Can you believe in 2012 women have yet another "boss" wanting to interfere with their reproductive freedom?
The crusade against the birth-control provision in President Obama's health-care plan makes one thing clear. There's a number of powerful people in this country who believe "women are getting out of control." This is an ideological political fight and the goal is to exempt all businesses from providing birth control -- period! It has nothing to do with threats to "religious freedom" or the First Amendment. It has everything to do with those same ole' ageless motives -- power and money.
Religious and political leaders opposing the provision speak of "justice" and "freedom" as though the words apply exclusively to their narrative. Senator Manchin's declaration that "asking religious employers to include contraception coverage for employees is un-American" I find especially galling -- mainly because it shows how far removed he is from the historic struggle of Appalachian women.
Every Appalachian woman of a certain age today knows of what I speak. Haunting images of women from our past are etched in our memory, and they make this issue deeply painful and personal.
I see the tired ancient eyes of a young mother in a faded dress and bib apron, a child in her arms, a child in her belly, and another clinging to her skirt. Submission and duty were her fate. This woman lives in all Appalachian women. She lives in women everywhere.
I invite Sen. Manchin, Archbishop Dolin and all engaged male arbiters to lecture her about "justice" and "freedom" and Constitutional Rights.
The birth control pill, introduced in the 1960s, rescued women from the fate of their mothers, and it changed their lives forever. For the first time, they were free to decide when or if they wished to be mothers. They could own their lives and chart their destiny.
Today, women outnumber men in higher education by a 60/40 ratio. They hold more advanced degrees than men and the pay gap between them is steadily decreasing. Their unemployment rate is lower. Their competence, resourcefulness and independence make them formidable competitors -- all of which surely adds to the rage of the "culture war."