover's picture

You know Tex, we all have our

You know Tex, we all have our own reasons for feeling the way we do. And I do respect your view.

However, when it is women who have to carry a child to term, it is a woman's responsibility to control what happens to her body. I may be over simplifying the facts, but.... men will never take responsibility for birth control.

Now, this is the weird part Tex. I think, and I always have, that men have a 'need to breed'... Perhaps it's part of their 'survival' instincts. Let's look at the big picture......

A woman can only get pregnant once every 9 months. Yet a man could possibly father a child, several times in one day... with a different woman each time.

I truly believe that men are wired differently than women. Looking at those numbers, it would infer that a man could possibly father 730 children a year. Or, 7,300 in 10 years..... Historically, men are not nurturers, they are breeders. I don't mean that as an insult to men, merely my observation. A woman could give birth to 13 children in the same span of time. I know this sounds a bit bizarre and off the wall, but it appears to be the way we are designed. The possibilities are staggering..... In a span of 25 years a man could produce 18,250 children.

Men, generally, could care less about birth control. For one simple reason.......THEY DON'T GET PREGNANT. I believe that the issue goes much deeper than a man simply being irresponsible...... The reasoning may be something far beyond anything that we can, in 2009, even comprehend.

lmz's picture

thanks, mother nature !!!!...

thanks, mother nature !!!!... women always pay the bill.

and do you really think that most of women on this planet are free to say "No" ? Most of them have to live in and deal with religious and sexist societies.

Have you heard that story about a nine years old little girl who had to abort after being raped by her stepfather in Brasil? The local bishop, supported by the Holy Pope, has excommunicated the mother of the kid and the entire medical staff.
the holy guy has nothing to say about the rapist.

Tex's picture

Excellent points - and why is

Excellent points - and why is birth control the total responsibility of the woman? Dudes know what makes babies! Pull out you douche bags, or better yet, don't put it in!

Twitter Time @kdhales

Tex's picture

The Wearer of the Fisherman's

The Wearer of the Fisherman's Ring? When you control the world's wealth, your ego tells you you control the world as well.....with that control comes the tolerance of leaders...

Women identifying themselves as Protestants obtain 37.4% of all abortions in the U.S.; Catholic women account for 31.3%, Jewish women account for 1.3%, and women with no religious affiliation obtain 23.7% of all abortions. 18% of all abortions are performed on women who identify themselves as "Born-again/Evangelical".

From the above stats, it appears the Big Guy needs to take another tact.

Twitter Time @kdhales

Rusty's picture

"What’s the Latin for

"What’s the Latin for chutzpah?"

Bwaaaaaaahhhhh. Thanks Erin. I needed that.

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." ~ Pollyanna

lmz's picture

LBDL i get what you mean but

LBDL

i get what you mean but i don't think many women can consider abortion just as a birth control mean and, anyway, i'm sure that most of women in most countries have no choice at all.
They can't use any birth control mean, their husband and master is the only one to decide. i spent some years in Africa in a country where the simple word "preservative" was a complete taboo.

LongBeachDogLover's picture

I know exactly what I'm

I know exactly what I'm getting myself into by posting this. However, when it comes to the life of a child......I do feel compelled to post this. I'm already in tears just thinking of the subject of abortion. First, I have never had an abortion, and I have no children.......

I don't believe that you need to be a parent, to understand how incredibly precious all life is..... that includes children born into poverty, those with disabilities, and those who will ultimately be placed into adoption. And yes, even those children who's lives have been a result of the horrendous acts of rape, and molestation. Each and every life has a purpose...

Please let me explain that my feelings come from my heart, and NOT a place of judgement. In my heart, abortion and birth control are two different subjects. Once a life has been created, in my heart, I believe the 'choice' has been made... a life has been created. That life, regardless of how 'young', must be protected and nurtured.....not destroyed.

Erin, I have a difficult time when I see the term 'birth control' used in the same sentence as abortion. Birth control happens before a child is created, not after.... abortion involves the taking of a life. This I truly believe.

Sex education and responsibility, should be taught to all children so they can make educated decisions about their future sexual activities. Birth control should be available to all young adults, at no cost, without parental consent. But more than anything, young adults need to understand the repercussions of careless sexual behavior.

Now, here's the part where I get my ass kicked..............

Women need to take responsibility for their own behavior before they get pregnant. The 'choice' to 'control' our bodies is the 'choice' that should be made before we lay with a man. Not after the fact.

LBDL
xxoo

lmz's picture

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_See
the holy see is a member of many international organizations and recognized as a formal State by many others
that's the point ...