The Fifties Are Not Coming Back

I respect a woman’s decision not to have an abortion, even if she’s ill prepared -financially or emotionally–to be a mother. I don’t have to agree with her. It’s her choice. It’s her life.


I understand the myriad reasons women become pregnant in the first place, some good and some horrific. Unless we make it illegal to have sex under certain circumstances (marital, economic and emotional instability, for example), it seems unlikely we’re going to reverse the current sexual habits of the American man and woman during their reproductive years.

Making contraception and contraceptive education available are imperatives. If a young woman, from a deeply religious Catholic family, has sex before marriage, she should at least have protected sex. If she doesn’t want to use contraception, she should at least understand when to have ‘safe’ sex. It’s pure insanity to think otherwise.

Talking about procreation, the  lead story in today’s New York Times reports a dramatic rise in the percentage of unmarried women under thirty who are having babies out of wedlock. Many have some college but the majority do not. Studies show that children born outside marriage face higher risks of becoming poor, failing in school or suffering emotional and behavioral problems.

Our social, cultural and ethical mores have been in a continual state of flux during the last 40 years. It is becoming harder and harder to understand the ramifications. Rigidity in terms of restricting women’s access to birth control does not seem to be a realistic way of dealing with them.

One thing is clear: The Fifties aren’t coming back. We shouldn’t pretend they are.

21 Responses to “The Fifties Are Not Coming Back”

  1. Susie Parker says:

    I would never want the right for a man to choose to be taken from him, either. But that’s not going to happen until MALE birth control happens, and MALE abortion rights happen.

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  2. Doylene Brents says:

    I absolutely agree with you. It’s a woman’s choice. We never know what her circumstances are. I have always been torn on this subject because I’m a Christian. I would still never want the right for a woman to choose to be taken from her.

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  3. Lisa says:

    Kate Line Snider is right when she says the government does not have the right to tell the Catholic Church, or any other enterprise, what to do with their hospitals. The issue is not one having to do with the merits of birth control, but one of religious freedom. Telling the church they have to pay for contraception is legislating morality and distorting the very clear line between church and state. That’s the scary part of this.

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  4. Laura Borud says:

    The candidates use women’s reproductive issues to cloud the voters minds to the serious issues that need to be addressed but to which there are no easy solutions. Ranting against women’s morality (which it all comes back to, women are morally flawed due to Eve in the Garden of Eden and so unable to make moral and correct choices, need men to do it for them) makes good sound bites and satisfies the Christian Right who will then have their congregations vote for that politician. Funny how Republicans espouse less government intrusion but are always so quick to legislate morality. No laws regulating business but bunches controlling human behavior.

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  5. Hope says:

    Geri,

    I couldn’t agree more. Turning back time hasn’t worked for anyone I know of in the history of the world. Two thoughts: 1.) If we truly want to reduce/eliminate abortion, making birth control hard to obtain is completely counterproductive. 2.) Even though it’s become a cliche, why in the world does no one question insurance companies covering ED drugs for men but not contraception for women? When the Catholic Church starts asking men filling these prescriptions whether they’re married and open to conception, I’ll believe they are being consistent.

    Oh, and one last comment. The all male Congressional panel discussing women’s health issues tells me all I need to know about this issue. Back to the Fifties indeed.

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  6. belindabg says:

    I wish we collectively could get our ‘morality’ issues out of our politics once and for all. Growing up in the era of Women’s Liberation and Women’s Rights, there is NO WAY I would EVER give up a Woman’s Right To Choose (what to do with her own body). As far as healthcare is concerned, reproductive care is a part of healthcare and should not be separated out or treated any differently just because it pertains to women (or sex).
    We need to stop trying to LEGISLATE MORALITY – which is IMPOSSIBLE – and start paying attention to the needs of people; namely, better education and more responsibility for the actions we take that bring helpless others into the world.
    It takes TWO to create a child, last time I checked. Where are all the men in this? And why is this only a ‘women’s’ issue?
    The most important issues of the day in our Country have NOTHING to do with social issues – they are SECONDARY to the terrible ECONOMIC SITUATION and the OVERWHELMING UNEMPLOYMENT and UNDEREMPLOYMENT.
    Let’s get our FISCAL HOUSE under control before clouding the real issues up with all this morality stuff that can never be fully resolved – because YOU CAN’T LEGISLATE MORALITY.

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    • Geri says:

      Belindabg

      wonderfully said!

      Geri

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    • Barb says:

      Because the female body is the one to carry the child the heavier responsibility will always fall on us. As far as the men go, there are plenty of them that are pro-abortion. Why would any woman be surprised? They get to play with no responsibility at all, while the woman carries the scars of abortion on her soul. We scream that we are being compassionate towards the woman demanding that she have the right to abort/kill the child she is carrying so that it won’t interfere with her life. Anytime in American history we wanted to use, control or do away with a group of people – Native American’s, African American’s, the unborn & others we labled them non-humans, it’s very convienent. If it just had to do with the mother I would agree with you, but there is another life that did not ask to be created, but it was, doing away with it is neither compassion nor is it responsible. In humans 1 + 1 equals at least 3 a lot of times, while yes I would rather see someone who is going to sleep around use birth control, that isn’t always 100% effective. I would much rather see people be really compassionate instead of just thinking of themselves. Morality is a part of every day life as is politics, wish as you might you can’t seperate the two. For a leadership that wants control of every aspect of the American life -banking, medical, environmental ect. they shouldn’t be suprised that people would want some say in their own lives.

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      • Susie Parker says:

        Oh, Barb, really now! The “heavier responsibility falls on us”?

        Are you serious?

        Women have “choice”. Men have “responsibility”.

        If a woman chooses to have a child, she also chooses that HE have a child, he has NO say in the matter. He only has aleagal financial obligations enforced whether he can find employment or not for the next two decades of his life and “maybe maybe not” rights to even see his child.

        If a woman chooses not to have a child, he has no say in the matter. None.

        If a woman decides she didnt’ really want the child after all, she can drop it off at the nearest police or fire station, no questions of obligations.

        He has no choice if she says he doesn’t. He will pay or he will go to prison. He will still owe even if he goes to prison. No driver’s license if he doesn’t pay, no job without the driver’s license, too bad you irresponsible dead beat bastard, YOU OWE ME MONEY! I didn’t make this child by myself, I just made all the decisions myself.

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    • Jodie says:

      Hummm… I am pleasantly surprised at the sound of mind on this topic,

      Not just Catholics believe, this way …People need to travel more!

      The fact is “MOST OF THE WORLDS CULTURES” are light years behind us!

      I was in conversation with a 26 year old at my nail salon, a few days ago.

      She actually thought the rest of the world was as ethenically mixed as America!

      I asked her if she had traveled much?

      I told her I have been ALL over this planet! And when you go to Vietnam 99% of the
      people are Vietnamese. If you go to China, Mexico, Denmark, Spain, Africa, India ETC.

      Name the country you will only see 99% of the natives are ONLY that countries population?

      She looks at me and says REALLY? I said America is amoung the newest cultures on the planet

      We are only 257 years old! LOOK what we have achieved. We are only 3.42 generations IN!

      That’s what we are dealing with!

      BTW 2 baby Daddy’s kids under 4 . Dressed in black lace stockings MINI, MINI dress spiked high heels at 3 in the afternoon?

      In the heartland!

      YIKES! Need I say more?

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  7. Nancy Adams barnes says:

    I met a woman years ago in my exercise class who was college educated…and a psychologist professionally. She was single by choice and had three abortions…because she did not want the responsibility of raising a child. This left an impression about abortion that I have a hard time forgetting. I do know it is the womans choice and I will not judge a young woman who yielded to a moment of passion. Education about birth control every time one has sex is the answer.

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    • Geri says:

      Hi Nancy,

      Three abortions. I wonder if she had more or if she finally learned that unwanted pregnancy can be prevented. Thanks for your comment.

      Geri

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      • jodie says:

        But Geri,

        I ask that question many times to my pro choice friends…

        One abortion is OK… but more then one is not?

        I am pro choice Independant Conservative Intellectual ! Slash …

        Have studied every religion, and am x -everything since the 70s….

        One of 5 sisters. 4 brothers…

        Grew up with a pro choice MoM? Ya wonder?

        My thoughts are…

        Why are we so consentrated on abortion?

        Life is so precious! I rather mentor… to my circle of young women

        To use birth control , But love your body, love your sex life…

        KEEP IT LOVELY, KEEP IT SACRED,

        CHOOSE when you want a Child . It’s a tough job under any circumstance.

        BY-PASS an Abortion… Where is womens lib… Aren’t we in charge?

        If a gal / women can make millions of decisions on a daily basis to keep a her life

        going…. The question is why go unconscious the moment we get our periods?

        I would say it is a sad job of us 50 somethings in this day and age…

        To still be dealing with birth control and abortion.

        I do not get mixed up in this “MAN” MADE” debate?

        LIBERATE , EDUCATE, DON”T IMPREGNATE!

        Just saying

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    • Joanne Johnson says:

      I got reacquainted some years ago with a woman I knew from our somewhat privileged, Catholic, mid-’60s, high school days. At that time she was the divorced single mother of a beautiful teenager; she (the mother) was romantically involved with a married man, and yes, abortion was apparently her form of birth conrol, having had three.

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  8. Kate Line Snider says:

    I agree with almost all of this post. I especially agree that people need to be more responsible in their sexual behavior. Sex education, including pregnancy prevention, is taught as early as elementary school.So much inexpensive and free birth control is available that unwanted pregnancies ought not to be a problem, unless a woman is truly stupid ( there are some). I also believe that if a woman wants to have a baby out of wedlock, for whatever reason, make sure you can care for the child and then go for it. (I did it almost 30 years ago and I have never regretted my choice.)

    I do NOT, however, believe the government has the right to tell the Roman Catholic Church – or any church or private enterprise – what to do in their own hospitals. Politics, anyone?

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    • Marcia Brinkley says:

      Kate,
      There is a difference between forcing Catholic hospitals to administer birth control pills and mandating that their health insurance companies pay for birth control pills that their employees want. My own Protestant church body is upset as well, so it isn’t just a Roman Catholic issue, but the only people in my church who are speaking out against the new policy are middle-aged and elderly men.

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      • anon says:

        Why exactly is it that adult, working women are presumed to be unable to obtain birth control unless someone else pays for it? Honestly, I’m offended by the notion that anyone should be required to pay for my birth control. If an employer wants to offer the coverage as a benefit, great, but I don’t agree that the government should be mandating that anyone provide the coverage as a matter of law. Ridiculous, and faintly offensive.

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    • LINDA says:

      why should the gov.t pay for breast exams, operations or anything–it is all part of good medical health care You do not want contraception, etc-your choice-not miWe all pay in one way or other
      –Viagra anyone? many women dying bc employers (Catholic hosp) refuse to recognize matters of the Vagina-uterus-where is the godly compassion?

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    • Cynthia says:

      A bit of clarification: the government is telling Catholic Hospitals that provide services to the PUBLIC that the hospital cannot tell non-Catholics what to do. The problem is that these hospitals hire non-catholics and then believe they can forbid them from using birth control. And that’s not right.
      On a personal note: any insurance that covers Viagra better darn well cover contraception!

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      • Joanne Johnson says:

        I believe that your assertion that Catholic institutions presume to tell their non-Catholic employees that they cannot use birth control is, simply, incorrect. The controversy here centers on their objection to being forced to pay for it.

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    • JII says:

      “unless a woman is truly stupid ( there are some). ”
      This is what is known as Woman on Woman violence. It is why Rush and others can call us sluts and prostitutes. We bite each other.

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