Happiness is an empty fruit basket filled with cat.

March 8, 2012

May You Live in Interesting Times

It’s an election year, things are heating up on TV, the campaign route, and on Facebook, so it must be time for me to pontificate.


I feel we are out of control as a nation.  I also feel that President Obama is doing the best he can, but that doesn’t mean I agree with everything he says or does.  And I feel that both the conservatives and the liberals are often mean and bullying in their criticisms of each other.  I see a lot of humor being used as democrats express themselves concerning the GOP and the current crop of presidential hopefuls - mostly because I love Colbert and Jon Stewart.  But the conservatives tend to not have a sense of humor about these things and they fight back in a mean way.  I think if we all took a good look at ourselves, we would find some humor in our behavior and in the behavior of our politicians and policies.  Without humor, we really just have anger and tears left, and I’d rather have humor.


As to the HHS mandate concerning birth control and abortion, here are my thoughts:


Women and men should pay for contraception out-of-pocket if it is not medically necessary.  At what point in time did we begin to think that insurance was supposed to pay for these electives? 


I have a health ailment that requires I take daily medication or I will die a slow death.  Guess what – insurance no longer pays for this medication – and it is medically necessary.  Why aren’t they paying for it?  Because the insurance companies want me to use a different brand of medication.  Unfortunately, the other brands do not work as well for me, so I am forced to pay out-of-pocket for medication that I need to live.  So, quite frankly, women and men can pay for their own contraception. 


Many of my friends in the world of cancer have had to deal with insurance denials for medications and treatments that they need in order to continue battling cancer.  CANCER.  So, yeah, pay for your own contraception.  That’s what we all did a few decades ago.  Quite frankly, it’s fairly easy to not get pregnant.  It’s not as easy to fight cancer. 


Here’s a resounding 'get over it' to all those who feel their rights as women are compromised if insurance won’t pay for contraception.  You are not entitled.  You are not being denied contraception.  You just have to pay out-of-pocket for it.  Big deal.


Abortion.  I am far from an expert on this touchy subject.  I’m pro-choice for political reasons, but anti-abortion for personal reasons.  A few weeks ago, I set out to understand the Catholic perspective so I could better comprehend their anger at the HHS mandate.  Unfortunately, my Catholic friend became more than a little annoyed at me for all the questions I was asking so I had to stop questioning her.  What I found on the internet was a lot of wackiness that made me think people had really lost touch with reality.  (Well, my version of reality, that is)  So, since my one Catholic contact wasn’t able to continue helping me, I had to turn to Jewish teachings online.  I found this amazing essay: 

http://caae.phil.cmu.edu/cavalier/Forum/abortion/background/judaism1.html


I have to say, this essay really helped me to understand a few differences between Catholics and Jews.  In particular, I loved the explanation of the different ideas of souls and Baptism.  I was also happy to learn that “Pro-life” means “pro-mother” in Judaism.  The essay goes on to explain that when a Jewish mother’s life is in danger, an abortion is mandated.  So, if all abortion is made illegal, that is a violation of Jewish religious rights. 


With all that being said, if an abortion is not medically necessary, then insurance should not pay for it - this is an elective procedure.  I think that as long as we maintain our right to choose, we’ve succeeded.  But don’t ask others to pay for your abortion.  You are not entitled.  So, another resounding 'get over it' is called for here.


Should Catholic institutions be forced to provide insurance that pays for contraception and abortions?  This I’m a bit fuzzy on.  On the one hand, I agree that they should.  On the other hand, I agree they should not.  I’m out of hands, and really don’t have a leg to stand on where this topic is concerned.  But I know that two of my Catholic friends are very upset by this, and when something is upsetting my friends, then I’m upset for them, too.


Much of what I’ve read on the internet comes from Catholic publications which are pushing the fact that the birth control pill contributes to breast cancer.  But so does alcohol consumption and being overweight, if you didn’t know.  Unless you never drink alcohol and you have a perfect BMI, I really don’t think you can use breast cancer as an argument against using The Pill.  The Pill also protects against ovarian and endometrial cancer, which is far more difficult to detect than breast cancer.  Let’s move on…


Does abortion contribute to breast cancer?  Notice that I am using the word “contribute” as opposed to “cause.”  Here’s a fact that not too many people know:  many of the women I know who are under the age of 40 and developed breast cancer, developed breast cancer while they were pregnant, or soon after giving birth.  It makes just as much sense for me to conclude that pregnancy causes breast cancer as it does to conclude that women who have had an abortion may get breast cancer.  We have no idea if those women who aborted their babies would have gone on to develop breast cancer if they had given birth, or if they had never gotten pregnant in the first place.


I find publications that push the abortion and breast cancer angle to be opportunistic and exploitive, and I believe they are praying on the fears of women. 


And just because I like to promote vegetarianism –


“Pro-life” should mean “pro-all life.”  Not just the life you choose to fight for.  If you determine yourself to be “pro-life” then I would hope you are doing your best to not eat meat, fish, or fowl.  If you are picking and choosing which life is worth saving, then I strongly suggest you take another look at yourself and what you stand for before pointing fingers at others.  Murder is murder, whether it is the murder of a cow so you can purchase a cheap hamburger at the drive-thru window, or the murder of an unborn child. 


Each of us has our burdens, and none of us is perfect (especially me).  But when I made my decision on abortion, I also made my decision on eating animals.  I’ve been thwarted a bit here and there by situations outside my control, but I am always striving to improve.  I hope you are, too.

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