In the next two weeks, the Supreme Court will rule on the Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. case, making a determination on whether or not Americans lose their religious freedoms at the doors and OPEN signs of their own businesses.
One side is focused on four abortion-causing drugs and religious liberty. The other is focused on birth control . . . I guess.
But what the Supreme Court won’t talk about is the fact is that there’s an option for women that’s even better than birth control, one that won’t cause the Greens of Hobby Lobby to go against their consciences and is already available to any woman who wants it.
And it’s not just the Supreme Court that’s keeping quiet about it.
No one’s talking about it.
From Sandra Fluke to the Health and Human Services department, everyone’s missed it. It doesn’t cost, as Ms. Fluke pointed out in her testimony before Congress, more than $3,000 a year. In fact, it’s free. And it’s nothing new; it’s really rather old.
“The normal and real birth control is called self control,” wrote G. K. Chesterton.
Wait a minute. I didn’t hear about that option in school.
In fact, from that first awkward grade school sex ed class where the boys are split from the girls, we women were taught that the purpose of birth control is to prevent pregnancy, to allow a couple to wait for a “better” time to have a child or, more commonly, to allow a couple to have sex without ever having a child at all.
From our youth, we’re taught that birth control is a way out for people who want to have lots of sex and no babies, a work-around to the normal order of getting married and starting a family.
We learned that we didn’t need to wait for a husband and a home, that we can enjoy ourselves as much as we want as often as we want with anyone we want without considering our future spouse and family.
We’ve rarely considered the obvious: that we simply have the option to wait, to practice self-control, to abstain.
So if Sandra Fluke and Kathleen Sebelius and all the women chanting “Not my boss’s business!” when we gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court building in March really want to be counter-cultural, as they claim they do; if they really want to stand up for women’s rights, which they say they already are; if they actually want to be salmon who swim against the current, which they insist on the right to be, they actually ought to be demanding that that birth control be removed from their health-care plans.
Because if anything a man can do, they can do better, then they ought not depend on someone else — a boss or a government — to fund their decisions in regard to men and children and relationships.
They ought simply to be able to take charge of the situation themselves: to show self control.
We’re not dogs who can’t tell the different between an owner’s leg and another dog when they’re in heat. We’re not bulls who will breed cows until they’ve worn their hooves down and themselves raw.
As women, we have the emotional and cognitive ability to wait, to hold out, to make wise choices, to exhibit self-control. We are fully capable of preserving our uniquely feminine gift for marriage, where we give and are given love and respect.
We’re mature, adult women, after all, and this ability — to refrain from sleeping with the first man who pays for our dinner or the one who wants to move in and share the rent, which, consequently, both lead to the need for birth control — frees us even more.
Exhibiting self-control when it comes to sex means we don’t depend on mandates or employers. We simply use what our Lord gives us: prayer, repentance, steadfastness. We turn from evil. We pray that the Lord would preserve us. We take Him at His Word when He bids us to flee sexual temptation outside and inside the bonds of marriage.
So while, as Chesterton noted, there will always be people “who especially prefer being governed to governing someone else,” we women aren’t governed by Supreme Court cases and health-care plans.
No, we live in and by Christ alone.
We are the ones who are free to rejoice in our inherent value and worth as humans, as women, as the baptized. We are the ones who wait with grace, preserving our sexuality and respect and dignity for the men who will marry us, who will be genuinely grateful for it.
And we are the ones who are free to make use of an option — even better than birth control — that won’t cost us, our bosses, or the federal government a penny: self-control, no Sandra Fluke, mandates or Supreme Court required.