You Know I Can VOTE Now, Right?

I made this grandstand proclamation some weeks back that I would start doing an SNL recap. Then I promptly stopped watching. So I’m really impressed with my own stick-to-it-iveness there.

My need to stop watching coincided with two very important events. 1) it stopped being funny. Not even chuckle-inducing, it suddenly became painful to watch. I’m sorry, but if you have a sketch as promising as “You Can Do Anything”, a show encouraging folks of my generation to just start blogging about something and you can be a professional at it and then it FAILS TO DELIVER? Fundamental failure there, my friends.2) Suddenly, my rights to my own ovaries were being questioned.

Yep. I’m about to get political.

But see, not really. In my eyes? I’m not speaking politically at all. I AM laying claims to my own body and my choices regarding such, and for some reason, in the past two weeks, this has been declared a political decision.

It started when Obama said that maybe insurance companies should be legally required to offer contraceptives, even if business-owners fundamentally/religiously disagreed with contraceptives in general. I .. I don’t know. I realize that my point of view on this is very limited: I don’t have any ideology to color it in any way. I know a lot of folks who have religious objections to contraceptives, and that’s fine. Dude, we live in this amazing country that allows you the freedom to do that! And worship whatever you wish! And that is AWESOME.

But .. um .. I don’t have such objections. So, regardless of whom I work for, I would like some contraceptives, please. I .. I am inclined to think that it should be a rule. A law. What have you. I think that is .. well, I’ll say it’s fundamental for women’s rights.

(Also, a stunning statistic was released that same week that had me believing NBC made it up: 98% of Catholic women polled had used some form of contraception. But then it was echoed on NPR, so .. NPR does their homework, is what I’m saying.)

Okay, so all that aside, one of Santorum’s backers then came out and jokingly said that he didn’t understand all of the commotion surrounding this, he didn’t understand America’s preoccupation with sex. Why, in his day (he joked), women held an aspirin between their legs for contraception! HA HA HA HA, OH. OH, I DO SO ENJOY YOU LAUGHING ABOUT MY BODY. PLEASE, NOW JOKE ABOUT HOW WE COULDN’T VOTE IN YOUR DAY, EITHER.

Then! OH, THEN.

Wait, first. First, let me say that I never really found Rick Santorum to be much more than a mosquito on my radar. Occasionally, I’d hear this random buzzing, but a quick swat would dissipate it. But now? Now, he and his sweater vests and his misogyny scare the placenta out of me.

So Santorum was quipping about how he believed that some prenatal care should not be covered by insurance because it would increase abortion rates. The interviewer I heard gave him a chance to clarify that response (i.e. BACKTRACK THE FUCK UP), but .. he didn’t backtrack. He moved forward. He stated that he believed some prenatal care – specifically amniocentesis procedures – should not be covered because “they increase abortion rates”.

?!?!?!!?!!?!!??!??

By his logic, women (and only women; he never mentions men being involved in abortion decisions, oddly enough) only have an amniocentesis if they are worried of abnormalities or defects or what have you, and if they find anything less than perfect in the test, they abort.

This is also a man who believes that the preferred method of contraception should be the rhythm method.

Okay, look. Just like I praised our freedom of religion earlier, I feel the EXACT same way about your political association. I have been a Democrat for all of my voting years, but admittedly, I work on Republican-funded contracts. (.. so far.) I honestly do not mind which way you vote.

But ladies, I just want you to KNOW what is happening out there. I want you to know that suddenly, decisions are being made for us akin to 1900. We are suddenly being relegated to second-class citizens. And we are just women! Can you imagine the trickle-down effect this will have on the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender community?

I would almost – ALMOST – be tolerant of the contraceptive issue if I felt a fair panel was being created to judge it. But no women were invited to participate. NONE. NADA. And the few that tried to participate were rejected. Because “this is not a women’s rights issue. This is a religious issue.”

So women are not allowed to choose in either the medical OR the religious forums.

I am VERY, VERY CONCERNED. And when I saw Amy Poehler pop in on SNL’s Weekend Update, I hoped she would give voice to my frustration and fear.

She tried, but even she could not adequately articulate my rage.

Because we are way past “REALLY?!”

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17 Responses to You Know I Can VOTE Now, Right?

  1. Jennie February 20, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    Great post, Sarah. Thanks for writing it.

  2. LizScott February 20, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    My rage comes in two forms:

    1. REALLY FUCKING REALLY ARE YOU SERIOUSLY ARE WE HONESTLY I MEAN COME ON NOW REALLY?

    2. What issue are we not talking about that we should be talking about but now we’re all a-fluster by the idea that we need to explain (again) how women being able to choose how and when they have children is kind of fundamental to our overall right to govern the course of our own lives and ps as an adult and functioning member of society who pays taxes and everything I could really do without being shamed for having sex and now that I’m all het up what else are you screwing me on that I’m not paying attention to and was that your whole plan?
    LizScott wants you to read ..In Which My Facebook Feed Reminds Me How Lucky I Am To Know My People

    • Sarah Lena February 20, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

      I hate to be this person, but, um, did you know there is full scale civil war in Syria right now? Most people don’t, because CNN was streaming Whitney Houston’s funeral proceedings all weekend. YEP, I WENT THERE.

  3. Jesabes February 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    Oh, wow.

    I didn’t even know about this, because – even though I’m a Republican – I think Santorum is nutso and I’ve been trying with all my might to keep him to the level of fly-buzzing annoyance. I keep thinking if I just ignore him, he’ll go away. Now I’m pissed.
    Jesabes wants you to read ..Small talk and unintentional hurt

    • Sarah Lena February 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

      See, yes, this. Even Republicans I know are not necessarily comfortable with Santorum and his 1850s era rhetoric. It’s depressing, and certainly not the direction I’m comfortable moving our country in. I would be THRILLED for a competent candidate to be endorsed out of the GOP! Even though I’m a Dem, I LOVE ME A GOOD DEBATE.

  4. Lisa February 20, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    I have issues with Santorum. I can’t even explain it, it makes me get all sputtery and enraged. Just… yeah.

    I’m kind of confused why certain media circles keeps acting as if this is a Catholic thing. From my understanding, most Catholics are fine with it. My impression was that the BIRTH CONTROL = BAD talk was more to make the Duggar-style group happy.

    • Sarah Lena February 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

      I don’t know the tie to Catholicism OTHER THAN it’s a widely-known religion that does take issue with contraception. I’m sure it’s not even close to the ONLY religion.

  5. Maryellen February 20, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    Hi Sarah. I haven’t commented on here before (or maybe once before), but I feel the need to post because this issue has come up a lot lately with my friends via Facebook and it has me wanting to rip out my hair because I don’t want to get in a fight with people about religion or politics or their choice of paint color. But here, on this blog, I think I can post and I hope I won’t get attacked. Let me start out by saying I am Catholic, I went to parochial school K thru 12, both of my parents and both of their families and most of my friends were devout Catholics for the large majority of my life (I’m only 26, I’ve only been “in the real world” for about 8 years), really it wasn’t until college and then, when I met my husband 5 years ago that I was introduced to a world that wasn’t Catholic-centric. While I don’t use contraceptives, I do believe that women should have access to them. However, I don’t think that Catholic organizations should be required to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives unless needed to correct medical issues. (Aside: If that was a mandate, I do think that a lot of women, and probably doctors, would blur the lines to say that many prescriptions were medically necessary when they were personal choice.) When you work for an organization, don’t you work for them because you believe in their cause? Aren’t you a doctor to provide medical care for people, a teacher to educate children, a policeman to enforce laws? So why shouldn’t employers of a Catholic organization promote what the Catholic religion
    teaches? Being pro-life is a fundamental pillar of the religion. I taught in a Catholic school after college and we were required, per our contract, that we would maintain a life with Catholic morals and standards. Did I (secretly) live with my then-fiancee at the time, yes, but I also knew that if the principal or the pastors caught wind of that, I would be terminated immediately.nvh
    As for Santorum, I can’t stand the man! UGH! I loathe him! I am a “fan” of several Huntsville-area news stations on Facebook. After reading some of the narrow-minded, biblical laden comments on some news stories, I am convinced that Santorum would make an excellent candidate for Governor in this state. I just hope he never catches wind of that sentiment.

    • Sarah Lena February 20, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

      Hey, Maryellen –

      I totally appreciate you leaving this well thought out, level-headed comment. I have a LOT of Catholic friends and I appreciate and respect their stance. And I completely agree with your aside (that many drs would find a way to justify a prescription with “medical need” if it came down to it).

      But .. it’s fair to say that I spent YEARS working on a program that I fundamentally did NOT agree with. I did it because I was skilled in a way that they needed, and I needed a job. They were not allowed to ask if I agreed with the program during my interview, but I was aware of the program and my conflict of interest when I took the job. So I *have* to think that not all of those companies’ employees may fundamentally agree with their religious aspects. The janitors, for example, are skilled servicemen and servicewomen. Not necessarily Catholics. Just a thought.

      Santorum won the straw poll for my county. It’s enough to make me move.

  6. LizzieV February 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    It still amuses me that some 15 years ago, some insurance companies wouldn’t cover “the Pill” but would cover “the little BLUE pill.” They are all about coverage for various sterilization surgeries, but rather reluctant to cover infertility treatments.

    Sigh.

    As a long-time “Republican moderate” and a “Cradle-Catholic,” these nut-jobs stumping for the nomination can all just go under the bus or whatever. Mr. Santorum, of all people, should understand that pre-natal testing isn’t about getting an abortion, but about being prepared. Would he also throttle pre-natal ultra-sounds that would detect if a child had a defect like spina bifida, in addition to providing the wonder of life that we’ve all come to anticipate?

    Really, the point of testing is so that families are PREPARED. Yes, some will feel that they cannot handle that challenge; many figure they can, especially if they have time to prepare.

    I think I would have rather known in advance that my son was going to born with a cleft lip. We could have done all of the research before he was born and been ready for what we needed to do to help him. Trying to deal with being new parents AND scrambling to help our son– when all we wanted to do was enjoy having him here? Terrible and frustrating.

    If a family and their support system know in advance what will be required in addition to diapers, a crib, onesies and food, that is wonderful. Surgery before the child is born? Improving everyday and must be tested for. Specialized services/surgery/equipment when the baby is born? Better to know & be where you need to be than to watch your newborn be whisked away in a blink. Intervention during the first years? Get those forms filled out, get connected to organization and marshal up a support group a.s.a.p.

    Yep. Nut jobs.

    They need to grow a pair. A REAL pair. What they’ve got has all sorts of unsavory, but well-deserved, names.
    LizzieV wants you to read ..Another One BITES the Dust

    • Sarah Lena February 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

      YES YES AND YES. He specifically mentioned testing for Down’s Syndrome as a reason for skyrocketing abortion rates and I wanted to spit in his face.

      Knowledge is power, for those of us who desire a well-educated existence.

  7. Amanda February 20, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    While all of this brouhaha is going on, I found out that the property rights in my state have gone away as well. I inherited some property from my grandma. I found out that my husband is considered an owner of this property by virtue that we’re married. He isn’t listed on the deed. However, he does have to sign as “landowner” on some contracts just because we’re married. So, the political guys are trying to tell me what to do with my body while the state is telling me that I cannot buy any real property without my husband’s approval. However, my husband can’t go out and just buy real property without me, either. I think women’s lib is regressing, and all of us feminists who choose to be married have been caught sleeping.
    Amanda wants you to read ..Death of Women’s Lib?

  8. Michelle Smiles February 20, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    Rage is a good word for how it makes me feel too. What year are we living in that this conversation is even taking place (and without women)?!? I can’t even get started…I get so worked up.
    Michelle Smiles wants you to read ..I hate thinking up titles

  9. PinkieBling February 20, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    This subject makes me so angry that it’s difficult to form clear sentences, because RAAAAAAAAAAAGE! I’m glad that you, Sarah, and the other ladies who have commented thus far, have been able to express these ideas so well. All I can do is splutter!

    As for the title of this post, I’m pretty sure women would NOT have the vote if Santorum et. al had their way. He particularly makes me want to vomit.

  10. Courtney February 21, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    So, just to keep stirring the pot, with the whole contraceptive issue, I get annoyed when that only includes The Pill. I don’t take it (because it literally makes me insane, so for the sake of our marriage, Joel and I have decided I will never take it again) but if contraceptives are to be offered to be covered by insurance, then I want condoms covered too. But that’s neither here nor there.

    I usually vote Republican, although I don’t ever think there’s a great candidate out there honestly. Santorum has never been on my radar, but NOW he is and it’s not a good thing. As for the whole pre-natal testing leads to abortions – um no. No no no. We didn’t do the test because it is an invasive procedure and regardless of the results, we were keeping the baby. I know plenty of well educated women (including doctors!) who have had the procedure, find out devastating results (which thankfully ended up being false positives), and yet still keep their babies. He acts like having that procedure done basically equals an abortion. Do I think the government should be all involved in stuff like this? Eh – I have mixed feelings on it. It seems whenever the government gets involved, things fall apart BUT maybe if the government was able to offer quality pre-natal care, we would have fewer abortions and more babies being placed through adoption.
    Courtney wants you to read ..A New Tradition – Sorry, Hallmark

  11. Kim February 28, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    I can’t believe this is even an issue in this day and age. I am all for insurance providing contraceptives and whatnot, simply because I believe church and state should be separate. And this becomes a state issue when employers are required by the government to provide it via insurance coverage. I see they’re trying to stop it before it reaches that, I guess, but still…

    Also, with so many people that complain about single moms on welfare, you’d think employers would encourage contraceptive coverage.
    Kim wants you to read ..Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end

  12. Sheila February 28, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    Okay, I hate Santorum too. And I honestly think that the government has no business in whether you take birth control or not. But on the other hand, this isn’t about your freedom to take a pill. This is about your freedom to FORCE your employer to pay for that pill.

    It just seems to me that employers should be required to provide insurance that covers everything *medically necessary,* but for *elective* stuff — and this includes the Pill, Viagra, and anything else you don’t *need* — I don’t see the harm in asking people to pay for those things themselves.

    Anyway, isn’t it kind of a joke what insurance will or won’t pay for? I had to pay out-of-pocket for a Rhogam shot so that my body didn’t kill my baby … but the ibuprofen I took after birth and the goodie bag from the hospital, those were covered. I don’t know who comes up with the rules there.

    Overall, I don’t actually WANT my employer to pay for my insurance (because they do a crappy job of it, don’t pick the plan I would have wanted, and make me pay a lot of the premium). I want to be able to CHOOSE the insurance I want, and the healthcare I want, and pay for it with my own money, and keep the government the heck out of what pills I am taking and who has to fund it.

    And, yeah, I believe Catholic (or any other) organizations should have the right to choose what they pay for and what they don’t pay for. Catholics don’t believe in birth control … so why don’t they just pay you your salary so that you can use your own money to buy whatever pills you want?

    P.S. That 98% is technically true and practically bunk. The study referred to 98% of women who “identify as Catholic, are of child-bearing age, are sexually active, and who are attempting to avoid pregnancy.” Orthodox Catholics mainly either abstain or go ahead and have kids. A small percentage (2%, apparently) uses NFP. Sure, I bet a lot of less-orthodox Catholics are on the Pill. But not 98%.

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