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. Scottish Mama

    Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.

    March 14, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dott

    I just don't get it. One party fights against any type of feeding, housing of poor children, they call is socialism, and yet that same party wants them all to be born. What if all those millions of babies aborted legally were born and they had to care for them? How many would each of that party adopt? Just wondering.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. whatever?

    I have no problem with insurance companies providing birth control, however I don't think it should be free. What I do have a problem with is the credibility of someone who states that she spent $3000 a year for contraception. Really? My wife and 4 teenage daughters are all on the pill, and we don't spend nearly that much per year on all of them. If it was actually insurance that cost that much, I could understand. But $250 a month,$62.50 a week? Either a lie told for sensationalism, or an awful lot of rubbers. Which is it Ms. Fluke?

    March 14, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      Maybe that's why Rush called her that word (which is blocked by CNN).

      March 14, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Janet

      This is about control of women. When Rick Santorum starts telling people that Viagra and Cialis should only be used for procreation and vasectomies shouldn't be paid for – I'll believe it's about contraception.

      I know women who are denied coverage for contraception while the plan covers Viagra and Cialis. And in some cases contraceptives can be quite expensive. Of course they aren't expensive in other countries either.

      This is one case where goverenment regulation is intrusive and invasive. If I had wanted government in the bedroom I would have married a state senator!!!

      March 14, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. fernace

    From what I recall, the few times I had full coverage at work, every 1 pays into the coverage plan & use the medical services applicable to the individual! The arguements I'm hearing is that contraceptives aren't "lifesaving" medication, but an "entertainment" medication, taken to prevent pregnancy while being able to enjoy s.e.x! Since every 1 is paying for the insurance plan, they don't want to "subsidize" womens s.e.x lives! Apparently none of these complainers have any problem w/subsidizing mens s.e.x. lives, by accepting coverage for Viagara & Cialis, equally "entertainment" drugs, since they have no other function than allowing men to enjoy s.e.x! It seems that too many people still have a puritanical view of womens s.e.xuality! Why are the topics of contraceptives, pregnancy & abortion Womens issues, when men are just as involved? Why are too many men (especially politicians), so threatened by womens s.e.xuality that they want to legislate control over it? We need to end these double standards!!

    March 14, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ron

    I don't understand how any adult woman who is capable of thinking for herself could vote Republican.

    March 14, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dott

    I know quite a few women who will be not be voting for a Republican this time. Enough is enough. Maybe they will just stay at home and not vote but then that is like voting for a Republican. It is past time to wake up women and stand up for yourself. If you don't soon we can't vote, hold down jobs or have property in our name with our only function being to serve the males and have their babies. .

    March 14, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dott

    Has anyone thought of the fact that many times birth control pills are given to a female to help with a menstral problem? It may have nothing to do with getting pregnant. Many women need them to avoid a historectomy and try to maintain their productive elements so that they can have a child someday.

    March 14, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Doug

    I just checked with my wife, she is getting her birth control pills for $11 per month at Walmart. Im not understanding the conversation, isn't there more important issues going on in this world. Think about it? We are so blessed as a nation, you just have to look around at other country's.

    March 15, 2012 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. red1

    How do you worship a God you have never met? By showing him his great creations. By showing him how brave, strong, and smart you are. Most ladies see the war that is waged against them.

    March 15, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. red1

    Glad to read BANSEY again.

    March 15, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  11. cecile mcgrath

    I started working when women were not allowed to wear pants only dresses & skirts. When a women became pregnant it was understood she would leave her job. There was no pregnancy leave, there was no pill ,women were making much less than men for the same job and if there was a promotion the man got it. The thoughts of going back to that time disgusts
    me. Lets not forget the women who fought for these rights lets not let them down. Women do not vote Repbulican.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JP

    I wish CNN would be this balanced when it covers the issue on TV.

    Even though I'm registered as a Democrat, I think this will finally be the year I switch to independent or Republican. I'm starting to think all the Democratic party sees me as is a taxpaying uterus. We have so many very serious problems in our nation right now, and yet all they ever seem to talk about is abortion and birth control – you would think the most serious threat to America is a pregnancy.

    I've used birth control in the past, and paid for it. I do think it's ridiculous to cover Viagra and not birth control. I think it's great if insurance companies cover it, but I totally respect the rights of religious bodies not to, when it conflicts with their moral beliefs. That's why the Dems are in such a lose-lose on this in my opinion. Either they have become so utero-centric that they don't care about religous freedoms anymore, or they do, but they're willing to abandon their consciences to play a little Wag The Dog, and invent a war on women for political gain.

    March 17, 2012 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  13. Pete

    @JP,just remember who wants Planned Parenthood eliminated,Mitt Romney,Rick Santorum,chose them or any other neanderthal republican and you've made your bed for 4 years,you'll have to sleep in it,I'm male and this issue doesn't effect me.The switch in the booth is in YOUR hands,think wisely,republicans don't care about women's rights,fight for them.I will....

    March 17, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3