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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
Religious freedom will be the principle legal issue. As worthy as that cause is, I propose another, equally significant issue that someone should raise.
The United States government has committed itself to dangerous drugs and an utterly irrational ideology.
Let me explain.
Not long ago, I met David and Roz Rowan, a couple whose only child died suddenly at the age of 23 from a massive pulmonary embolism. Why would a healthy young woman die from a stroke? Doctors attribute it directly to her use of hormonal contraception.
Likewise, Erika Langhart died of a double pulmonary embolism, at the age of 24. She was using a NuvaRing, contraceptive device. The Langhart family refused an out of court settlement from the drug manufacturer. The parents wanted Merck, the international pharmaceutical giant, to face a jury trial, and be held accountable for the deaths of women like Erika. Out of court settlements typically include a gag rule. Erika’s family considered this completely unacceptable.
“In our opinion, Merck got away with murder, and continues to do so to this day. In 2011 NuvaRing made the company $623 million; in 2013 it was $686 million; and in 2014, after the settlement, Merck made a staggering $723 million from it. Settlements are just the cost of doing business to Merck, all at the expense of women’s health and lives,” her mother said.
Earlier this year, Erika’s mother committed suicide.
In the meantime, across the pond, German drugmaker Bayer AG paid nearly $1.6 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits involving accusations that its Yaz and Yazmin birth control pills caused blood clots that led to strokes and heart attacks.
In short, there is plenty of evidence that hormonal contraception poses serious health risks to young women.
But the U.S. government operates under the completely irrational ideology that a good society ought to separate sex from procreation. This is the philosophy behind requiring every employer in America to provide these dangerous drugs and devices to their workers without a copay. The government considers preventing pregnancy a “preventive care” measure.
But pregnancy is neither an illness or injury. Pregnancy is a perfectly normal process. Pregnancy is not something to be avoided at all costs, including the use of dangerous drugs or devices.
What exactly is the objective of the government embracing this ideology? Reducing the birth rate “by any means necessary?” Making men and women “equal” by chemically sterilizing women? Making women sexually available to men at any time during their monthly cycles? Providing a steady stream of women workers who do not inconvenience their employers with ill-timed pregnancies?
I’m having trouble coming up with a good reason to force every employer in America to provide these products to healthy women at zero cost, under the guise of “preventive health care.”
Personal “freedom” cannot be the whole issue either. The use of contraception has been legal nationwide since 1965. But making contraception legally available was never enough for the true believers in sexual freedom, women’s “liberation” and population control.
From the beginning, they have sought to nudge people’s choices toward artificial birth control. These ideologues have captured the levers of state power. The government manipulates people’s private choices in this most intimate area. They subsidize contraception, promote it in their public schools. Now the all-powerful state is manipulating the insurance market.
These true believers will not allow any hold-outs to their irrational dogma. Hence, the persecution of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a completely inoffensive group of women, who have dedicated their lives to serving the elderly poor.
I categorically reject the idea that pregnancy is an illness.
I protest with all my might the government’s policy of pushing dangerous drugs on unsuspecting women.
I am fed up with drug companies treating the risks to women’s health as an acceptable cost of doing business.
I sincerely hope one of the lawyers or friends of the court, or SOMEONE will make these points. The Sisters deserve to win, and not just to preserve religious freedom. The Little Sisters of the Poor deserve to win because they are correct on the substance of the issue. No more War on Women’s Fertility.
Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D. is Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, a global non-profit organization, dedicated to creating a Christ-like solution to family breakdown. Visit at Ruth Institute or on Facebook.
Sister helping the bedridden: http://www.mercatornet.com/sheila_liaugminas/view/little_sisters_of_the_poor_and_obamacares_contraceptive_mandate/13396
Sisters pushing wheelchair: http://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?cat=1016