Loading
HHS mandate's purpose is sexual liberation, feminist supporter says
By Benjamin Mann

.- Advocates of President Obama's contraception mandate should admit that its main purpose is sexual liberation and not “women's health,” according to a feminist author who supports the mandate.

“The phrase 'women’s health' in the birth control dispute is the latest nimble euphemism,” author and blogger Pamela Haag wrote in a Feb. 17 essay published on the “Marriage 3.0” blog.

Access to contraception, she said, “isn’t really about my 'health.' It’s not principally about the management of ovarian cysts or the regulation of periods.”

“Birth control isn’t about my health unless by 'health' you mean, my capacity to get it on, to have a happy, joyous sex life that involves an actual male partner,” wrote Haag, criticizing White House supporters for discussing contraceptives mainly as “preventive services” for women's health.

“The point of birth control is to have sex that’s recreational and non-procreative,” wrote Haag approvingly. “It’s to permit women to exercise their desires without the 'sword of Damocles' of unwanted pregnancy hanging gloomily over their heads.”

Haag, a supporter of “reproductive rights” and “women's sexual liberty,” is the author of three books, most recently 2011's “Marriage Confidential: The Post-Romantic Age of Workhorse Wives, Royal Children, Undersexed Spouses, and Rebel Couples Who Are Rewriting the Rules.”

A graduate of Swarthmore College with a Ph.D. from Yale University, Haag has contributed to a variety of publications and media outlets including Ms. magazine, the Huffington Post, National Public Radio, and the Antioch Review.

In her Feb. 17 essay, entitled “Birth Control Isn’t Really About 'Women’s Health.' It’s About . . . ,” she accused “mainstream liberal voices in Congress” of publicly ignoring the real purpose of mandatory contraception coverage.

“Barbara Boxer frames the birth control issue 'a la mode' as about 'defending women’s health,'” she noted. “EMILY’s List refers to the 'war on women’s health.'”

“I understand why they’ve done this, in terms of narrow political expediency. We’ve been on the defensive about reproductive rights and women's sexual liberty for decades. We’ve used a euphemism of 'choice' for years.”

Haag said these mainstream political voices “tiptoe around the heterosexual woman’s unsightly libido, and end up with a strangely euphemistic rhetoric, a defense of birth control that seems to involve no sex, desire, sperm, or men.”

The author went on to indicate her support for consequence-free, government-enabled sexual liberation and promiscuity.

“When deeply-settled rights are most in danger, it’s not the time to euphemize, or retreat from assertions of sexual liberty and self-governance. It’s time to gun it instead,” she declared.

“So here’s the subject I advocate for, because no one dares to speak her name: It’s the 20-something unmarried heterosexual woman who wants to have sex, has sex, enjoys a good sex life with her boyfriend, and, in that sex life, uses birth control. Or, she accidentally gets pregnant.”

“I advocate for the slut who sleeps with lots of men, as well as the woman who sleeps with only one, ever. Promiscuously heterosexual, and happy about it? I’ve got your back.”

Haag's view may find little public support among “mainstream” backers of the president's contraception mandate.

The policy, which forces religious institutions to provide services they oppose, has been consistently defended on “women's health” grounds. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius referred to the concept 10 times during a Feb. 10 PBS NewsHour interview about the mandate.

There are surprising points of convergence, however, between Haag's perspective and that of the U.S. bishops – who have consistently argued that contraception is not health care, because fertility and pregnancy are not diseases.

In a July 2011 letter voicing early opposition to the contraception mandate, the bishops' pro-life chairmain Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo argued against its imposition – on the same grounds that Haag used to “gun it” in favor of “sexual liberty.”

“Pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a pathological condition to be suppressed by any means technically possible,” the cardinal wrote in the letter.

In that same letter, the bishops' pro-life chairman also voiced suspicion about the real motives for the Institute of Medicine's decision to recommend mandatory contraception and sterilization coverage in all health plans.

“I can only conclude that there is an ideology at work in these recommendations that goes beyond any objective assessment of the health needs of women and children,” he said in the July 19 statement.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
16

Liturgical Calendar

April 16, 2014

Wednesday of Holy Week

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 26:14-25

Gospel
Date
04/16/14
04/14/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Is 50:4-9a
Gospel:: Mt 26:14-25

Homily of the Day

Mt 26:14-25

Homily
Date
04/16/14
04/14/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: