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A Woman's Womb: America's New Sports Arena

Memo Pad

A Woman's Womb: America's New Sports Arena


In advance, I apologize to my grown kids for what might be, for them, an embarrassing discussion about their mother’s sex life and contraception.

However, dear children, I do want to point out that in the battleground state of Ohio — where you were born and raised — your mother has been hearing far more lately from Rick Santorum than you. This may be contributing to my mood.

Connie Schultz

Connie Schultz is a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicated. Schultz won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for commentary and was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. She has also published two books: Life Happens: And Other Unavoidable Truths -- a collection of her previously published columns -- and ...and His Lovely Wife: A Memoir from the Woman Beside the Man, which chronicled her experiences on the campaign trail with her husband, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.

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  1. kanowk February 24, 2012

    I agree Connie, your birth control should be nobody else’s business. As such, insurance companies shouldn’t be required to provide it for free. That federal mandate makes your birth control my business because now I’m subsidizing your free birth control. You should pay a co-pay like any other prescription. Under those conditions, I won’t stick my nose in your ‘business’. – Respectfully.

  2. envscience55 February 24, 2012

    Connie you make me proud to be a Buckeye. The current climate of our Attorney General suing on behalf of religious organizations over birth control, pro-choice and other women’s rights issues I hope does not represent the majority in Ohio I grew up with from the fifties on on. It is my opinion that these old men in Ohio have overstepped their legal boundaries to ensure they secure the vote from these religious organizations in our beloved cross-cut state of Ohio. I am proud you and Sherrod are here to represent us Buckeyes who do not subscribe to the religious politics we are seeing in our state. Living and working in Cincinnati has really been an eye opener for me since I hail from northern Ohio. It was inconceivable that there would be such a huge political difference in our great state as witnessed down here. I hope you and Sherrod keep up the first class job of representing the majority of Ohio so that we are not drowned out by the ultra-conservatives I have seen slowly taking over the politics of Ohio. Sherrod can count on my vote as always.

  3. TreReger February 24, 2012

    We agree with conservatives on the sanctity of life, and we agree that life must be protected by society.
    So let’s walk this discussion back one more step. Instead of preventing women from preventing pregnancy, let us make laws regulating conception.
    A man should need a permit before ejaculation.
    Certain situations may be grandfathered– for instance, households where the parish priest or minister has inspected the home and heard the family’s confession.
    The concept needs refinement and should be debated first by a panel of women.

  4. Former Republican February 24, 2012

    Where did all these crazy men come from. Don’t they know women vote in large numbers? Our bodies are our own. Worry about jobs and taxes and the economy – not contraception and gay marriage. Is it any wonder that at my over 60 age, I am now a FORMER Republican? Great Column Connie.

  5. PamelaT February 24, 2012

    Connie these men will see the wrath of thinking and educated women at the general election. Everytime Sadam Santorum open his mouth Obama looks better everyday regardless of his faults. I too remember that I was pregnant with my first child and had plecenta privia and would have died on the table if I had not had a c-section. Then my second pregnanacy, I thought I was 17 weeks pregnant with one child but was 24 weeks pregnant with triplets (yes nature born, I blame my mother for that gene lolo). With the triplets I too spent the remainder of my pregnanacy on my left side too. Becuase of great prenatal care from my obgyn and the paranatolgist my triplets and my daughter are all very healthy. Kanowk I don’t beleive you have purchased birth control in your life. Birth control costs about $65 per month with insurance. My daughter gets a break from the drug company and we pay $45 per month this is expensive nearly $1000 per year and I pay it so she is protected from unwanted pregnanacy. Fortunately, after the triplets I have a tubal so I don’t have worry about birth control. You can either pay for birth control or pay the welfare payments to raise these unplanned pregnancy the choice is yours. Birth control is much cheaper then about a $300,000 bill to raise a child from birth to 18 years of age. Either way it is your business.

    Another thought regarding Sadam Santorum…men should not be allowed to have prostate cancer treatmenet that removes their prostate becuase that too elimantes pregnancy and sterilization. I think that should be on the table too….men can only have therapy that does not destroy the prostate. If they die from prostate cancer…opps, kind of like women are not allowed to have prenatal care and if they die opps.

  6. BBDD February 24, 2012

    Where do these “gas bags” come from anyway? Why do republicans always want to “control” every move by women in the bedroom? I wonder if Mr. Sanitarium snaps a chalk line on his wifes side of the sheets at night so she know where to put her legs…and (of course) only on Saturday night in the missionary position.

  7. jimackermann February 24, 2012

    I’ve got a better idea. You pay for your birth control and if you are stupid enough to have a child, you pay to raise the child. That is what adults do. They don’t expect society to pay for their mistakes. I do not want to pay for your birth control or your children. Grow up and put you big girl panties on.

  8. riz2120 February 24, 2012

    Thanks for pointing out these very simple edicts. I would go one step further and ask the men be required to have an ultrasound of their prostrate before prescibing viagra. I would also ask that they pay for this medication out of pocket.

  9. jimackermann February 24, 2012

    I agree. Also, I don’t know of any insurance that will pay of Viagra

  10. scg February 24, 2012

    I would also like to make a comment, men should have to have a mandated rectal prostate exam before Viagra can be prescribed it,s the only to be sure that tney are healthy enough to take it. However most insurances do cover viagra.

  11. MichaelL.Buckner February 24, 2012

    More Power to You Connie. Sadly, it irks thought provoking people like Me who are not a part of that malediction. Just as Adam blamed Eve for his choice of disobedience, The Miscreants who are running for office and those elected in 2010 need to fault someone for their lack of.

  12. nonalee February 24, 2012

    I love it! Great points Pamela T. Jimackermann, are you part of American society or some far off place like Papua New-Guinea? Seriously, don’t have a clue that it’s society that ‘pays the bills’ for the morons who aren’t raised properly by their parents/guardians? All the tax dollars that go to food stamps, child care, Section 8 (or whatever housing plan each state has going on)…why? Because of ‘adults’ not having the responsibility, where-with-all, education, finances, etc. to care for a kid? Sure, let’s ban contraception and have even more people on the doll and dish out even more tax dollars to pay for their sorry arses. Yes, great move. Perhaps you should be transported back to the 1700’s in Puritan New England and have yourself a look around, you might fit in nicely.

  13. Sleipnir February 24, 2012

    To Jimackermann I would bet you are a so called Christian conservative that believes they have the right to tell women what they can or can’t do with their bodies but espouse keeping government out our lives. I’ll bet you don’t mind receiving the benefits the government provides like social security, medicare, federal aid to fix roads, bridges, buy new fire trucks, EMS, etc. Yes, your taxes go to help pay for all this stuff but we all benefit. If we could all choose what our taxes pay for that would be great but until that happens suck it up.

  14. Maricia12 February 24, 2012

    When is this country going to step into the future like some of our more progressive countries, and accept the fact every citizen should have the right to health care. We would not be having this stupid discussion about health care services and who pays for what. It would be more than worth it to have our taxes raised a few percents for a single payer health insurance plan (universal healthcare). We would no longer have to pay out of pocket for any health services which for most of us, would be less expensive. Add what you pay for monthly preminums, yearly deductables and co-pays and check that with what you would pay in federal income taxes if yours were raised say 5%. My husband and I are already paying close to $800 per month (out of pocket) for health insurance and we are retired with some of our insurance plans subsidized. We have 3 plans because Medicare does not cover everything and only pays 80% so we needed a supplemental plan and then at our ages we needed a long term policy to cover all our bases. We do not have any major health problems. Maybe for young single people, who are healthy, it might be a little more than they would pay out of pocket but once they get married and have families their preminums go up dramaticly with today’s health insurance plans. I am a senior now but I was part of the 60s generation of women who fought for our reproductive freedoms and I will not hesitate to vote against any politician or party who wants to take those choices away from women. Trust me, we do not want to go back to the dark ages. My husband and I have 3 wonderful adult chldren and by having reproductive choices, we were able to give each of them a better life and education and they are now good productive citizens with incomes to support themselves. These health care decisions should be between a woman and her physician, and the state or federal government has no place in the decision making. If religious establishments cannot, in good conscience, agree to any area of health care, they should get out of commercial enterprises that would put them in such a position. They should stay in the church pulpit where they really belong. After all, it really is all about making money (greed) because religious facilities such as hospitals are not really a necessity. There are many other hospitals to choose from. According to countries that have universal health care, the vast majority of people are satisfied with it. There are problems that arise in anything. The private insurance plans we have now in our country come with their own set of problems also.

  15. White Owl February 24, 2012

    Thanks Connie. I am amazed that we have to have a discussion on this subject in this day and age. I get really ticked off by men who say that contraception should not be covered by insurance, but Cialis and Viagra should. Not one man has EVER DIED from NOT having sex, but women DO die in childbirh, especially when they have had 3 or more children. Women die due to childbirth much less today precisely because they have control over how many children they conceive. That makes it a HEALTHCARE issue and one that should be covered by insurance. It’s AMAZING to me that men think that their sexual needs are more important than womens’ lives.

  16. jimackermann February 24, 2012

    Know this; I will do any and everything I possibly can to keep the government out of my health care. As you so noted, they will make general decisions that people disagree with like telling the Catholics how the must practice medicine. The Catholic Church has a right to do whatever type of business it wants. The government now thinks it has the right to tell them what business they have to do even if it violates their basic tenants. How arrogant. I was born a Lutheran. If you don’t like a Catholic Medical Care, don’t use it. Today I am a Lutheran, a Catholic and a Jew. And Marcia, what are you going to do when the government makes health decisions you don’t like? You like the word “Progressive”. I see it as a synonym for “Socialist”. Progressives just want everyone else to be responsible for them. Pull out your Constitution and see if you can find where it says Health Care is a Right. It’s not. And I’m sorry; “A Woman’s Womb” is no more precious than my ear lobe.

  17. itsadogslife February 24, 2012

    This is really a non argument; birth control is used primarily by women of child baring age, who commonly get their health insurance coverage through the employer based system covered by private, for profit insurance companies. And, whether Conservatives likes it or not birth control is here to stay. There are far too many women of child baring age in this country for there to be any other results. We have the power of the purse string in our pockets since we are more than 50% of the population. Private health insurance companies make decisions by the bottom line, they cover services that are popular, profitable and will draw customers. Birth control coverage is one of those. All the Rick Santoriums in the world cannot mandate birth control away – unless they become dictators. Once more private insurers don’t really care what their individual customers wants to subsidize with their premiums what they want are more customers that do not drain their profit margins – young healthy women who are trying not to get pregnant are a good choice for that. Birth control is cheaper than pregnancy. Private insurance companies do not make decisions based on religious values and morals; they make them on what will keep the profits flowing in. The great thing about competition is if one company decides women should not be offered coverage for birth control – there will be other companies that will be glad to replace them. Unless of course the Conservative-Right decides they need to try and pass a law to make birth control illegal.

  18. maniac3 February 24, 2012

    Santorum is an ass & a dinosaur. He would have women all barefoot and pregnant and put us back over 50 years! He is a one note man- you can guess what it is. I lived in PA when he was in office. His remarks are offensive. As for insurance and health- care- think of this: what if a non-catholic didn’t believe in some procedure a catholic person was having??? A conundrum, isn’t it…you don’t use what you don’t want, period! It is stupid to design a healthcare plan for one organization. And yes, I am catholic-one not liked by the church: a cafeteria catholic:-)And an altar server too.

  19. Sleipnir February 24, 2012

    If jimackermann is married I feel sorry for his wife if he can’t tell the difference between an earlobe and a womb.

  20. Maricia12 February 24, 2012

    Well Jim I can see I hit a nerve with your faith. Yes, Catholics have a right to any business they choose but I’ll bet if they just catered to Catholics or hired only Catholics to work in their establishments, they would most likely be sued for discrimination. Obviously they do not mind making money off those non Catholics who are patients in their hospitals. Re: Universal Health care, no I am not concerned with the government making health decisions I do not like, as long as we can keep the Republican religious fanatics out of it. Do you really believe the private insurance companies that cover us now do not make health decisions for us? Indeed they do. As for the value of your earlobe compared to my uterus, I would like to see you push a baby out of that. There is no comparison and you are indeed the arrogant one. Don’t let the word progressive frighten you, it only means to move forward. I do not speak in synonyms. If you are a conservative, I guess you want to move backwards. Having some social programs do not make a country socialist. When our government takes everything we own away from all of us and evenly distributes it to all of us, then you can call us a socialist country. That is not going to happen even though the right wing propaganda machine loves to frighten their followers into believing it. As I said before, if a religious organization like the Catholic church, can not, in good conscience, follow the laws of the land, they should get out of commercial businesses and stay in the church where they need to be. They have a choice. You can bet they are receiving some federal funds to operate, especially if they are teaching facilities. We do not always like everything our taxes are spent on.

  21. momgrandmomandwoman February 24, 2012

    Great discussion! I was waiting for “socialist” comment on healthcare and it not being a right but earlobe. Wow, Jim when you do push that baby thru your ear, please put it on Youtube. I’ve got to see that. Why is it that Rebulicans want a smaller government everywhere except our uteruses? Pretty selective I’d say. They don’t want to provide basic healthcare for every citizen but want to make sure they can tell women when to have sex and how to and when to have children. Amazing. Who said this is Christian nation? I don’t see evidence of it if you can’t take care of the least of these. I wonder is Santorum is getting any since his wife has to be close to pass the age of procreation. Put it away Rick, your job is done.

  22. StevenBrungard February 25, 2012

    might sound righteous until you extend it. The argument should only be made by those who pay, out of pocket, for every health care service and medical procedure and product and device that they use during their life time.

    This argument should relieve me from paying to educate other people’s children and from paying for a lot of things that other people use which I do not (like bail out money when my company is distressed and tax breaks for religion businesses).

  23. idnonobi February 25, 2012

    I just read Connie Shultz’s article about a woman’s womb being the new sports areana. I just said “AMEN” I will be 59 this year and can remember the agonizing situations we were put in back in the “olden days”. I have difficuly understanding how men can comment on this issue, especially ones I don’t know. I too believe in choice and I chose to have 3 beautiful baby boys. I also stressed to them that they would be held accountable for their actions. Women are equal to men and when someone tries to push their beliefs on others, you are belittling me, my sex and my United States citizenship, even my humanity. You do what you want. You have the right to NOT utilize birth control, vote, drive, etc. But don’t infringe on my rights.

  24. MomOf3 February 25, 2012

    To all of you: I grew up in a time where you could only obtain contraception with your parents’ approval, and abortions were illegal. I became pregnant at age 17, regardless of the precautions taken. Thankfully, also in that time, men (really boys) felt a sense of responsibility, and marriage was the route to solve the problem. These things do not hold true today. Men (boys) feel no sense of responsibility and freely walk away when an unplanned pregnancy looms.
    Women feel men have no say with regard to their bodies and pregnancy because men have so often walked away, and left the woman to spend the next 18 years raising the child, alone, at great financial hardship. When I was 17, abortions were illegal, yet still the privileged girls managed to obtain them. Even if I had been able to do so, I would NOT have had an abortion; I took responsibility for my mistakes. But what about the young girls that are victims of rape? What about the poverty level women whose birth control leaves a gap, and they fall pregnant? Do they have another baby and thus shortchange the children they already have, letting them go hungry? To all of you men, we women realize the seriousness of having the potential to create life. We do not want to bring a child into the world to watch it starve. When the day comes that you can nurture and bring forth a new life, THEN you can have a say. In the meantime, sit down and shut up.

  25. linda cook February 25, 2012

    Money, sex and power, the three great levelers of human character. Whether the belief is that sex is a sacred act between a man and a woman for the purpose of uniting a couple in marriage and creating offspring or sex is merely for carnal fulfillment, we must all exercise our moral free agency by choosing the path that says, “this is who I am.” The sanctity of human life is what American soldiers fight for every day. Can we be any less brave than those who have died defending that cause. It takes courage to face our mistakes. The personal choice of birth control and abortion must be left to the discernment and conscience of each individual and circumstance. It is one of those defining moments in human character of selfishness or strength.

  26. sleeprn01 February 25, 2012

    Thank you for your thoughtful insights. It is good to see that at least one other person has read The Constitution and understands it. It seems to me that most right wingers like to throw around the constitution when they don’t even have 9th grade civics knowledge. I will also add the Catholic Church can deny their female employes birth control insurance coverage as soon as the stop accepting government monies and the church starts paying tax on the properties which they own. Until that time the bishops can have a round table discussion on how they plan on paying the law suites for covering up pedophile priests.

  27. Nene22 February 25, 2012

    Why should an agnostic or atheist be forced to pay extra property taxes just so religious organizations can have tax free property? If the churches pay no taxes, it has to be made up by all other taxpayers….. Italy has just announced that the Catholic Church would have to pay taxes on all its nonreligious commercial properties. (See THE WEEK magazine, March 2,2012, page 6). Churches themselves are still exempt but businesses they run will have to pay taxes. Maybe we should start something like that in the USA. It might be difficult to define religious and nonreligious properties so maybe all should be taxed… The church doesn’t want to pay for something they don’t believe in. Why should the rest of us pay extra taxes for something that we may not believe in? Shouldn’t it work both ways?

  28. kanowk February 25, 2012

    I don’t think most reasonable people are saying that birth control shouldn’t be covered by insurance. Viagra is covered by most insurance (which I personnally disagree with), BUT they DO have to pay a copay on the prescription. The president mandated that birth control be provided TOTALLY Free (no copay). THAT is the difference, and the sticking point for most well-grounded people.

  29. KarenTeegarden February 25, 2012

    Hi Connie…I sent you a Facebook message about our events on April 28th. Would love to discuss how you might be able to help!

    Join us to unite against the war on women:


  30. cminhtown February 26, 2012

    I would vote for Satanum’s handicapped daughter before voting for him.

  31. rustacus21 March 3, 2012

    … Constitutional Democracy, I swear there are more Americans by the minute, getting more stupid!!! Clearly, the Constitution TRUMPS BOTH opinion AND religion!!! No matter what ANYBODY THINKS, a GROWN WOMAN is responsible enuff to get up, go to school/work, take care of business & get CONTRACEPTIVES, paid for by insurance, or otherwise, as SHE SEES FIT!!! In the era of UN-civilization, men could rule over women, the way Conservatives imagine is their obligation now. Since civilization – particularly, since the American Constitution, we have slowly recognized it as a HUMAN RIGHT to allow people to do whatever BEST suits their lives, w/out the infringement of AUTHORITARIAN CONSERVATIVES ordering them to do as they’re “told” – by Conservatives!!! This simply is a non-discussion!!! What will make it even more so is if every person of intelligence links up w/other intelligent/unintelligent/aware/unaware Americans & encourage them to investigate the superiority of Liberal/Progressive American administrations. FDR’s saved the nation from economic ruin (brought on by Conservatives!). JFK avoided nuclear war AND advanced technologies by leaps & bounds, just by funding (or institutionalizing funding) for our space prog. Prez Carter saved the nation after BOTH Water Gate & Vietnam. Prez Clinton rescued the nation (again, but Conservative incompetence) from another economic cataclysm & created an unprecidented economic rejuvination in the process. Prez Obama has battled both Dems & Rep Conservatives & has managed to hold the nation together, after yet another Conservative sabotaging of the nations economy & related institutions. Intelligence demands that by supporting our neighbors & communities, we create a stronger nation. This is what Liberal/Progressives have done/do best! Conservatives, on the other hand, support the narrow, selfish, tribalistic enrichment of select White males. One is American virtue. One is national self-destruction. This is an election year. Reviewing recent (1980-20011) history will tell Americans all they need to understand in order to cast the correct vote this coming November… in order to END this crusade of absolute Conservative nonsense…

  32. manjan March 4, 2012

    Do any of the insurance policies that are being talked about by the GOP regarding birth control cover vasectomies? Talk about a bunch of hypocritical blow hards. I am a 72 year old male who supports women and their choices. I firmly believe that women can and will save this country this coming November. Don’t let the Republicans win the fight regarding women’s health and well being. Vote, and get your friends to vote. Get your neighbors to vote. Get your relatives to vote.

  33. Kathy Gednalske March 6, 2012

    I don’t know what else you would call this woman she is a slut if not worse. I don’t believe the goverment should pay for any kind of birth control, in fact the goverment should not be paying for any kind of health care. If you can’t pay for it yourself then go without. We have worked hard all our lives and I am tired of giving hand outs to the crying progressive left. Keep that asprin between your legs if you don’t want a baby, and pay your own way. She is nothing but a slut to go on national TV and brag that she is having so much sex that it cost her $3000 a year, that is more like a whore. Give it up woman, if you want to have freedom make your own way don’t ask others to do it for you.

  34. rustacus21 March 7, 2012

    … those unable to respond & for all intents & purposes, are invisible? Ms. Fluke is a women, living in a society ruled by money-obsessed sociopaths, who control what she & all of OUR children witness on TV & @the movies & then we expect them to NOT imitate what they see?! That, of course, is beside the point, b/c young people engage in pre-marital sex, whether we like it or NOT (Kathy G., Jimackermann, etc.)! There are also more hazards than just getting pregnant & then, its every 1 business, b/c we STILL are funding treatment for destitute AIDS patients w/out the benefit of a COLLEGE EDUCATION (which Ms. Fluke is at LEAST trying to secure) NOR health insurance/benefits!!! The problem w/Conservatives is their understandings are so shallow, it only gets ‘deeper’ when impacting people closest to them (i.e., Dick/Mrs Chaney, railing against gays, til their daughter… or Conservative & drugs, or infidelity, or… on & on…). This is the fundamental problem of sufferers of sociopathy – they can’t ‘see’ in real-world terms, nor deal w/people on a just & equal basis. Too bad there aren’t internment camps for people w/such dysfunctions. The nation would be a much better place as a result, but Democracy ‘demands’ we, of sane, rational & reasoned minds must give U the benefit of the doubt that U ‘may’ be cured by U’r own initiative…

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