When I was a teenager, I would meet up with my girlfriends early on Sunday mornings for church.  Which is to say we stopped our car down the block from St. Mary’s or St. Vincent’s while one of us ran in, snuck a program, and peeked in to see which priest was saying Mass.  Then we drove to McDonald’s for breakfast.

As irony would have it, this morning I had to call Walgreens to refill my birth control prescription.  The Surpreme Court announced it’s ruling.  “The court held on a 5-4 vote on ideological lines that such companies can seek an exemption from the so-called birth control mandate of the healthcare law. The decision means employees of those companies will have to obtain certain forms of birth control from other sources.”  

Another irony.  I had a mother who’d already talked to me about sex (because, hello, I had a steady boyfriend and she wasn’t stupid) and offered to take me to get birth control the minute I needed it.  But even with her saying that, even with that kind of outspoken support, I lied.  I pretended I wasn’t having sex.  And I continued on with my iffy birth control methods until I could finally get up the nerve to say, “Okay, mom…”  She took me to her doctor.  My appointment was covered by her insurance.  My birth control pills were paid for.

When I heard this morning’s ruling, the first thing I thought of was that first scene above, me and my girlfriends sneaking around on a Sunday morning, pretending.  The next thing I though of was the first time I had sex.  Eight days after my 15th birthday.  Pretending I wasn’t having sex.  Me with my iffy birth control.

Now, inevitably, somebody’s going to say that maybe my mother should have been teaching me abstinence, or doing more parenting, or that there was another way.  To which I would say, that’s a nice thought, but it’s a fantasy.  I was already having sex.  Horse out of the barn, and all that…  Thank goodness for my astute mother, her doctor, and birth control pills.

Now I’m 48 years old.  My husband has a vasectomy, I’ve already been through menopause, so there are no babies in my future, and yet … I TAKE BIRTH CONTROL.  I take it because, with so much cancer in my family, it’s the lowest dose of hormones that suits my body and my doctor — because of the cancer risk — doesn’t want to give me anything stronger.

It’s a medical decision.  It’s about health, women’s personal and private health.  The further irony being that many if not most of the Catholic women I know take birth control.

Without insurance, my birth control pills would cost $120 a month.

And of course we all know that if men took birth control pills because it would help them have better/stronger/longer erections, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

The fight continues.


18 thoughts on “Pretend

  1. joplingirl

    One more way our culture actively supports the hatred of women. As my step daughter so wisely says “keep your bible out of my vagina.”

    1. Teri Post author

      Amongst others, there’s this perplexing paragraph in the article AmyG linked to above.

      In a brief filed with the Supreme Court, the Greens object to covering Plan B, Ella, and IUDs because they claim that these products can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman’s uterus—a process the Greens consider abortion. But researchers reject the notion that emergency contraceptive pills prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg. Instead, they work by delaying ovulation or making it harder for sperm to swim to the egg. The Green’s contention that the pills cause abortions is a central pillar of their argument for gutting the contraception mandate. Yet, for years, Hobby Lobby’s health insurance plans did cover Plan B and Ella. It was only in 2012, when the Greens considered filing a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, that they dropped these drugs from the plan.

  2. donnaeve

    This is for “closely held” companies – not all corporations. I.e. only companies who are family owned/operated. I don’t know what company your mom worked for Teri, but when I was at Nortel, for instance, they wouldn’t have had to this ruling.

    1. donnaeve

      And another note… the Hobby Lobby company looked at the 20 FDA approved methods for birth control, and have no issue with16 of these – the ones they don’t like (4 of them) deal with what they view as going beyond bc – and into the abortion realm.

    2. Teri Post author

      I understand that.

      And no, my mother did not work for a religious organization. The personal anecdotes here are simply what this ruling conjured up for me, the idea that girls and women spend an awful lot of time pretending we are something we aren’t. To please our parents, our husbands, our children, the church, etc… when the realities we live are often vastly different than the facades we create.

      My issue is with the ruling, period. The fact that there even needs to be a ruling.

      1. Averil Dean

        Men also spend a lot of time pretending women are something we are not. They seem to be under the impression that we are receptacles for The Sacred Seed and that once we’ve got that hot potato in the oven, we’re damn sure gonna cook it.

        This is America, 2014. Baffling in so many ways.

  3. Teri Post author

    Unfortunately I’m up and reading more news this morning. It’s so disheartening. I love the big argument that the scope is limited. It doesn’t matter that it’s limited. It matters that it exists at all. All of us, women and men both, should be able to make our personal medical decisions with our doctors and have our basic needs — whatever they are — covered by the existing health plan. Hobby Lobby, regardless of their personal religious beliefs, is a FOR PROFIT CORPORATION. They do not pull employees from their church; they have employees from an entire community. What if you are an atheist or an agnostic or a religion other than theirs and you work there? Then what? Is that not religious discrimination? As Justice Ginsberg stated in her dissent, The Court has stepped into a minefield.

    And as my husband stated so eloquently last night, these companies are all more than happy to pay for Viagra and Cialis and anything that will make a penis hard. Without question. To which I add … if sex is strictly for reproducing, I’d like everyone not making a baby to just stop having sex. Men included.

  4. Paul Lamb

    I agree with all of your points here, even though I’m a guy and all that, but what most struck me about this post was the business of pretending to go to Mass and then taking off for something else. It was a big deal for me to make that break — I was in college before I dared.

    Thanks for this post.

    1. Teri Post author

      Thanks, Paul. In 2014, it continues to amaze me how easily we (women) give away our rights and/or power. I have 2 friends who have said recently that Women’s Lib destroyed “the family.” That women aren’t home, so their men stray; that women are in the workplace, tempting men to cheat, etc… And these are women with daughters. I hardly know what to say to comments like that.

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