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Contraception denigrates me as a woman


VALERIE POKORNY

Source:
CNN
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
2/15/2012

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ABSTRACTOpinion: Contraception denigrates me as a woman – In America - CNN.com Blogs EDITION:  U.S. INTERNATIONAL MÉXICO ARABIC TV :   CNN CNNi CNN en Español HLN Home Video NewsPulse U.S. World Politics Justice Entertainment Tech Health Living Travel Opinion iReport Money Sports Coming up on CNN They fight for freedom, then they fight for jobs. J.R. Martinez narrates "Voters in America: Vets Wanted?" the first in a series of documentaries about American voters. Watch it on CNN in May. They fight for freedom, then they fight for jobs. J.R. Martinez narrates "Voters in America: Vets Wanted?" the first in a series of documentaries about American voters. Watch it on CNN in May. Trayvon's death: Echoes of Emmett Till? Remembering pop star Selena, 17 years later Julian Bond: Gay rights are civil rights The Latino star dancing into our living rooms See all Black in America stories Trayvon Martin's death leaves town divided What tragedy teaches about teen sexting Native American women's barriers to Plan B Opinion: My son could be Trayvon Martin Mauritanian refugees' new home in Ohio Main | Who we are | What we think | How we look | How we live | Documentaries | Pokorny: "Should I so easily accept... that I need to alter a part of myself that’s working properly in order to be free or fulfilled?" February 15th, 2012 04:22 PM ET Share this on: Facebook Twitter Digg del.icio.us reddit MySpace StumbleUpon Share Comments ( 1,442 comments ) Permalink Tweet Opinion: Contraception denigrates me as a woman Editor’s Note: Valerie Pokorny is actively involved in marriage preparation programs, natural family planning instruction and chastity education in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas. An opposing view can be read here . By Valerie Pokorny , Special to CNN (CNN) - In the face of the Health and Human Services mandate to provide contraception coverage , I stand with my fellow Catholics hoping our religious freedom will be respected. But more importantly, I stand as a woman hoping who I am will be respected. Four times a year, I walk into a room of Catholic moms and their middle school or high school daughters to help them see why being a woman matters, as part of the Archdiocese of San Antonio’s Mother-Daughter Programs on the Gift of Femininity. I tell them it’s no accident that they are women, that women are equal to men in personal dignity, and that men and women are different by design. Those differences are meant to work together for the benefit of each individual, but also for the benefit of the world around them. I tell them there’s such a thing as the genius of women - and that the world needs them to cherish this in themselves and strive to live it out to the fullest because it is good . The world would be impoverished without it. To make it more practical, I pass out a few popular magazines straight from the checkout lane. I ask them to tag several examples of “girl genius.” They eagerly start flipping through the pages. After a few minutes, I ask each group to share the examples they found. Then I ask if they ran into any obstacles in looking for those examples of girl genius. 'Yes,' they respond. The view of women in these magazines is often focused on appearances and overtly sexualized. They sense the pressure to conform to standards that lower the bar for both men and women alike. They see glimpses of women being valued for their skill, their intelligence, their abilities, the positive contributions they make to the world around them, often including motherhood. But those glimpses are overshadowed by racy headlines and flashy displays of the latest trends in personal care, sexual techniques, or celebrity gossip. All acknowledge that the values society sets for woman don’t always measure up to the fullness of her personal dignity. They separate, reduce, commoditize, selectively ignore, and sometimes outright reject certain aspects of woman, subjecting her to powerful pressure to conform. Indeed, throughout history woman has been at a sore disadvantage in terms of having the freedom to thrive and contribute her many, varied gifts to society. This is why I find the case made by our current administration in regard to the Health and Human Services mandate so difficult to swallow. The Obama administration’s primary talking point on this issue is that “Every woman should be in control of the decisions that affect her own health.” I agree. 100 percent. But from there, the defense sounds like slick advertising for the contraceptive industry: To be a healthy woman, you need contraception. All the successful women use it. You can’t live without it. Should I so easily accept the implication that I need to alter a part of myself that’s working properly in order to be free or fulfilled? I find this premise tremendously offensive. To me, this exerts pressure tantamount to that felt by women who purge after eating to attain or maintain .......