March 13th, 2012
08:05 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Who stands to gain from ongoing contraception debate?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

We saw a fiery response to Sandra Fluke's opinion article about the Rush Limbaugh "slut" controversy. Many of our readers were outraged that a religious organization would be forced to pay for contraception coverage, while others said people are paying for their insurance and contraception can be a medical necessity. Women and men alike wondered how much of the debate was politically motivated.

Sandra Fluke: Slurs won't silence women

One reader said this article turned them "180 degrees away" from Fluke, and said they don't want the public to have to pay for contraception

lovedodos: "There is no other non medical necessity that is mandated to be covered by insurance that I know of. Fluke does not make a case for that but simply regurgitates traditional feminist arguments of equality. As an aside, Fluke, who is not a Catholic, should avoid making herself look stupid by trying to define Catholicism. It is not a 'social justice' based faith! It is a scriptual and tradition-based faith and social justice is an element of the teachings that arise from that base. WDR"

Another said they don't think religious organizations should take contraception out of insurance coverage.

LuluB: "You're not being forced to pay for anything. Insurance doesn't work that way. You are not allowed to pick and choose how others will be covered. This issue is about a religious group attempting to stop someone from having a care option that they've paid for. Religious conservatives are free to not take advantage of a health service that they disagree with. They are not, however, allowed to break our laws and oppress others based on religious doctrine. The USA is not a theocracy."

Some were debating the political benefits each side is getting from the contraception issue. Mary Beth Cox of Richmond, Virginia, was the iReport Pundit of the Week after sharing her opinions in a video, which she titled "I have government-funded birth control." In commenting on the candidacy of Sen. Rick Santorum, she said she fears that conservatives are using the issue of contraception as a smokescreen for real issues.

"I'm really frightened by the tone that's being set already in the primaries and discussions leading up to selecting a GOP candidate and forward," she said. "It's all a distraction from the real issues of economic recovery and addressing the widening disparities in this country. I don't vote with myself in mind any more; I vote for my children and I don't want them to live in the world envisioned by the GOP of Rick Santorum."

But some others said it is actually Democrats who are using the issue of contraception for political gain.

TparT: "In my lifetime, I've experienced absolutely no difficulties accessing contraception, nor has my daughter, nor anyone else I have known in the past 40 years. This has never been a topic of any conversation I've ever had - not until the Obama administration fired up this whole charade about a month ago. This is a non-issue. This was manufactured just to wind women up and let Obama come riding in to "fight for our cause.' Just because Ms. Fluke decided to take this on as her cause-du-jour doesn't mean she speaks for me; she does not. And I bet she doesn't speak for millions of other independent, thinking women, either."

This reader said religious organizations have too much influence over government.

wizpopr: "The religious right (mostly the Catholic Church of which I used to be a member) needs to back off and come forth into the 21st century. People have sex and not always for procreation. Those people may be students and they may also be married students that can't afford pregnancy. Another fact is that people have sex out of wedlock and have for many centuries, whether you like it or not. As for the Catholic Church, 'people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks.' Need I remind you of the problems that you and your priests have caused. Stop the madness, get over it and stop trying to shove your beliefs down the throats of everyone that chooses not to follow them."

Others questioned the purity of Fluke's motivations for attending a Catholic school.

ghvz1: "First, a few things about Fluke: she calls herself a 'reproductive rights' activist who selected a Catholic university for the sole purpose of changing its policies from within. There are plenty of law schools Fluke could've chosen that reflected her values. As far as the subject is concerned, a university isn't obligated to provide insurance to students - it's an option. Students are not required to purchase it. Fluke is free to buy her own insurance - she isn't limited to only the university's policy. This isn't about contraception - it's about liberals such as Fluke calling on the government to control what religions can/cannot teach."

This commenter said they were a law student like Fluke and paid for their own contraception.

Whazzat: "I'm 50 years old. Nobody ever paid for the contraception I used, until I finally had that situation permanently fixed once I was sure that I wouldn't be having children. I never whined about the fact that nobody paid for my contraception ... and I put myself through an expensive law school with no help from anybody else other than student loans that I promptly paid back way ahead of schedule. Grow up, Ms. Fluke."

But this reader said they don't believe contraception would mean forcing churches to pay.

mforrest: "What amazes me isn't how many of you are ignorant of the facts even though they are clearly stated in the article. No, what amazes me is how many of you want to be ignorant so you can continue your misinformed ranting. If passed, paying for birth control does not come out of your taxes. With the exception of already existing Medicare coverage and the Church (who gets a whole bunch of your tax money already), the government is not paying for birth control. The regulation states that the company for which these women work would be paying for it, not you. Stop thinking this is about taxes. It isn't."

This reader said sex without making a baby is entertainment, and they don't want to have to pay for that.

Teriander2: "If you not having sex to make a baby then you're doing it for pleasure and entertainment. Like sky diving or racing a car. If she wins then I want congress to force tax payers to pay for my safety equipment on my race car. Safety is a health issue."

And another commenter questioned why getting birth control is getting so much attention over other treatments.

kts0591: "It may not be taxes but it is an unfair mandate that was not well thought out. WHY should she get birth control without a copay but my sister has to pay one for insulin - I feel that is more important. Any mandate should be clearly documented as to the WHY it is needed - what alternatives were considered and why the one they did choose was choosen. This was not. The only why that has been brought up is because sometimes they are needed for medical reasons - so make the mandate that birth control must be provided if it is for medical reasons."

This reader said they are paying for insurance and they want it to cover contraception.

Rossiya91: "All I'm asking is for the insurance company, that I write a check to, cover contraception. It's not an attack on religion or a political statement as much me wanting birth control pills so that I don't have a baby I can't take care of. Those in the Catholic church who don't believe in contraception still won't use it just because it's covered, but the non-Catholics in the affiliated institutions should have a right to get their contraceptive pills covered like men get Viagra covered. And this isn't an attack on the left or the right. Quite frankly, people who draw this into a democrat/republican fight are just ignorant and wrong."

Some commenters talked about having monogamous sexual relationships and wanting birth control.

Arielle Katherine: "Someone give me a logical, thought-out, non-aggressive reason as to why my desire to use birth control (in order to achieve my goals before I have a family) makes me promiscuous. I've been in a monogamous relationship for 7 years; we have chosen to wait to have children until I am done with graduate school (for obvious reasons). Yet because I want to have an intimate relationship with my partner (and my partner ONLY) without getting pregnant, I am a prostitute. Funny."

This reader said he and his wife have successfully used the rhythm method for birth control and never needed contraception.

William Bill Seeber: "My wife and I have four children, and each conception night, we knew it was the night. We have had a wonderful 18 years, and no, we haven't only been together four times. Most of the time, a window of five to seven days of abstinence is all that is necessary. This gives the couple a chance to respect and trust in God's plan in their lives, and place Him first. As for ovarian cysts, they can cause erratic cycles, and much more problems, but talk to a naturopathic doctor, and find that it is almost as much diet as chemicals which can correct this in many cases. In closing, no matter what the topic is, mandating someone to act against their religion is the same as forcing a state religion."

Another commenter who said they were female also commented about monitoring her fertility cycles as opposed to contraception.

irish7eyes7: "I am a woman and I cannot just sit here and have women such as Sandra Fluke be a spokeswoman for me. I do NOT accept the HHS mandate. The pilgrims came to America for freedom of religion. The HHS mandate is in direct opposition of my freedom of religion. I am a married woman of seven years and I have two children. When my husband and I could not afford a child, we abstained (that's right, we ABSTAINED) during fertile times. A real feminist would know her own body well enough to know when to abstain. Women such as Fluke are actually taking away my CHOICE by making me pay for someone else's birth control."

Some readers said sex out of marriage is a choice that some people make, but that doesn't mean we must pay for it.

DBrainerd: "A woman who has sex outside of a husband/wife relationship is a fornicator. We all have been there, and have chosen to be there. The public should not have to pay for our choices. Ms. Fluke choses her sexual lifestyle and should pay for it, not someone else."

This commenter said she is a virgin using birth control.

GM Slane: "Birth control is not only used for protection purposes but it also relieves symptoms such as PCOS and that is what most fail to look at. It certainly was the only factor in my choice of taking it. I'm a virgin, how could a virgin be a prostitute? Or a good prostitute at that. Figure that one out."

It's been quite a conversation at CNN.com. What's your take on this issue? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Coco

    I notice Schoomarm spells buffoon wrong frequently. Must be a product of "No Child Left Behind."

    March 13, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. leeintulsa

    @serious: i'll play your silly game.. how many?

    all it takes is one to make it necessary. what's your point?

    March 13, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Good Evening to Banasy as always. Schoolmarm hello...your pea brain is back.

    March 13, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. madmaninthemiddle

    So many comments focused on birth control. NOT THE POINT! Flukes testimony was about a woman who needed hormonal therapy to treat Ovarian cysts. THAT is one example (of several) why the Pill is a medicine just like any other.

    Should it have a co-pay? Why not. Other medically necessary prescriptions have them. But should employers be able to prohibit access for medically necessary treatment? NO.

    March 14, 2012 at 12:04 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Really

    As mentioned they dont want to pay for female birth control to prevent a natural occurence from happening when two people get together but they will pay for viagra so some guy can get some life in the third leg that he cant get naturally. Dont get it. How can you justify paying for that for men when it really is not a necessity for them to live their life but not to pay for woman to prevent a natural occuing function ,We can see what head they are thinking with

    March 14, 2012 at 12:11 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Shane Wgner

    It costs around $400,000 to raise an unplanned child at government expense. A Pill costs maybe $.40. You aren't eager to pay for the Pill, I am not eager to pay for that poor unwanted kid. One of us isn't getting exactly what we want, it might as well be the thing that is one million times cheaper that happens.

    March 14, 2012 at 12:45 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Sheryl©™

    Hi there, Schoolmarm.
    Honey, your use of the English language is so bad that you really should change your nom de plume.
    Better yet, why not just use your real name?
    I know what it is, you cute, hot thing you.
    I know because nobody else here is as concerned about Sodom as you.

    March 14, 2012 at 12:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Sheryl©™

    Why does it bother you so much? Sodomy, I mean.
    Does it still smart, honey?
    Or do you just want...
    You can't go back, you know.
    Oh, come here and kiss me, you fool!

    March 14, 2012 at 1:13 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • dazzle ©

      @Sheryl, great one!! Don't forget that Bayer aspirin, eases those aches and pains. Thanks for a great laugh for this insomniac.

      March 14, 2012 at 3:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sheryl©™

    @ dazzle:
    Oh, don't you know about Benadryl? it's OTC now–I take two and go right to sleep.
    Now, remember that it is a pharmaceutical.
    Salutami TORI.
    JIF says Hi too.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:08 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    Sheryl was using my Blackberry again–sorry, guys.
    I caught her calling that Syrian with whom she embarrassed me at the Connaught...that'll be on the bill, and my wife will see it...
    Now Sheryl is putting on her red bikini bottom under the baby seal coat, and she forgot her pills.
    It's just one pillar of salt after another.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • banasy©

      I so adore you, JIF.
      Sheryl, too.
      Does that make me bi?

      March 14, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. Scottish Mama

    Women should have access to drugs that either help with an ailment of the body or to prevent an unwanted birth. It is noones place to judge anothers medical care.
    You know when it is voting season, when womens reproductive organs are on the block.
    Ain't nobodies business but our own, our doctors and insurance. Birth control pills are a drug and we should be able to pay a co-pay as with every drug.
    Every women should be outraged at the way politicians play with religion and pander at voting time just for votes. Sick.

    March 14, 2012 at 5:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

      Men should be as outraged as women when Church and State become chopped, oiled, and tossed as Insalata Americana.
      Since the words "under God" were added to the Pledge of Allegiance, I have refused to say them in that context.

      March 14, 2012 at 6:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. WOW

    Joey, where will your kingdom be after this world system ?
    Don't count on me following you, as your NOT God.

    March 14, 2012 at 7:01 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

      WOW,
      I didn't "Call" you to follow me.
      If a deity did, I'd advise you to go in that direction.

      March 14, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. WOW

    And that goes for anyone else. I only follow and trust in God, as he is the only one who can give me everlasting peace.
    He is the who has the power and righteousness to rule!
    He made The spirit creature before that creature turned into Satan... not the other way around.
    I would hope I said that correctly?

    God is the one who made us all NOT the other way around thus, God is the rightful ruler.
    Yet he has been answering Satan's challenge and never needed to in my heart.
    He is the only one I want to rule me.
    Therefore I am trying to obey is commands and rule of order.

    I am not up here teaching... merely proclaiming that what ever challenge God has before him... he will always be my ruler.

    Questions ?

    Tell me who else has been spoken of as creator of earth and man.

    March 14, 2012 at 7:09 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • leeintulsa

      @wow: where'd you hear that? that's crazy talk..

      everyone knows the world and everything in it was sneezed out of the nose of a colossal space goat..

      March 14, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
  14. Scottish Mama

    @Wow, I thought a savior was coming to judge the living and the dead, not mere mortals.

    March 14, 2012 at 7:32 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    @ WOW:
    Even as an atheist, I capitalize God's name as a pronoun."
    Why don't you?
    I was writing about separation of Church and State, primarily regarding insurance, not what you believe.

    March 14, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • banasy©

      A rose by any other name would still be a rose, and the Cult of Two by any oyher of of the myrad of names they choose to call themselves would still be the Cult of Two.

      March 14, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Other.
      Myriad.
      JIF: Kona, stat!

      March 14, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
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