Heidi's UTNE Reader Responses

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Heidi's Thoughts.

-- Anonymous, November 11, 1998


Immaculate Conception by Melanie Conklin, June 1998, pg. 78. Reviewed by Heidi Mlynarczyk

This article talks about how Catholic health care systems, which include 800 hospitals and clinics, are merging with non-Catholic health care providers at an accelerated pace. According to the article this poses a problem in the area of womens health care. Given that the Catholic doctrine states that birth control is morally wrong, a merger with other health care providers close off reproductive options for women. The types of services that these hospitals refuse to perform can be; abortions, contraception, tubal ligation, vasectomies, and most forms of fertility treatments. According to the ACLU, religious viewpoints are being imposed on others who do not share the same viewpoint. It is legal for the hospitals to not only refuse to perform certain procedures but they often refuse to refer patients to other facilities. The ACLU cites statistics that state that 84% of US counties do not provide abortions services because of these conscience clauses. Pro-choice supporters are concerned that the government has not found that some of these mergers violate anti-trust laws. They also wonder how there is separation of church and state when many government agencies are signing health care contracts with religious health care systems with conscience clauses.

My own thoughts on this article vary. First, being a non-Catholic I find their religious doctrine hard to understand and oppressive for women in particular. It disturbs me that most of the Catholic ideals hold women at a reproductive disadvantage. Each woman should have the same opportunity to make her own choices and it should not be up to someone else unfamiliar with her life. Secondly, I have worked in the corporate offices of a Catholic heath care system. I personally am not aware of this particular Catholic health care system operating in this way. I am certain that hospitals within this system do provide some reproductive options. My third thought is that as a woman this is something that I should be concerned about. It alarms me that this type of covert coercion is taking place. I do not believe in the idea of people making an across the board judgment about how others should live by limiting their access to choices. Even though some of these things may not be my choice I would not deny them to someone else. I hope we are not reverting back to the time when Margaret Sanger had to flee from authorities to escape being arrested for giving women the information to make their own reproductive choices.

As I spoke to others about this article, the majority of people I discussed it with agreed that the Catholic church is limiting our choices. Their doctrine is being forced upon us by the control of hospital policy throughout the country. It is not as if we have the power to choose. This power has been taken from us and the decisions made for us.

What do you think?

-- Anonymous, November 12, 1998

The abortion issue can be a volatile one for any hospital and with the Catholic doctrine I can understand if they would not peform this procedure. However I believe that if someone, male or female, wishes to have a preventive procedure performed to prevent pregnancies it should be done by a Catholic associated hospital. Also, if the hospital will not perform the procedures it should provide the names and locations of the nearest qualified health care facilities.

-- Anonymous, November 30, 1998

I am in total agreement with what both of you are saying. I too read the article and posted my thoughts, and am also concerned that the availability for women to seek birth control methods and have abortions is being limited, which can have a very negative effect when it comes to these women's health. I too can understand the Catholic Churches's beliefs and if they want to refuse performing abortions then they should be able to make that choice. But I also think that they should not prohibit other birth control methods. Like I said in my utne reader response, the decision should be made by the individual and not have a decision imposed upon them for them. These kinds of decisions, I feel, can't be made by anyone but the person trying to make the right one for them to suit their own life.

-- Anonymous, December 09, 1998

Article: Take That Advice Nazis August UTNE Reader

This article was a humorous look at the double messages that we are exposed to through magazines and self-help/physical fitness instruction. This article was written from a feminine perspective, the author being female, but I think some of the points she made can be applied to both sexes. In this article the author focused on the fact that many of todays womens magazines give us a message which we have been trying to work away from. She thinks that these magazines encourage women to be passive, obsessive, deprive themselves, and spend money. The author suggests that these are unhealthy and offers some ideas on how to have a healthy mind and body. Her ideas include; really complain, get excited and speak your mind, make a lot of noise, eat what you like, and go to Las Vegas.

I found this article funny and refreshing. I do agree with the author in that the media gives women the message of what is appropriate behavior and I do not think this perspective in often in the best interest of women. This article also touches on the argument of what is a healthy body image. I really enjoyed the humorous presentation of these issues.

-- Anonymous, January 05, 1999

Heidi, It sounds like an article I need to read. I could use a little humorous reading. I, too, do not like the way the media portrays women and how they should act, feel, eat, exercise, etc. I would certainly hope that most adult women have a sense of what they should be doing in their lives. If they need help, the magazine rack is not the best place to look for resources. Seek out some professional help. Thanks for your response.

-- Anonymous, January 12, 1999

Hello Heidi: My name is John Hansen, I am the new facilitator for this discussion group. I am an instructor in the Communication Department at UMD. I read your comments on both articles but I would like to comment on your second set of thoughts. What fascinates me here is the fact that the author seems to be doing several things as the article has touched people in variety of ways. Do you think we have become to much of a "victim" society, always looking for an excuse or other reason rather than looking at ourselves? How do we share this with our students? Please e-mail me your thoughts. John Hansen

-- Anonymous, March 01, 1999

UTNE Article 4

UTNE Reader Jan-Feb 1999, Out to Lunch by Joe Robinson.

This article addresses the idea of the siesta. The author Joe Robinson addresses this part of the Spanish life-style from the point of view of an outsider. Everyday at 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm the shops close and everyone leaves the office to meet friends and relatives for an afternoon meal. In Madrid life comes to a complete hault between these times. A 4:30 pm everything starts up again. The afternoon shift goes from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm with dinner starting at 9:00 pm or 10:00 pm. After dinner everyone gathers in their neighborhoods or out on the town till the wee hours of the morning. The author states that the siestas origins lie within the climate and architecture. During the middle of the day temperatures soar to be unbearablly hot. at night people leave their dwellings because their houses are so hot. The author also cites research that states that humans are biphasic creatures and we naturally require our day to be broken up by 2 periods of sleep. So the Spanish way of life meets our biological needs more accurately. The author also compares the United States to Spain. He states that the U.S. is a very efficiency-oriented society and because that is the dominant value in this culture in our society we will probably never go to siestas. He does point out however, that the life expectancy in Spain is two years longer than in the U.S.

I found this article interesting and have to agree that we, in the U.S., are too work-oriented. I do not think this obsession with work is a healthy way to live. I personally have felt too pushed and pulled in different directions so I have this constant feeling of being overwhelmed. This article was also interesting from the standpoint that my class and I are studying Mexico.

-- Anonymous, April 27, 1999

Hi Heidi, I am responding to your third article review about how the media is setting stereotypes for how women should look, act, eat, etc.The media rules, huh? It drives me crazy,(especially as the mother of an 8 year old girl),I don't want her to feel she has to fit within a limited set of standards to be valued. I am especially annoyed at how often the media portrays women in a sexual way. Message, "If you aren't a Playboy bunny, you're not a "real woman". I think limiting and monitoring what my daughter watches on T.V. help some , but you can't shelter kids forever. Thanks for your thoughts, Kris

-- Anonymous, May 14, 1999

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