Raising the American Dream: Viagra and Freedom

One might argue that the U.S. Bishops’ campaign against contraception coverage might have more to do with controlling women’s sexuality than it has to do with freedom.

As we bask in the surprising news that Justice Roberts OK’d the individual mandate during the Bishops’ Fortnight for Freedom (complete with the equally alliterative Litany for Liberty), the U.S. Catholic Church notes that — while they really do love health care for everybody — they are still hopping mad that women have control over their own reproductive health.

One of the reasons that the Church dislikes birth control SO much is that, as we all should know, sex is ONLY for makin’ babies. Sex outside of this procreative purpose is deemed downright sinful. When women have access to birth control, they start having sex (gasp!) for other more recreational reasons. The Bishops follow this same logic (sex + babies = good) to exclaim that it is indeed moral and good for health insurance — even those insurance plans provided by Churches and Catholic hospitals, etc. — to pay for Viagra and other ED drugs. In case you didn’t catch the logic, the U.S. Bishops are totally OK with Viagra because sex for procreation is swell.

Hmmm . . . I’m sure that all of these baby-boomer men with their reading glasses, Dockers, empty nests and pension plans are using Viagra to add more of their offspring to the planet. Consider the original poster boy for Viagra — a 75-year-old Bob Dole. Something tells me the twinkle in his eye has nothing to do with babies.

The Bishops also note that Viagra, of course, can only be used morally within the context of marriage. SO . . . does that mean that men with post-menopausal wives are out of luck?

It is exactly this kind of flawed logic and patriarchal hooey that offends those of us good Catholic women — some of us mothers who use birth control — when we are being told that we do not have the “freedom” to make decisions about our own reproductive health. So, maybe I will say a few Litanies for Liberty this week. But, when I envision the Spirit of Liberty, you can bet I won’t be praying for men —  whether in Congress or on the pulpit — to enact stricter controls over my sexuality or that of my sisters.

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