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CTnow

Why must Catholic bishops insist on trying to control women's lives?

9:30 AM EST, February 12, 2012

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The argument by Catholic bishops and other conservatives that providing contraception and reproductive health services for all women is a denial of Catholics' religious freedom is without merit ("O'Brien's quixotic fight," Feb. 9). The law is not forcing anyone to use contraception. It is saying it should be available without cost for those who want it, even those employed by religious-run institutions like universities and hospitals.

Let's relegate to the past the many women who suffered debilitation or death because of too frequent pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases. No priest or bishop has ever been pregnant or lost sleep worrying how the birth will turn out. Which of them has striven to provide for the physical, mental and moral health of their birth children, as well as money to help with their education?

Why are these men so focused on women's sex lives anyway — so certain they must fight to the death to control women? Doubtless many angry conservative men have wives and daughters who have used contraception. Otherwise their families should reasonably number 12-15 children and more. Most independent polls report that the majority of Catholic women of childbearing age use contraception.

This fight provides a feeding frenzy for conservative Republicans who tend to twist everything they don't like into a life and death struggle. I would bet that most American families and the men in them are glad they don't have to expect pregnancies and births every 10-12 months for the duration of a woman's fertile years.

Perhaps the bishops, et. al. should begin classes for men training them to want less sex, thereby reducing the pressure on women to use contraception. Whatever "compromise" comes it must not deny any women needing them the services essential towomen's healthand well being.

Cynthia Stokes Chideya