"Every Zygote Is Sacred", or "Can I have my BC already?"
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Sun Dec 04, 2005 at 07:33:16 PM EST
One of the major "hot topics" regarding dominionism and women's issues is that of "conscience clauses"--laws that allow various medical professionals to "opt out" of anything they feel may be an "abortion procedure"--and how this has become a major problem now in something as simple and basic for women as getting a birth control prescription filled.  (See how your own state fares on this issue.)

What I hope to do is give a bit of background as to how this is a much larger and older issue both of how dominionists see (to mildly mangle Monty Python) "every zygote's sacred" and how this is part of a larger strategy where they hope to be able to eventually refuse medical services to anyone they disapprove of altogether...or disregard your living will, if you want them to "pull the plug".

The role in dominionists actively working to limit choices and medical options is actually an old one, though increasingly out in the open, and increasingly one people are running into in "real life" (and it's starting to be an area not just touching on women, either).

The first birth-control-related thing I heard of dominionists attempting to get banned (well, other than abortion and birth control in general) was with the IUD--dominionists have pushed the belief since at least the 60's that the IUD is somehow an abortifacient because it prevents implantation.  (The medical definition of pregnancy, according to practically everyone outside of the dominionist community, is once a zygote actually implants.)  In fact, you can actually see an example of this at this pro-dominionist site.

(Dominionist groups, possibly uniquely, regard life as beginning when the egg and sperm meet--at conception--thus giving odd new life to Monty Python's song "Every Sperm Is Sacred".  This belief in "Every Zygote Is Sacred" goes, at times, to the downright bizarre in dominionist circles--including zygote adoption schemes promoting adoption of spare in-vitro fertilisation embryos as "snowflake babies".)

Partly as a result from dominionist pressure, and partly because of lawsuits over one particular IUD called the Dalcon Shield (of which a fair number of the lawsuits were at least supported by dominionist groups), there are presently only two IUD devices approved in the US for medical use.

Around this time, dominionist groups started pushing for "conscience clauses" in legislatures to allow doctors, nurses and religious hospitals to "opt out" of being made to perform or even learn about abortion.  Most states were happy to go along with this, figuring that secular providers would "fill the gap" so to speak.

Dominionist groups next (and this actually started in the mid to late 80's, to my recollection; I remember seeing this sort of stuff in the Kentucky Right to Life newsletters at this point) started targeting the birth control pill claiming both that it made women more promiscuous and that it, too, was an abortifacient because it can be used as a "morning after" pill.  The same dominionist site claims this not only about the birth control pill but about every hormonal method of birth control, including NorPlant and Depo-Provera.

This is when it started being an issue to people even aside from the "birth control" thing.

Firstly, birth control pills are used for things besides birth control.  One of the things birth control pills are used for is to regulate irregular periods; another is to deal with extremely heavy periods or extremely painful periods.  Another reason is for management in polycystic ovary disease, which is an endocrine disorder that causes many of the regulatory hormones to be out of whack.

Depo-Provera is increasingly being used as a treatment for people with mild endometriosis--a disorder where you have bits of uterine tissue where you shouldn't, and...well, everytime one is on the monthly, so to speak, those bits of tissue bleed, just like the rest of your uterine tissue.  One of the nicer things about Depo-Provera is you don't bleed for six months, and is a little less harsh than other medical treatments for endometriosis like, oh, Syntrel or having an ovariohysterectomy (both of which basically throw your body into early menopause).

Denying birth control pills to someone who has polycystic ovary disease can ultimately be life-threatening--among other things, diabetes and obesity are longterm consequences as well as, well, the ovarian cysts (which are incredibly painful, we're talking gallstone/kidneystone levels of pain, and can get HUGE).  Birth control pills are just about the only non-surgical option OUT there for polycystic ovary disease, and childbirth for people with polycystic ovary disease can itself be potentially life-threatening as well.

(Yes, I have a wee bit of a family history of PCS.  Couldn't you tell?)

A pharmacist has no way of really telling whether a script is for birth control or for another, legitimate, medical indication (such as PCS or for medical management of abnormal menstrual periods--some of which are precursors of PCS itself).  

Dominionist pharmacists apparently--if the dominionists (including my family, who has a known family history of PCS, has had my sister hospitalised with PCS, has had an 80 pound ovarian cyst removed from my grandmother before) I've known are any judge--don't care.  They're quite happy to let women live with the medical consequences, based on their actions.

A particular group of "pro-life" pharmacists, Pharmacists for Life International, along with other groups with names like Physicians for Life, are encouraging doctors to not write birth control scripts, and encouraging pharmacists not to fill them--even if for legitimate medical reasons.

Remember those "conscience clauses" I mentioned?  Well, a lot of them were written quite broadly to begin with, and dominionist groups started pressuring for pharmacists to be included as well (an area which is still a major part of lobbying on these groups' behalf).  This Washington Post article explains how broad these have become.

It was probably inevitable that dominionist pharmacists would start refusing to fill prescriptions and claiming "conscience clause" exemptions.  

This started really ramping up when Plan B (essentially a stronger version of the birth control pill designed as a morning after pill--essentially instead of taking the triple dosage recommended of stronger birth control, it's in one pill) was approved for prescription by the FDA.  

Plan B, much like the regular birth control pill, works by preventing the egg and sperm from meeting up in the first place.  (Some docs say it may prevent implantation as well, but this is controversial.)  The problem is, you have to take it within 72 hours for it to work, or you have to resort to actual abortifacients like RU-486 or traditional abortion (or methotrexate, which can also be used as an abortifacient--I'm actually surprised the pro-lifers haven't gone after its use, even though methotrexate is a cancer chemotherapy drug as well).

Dominionist pharmacists started not only refusing to fill scripts for standard birth control and Plan B, but in some cases refusing to give them back or even tearing up prescriptions in the face of the people in question.

More reports started filtering in--from even cities as large as Milwaukee, Wisconsin--of women being unable to get Plan B prescriptions filled at all within the 72 hour window.  (In fact, that case led to a lawsuit after the woman ended up becoming pregnant as a direct result.)  A rape victim was denied Plan B by a dominionist pharmacist. One Missouri woman is going to court in regards to the problem after a Target pharmacist refused to fill a prescription for Plan B and refused to refer her--and Target defended the pharmacist.  And so on.

In fact, the problem has become so common that the governor of Illinois passed an emergency executive order requiring all pharmacists in the state to either fill prescriptions or refer to pharmacists that will.  (At least four dominionist pharmacists have been suspended by Walgreens Pharmacies as a result of this, and the dominionists in turn are suing.)  Some states, aware of criticism, are requiring referrals in their "conscience clause" laws  At least one site is now specifically focusing on the problem of "pharmacist refusal".

The problem goes further.  Multiple FDA advisory panels have recommended to sell Plan B over the counter (thus getting around the entire problem of "pharmacist refusal" by dominionist pharmacists), but no progress has been made; in fact, the head of the FDA committee on reproductive health has changed no less than three times in the past year over the issue of Plan B, including the forced resignation of at least one head who was linked to dominionist groups and the resignation of a second official regarding delays on Plan B.

A lot of people have expressed legitimate concern that the "conscience clauses", taken to their ultimate extreme, could result in refusals of other products or even refusals to offer care to people whom dominionists disapprove of--gays, or non-dominionists, for that matter.

There are signs this is already happening.

Dominionists are even going further in some instances--one dominionist legislator has attempted to propose banning distribution of birth control on state college campuses under the old dominionist canard that the pill "increases promiscuity".

There are dominionist judges now that--in almost identical manner to the dominionist pharmacists--are refusing to hear "judicial bypass" cases in regards to minors seeking consent for obtaining abortion services (or in some cases even prescription birth control); in some cases, these are the only judges in their county authorised to hear such cases.  Reportedly this is also including legal emancipation cases, which has effects far beyond abortion (one common legal mechanism for kids escaping abusive households is to have a judge declare legal emancipation); of note, one of the judges in question is in Shelby County Tennessee, home of one of Love In Action's facilities.  (At least one person has successfully made a bid for legal emancipation on the mere threat of being sent by his parents to Love In Action's facilities; another person was granted a hearing in Georgia for emancipation but may have been kidnapped (against the judge's custody order) and transported back to the Love In Action facility after he had escaped.  That case is under legal investigation and involves the one minor still at the facility.)

Also, "conscience clauses" are expanding to other medications that dominionists disapprove of solely because they "prevent consequences of sexual misbehaviour and might encourage promiscuity".  

A promising vaccine against human papilloma virus or HPV--which is the cause of not only nearly all cervical cancer, but nearly all penile cancer in men--has been shown to be highly effective--but may never make it stateside because dominionist groups like the Family Research Council are already coming out in opposition because they claim it could increase promiscuity.

There is legitmate fear that an HIV vaccine will probably be opposed on similar grounds, should one ever be developed that is effective, based on how funding of condoms for HIV prevention is already opposed by dominionist groups in Africa (where HIV infection rates often approach 40-50% even in the heterosexual population).

Not only are pharmacists refusing to fill legitimate prescriptions for Plan B and even monthly birth control (based on urban legends in the dominionist community promoted by groups like Pharmacists for Life International claiming they are a form of abortion), not only is approval of a vaccine for HPV (which, incidentially, would be the first effective vaccine for cancer, as 99 percent of all cervical and penile cancer is caused by HPV) being fought by dominionist groups even as it has completed phase III trials (because HPV is a cause of genital warts)...

...but per this livejournal entry there are now reports that dominionist pharmacists are refusing to fill scripts for (and occasionally destroying the scripts for) any prescriptions they feel may be for an STD (in this case, this was for Valtrex, a medication that is used for herpesviruses in general):

I know a young woman who has the misfortune to have contracted genital herpes.

She is on a daily regimen of Valtrex to prevent symptoms from manifesting themselves.

Recently she took her prescription to a pharmacist who was apparently a fundamentalist Christian.

Not only did he refuse to fill the prescription, but he tore it up and handed it back to her, saying, "God is punishing you for your sin."

Refusals of prescriptions for drugs of this class can be potentially life-threatening--antivirals of the same class are used for herpesviruses besides herpes simplex II (which is genital herpes).

Genital herpes (herpes simplex II) is one of a family of anywhere between nine and twelve human herpesviruses, which include herpes simplex I (oral herpes--cold sores), herpes zoster aka varicella (cause of chickenpox and shingles when the varicella virus reactivates in adults), Epstein-Barr virus (aka mononucleosis--which has also been linked to Wilms tumour and Burkitt's lymphoma), cytomegalovirus (a common complication in HIV patients which can cause blindness), etc.

A very common reason for prescription of drugs like Valtrex besides genital herpes is for kids who are leukemic or have depressed immune systems to prevent complications from exposure to chickenpox--most of those kids also cannot have the chickenpox shot, as it's a live vaccine, and exposure to chickenpox can be life threatening; even adults who have never had the chickenpox who are exposed are typically given a course of varicella antiglobulin along with a course of Valtrex--in the hope that the VAB will prevent infection, the latter will hopefully make it less severe.  (Chickenpox reactivating in adults can cause shingles, which is quite painful (and another reason why Valtrex is prescribed); in adults full blown chickenpox commonly hospitalises people and even kills them--Hawaii state legislature representative Patsy Mink died from chickenpox pneumonia as a result of catching it as an adult.)  

Another reason that Valtrex is prescribed is--interestingly--cancer. (Yes, seriously.)  As it turns out, Kaposi's sarcoma is (much like cervical cancer and penile cancer) one of the few cancers definitely linked to a virus--specifically, human herpesvirus 8.  Ironically, it was partly because of so many HIV patients getting Kaposi's sarcoma that doctors realised it was a virally caused cancer, and we can now treat it using drugs that attack other herpesviruses (including Valtrex).  

Valtrex is also prescribed to patients with particularly severe cases of mono or who are subject to severe complications from mono (for example, people who have had to have their spleens surgically removed).

Related drugs to Valtrex, and occasionally Valtrex itself, are also used in people who are exposed to non-human herpesviruses.  (Generally herpesviruses that are not fatal to other primates are fatal to humans and vice versa; herpesvirus B, which occurs in macacques, is almost invariably fatal in humans without immediate treatment with anti-herpetic antivirals like Valtrex and ganciclovir.  In fact, in many zoos and research facilities, it is standard procedure that if more than one monkey dies in a 24 hour period or if monkeys die after seeming ill all workers who worked with them go on immediate preventive courses of Valtrex in case the monkey had herpesvirus B.  It's considered that dangerous to people.)

Also, an increasing fear is that dominionists will start refusing to give antiretroviral drugs to HIV patients because they "disapprove of their lifestyle".  In fact, there are hints that the same dominionist groups behind "conscience clauses" are already linking birth control pills and HIV, and as dominionist groups are explicitly trying to expand "conscience clauses" in regards to funding related to HIV.

This is an excellent review of the religious right attack on women and women's health care.  

And, in some ways, understated.  I have read of some religious right people who go BEYOND saying that the meeting of a sperm and egg is the beginning of a pregnancy, but that a pregnancy begins in God's eye, that is, even before intercourse.  

And conscience clauses not only apply to doctors but to whole hospital systems.  As Merger Watch has amply documented religious hospitals with restrictive policies, particularly the Catholic hospital system, but also fundamentalist Christian and Mormon hospitals, are gobbling up the health care system and using their version of religious dicta to direct doctors (the Catholic hospitals actually have religious directives that prohibit birth control, in vitro fertilization, sterilization, as well as abortion.)

But religious right folk often shuffle away or obscure their opposition to contraception because they know it is wildly unpopular to take that position.  That's why all the fake concern about teens and promiscuity.  

I also sometimes see fissures in this position.  Some of the religious right groups will not denounce contraception (among married monogamous partners, that is.)

I really appreciate your insider perspective.  What do you think underlies the attack on contraception?  Control over women?  Or something else?  

And how can we make this issue manifest and use it to awaken the public?

by cyncooper on Mon Dec 05, 2005 at 01:34:42 AM EST

Good point, actually--not only do the Catholic hospital systems have a history of this, you are seeing dominionist denominations starting to buy up hospitals, too.  (One of the things I'm carefully watching, in fact, is whether the Baptist Hospitals chain starts putting in religious-based restrictions.  (We have five major hospital providers in Louisville aka the transplant research capital of the US :3.  Three of these are religiously affiliated--Caritas (Catholic, specificially Sisters of Nazareth), Baptist Hospitals (Baptist, I suspect Southern Baptist but unsure) and Jewish Hospital (obviously affiliated with the Jewish congregations here, who largely seem to be Conservative Judaism).)  One of the things I do make sure with doctors is that they have admitting privs to secular hospitals if need be.)

Regarding the dominionist war on family planning in general, I think it's actually a twofold issue:

a) There is very much a control aspect (in dominionist families, there is a very strict hierarchial setup in that the husband is supposed to be head of household, the wife is supposed to be completely submissive, and the kids are supposed to be completely submissive to the parents).  I've posted the following in relation to this thread on Dark Christianity which was concerning longterm effects of abusive childrearing styles in dominionist households:

Heck, to give you an example of how bad this gets, this is from an actual A Beka civics book (specifically William R. Bowen et al., American Government in Christian Perspective, 2nd ed., (Pensacola, Fla.: A Beka, 1997), page 16):

The importance of the family is underscored again and again; however, the family must conform to God's mandate, which is linked, in turn, to the proper relationship of human beings to government. " The A Beka civics text notes, "Governmental authority flows from God to human institutions and to the individuals responsible for ruling others within those institutions [according to] a definite order of command from God to human leaders to their followers. For example, the husband is the head of the wife and the parents are God's representatives to rule their children. Individuals obey God when they submit to and obey the God-appointed authorities over them."

Yes, this is completely typical of dominionist groups (nearly all other dominionist curricula teach it, as do dominionist schools and even dominionist parenting programs).

Examples from the Pearls (which also have  published a series of baby-beating manuals popular in the dominionist community and which are often included with the sale of chastening rods and similar "Biblical chastening devices"; they operate a website, No Greater Joy (also the title of one of their manuals on baby-beating the dominionist way) that promotes the same advise online; the Pearls are under investigation by the state of Tennessee for child abuse based on the material in their books):

woman is told to stay with abusive husband because "God hates divorce"
assertive women are accused of having a "Jezebel spirit" (in dominionist groups into "spiritual warfare" there are even exorcisms in attempts to drive "Jezebel spirits" out of women who are seen as being too "uppity" and not "staying in their place")
woman is literally told it is her HUSBAND'S decision, not HERS, whether or not she is to practice birth control and how many children she is to have

In some of the links at stoptherod.net noted above, it's detailed how the Pearls have advocated beating infants as young as eight months old with "chastening rods" for playing with their food and advocate pinching infants as young as four months.

To give you examples of their "childrearing" techniques that I've not already mentioned:

more on tyrant babies! (Did these people watch too much "Family Guy" or something?)  Yes, this is very sadly a TYPICAL attitude)
techniques practiced in dominionist households to break will of kids (who are termed "Twinkie twerps" by the Pearls))
the Pearls (who, incidentially, are under investigation by the State of Tennessee for child abuse--in part because of material from the books) actually try to defend their child abuse manuals
advocates being extremely strict from birth; also claims kids being bullied somehow deserved it
yet more fantasies of babies plotting to take over the household from "parental rule"
advocating using a "chastening rod" on a seven-month-old child who will not get to sleep (it's on page two)
advocates beating of children with "chastening rods" made from PVC plumbing pipe for thumbsucking
claims that people who have criticised the Pearls for their extreme methods of childrearing are literally demon-possessed (sadly, a common form of "dead agenting"/"character assassination" in the dominionist community and one reason why it is at times next to impossible to debate dominionists heavily into "spiritual warfare")

Lest people think the Pearls are an abberation, even Dobson uses the beating of a Dachshund to demonstrate how children should have their wills broken (the manner in which he beat the dog is guaranteed to increase aggression).

There is evidence that this has carried over into official government policy with dominionists, in particular with the Abu Ghraib scandal.  Actually, there is an EXPLICIT link between dominionism and Abu Ghraib (and, probably, between the generally abusive dynamics and Abu Ghraib); as it turns out, Gen. Boykin is one of the persons behind some of the policies there.


General Boykin is associated with the AoG and is strongly associated with the increasing dominionist infiltration of the military as well as the hijacking of the chaplaincy system by dominionists:


So yes, dominionism has been specifically linked to abuse both at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib--in fact, one of the major players seems to have been a major ringleader of the abuse.

In all of these cases, I'm fairly convinced this is an extension of an underlying coercive dynamic in many, if not most, dominionist churches (it is my sincere belief that most dominionist churches, in particular the pente/charismatic churches affiliated with dominionist movements, are explicitly spiritually abusive and the general patterns of spiritual abuse are starting to show up even in congregations with a recent history of dominionism such as the Southern Baptist Convention).

b) One thing, too, that is a major factor in the dominionist war on family planning is that in many dominionist churches it is explicitly taught as part of the "dominion mandate" that they must "be fruitful and multiply" and that any interference with this is at best a willful act of disobedience towards God.  In some circles, women are even explicitly encouraged to have as many children as possible to breed "Christian Soldiers" and women with a "bushel full of kids" are held up to high praise.  (Of course, the longterm health consequences of popping out kids every 9-12 months--not to mention the financial consequences--aren't touched upon.)

by dogemperor on Mon Dec 05, 2005 at 08:10:44 AM EST

On the point of permitting the denial of health care services, I'd also like to point out a sweeping refusal clause (aka 'conscience clause') that was grafted onto the federal budget by right wingers in the so-called Weldon Amendment .  

It was a vast and sneaky expansion of federal power, barely noted by the major media.  At least one state sued.

by cyncooper on Mon Dec 05, 2005 at 10:47:45 AM EST

was a significant source of harm to many users because its design was faulty in at least two ways that I can recall off the top of my head. Real problems with it and other IUDs led to the fall in popularity of IUDs in this country. (Some unscrupulous medical device companies reportedly dumped their IUDs in Third World countries when it became apparent that they would not be used in the US.)

by MaryOGrady on Mon Dec 05, 2005 at 09:56:55 AM EST
The Dalkon Shield did have flaws, yes; the dominionist groups have claimed the faulty areas of design with the Dalkon Shield IUDs are with all IUD's, though (which isn't true).

by dogemperor on Mon Dec 05, 2005 at 11:27:29 AM EST
I would like to see specific claims against IUDs made by Dominionists.

by MaryOGrady on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 09:17:43 AM EST
From Abortion Facts (a pro-dominionist "pro-life" site):
What of the IUD?

The intrauterine device, commonly referred to as an IUD or coil (in Europe), is a small plastic or metal device that is inserted through the vagina and into the cavity of the uterus. The purpose of this is to "prevent" pregnancy.

Is an IUD a contraceptive or an abortive agent?

Until recently, almost all scientific papers had agreed that its effect was to prevent the implantation of the tiny new human being into the nutrient lining of the uterus; an abortive action. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration stated in an official report that its effectiveness is "in direct proportion to the quantity and quality of the inflammatory reaction to various types of IUDs"...and states that there "is one common thread . . . " They all "interfere in some manner with the implantation of the fertilized ovum in the uterine cavity." Second Report on IUDs, Dec. 1978, U.S. Dept. of HEW, Food & Drug Administration Document 017-012-00276-5

A detailed report in a Planned Parenthood publication in 1989 claimed that a high percentage of its action was the prevention of fertilization. IUDs are ontraceptives, not Abortifacients: A Comment on Research and Belief, I. Sivin, Studies in Family Planning, Vol. 20, No. 6, Dec. '89

The above report, however, has not been duplicated and therefore has not presented enough evidence to change the conventional wisdom that the IUD is almost always an abortive agent.

From American Life League (another pro-dominionist "pro-life" group):
Is the IUD safe?

No. Here are some of the side effects:

    * septic abortion-infection that can cause high fever, endometriosis and other complications
    * continuation of pregnancy-dangerous for baby and mother
    * ectopic pregnancy-fatal if not discovered in time
    * pelvic infection which can lead to sterility
    * embedding the IUD in the uterus which is very painful
    * perforation of the uterine wall or cervix
    * perforation of the urinary bladder
    * heart injury
    * spontaneous abortion
    * backache
    * copper toxicity (Wilson's disease)-poisoning of the organs
    * anemia-decrease in red blood cells causing weakness and lack of energy
    * localized pain that persists each time ovulation occurs

(The two IUDs on the market in the US, Paraguard and Progestasert, are "T" shaped pieces of plastic containing either a small amount of copper or progesterone (in other words, Progestasert is both an IUD and a form of "time release" hormonal birth control.  Amazingly, American Life League actually admits this, but still persists in scare tactics.

(With modern IUDs, generally the risk of perforation is very small.  "T" IUDs have a very low risk of perforation (and generally one doesn't use an IUD unless one has had at least one child).  The claim about "Wilson's Disease" is bogus in that Wilson's Disease is actually a metabolic disorder and Paraguard (the copper-containing IUD) is never recommended for persons with Wilson's Disease anyways.  (And yes, you WOULD know if you had it, because typically symptoms will show up by the time you've had kids.)  The risk of "heart injury" is no more than what would be the case if one were on the pill or other forms of hormonal birth control.)

(Incidentially, American Life League is also one of those groups that claims that practically all methods of birth control other than the condom or the diaphragm are "abortifacient", claim that condoms and diaphragms are completely ineffective, and give as sage advice for married couples not ready for children to "trust God".)

From LifeIssues (yet another dominionist "pro-life" site):

The IUD is a foreign body and because of this, a reaction of the tissues occurs. Because of the IUD in the womb, infection appears, which can be spread into the Fallopian tubes and even into the whole abdomen. In the tubes adhesions may appear, causing obstruction and, therefore, infertility or ectopic pregnancies.

Infections which come into the abdomen develop festering peritonitis. In that case, poisoning of the blood stream (sepsis), can occur and the woman may die suffering great pain and torment.

Because of anemia, women become pale, nervous, tired, lose concentration, experience blackouts and even faint and collapse. The IUD also can perforate the uterus. In the United States, the businesses producing IUDs became bankrupt, since they had to pay compensation to the women because of the side effects.

And to show that this IS largely scare tactics, this article has a pretty good write-up on how modern IUDs are not like the Dalkon Shield of old.

by dogemperor on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 10:34:51 AM EST

I like to have all the ammunition I can get.

by MaryOGrady on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 03:39:02 PM EST

I think it may be one of the definitive resources on the subject, and it represents a considerable amount of work for no immediate reward.

by Bruce Wilson on Mon Dec 05, 2005 at 04:30:49 PM EST

Being a woman with PCOS, I would be having some choice words with my pharmacy if someone dared to tell me they would not fill my birth control pills for religious reasons....

I have had someone confront me about my use of the pill however - and gave them an earful about how my use of BC was to treat a medical condition, NOT to actually prevent pregnancy.... (Given the fertility issues associated with PCOS, I'd probably welcome any "unplanned" pregnancy as a miracle!)

The interesting response?  This person did not realize that birth control pills could be used for anything other than birth control....

Ignorance again.... something tells me this is my topic for a diary entry sometime soon.... :)


by EmilyWynn8 on Mon Dec 05, 2005 at 04:41:05 PM EST

Actually, I myself have used "the pill" for medical reasons myself (never had a regular "monthly" in my life when I've NOT been on it), as does my sister.  My sister had to end up going to a college doctor--at a Baptist college, yet!--to go on the pill because my mother refused to let her go on it (she refused at first, then when she ended up in hospital and had to have tests done for what were suspected gallstones but what turned out to be PCOS she went on the pill, Mom's ranting be damned).

I, too, promptly went on the pill once moving out (my mother would not allow me to go on it whilst I lived with her).

Why, you ask, was she so much into not allowing "the pill"?

Because of a common urban legend in dominionist circles that hormonal birth control "makes girls even hornier than they'd normally be" and basically turns them into Women of Very Loose Morals. :P

by dogemperor on Mon Dec 05, 2005 at 04:54:46 PM EST

Similar situation - never had a regular cycle in my life... and my mom refused to take me to see a gynecologist... "they're for women with loose morals"...

Had to wait till I moved out to finally see a doctor on my own and get a prescription...


Are we related?  =oD

To keep this "on topic" - I'll add the comment - I wonder if these attitudes of women's health issues equalling "loose morality" are part of the problem that we are always having regarding dominionists' problems with reproductive rights and sex education in schools....


by EmilyWynn8 on Mon Dec 05, 2005 at 05:06:52 PM EST

I really sympathize with your medical needs.  But it's no concern of a pharmacist or neighbor why a woman wants the pill at all, whether for prevention of pregnancy or another medical need.  I hate to see women get divided in that way.  

For example, some health insurance will cover the pill for needs other than the prevention of pregnancy (acne is another), but not for the prevention of pregnancy.  Declining to cover prescription contraception is now a violation of equal employment opportunity laws )for any company with more than 50 employees) but many don't cover the pill anyhow.  (Women should challenge this where they can.)

As for those women of loose morals, it's all about sex, isn't it?  I think that the religious right is terrified of people who enjoy sex --at least if it's women or gays.  Who will control them!

by cyncooper on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 02:09:35 AM EST

Absolutely - It shouldn't matter why I or anyone else want/need a prescription for birth control... I wasn't trying to "divide" the issue as much as illustrate that it is common - and not an exception to the rule, as some would argue - to find women who are using the pill for medical rather than birth control reasons, and that if folks want to make a generalization about women and birth control, they would be sadly mistaken.

Many of the arguments I have heard about why insurance companies allowed women to have their doctors write notes which would allow their birth control to be covered due to "medical necessity" was because the insurance executives felt that these cases were few and exceptional... and for the small population of women that would be inconvenienced by having to document a medical diagnosis to get their birth control pills covered by insurance, it would not be a big deal...
But - they were wrong, and soon the majority of patients had "medical necessity" notes, and the insurance executives decided it was easier to allow all birth control to be covered than to have the administrative expense of having to go through all that paperwork on their end...
(of course, this is not true everywhere)

And yes - it's about controlling sex!  I'm thinking that to the Religious Right, the ability to control others within the most basic of human functions, reproduction and the urge towards it, they become that much closer to gods themselves...


by EmilyWynn8 on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 02:28:08 PM EST

We are definitely in agreement.

But no credit to insurance companies!  The vast majority have not willingly covered contraception.  It's been an ongoing battle for years to get Contraceptive Equity , which particularly heated up when Viagra was made immediately available to men on insurance.

There was an action before the EEOC, brought by the National Women's Law Center, and decided just before Clinton left.  It articulated that contraceptives should be covered to the extent that other prescriptions are covered.  

A lawsuit in Washington State, Erickson v. Bartell,  came to the same conclusion.  

But getting enforcement from companies and insurers is still a huge problem:  Lots of info here:
Cover My Pills.

by cyncooper on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 03:45:22 PM EST

I had been told that some insurance companies were holdouts, but that most made the switch to covering BC, not out of the "goodness of their hearts", as much as the strain of the administrative costs to their bottom lines...

Obviously, you have done much more homework on the issue than I.  I stand corrected.


by EmilyWynn8 on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 04:44:07 PM EST

This is a superb summary of the story so far.  Thanks for putting together the best analysis of this issue that I've seen in one place.

by moiv on Mon Dec 05, 2005 at 10:06:20 PM EST
That this may be a worthy piece to develop for print. I think that dogemperor's publishing of this under a pseudonym would even be an asset. The reasons are legit. Maybe that would be too much publicity though....

But this deserves wider airing.

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 02:40:44 PM EST

If people actually want to see this in a print essay...I'm game as long as I can remain pseudonymous.  (I do agree this sort of stuff needs to get out in the open.)

by dogemperor on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 02:43:45 PM EST
As they say "information wants to be free......."

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 02:44:57 PM EST

Yes, yes!  Do it!  =o)

Well - only if you want to anyway...

And yes, I'm a new member of the dogemperor fan club - but in all seriousness, you have a wonderful and strong argumentive style... I think you could successfully publish your writing.


by EmilyWynn8 on Tue Dec 06, 2005 at 04:59:50 PM EST

Thanks for your work on this topic and on all things related to Dominionism.

by Mainstream Baptist on Wed Dec 07, 2005 at 02:49:54 PM EST

Methotrexate is a common use drug for rheumatoid arthritis, albeit in smaller doses than chemo. It is not a scheduled class drug and is widely used.

by Lasarina on Tue Jan 31, 2006 at 10:55:01 AM EST

This article was really great. Plenty of information and written in a good way. You've done a great job here. I have to say that the more I hear about the dominionism, the more I dislike it. It's insane that they want to minimize the women right do decide over their own bodies so much.
Caitlin, Freelancer currently working on the menopause remedy project.
by Caitlin R on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 01:07:01 PM EST

Oh, congratulations.  Talk2Action has its first bona fide spammer.

I guess this should be a sign that we've Made It, but at the same time, this account shouldn't live long :3

by dogemperor on Tue May 02, 2006 at 08:15:56 AM EST

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