The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.
Mary Beth Cox has a voice and she’s not afraid to use it. The Virginia resident first lit up the iReport arena with an honest, pointed video commentary about the resurgence of the contraception debate. That video and the follow-up after it launched a big conversation about women's health right here on iReport.
When someone starts intelligent discourse on iReport, we notice. With that, we honor Cox as the latest iReport Pundit of the Week.
Affiliation: "I tend to align myself more with the Democratic Party, but I'm open to not voting along party lines. I'm most likely to vote for somebody who supports policies favorable to women, children, families (ALL families) and fiscal responsibility. People may think that's an oxymoronic statement (or just moronic) in the current climate, but I don't think it has to be that way."
How did you first get interested in politics?
"Very early on, I recognized that when a few people make decisions for a whole population, some agree, some disagree, some get left out, and some leave. My first clear memory of this is growing up in the Catholic Church, having an epiphany that there were only men standing on the stage telling people how they should live. That's a powerful realization for a child. Just because I was a girl, I was being left out. It was the first time I understood that, no, I couldn't be anything I wanted to be. It felt very wrong. It set the stage for scrutiny throughout my life of who's making the decisions and why."
Why do you share your opinion on iReport?
"I think what I have to say is important. That may sound conceited, but the truth is, what everybody has to say is important, especially if they're passionate about it. More people should make iReports. I work. I have kids. I can't go to the Capitol or make phone calls to my legislator all the time. But I can take 20 minutes to make an iReport and say something that connects with somebody or starts a discussion."
Who is your political or journalistic hero?
"I love NPR. They go deeper into important topics and stories than any other outlet. I read a lot of journalistic books that deeply examine an issue, use sciences, and teach me something. The last one I read was called "Garbage Land" by Elizabeth Royte. That's important to me because serious issues demand a microscope, not a lacquering that most news organizations give."
What is going to be the defining issue of the 2012 election?
"I think it will depend on who gets the GOP nomination. If it's Mitt Romney, we may be able to have a rational tug-of-war around the national debt and economic growth. If it's Rick Santorum, it will likely be around what people euphemistically call 'social issues' which will really be a fight about the imposition of religious and moral views in public policy. You can infer how I feel about that in question No. 2."
What's something people might be surprised to learn about you?
"I used to be painfully shy about speaking in public. Ten years ago, I would have NEVER considered making a video of myself, much less putting it up for public scrutiny. Since then I think I've learned, by hook or by crook, to be vulnerable ... at least more than before. You only live once."
Follow Cox here and check out her latest updates on your customized iReport homepage. And, if having a conversation about big issues strikes your fancy, get ready to debate about what matters to you. Join the debate and you could be our next Pundit of the Week.
Mary Beth Cox I suggest you go look up what a STORY is. Then you look up what FIGMENT of someone imagination is. I take it you took Fluke's STORY as truth. If Fluke had injected herself in the STORY about Jack and Jill would you take it as fact also. Well, that's the life that has been given to a STORY. A FIGMENT of Fluke's imagination. Every women who takes the war on women as fact, is lacking in reality. Reality is Obama forcing his will on the Catholic church and giving himself powers the Constitution doesn't give him. That's the reality of why Fluke manufactured her STORY.
If that's true, then can we have the taxes the Catholic Churches have kept through exemptions granted due to separation of church and state????
Just think. Skip a Starbuck's everyother week and badaboom!! You have enough money for 1 month's worth of birth control pills at Wal**mart. What a PHONY issue.
I don't get it. I've never heard a man fussing about insurance companies paying for Viagra but don't like it if they pay for birth control pills which is used for a lot of medical problems women have. A woman may never have sex and have to take the pills.
Another thing fact check how many republicans voted for the Ledbetter bill. They think women should do the same job a man does for less money.
Religious/cultural subjugation of women has been a consistant, unyielding force since histories (written by men) were kept. Only in the last 100-150 years has there been any attempt at gaining equality, and, some little equality has been achieved..., right to vote, own property, choose your own husband, etc. It seems like these modest achievements are generating some male sponsored backash fueled by that same religious/cultural subjugation strengthened by what is interpreted to be 9,000 years support. 100 steps forward.., 9000 back.
I'm really astounded at the misinformation that some of the posters possess.
Even with copays, oral contraceptives are not cheap (and we all know how pharmaceutical companies need to make a huge profit) and employers negotiate with private insurance companies to determine benefits for their employees, including premium sharing, copays, etc. Private insurance companies are not funded by the taxpayers. It is a contract closely scrutinized by actuaries to make sure the insurance companies don't lose money.
And it is pretty revealing that men don't know that oral contraceptives have been widely prescribed for decades for purposes other than sex.
Women get that, and also know that there are health benefits that accrue while taking hormonal regulating oral contraceptives.
Men don't get it.
So true. It's not just about pregnancy prevention, it's also beneficial for health reasons that unless you are a woman, you just can't understand. I used BC pills for years to control my painful cramps. I could barely walk for three days before I used them.
If we are chaulking it up to just pregnancy prevention and sex, Give me my pills for free because then it's no different then a man who wears a condom(since most clinics provide free condoms). Women just take a pill vs. using a glove.
Fluke said it's going to cost her $30,000 for birth control while she's in law school. She should begin to make her $140,000 for Georgetown Law graduates in 10 years. That's $3,000 a year. Only a schister lawyer could claim an expense that outrageous.
Law School is normally 3 years so that's $10,000 per year or $830 per month ($625 if you go 4 years). The numbers don't add up -- What kind of birth control is she on at that price?
The real issue here is not whether or not women should have access to birth control but how much power do we invest in the government to force people to violate their religious beliefs. To extend this idea -- should the government be allowed to force conscientious objectors to fight as Infantry soldiers-- should the Amish be required to adopt modern devices -- can the government ignore other parts of the Constitution if it deems it necessary? Freedom of the press -- can the government force CNN to report what it deems appropriate?
I don't think anyone is being forced to violate their religious beliefs.
If the Catholic Church decides legislation for non-Catholics, that, in my opinion, is violating religious beliefs.
mollydtt said: I don't think anyone is being forced to violate their religious beliefs.
Which means mollydtt hasn't been paying attention - because the violation of religious beliefs is EXACTLY what this is about. The HHS mandate would force organizations (like Georgetown University - a Catholic school) to provide birth control and other services to their employees through their health insurance programs and, moreover, to provide it free of charge. I can't believe there is anyone who doesn't know that the Catholic Church is opposed to birth control, abortion, sex outside of marriage, etc. So, yeah - the Church would be forced to act contrary to its teachings (belief, conscience, what have you) in complying with the mandate.
Furthermore, these organizations by and large WILL pay for birth control pills that are used for other (non birth control-related medical conditions (like PCOS). If Ms. Fluke's acquaintance was denied coverage for that, it was due to an error - not because the medication isn't covered. So that was a red herring on Ms. Fluke's part (if, in fact, her acquaintance actually exists, which I doubt).
Educate yourself, Molly.
What the trash the president at all costs corwn forgets is that 90+% of Catholic women ignore the prohibition against contraception.
A few dozen arch bishops and mother superiors making noise are few votes compared to the millions of American women.
Most women are not dutifully submissive and subservient to their male authority figures.
I look forward to Santorum beating Romney and then being trashed by President Obama in November.
"the Church would be forced to act contrary to its teachings". 98% of Catholic women who are sexually active have used contraception. Define "church".
@Helen Stasis...but those 90% of Catholic women who practice birth control, don't expect the church to pay for it.
The Church has never tried to restrict birth control. It just wants to reserve the right to abstain from it. And that includes paying for it.
@weintrouble...100% of Catholics sin everyday. That doesn't mean the Church should abandon its teaching against sin.
I HAD to take birth control for 7 years for a hormone disorder. I have never slept with a man and i don't want to. Its not birth control to me it's medicine.
My medication was required and was not covered by insurance.
People are being murdered and going to rehab over oxycotin but that's still covered. People are using cough medicine to make meth but that's still available.
I'd love it if my insurance paid for my birth control because every little bit helps! I have marble sized cysts (yes, multiple ones) on my ovaries right now so if you think it's easy just to skip lattes every other week, be my guest. Being a woman every month is costly!
Will you skip your coffee to pay for my monthly prescription plus bi-monthly doctor visits? Also, can you pay for the monthly stash of tampons and/or pads as well because that'd help so much. :)
I don't know why they had Fluke testify about the conraceptive issue. They should have had a married woman since that is reallly the issue. The unmarried Fluke opened the debate to whether anyone who is not married should get contraceptives at all. We have seen that the conservatives do not want women to get contraceptives through their health insurance, the only exception being their own wives and the women they had relations with outside of their marriage (before or i suppose after for some).
Congratulations, Mary Beth. While I may not necessarily agree on all points with you on topics you may choose to espouse, I do believe as William F. Buckley that in our great nation you have the right to those views and to voice those views and I would defend your right to that opinion even if that opinion was diametrically opposed to my own.
Again congratulations on being Pundit of the Week!
Too bad Mary Beth put this out on the same day the CBO released revised Obamacare finding. CBO said today that Obamacare will ADD 1/4 Trillion dollars to the deficit each year for the next 10 years. Also, there will be 2 million MORE people without healthcare than Obamacare first estimated. Also 4 million more people will LOSE their healthcare than originally estimated. Are you really care about getting the pill free???
At the risk of simply setting some folks off let me offer a perspective from someone who has been purchasing health insurance for a large number of employees and their families for a very long time and who is a strong supporter of birth control and woman's rights:
1) By saying birth control MUST be free we are saying the birth control pills are more important than drugs for woman with breast cancer, or men or woman with heart disease. Pretty hard to understand
2) My policies have never covered condoms or Viagra BUT if they did it would be with a co-pay
3) While I disagree with the Catholic Church on contraception the government is COMPLETELY wrong to force them to violate their conscience. We have a constitution that guarantees the right of free association. If you do not agree with your employer go somewhat else - If you do not agree with the Catholic Church do not go to a Catholic school. Ms Fluke is thrilled with what the Catholic Church has provided in a law school but now wants to crush them over to her world view. Again - I am fully for woman's rights (just ask my daughter) but this is extremely arrogant
My insurance covers viagra and birth control pills. It has for 20 or more years. It includes a prescription drug plan. It is paid for by the company and the employees. Employees have all kinds of faiths. If the employee objects to having a transfusion the service cannot be forced on the employee. If I need a transfusion I can get one. If the employer does not believe in transfusions I die. That is not right. Birth control and abortion services should be as available as transfusions.
In case you religious zealots didn't know, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion... Any attempt to exclude the business of religion from the Heathcare bill would establish religious institutions above the rule of law.
Grow up people.
Personally I petition the federal government to revoke the tax exempt status of any religious institution who refuses to abide by the law as they are definately using their pulpits to extort an exemption.
In addition, according to scripture, "Whatever you hold true on earth, I shall hold true in heaven." So, logic serves me correctly, that means their argument against contraception is bull$hit because the Pope can effectivley change his position without fear of damnation or reprisals for their perceived creator?
No one is telling the Catholic church (or any church)to pay for birth control for its church workers. What this IS stating is that if you have an 'institution' OUTSIDE of your CHURCH (hospital, college, etc) then you must PLAY by the RULES.
Why is that complicated? Why should a religious 'institution' get an actual ADVANTAGE v a regular private non religious 'institution'??? Forget separation of church and state, this has nothing to do with that!
this issue is such a non issue it's hilarious. if you WANT birth control - fine. get it. if your insurance plan doesnt offer it, either move plans, pay for it yourself or dont. your choice. There is no need to legislate that PRIVATE business must provide the sort of options that are agreeable to you. when everyone always gets everything they want out of life then you can complain about mandating birth control coverage in all health insurance policies.
I went to catholic grade school 1-8 and catholic high school 9-12, i was a member of the Franciscan Order TOR for 6 years, Got a BA in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America in 1964 and an MA in counseling from Villanova University in 1973 and was a socials studies teacher and guidance counselor at one of the largest catholic high schools in the world from 1965-2000(Cardinal Dougherty High School)and at the end of this wonderful journey, I realize that religion is myth.
Speaking from a man's point of view, we get it that women need birth control pills other than preventing pregnancy. (Boy, do we REALLY understand that! LOL) The issue is not mainly about the Catholics being forced to pay for something they believe is immoral. The point is the Constitution has been trashed. He has turned the Constitution into useless toilet paper for the past 3 1/2 years. Now, forcefully taking away a religious freedom by jamming Obama care through the House and Senate is sad.
Also, all these people saying it would help them if birth control is free should ask what is best for our country instead of being selfish and asking what is best for them. I would rather pay $3000 a year than have our rights taken away from some fly-by-night President that believes his values and lack of morals is what's best for our country.
Whether you like Obama or not, he is taken away our right to religious freedom. That is not what this country was founded on and that is worse, in my opinion, than any attack this country has seen on our soil. Sure, nobody will lose a life from this but our freedom has been attacked and murdered. When that happens, this great nation will never be the same. A true injustice for all!
All the people who whine about contraception are bunch of d bags who pop pills everytime they make love(?).
Gentlemen: I pay for your condoms with my tax dollars. I pay for your Viagra and Cialis with the premiums I pay my employer for my insurance coverage. YOU HAD D@MN3D WELL BETTER BELIEVE I FULLY EXPECT YOU TO PAY FOR MY BIRTH CONTROL PILLS REGARDLESS OF THE REASON I HAVE TO TAKE THEM. Period. End of sentence. 'Nuff said. (Caps for extreme emphasis...)
I keep reading about religious freedom. This country was created for religios freedom because people were living in a Theocracy. Freedom of religioun means we can choose any religion we want. Be that atheism, buddhism, catholicism etc. It does not mean that we are forced to live as they tell us. We live as we choose to live. That is freedom. The hypocrosy amazes me! For those of you who say Obama is taking our rights away is crazy. He is saying no one can tell us how to live if we choose another way. No one is asking anyone to pay for birth control. They are saying we shouldnt have to pay such outrageous co-pays for it.
Here's the deal women... if a drug is being perscribed to aide in the treatment of an illness then it is NOT a contraceptive. If a drug is being perscribed to keep you from getting pregnant then it is a contraceptive.
These are two TOTALLY different scenarios and they SHOULD NOT be intertwined.
I have no problem with a drug that can be used as a contraceptive being perscribed for another use and it being covered under normal co-pay policies, but there is absolutely NO REASON why a drug being perscribed for contraception should be covered. If you are going to cover birth-control pills, then why not condoms?
Viagra <> birth-control. Viagra treats a medical issue called erectial disfunction, birth-control prevents pregnancy - so now pregnancy is an illness?
Give me a break! Wake up America!!!!
fidgetwidget - if you want to take birth control pills to prevent pregnancy then YOU pay for your D@AMNED pills. If you can't afford them then guess what... DON'T HAVE SEX. It is called PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, learn about it and live it.
Your next task is to get off your ass and get a job!
If birth control and a persons right to it is really the subject. Shouldn't they also include vasectimies (sp?) for men to be fair?
Why is it that women pay to prevent pregnancy but cant get pregnant without a man. This is also hypocrisy. Men know nothing about paying for birth control yet they reap all the benefits. Birth control, when not used to treat a disorder, benefits men and women.... We need to stop telling men they do not belong in a womans world and hold them half responsible. Stop having sex. Who are you kidding lady. Personal responsibility belongs to 2 consenting adults having sex, not just one. This is 2012. Guess what I can sleep with who I want and yes I expect my health insurance to cover my birth control. I pay out the yin yan for that health coverage. I should get what I want. I am a consumer....
If it is indeed the stated goal to make contraception more accessable to women, why would they want to get insurance involved. Insurance only makes things more expensive. Something as inexpensive as birth control pills will only become more expensive when a government mandate goes into effect. It may not be intuitive to you, but just look at history. Those items not covered by insurance (plastic surgery, lasic eye surgery etc.) have dropped in price while "covered" medical procedures have increased in price. When more people are getting paid for providing a service the price of the service goes up. The more hands in the pot, the bigger the pot has to be. Insurance should be reserved for only catestrophic health problems, not daily maintenance. Maybe we'll get back to that in this country.
The best birth control is free, its called keeping your legs closed and your "thingy" in your pants.
Sorry for another post, but reviewing the posts in here again, I have seen the "Men don't get it" comment many, many times. You discredit yourself with making a sweeping assumption like that. My wife used birth control in the past for medical reasons, not for birth control. Many men know that this is a fact and assuming that they do not is ignorant. That being said, the debate is mainly about contraception, this has been stated by supporters many, many times. As for the medical needs, there are many pills, medications, etc that are medically required by many people that are not covered by insurance, what makes birth control different?
Ms. Fluke may not have been the best voice for this issue, but at least she was a voice. The ONLY female voice. What did the 4 men who testified say on the matter? We have no idea. Nobody is talking about THEM or calling THEM names. She got people talking, at least.
I'm undecided that contraceptives should be free. I am decided that they should be accessible to everybody who wants them, and if that means free so be it. There is a slippery slop to religious institutions not covering them - or not purchasing private insurance that covers them - to them also not providing coverage for other issues for 'religious purposes.' God did not create medicine, so perhaps Catholic institutions shouldn't be forced to provide any health coverage??? Slippery slope.
And birth control IS different because it's PREVENTIVE care. Insurers value preventive care because - hello - it PREVENTS other illnesses and GREATER costs, thus saving EVERYBODY money.
What people don't realize about health insurance is that ewe all pay for the insured RIGHT NOW. You think doctors and hospitals work for free? No way. We all pay for the uninsured, through higher premiums or higher taxes. Either way you're already paying. If we're ALL covered, it's cheaper in the long run for EVERYBODY.
oops - we all pay for the UNinsured right now.
DID WE NOT SEPARATE CHURCH AND STATE??????? OH YEAH THAT’S RIGHT WE DID.
AND THAT IS WHAT MAKES THIS COUNTRY GREAT!
SO, Birth Control Pills are just that……Pills. They are a drug that has to be prescribed by your Doctor and thus falls under the category of “prescription drug coverage”. I don’t care what your beliefs are. You either provide insurance for your employees or you don’t. You don’t get to decide what is paid for and what is not due to your beliefs because your beliefs have NO PLACE IN STATE!!!!!
You don’t have to take the “Pill” - no one is forcing you to.
And no one can force me into a compromising position because I don’t have the same beliefs.
My concern is, if we as a country even consider discussing this issue (which is already happening) let alone “allowing” any organization, being it Church or other, to dictate to us what will be paid for and what won’t be paid for, then we are in for a rude awakening. Get ready for the next issue.
And this could be it: “Hypothetical situation”
Church says “we don’t believe in caesarian sections” If God wanted women to be cut open because the natural birth of a child does not happen as planned then he would have provided a zipper, but seeing as he did not provide a zipper then we are not covering any expenditures for that particular surgery. Therefore those of you who don’t have the money to pay for this surgery, well….. you and your unborn child will die. It’s Gods Will, is it not?
And the list goes on……………..And the fun begins…………And we go backwards instead of forwards………..
Now you choose!
iawhmr66 RIGHT ON!