A Real Women’s Injustice Issue

Having been immersed in my granddaughters last week, I came late to the big “free birth control, Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh” party.

In case you missed it, Sandra Fluke is the Georgetown University law student and “women’s reproductive rights activist,” whom U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California) invited to appear before a group of Democrat legislators to discuss the devastating crisis at Georgetown U law school: Birth control pills are not covered in the student health care plan!


Sandra Fluke

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Sandra Fluke. AP photo

Now that I’m versed on this human rights travesty, I’m unable to sleep nights. Imagine the anguish of studying law at one of the country’s most expensive, prestigious schools. Then, add to that burden having to choose either $9 a month at the nearby Target store for birth control pills or Starbuck’s lattes? Or, even more humiliating, visit a Planned Parenthood clinic, where birth control pills are free. I may need therapy.

After all, isn’t it clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence that people are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and free birth control pills? Or at least implied?

Certainly, none of the publicity surrounding the unspeakable violation of Fluke’s constitutional free-birth-control rights was calculated. That pesky First Amendment freedom of religion being pilloried by Obamacare mandates on the Catholic Church had nothing to do with it. Surely Ms. Fluke’s heartrending tale of the sad-faced birth-control-pill-denied law students on the Georgetown campus moved the Catholic Church to rethink its fervently held religious tenets regarding birth control, abortion and sterilization. Didn’t it?

Until Fluke and Pelosi exposed this dreadful birth control “crisis,” my biggest concern for women was the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), the removal of part, or all, of the female genitalia. Clearly, on balance, not so devastating, because not one of the 140 million or so mutilated women worldwide were invited to speak to Pelosi’s meeting, but surely they will be eventually. Maybe after Nov. 2.

Never mind, some of the mutilated are too young to testify. They’re only babies, as FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15. (Well, it’s free birth control).

The World Health Organization defines FMG as “all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for nonmedical reasons.” It’s common in specific regions of Africa, in some Asian and Middle Eastern countries, and among migrants from these areas.” (U.S. immigrant children are among them.)

Some sanitize FMG as female “circumcision,” a purely cultural practice concentrated in rural Africa, but according to “Is Female Genital Mutilation an Islamic Problem?” by Thomas von der OstenSacken and Thomas Uwer in the Middle East Quarterly, it’s perpetrated in predominately Muslim countries of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan and is rooted more in religion than culture.

(Warning: the following description isn’t for the faint-hearted or law students.)

Director of the Institute for Psychohistory, Lloyd deMause, in his book, The Emotional Life of Nations, describes some FGM in Islamic regions as reported to him by a Muslim sociologist: “When a boy is born, the family rejoices; when a girl is born, the whole family mourns. The girl’s sexuality is so hated that when she is 5 or so the women grab her, pin her down, and chop off her clitoris and often her labia with a razor blade or piece of glass, ignoring her agony and screams for help because, they say, her clitoris is ‘dirty,’ ‘ugly,’ ‘poisonous,’ ‘can cause a voracious appetite for promiscuous sex,’ and ‘might render men impotent.’ The area is then often sewed up to prevent intercourse, leaving only a tiny hole for urination. The genital mutilation is excruciatingly painful. Up to a third die from infections, mutilated women must ‘shuffle slowly and painfully’ and usually are unable to orgasm.” He forgot to add that the lower legs are then tied together for two to six weeks afterwards. Correction. Not women, they’re babies and children.

Like my granddaughters.

Sarcasm aside, as an American woman I’m embarrassed for Sandra Fluke and America. Her vacuous, self-serving diatribe makes me hunger for a country with noble priorities and righteous indignation over real injustices. Heaven help us.