If God’s Dead, What’s He Doing in My Uterus?

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If God’s Dead, What’s He Doing in My Uterus?

Margaret Sanger began life as one of 11 children whose mother died young. So maybe it's not entirely surprising she began her professional life as a nurse. But what explains her foray into political life as the world's greatest champion of birth control? And what lessons can we take away from a life courageously lived in the service of women's liberation at its most fundamental: the freedom to not bear children.

margaretsanger.jpg

Irish-American birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger outside Brooklyn courthouse in 1916.

I take for granted not having kids. More: I take for granted not having to have kids. That's what choice means: the absence of coercion. That's what birth control activists work for: freedom of choice. That abortion and contraception are still controversial; that their advocacy is still considered the work of the devil; that presidential candidates can waffle on the topic; that health workers are subject to harassment and violence; that abstinence is the official remedy for teen pregnancy — these conditions remind us there are forces obstructing social progress.

Let's see, who springs to mind? Okay, he's German and he works in Italy, and he's merely a figurehead, but this one guy, who's incapable of bearing children and forbidden from fathering them, wields inappropriate power over the destinies of women around the globe by his pronouncements on the disposition of our reproductive organs. I'll give you one guess.

Last week, Italy's largest newspaper, the Corriere della Sera (The Nightly News) ran a half-page ad marking the 40th anniversary of a previous pope's encyclical, Humanae Vitae, which banned contraception. The ad was placed by 50-plus Catholic groups begging His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to lift the ban. On their knees. They couldn't even afford a full-page ad. You'd think the paper coulda cut 'em a deal.

What's the Latin for chutzpah? Who made Joseph Alois Ratzinger God? Sure, the Catholic hierarchy has great taste, Swiss Guards, all that Michaelangelo and Bernini shit, the list is too long, prime real estate, sublime architecture, but why are they allowed to dictate reproductive policy? Why does the President of the United States smile and shake this guy's hand? And while we're at it, where do we get off criticizing Iran for having mullahs? How can we say a word against sharia when we allow the boys in the Vatican to influence our secular affairs? Children, how do you spell Separation of Church and State?

st-john-the-baptist-83-mid.png

Leonardo da Vinci's St. John the Baptist, 1513-16, oil on walnut wood, the Louvre.

Let me get off the soapbox and acknowledge my lack of originality. Let me point, as John the Baptist pointed, to the mother of all birth control advocates. You can watch her on this archival video from 1957, a true time capsule. Interviewer Mike Wallace smokes throughout their dialogue and pauses to hawk Phillip Morris cigarettes, to which he attributes "a man's mildness." Margaret Sanger, a sturdy 78, is asked yet again to justify her audacity at standing up to the Catholic Church, 40 years after she opened the first birth control clinic in the United States. She hangs tough against the moralizing mindset that advocates suffering in the name of a God long-since pronounced dead. She's an inspiration to anyone who thinks women's health begins with the woman.

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche declared God dead in The Gay Science (1882).

(originally posted July 27, 2008)



Comments [219]

mysticsmb's picture

Sorry, anyone who takes the

Sorry, anyone who takes the absolutist stance that a rape victim must bear a child they do not wish to needs to spend some time with rape victims.

Fastgurrrl's picture

OMG, I hope she comes out! :P

OMG, I hope she comes out! Tongue

Lake's picture

OFF TOPIC I WISH GOD WOULD

OFF TOPIC

I WISH GOD WOULD TAKE MY UTERUS!!! I'M JUST SAYING! Wink

Lake

Fastgurrrl's picture

Tex & LBDL, we love you

Tex & LBDL, we love you ladies!

LOVE TO YOU ALL

minniesota's picture

LBDL, you do put your

LBDL, you do put your convictions where your mouth is, so I do appreciate you letting us know about that clinic.

As someone who likes both you and Tex, it seems to me that you both simply have passionate opinions on the topic but the two of you made this discussion too personal.

I'll just chalk it up, as you noted, to the full moon. And hope you continue to give us your opinion on any serious topic.

XO, Minnie

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

minniesota's picture

Double post deleted.

Double post deleted.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Yvonne's picture

Well I'm glad this blog

Well I'm glad this blog blames the Pope for everyone's mistakes. Now we can prosecute him, bring down the Vatican and live happily ever after.

For me, pro-choice and pro-life should be in the same category. It does not matter if you kill your child at age of 4 months or 15 years, the only difference is that the little fella cannot object or defend themselves, and it is them that take all the consequences. They are just dead.

So you are free to choose to kill your 15 years old child if you want, really you are. But would you choose to?

And I am not talking about birth control, I do oppose the Church on the stance of meanings of contraception and I am free to use that to prevent killing a soul later on.

As for the rape issue, I do believe that a mother should not exercise the same violence she had received. However, that 9 year old girl story was painful to read and I stand against the decision of the Bishop - who will always be a man and not understand.

P.S.: How about that 13 year old boy who will soon become a father? and the 15 year mother decided to keep the baby. That's in England, where the Queen matters not the Pope.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article5724616.ece

God is not dead, our brain is.

Tex's picture

What I was thinking had

What I was thinking had absolutely nothing to do with any religion! Wink

Twitter Time @kdhales

LongBeachDogLover's picture

Rusty, Thank you for sharing

Rusty, Thank you for sharing your experience..... I know that your decision could not have been an easy one. You are obviously a strong woman, and at this point in your life, a very blessed woman to have such adorable grandkids!!

Shawnee-Rose and Gracie, how cute !! Smile

mysticsmb's picture

AWWWWWWW!

AWWWWWWW!

Yvonne's picture

lovely! and thanks for

lovely!

and thanks for sharing.

Yvonne's picture

Well, I thank you for this

Well, I thank you for this opinion you shared, and want to let you know that your opinion is shared by many.

Rusty's picture

LBDL, Thank you for that

LBDL, Thank you for that link.

I would not try to convince you to change your opinion on abortion. It's too complex an issue to have much chance at persuading anyone either way on it, especially in this forum.

Like many pro-choice women, when I found out I was pregnant I decided abortion was wrong for me. And so was adoption. (At the time I didn't know "the baby" would end up being twins. Yikes.)

I don't regret my choice, especially since straying from the reservation that one time also gave me 5 grand kids. But, I would never force the same choice on anyone else.

Here are the two youngest grandkids— Shawnee-Rose and Gracie:

PS: I am a very, very young grandma.
PPS: I am a very, very young grandma who never passes up a chance to flash the photos.

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." ~ Pollyanna

Rusty's picture

“'Rusty the chastised' Sounds

“'Rusty the chastised' Sounds HOT!"
Sounds kind of reformed Catholic to me, Lake and Tex.

Chaste and chastised share a root and that's it, though right?.

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." ~ Pollyanna

LongBeachDogLover's picture

This will be the last time

This will be the last time that I comment on a serious subject here at VP. I certainly don't need to have my words twisted, and things stated that I haven't even said......

However, I do believe that the subject of birth control, and abortion, are probably two of the most important subjects of our time.

And, I put my money where my mouth is. I don't believe that abortion is the answer to an 'unplanned pregnancy'...... Here is a link, to a non-profit, that is doing awesome things for homeless women who find themselves pregnant, and alone. If you ever hear of the need, if anyone ever asks you about such a place...... please recommend them, or possibly consider organizing a shelter yourself.

http://www.preciouslifeshelter.org/home.asp

Precious Life Shelter is a three phase residential supportive services program for the homeless pregnant adult woman. A private 501©3 California non-profit, located in Los Alamitos, California. Precious Life provides a safe, loving environment for the woman who has no place to have her child and chooses to work toward self-reliance for herself and her child whether she parents or places her child for adoption.

I really thought that most of you ladies knew me better than this.
I guess I was wrong......

LongBeachDogLover's picture

Tex, what in the hell are you

Tex, what in the hell are you talking about? Where has this come from? I have NEVER, and would never, say anything about you not being able to experience the love of a woman. Excuse me, why are you going down this very nasty road...

" You don’t think that it was possible for me to have experienced the love of a man. Just as you don’t think it is possible for me to experience the love of a woman. I know this will probably throw you into a tail spin, but LB, I’ve always been a lesbian."

I don't care who you love, how you love them, or if you love them.

Tex, you could never "throw me into a tail spin" over anything you say.
Why has this, turned into........ THIS ??

Tex's picture

Thanks - I was serious - I've

Thanks - I was serious - I've got to admit though, I didn't go to my ex for his take on it Smile He's got a Palin/McCain sticker on his bumper for goodness sakes!

Twitter Time @kdhales

Tex's picture

No, LB, my life is not about

No, LB, my life is not about the theater...I thought I might have been off base with the way I felt - with my comments. But I wasn't, and neither are the rest of the women on this blog that don't appreciate being talked down to because of our past experiences. Everything I have been through - experienced in my life - makes me who I am today. I'm not ashamed about any of it, nor do I say that any of it was a mistake. I certainly don't think, nor have I professed to be more enlightened, because of it.

I don't really understand why, but for some reason you don't think I'm real. You don't think that it was possible for me to have experienced the love of a man. Just as you don't think it is possible for me to experience the love of a woman. I know this will probably throw you into a tail spin, but LB, I've always been a lesbian. Yes, I lived in the heterosexual world for the first part of my life - for reasons probably more suited for an Erin blog - but I am a lesbian. I count myself lucky to have experienced the love of a man and the love of a woman. I am no less a human because of it.

I am real.......every flawed inch of me is real.

Twitter Time @kdhales

LongBeachDogLover's picture

I believe it's a full

I believe it's a full moon.... lesbians and a full moon, obviously it's very dangerous combination.

LongBeachDogLover's picture

OMG...... that's all I can

OMG...... that's all I can say.

minniesota's picture

Do you see the problems God

Do you see the problems God and the Pope cause? Now, they've got my two pals, LBDL & Tex fighting with each other. Those two are no end of trouble.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

LongBeachDogLover's picture

Tae, what are you talking

Tae, what are you talking about. A 'true' lesbian? "self proclaimed superiority".... what's up ? How could you read that into anything I've said......

Fuck, all of this came from my comment about birth control, and abortion. Aside from everything else, I never said anyone was a man hater.

I'm sorry you feel that way about me Tae, I really am...

Lake's picture

Tex..... 15 years is

Tex.....

15 years is perfect!!!

Lake

mysticsmb's picture

Tex, I appreciate your

Tex, I appreciate your reporting skills here--thanks for going to the source, or a source. Smile

Tex's picture

Yes, indeed, our meaning and

Yes, indeed, our meaning and usage of the word PUMA is much more pleasing than the political one. Keep your strength up, Tae! Lake, you have it all figured out! Did ya'll know that Rachel is 15 yrs younger than her partner?

Twitter Time @kdhales

LongBeachDogLover's picture

Tex, that is the most

Tex, that is the most ridiculous piece of theatrics I've ever seen. Are you kidding me? Are you for real? You dug a guy out of the wood work, and had him read the comments.......OMFG.

Tex's picture

"If it’s all the same to you,

"If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not read about cock and the vaginas that shelter them on a lesbian website."

Why didn't I think of that? Smile

I agree with that "Rusty the Chastised" being hot.....looking up all meanings for chastised!

Twitter Time @kdhales

Lake's picture

Doing my part for the older

Doing my part for the older woman!!!!! Wink

Lake

Not2Taem's picture

OFF TOPIC RACHEL JUST

OFF TOPIC

RACHEL JUST ANNOUNCED THAT SHE IS INTERVIEWING McCAIN'S DAUGHTER TONIGHT!

Just in case you are on and want to tune in. Could be interesting. Or not.

minniesota's picture

Hahahahaha! You may stop now.

Hahahahaha! You may stop now. I'll just say the word, "vagina" now to balance the feng shui on this blog.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

Not2Taem's picture

I doubt that the mountain

I doubt that the mountain lions will give a hoot. Laughing out loud

I'm doing my part to give the term a positive connotation by pleasing as many younger women as possible. Wink

Not2Taem's picture

LB above, Humble? This is

LB above,

Humble? This is not the first time you have shown your disdain for anyone you don't deem a true lesbian. Self proclaimed superiority is not sexy, not matter how "discerning" you sexual history. Just FYI, not everyone who has been attracted to both men and women is a man hater, and for most, not all, women who encounter that feeling, it is a temporary reaction to exceptional circumstances.

How would you feel if we asserted that you were somehow inadequate because you are unwilling to give any man a chance at being good enough for you. Yeah, that would be ridiculous!

Tex's picture

Nah, you're not weird...bored

Nah, you're not weird...bored maybe, but not weird Wink
Penis, penis, penis, penis, penis, penis, penis, penis, penis - are we even yet? Can I stop?

Twitter Time @kdhales

lucia_2008's picture

Every decision a person makes

Every decision a person makes in their life should be that persons decision. People need to be accountable for every decision that they make, regardless of the outcome. For years I have been told that God gave me free will. That what I do with that free will, I will be held accountable for my decisions. To me, if God gave me free will, why is the church telling me that I don't have free will, but have to do the church's will? My biggest question has always been this, why is anyone telling me what to do? When it comes down to the bottom line there is just me and me alone. If your not loving me, leave my uterus decisions to me.

Smile...life is good!!!

Tex's picture

LB, I'm going to put this up

LB, I'm going to put this up on the top since I can't reply underneath you....I tell you what I did. To be totally fair about this debate, I went and got another opinion - another opinion to the blog and all the comments. I went to to a MAN - an extremely nice guy - intelligent, respected, loved. I simply asked him to read the blog, the comments, and then tell me what he thought. So here goes, this is what he said.....

After reading the blog: Him - "Well, that was an interesting take on the Pope. Understand, I am not a Catholic so my take on the blog is certainly not indicative of all men. But I do agree. I think that women should have control over their own bodies - from conception to choice. No man, nor men, should have the right to dictate to a woman what is right for her body."

On your comments: "This LongBeachDog Lover - that's a man."
Me - "No, she's a woman." Him - "Okay, then if she is a woman, and she thought she was somehow defending men, or trying to explain the sexuality of men, I take offense at pretty much everything she said. She makes men out to be animals with no sense of right or wrong or having no control of their sexual urges. If the men she says she is talking to lead her to her conclusions, then maybe they're telling her what they think she wants to hear."

On my comments: "I agree that men need to be held accountable for their sexual actions. I personally feel that it is the man who controls the situation and not the woman. But, that bear grease comment?"

Now, as to the rest of our discussion, I'm not going to write it - there is no need - his thoughts did not change.

The personal remarks you made about me further enhance my position. Why do you think that all hetero relationships that end in divorce do so because they were so negative? I continue to have a good relationship with my ex - we remain friends. I don't have a negative outlook about men. I have a grown son who is a remarkable man. We have a fantastic relationship. I have men friends, but you know what? I don't talk about sex or sexuality with my men friends. That's just weird.

I would think that a former straight woman would understand a mans needs vs what she thinks he should want.

Do you really believe that?

Twitter Time @kdhales

Lake's picture

Yeah......I always thought a

Yeah......I always thought a PUMA was an older woman that liked younger women......my bad!!!

I'm all for the older woman/younger woman.....I just need to think of a new name for it.......hmmmmmmmm????

Lake

Not2Taem's picture

I never realized the word had

I never realized the word had MY in it. Also looks a lot like puma, which happens to be one of my favorite mammals, despite the recent unfortunate associations.

mysticsmb's picture

LongBeach, your reply below

LongBeach, your reply below is condescending and not in ANY way humble. While you're always the first to tout your expertise on a subject based on your experience you refuse to acknowledge anyone else's.

I don't claim to understand 'men' in general because there is no such thing. I have understood specific men. BTW, you're not defending men, you're putting them in a box, just the way you do when you label someone an 'ex-man-lover' (with your emphasis on 'ex'). WTF does that mean?

Lake's picture

LOL!!! "Rusty the

LOL!!!

"Rusty the chastised" Sounds HOT! Wink

Lake

Rusty's picture

My bad. I'm so used to

My bad. I'm so used to offending people that I missed the connection.

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." ~ Pollyanna

LongBeachDogLover's picture

Really. Isn't it interesting

Really. Isn't it interesting how defensive so many ex-man-lovers are when someone who's never been with a guy, is defending men. I just don't get it........

If some of the ex-man-lovers understood more about men, and what motivates them, maybe they wouldn't be ex-man-lovers.

Just my humble, virginal opinion.

*go ahead, kick my ass*

minniesota's picture

Awwww, Rusty. I didn't mind

Awwww, Rusty. I didn't mind that sentence. But then, I'm the one who got to exclaim the word "penis" more than once on stage and in front of drunk lesbians at the BE SCENE at The Dinah. Thrilling!

Also, I'm fascinated by the passionate argument between Tex and LBDL down there. Sexy! Okay, I'm weird.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

mysticsmb's picture

Their reason for sleeping

Their reason for sleeping with a woman is motivated from factors that we, as women, rarely take the time to understand. They are not driven by love, and the need to build family units, as women are. Most men don’t need to ‘cuddle’, and say I love you to have awesome sex.

This statement is obviously a huge generalization, as I have been with men who are driven by love, who enjoy cuddling, and who were the first to say 'I love you.'

The fact is we are ALL, each and every one of us, wired differently--hasn't this been driven home by our discussions on gender and sexuality? Men are as varied in their attitudes to sex and love as women are, but society has often not allowed for this variance. I'm not completely dismissing biological imperatives here, but nurture plays a huge role as well.

And, speaking from experience, there's a huge difference between what men will say about sex and love versus how they actually behave in an intimate relationship. Oftentimes they surprise themselves, not to mention the women they are with. So, yes, I do believe women who have loved and made love to men have a bit more 'expert' knowledge on the subject.

Lake's picture

No I meant that

No I meant that too............Go below to see my Punamy remark.

The harsh and uncalled for is the comment about having a dick inside you....or whatever it was.....jeez

Lake

Rusty's picture

Sorry; I also have a son and

Sorry; I also have a son and I should have been more specific. What I meant to say was "reading that sentence on a lesbian website made me barf all over my keyboard. Thanks a lot. Now I need to go snort some bleach or ram knitting needles up my nose to cleanse my brain pan."

Also, that was neither harsh nor uncalled for. Harsh and uncalled for would be something like:

If it's all the same to you, I'd rather not read about cock and the vaginas that shelter them on a lesbian website.

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." ~ Pollyanna

LongBeachDogLover's picture

I'm not sure which comment

I'm not sure which comment "was harsh and uncalled for". If this was about my statement ,it was a response to Tex's statement to me:

“LB, you have made the statement on numerous occasions that you have NEVER been with a man. I lived in the heterosexual world for some time. I will not debate this issue with a woman who simply “states” she understands what a man needs versus what he wants.”

And, I stand by my assertion that simply because a woman has had a penis inside of her vagina, does not make her an expert on the needs of a man. If that was the case, the divorce rate would be a much lower...

P.S. Lake, I am talking about understanding, and respecting, the differences between men and women. This is not an insult to men.Quite the opposite...

Lake's picture

The comment was harsh and

The comment was harsh and uncalled for.....many of us have son's.

Completely disgusted.......cleansing my "brain pan" also!!!

Lake

Rusty's picture

"P.S. Having a penis inside

"P.S. Having a penis inside of you does not make you an expert on the needs of a man."

No room to reply directly to the author of that comment, but I just barfed all over my keyboard. Thanks a lot. Now I need to go snort some bleach or ram knitting needles up my nose to cleanse my brain pan.

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." ~ Pollyanna

Not2Taem's picture

I don't know, LB. When I

I don't know, LB. When I compare the way that the majority of young women I know think about sex and the way that most ladies my age say they do, I'm left with a definite leaning toward nurture having a great influence on what you are describing as wiring. I know plenty of young women who feel no need to be monogamous, create a family unit, or produce children. I think we were raised to believe that this is what we were supposed to feel, want, and need.

Rusty's picture

Not that it had much to start

Not that it had much to start with, but the Catholic Church lost it's remaining shred of moral standing with this one:

Vatican Defends Excommunication Of Mother, Doctors Of 9-Year-Old Girl Who Had Abortion After Being Raped

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/07/vatican-defends-excommuni_n_172...

Have any of the pedophile priests been excommunicated? Not that I ever heard of.

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." ~ Pollyanna