Over the last few weeks birth control access across the country has been hotly debated- sadly mostly inaccurately. Just last week Rush Limbaugh implied that women need access to more birth control because they are having more sex. Clearly, Rush missed high school health class because women take birth control every day regardless of how often or if you have sex, not to mention many women use if for reasons other than just a contraceptive.

Which leads me to the second inaccuracy that has been perpetrated- sadly by my Uncle- US Senator Ron Johnson. He stated, “Any woman in America can get free contraceptives if they can’t afford to pay for them through county health services, through a variety of places. This is about an assault on freedom.”

I just wish that Uncle Ron could see the importance of women’s health care and that he would listen to me and other women in our family. The truth of the matter is most women do not have access to free birth control which is a significant barrier to consistent and effective use of birth control for the majority of women who rely on birth control. In fact, Governor Walker’s recent cuts to women’s birth control programs in the Fox Valley have made affordable birth control access even more challenging. Even our local paper acknowledged that women’s access to preventative care, including birth control, is at a tipping point because of ideological attacks limiting access to this common sense health care. This is the very reason why President Obama has moved to include birth control in the list of preventive medications covered by the Affordable Care Act.

The facts here are pretty simple. Women of all faiths — even Catholics — use birth control. Catholic women use birth control in the same proportions as all other women. And virtually all women use birth control. It’s preventive health care, as well as an economic issue. Birth control is also a matter of individual choice. Women rely on birth control to control polycystic ovarian syndrome, relieve the symptoms of endometriosis and to regulate their periods. If a woman is lucky enough to have health insurance coverage for birth control it can cost as much as $50 a month in co-pays. So to suggest that women have unfettered access to contraceptives is just plain wrong.

Not all families are like ours- have the financial ability to pay hundreds of dollars in out of pocket co-pay’s for birth control. The typical woman spends five years pregnant, or trying to get pregnant, and 30 years trying prevent pregnancy. This is a common sense issue for women. Moreover, the Institute of Medicine recommended that birth control be included as a preventive health care benefit, because it is fundamental to improving women’s health and the health of their families. It saves lives, helps prevent unintended pregnancies, improves the outcomes for children, and reduces abortion.

That’s the amazing thing about this benefit; it will make birth control more accessible and more affordable. That means more women can plan their families; more women can have healthy pregnancies; and more women can have healthy children.

And that Uncle Ron, is something I would think we could agree on.

Callie Otto is the President of the Catholic University Students for Choice and a member of Catholic University of America’s Class of 2012. Callie is also the niece of U.S. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

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21 Responses to Callie Otto: A letter to the editor – and to Sen. Ron Johnson

  1. dante says:

    I wish someone would explain to me why women think it is a RIGHT to get their birth control as a paid benefit? I could care less if they want to use the morning after abortion pill to kill a baby, but they need to be responsible and then pay for it…..opps there is that word that liberals and progressives do not understand being RESPONSIBLE for your OWN personal life, for what ever reasons women think a government nanny state is needed for their reproductive health care, I just like to see them as being to lazy to be responsible.

    • nonquixote says:

      Your first sentence, women using birth control, as it regularly is used for preventive medicine, saves big money down the road. That point was explained by reading the letter. A zygote and/or a fetus is not a baby. The baby is the person you pick up and feed and change their diapers and cuddle, nurture, outside the womb. Please check your definitions. What is irresponsible, is large, perennially profitable corporations, paying only minimum wage and not providing any health care insurance for their workers, so that small counties and communities need to, under law, provide services like Badgercare and similar programs, through our tax dollars. And this irresponsible corporate behavior happens after getting huge supporting infrastructure and other tax breaks to come into a community. Do you shop at WalMart?

  2. Zuma Bound says:

    @ Dante

    Putting aside the fact that including contraception in insurance coverage actually reduces the cost of insuring someone for an insurance company, and, accordingly, the cost of the insurance premiums that someone has to pay for that coverage, let me ask you to ‘splain me something, Lucy, uh, I mean, Dante.

    “I wish someone would explain to me why [men] think it is a RIGHT to get [a drug which helps them achieve an erection which they otherwise would be unable to achieve] as a paid benefit[?]”

    I mean, “I could care less if they want to use [Viagra], but they need to be responsible and then pay for it”, don’t they?

    Back to you, Lucy, I mean, Einstein, um, so sorry, I mean, Dante. (*wink*)

    I look forward to hearing your explanation.

    P.S. Just ONCE, Dante, I wish you could post a comment that was a reflection of something more than your usual uninformed, knee-jerk, Neanderthal, rightwing sensibilities.

    P.P.S. If it means that you will provide a thoughtful and meaningful response, please consider all the snark withdrawn.

  3. nonquixote says:

    I have been trying to find another source for the posted letter, can anyone supply a link. I have found Ms Otto listed with Catholic Women for Health, but not “for Choice.” Just wonder if the guest blogger might be able to clarify the difference, which to them and others, I imagine would be significant.

    • nonquixote says:

      Sorry, after my first cuppa coffee, my apologies, I found: Callie Otto, President of the Catholic University Students for Choice, but I have not found and would appreciate another link to the particular letter elsewhere. I agree with her totally and flaming her Uncy RoJo is priceless, but I am trying to determine if this is simply a personal statement, or, if it was actually offered under the official auspices of her Presidency of the group.

      (note to myself, coffee before keyboarding)

    • Callie Otto says:

      I’m Callie Otto. I am the president of Catholic University Students for Choice- a group at Catholic that makes sure students have access to free condoms, information about low-cost birth control, information for women facing unplanned pregnancy, and rides to planned parenthood and free std testing clinics.

      I recently spoke at the Catholic Students for Women’s Health press conference. This was a gathering of students at local Catholic Universities to speak out regarding the birth control mandate. That is probably why that title came up first.

      If you have any more questions, feel free to email me at ceotto2@gmail.com



  4. nonquixote says:

    Dear Blog publishers/owners,

    I sincerely appreciate your efforts and the free expression of ideas and timely sharing of information here, greatly. I do however get tired of persistent baiting and verbally abusive name calling, which is not “snark,” by a long shot, and which regularly appears in some of the comments. I hope you will consider some sort of blog moderating or after-the-fact deletion of offending comments in the future. I understand that you all have other personal lives. Abuse does not further understanding or solutions to problems.

    Abusiveness toward another commenter is the same as abuse of an elder, a child or a spouse, or any significant other. There are training classes available in anyone’s town for those willing to try to understand the concept. Just phone any local crisis line, county or city government services desk, social services counseling desk or woman’s center counseling victims of violence.

    Just a thought, thanks.


  5. Zuma Bound says:

    To Nonquixote, who has newly taken up residence here as Blogging Blue’s very own Church Lady:

    Since your comment pivots off of my use of the term, “snark”, and seems to be passive-aggressively directed to me, let me just respond briefly.

    Unclench. . .

    For it is written, “It is better to [unclench] and only be thought [The Church Lady], than to open one’s [sanctimonious] mouth, and remove all doubt.”




  6. Zuma Bound says:

    @ The Church Lady

    To recap:

    First, unclench;

    Second, take a Valium;

    Third, view and meditate on the Church Lady links;

    Fourth, if your sanctimony continues to get the better of you, consider joining a nunnery, or just remaining silent, rather than participating in online political discourse and/or lecturing everyone else on how you think that they should behave;

    Fifth, look up, learn and actually understand the definition of snark; and

    Sixth, should you choose to respond, don’t expect me to (on advice from my Blogging Blue compatriot, CJ McD, who has often advised, “Don’t feed the [sanctimonious Church Ladies or] trolls”).

    Love and kisses,

  7. Zuma Bound says:

    @ The Church Lady

    There was a “Seventh” which I inadvertently omitted, a “stalker” exception, if you will, to the “sixth”:

    Seventh, STOP stalking me with “your unforced, holier than thou condescension” (http://www.bloggingblue.com/2012/03/14/empty-threat-of-the-week/@comment-93102)

    I guess when I said, “Just let it go” to you in the comment thread following the “Empty Threat of the Week [by Shirl Barre]”, I hadn’t realized that you have a much bigger problem than I had originally thought.

    It’s “get the stick out of your b*tt” time, lady. It’s also time to just STFU with all of your sanctimonious bullsh*t. Just concentrate on crafting and posting your self-important musings, and stop worrying about what everyone else, me, in particular, is doing.

    Just for the record, Church Lady, there is an amusing irony afoot here in your taking passive-aggressive issue with my more than temperate comment, and with your consequent lofty, sanctimonious call for the blog proprietor to moderate the comment threads. As it turns out, I ran my comment by “the blog proprietor” long before it was ever posted because it was being initially and erroneously rejected as being “too spammy”. In telling me that he would look into the problem, he expressed absolutely no reservations about its content. Accordingly, you sanctimonious scold, in point of fact, my comment had already been “moderated” before the fact.

    @ everyone else here

    The discussion which prompted The Church Lady’s “unforced, holier than thou condescension” in the “Empty Threat of the Week” comment thread is enlightening:


  8. nonquixote,

    While I appreciate your views concerning so-called abusive comments, I cannot concur with your assessment that comments are the same as abuse toward an elder, child, spouse, etc. The context of a personal, intimate relationship is far, far different than anonymous commenters having a nasty back and forth.

    That said, Zuma can get pretty fixated sometimes, and it might not hurt him or her to take things a little less seriously. This is, after all, a blog.

    I might add that I am a fan of sarcasm, satire, and the occasional creatively expressed insult. Excessive politeness leads to a kind of sterility that I cannot abide.

    • nonquixote says:

      Good early morning Mr. Carlson,

      I do appreciate your response to my comment. Yes some of the back and forth is very nasty, but I disagree that it should be allowed to continue. An alias or anonymous belongs to a person, presumably. The difference I see is that snark or derision directed at the subject of, or the politician/newsmaker/political party, or, the issue being discussed in the diary post is one thing. Name calling, deliberate baiting, presumptive derogatory comments about other commenters is quite another, does nothing to furthers analysis of diary post or explore solutions or alternative ideas relating to the post. It is frequently just abusive name calling of a personal nature, meant to be demeaning of or insulting to another person who has visited this blog.

      I too, love parody, sarcasm, satire and the rest, but the best of that sort of writing is a thing of beauty, (much of George Carlin, Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report come to mind) not derisive third-grade name calling. I am confident you understand my point. Honest debate does not demand, “excessive politeness,” leading to sterility, but there is really no place or excuse for deliberate abusiveness toward other people here to express themselves and participate.

      Thanks again for your kind attention.

      • Zuma Bound says:

        @ The Church Lady

        “Good early morning [sic] Mr. Carlson”.

        MISTER Carlson is his dad, Church Lady. Seriously, lady. . .UNclench!

        “Civility”, particularly in 21st (as opposed to 19th Century) political discourse, doesn’t require “starched linens” and Emily Post. Just call him, Steve, like the rest of us do. I’d tell you what his wife calls him, but I don’t want to give you the vapors. (*wink*)

        Anyway, I wanted to touch on something that you had to say in this comment, and see if it matches your personal conduct elsewhere.

        Here’s what you said here, in pertinent part:

        “Name calling, deliberate baiting, presumptive derogatory comments about other commenters is quite another, does nothing to furthers analysis of diary post or explore solutions or alternative ideas relating to the post. It is frequently just abusive name calling of a personal nature, meant to be demeaning of or insulting to another person who has visited this blog.”

        Yes, Church Lady, these are terrible sins. IF ONLY you had never been guilty of them yourself, you hypocritical scold. We both know that you get “down and dirty”, too, when it suits you.

        An example? The last comment you posted in the “Empty Threat of the Week” comment thread:

        March 15, 2012 at 10:26 am

        At 4:02 PM you attempted to convince me of your personal characterization of another commenter with your reply to me. 4:50 PM, I made an observation and comment. You followed with two more comments denigrating the other commenter for some past behavior, nothing to do with this thread. Now you are giving instructions about how to let things go. Brilliant projection.

        But, I appreciate you showing up went you did. $25 bucks, I won the office pool, we settled on guessing the time it would take for you to respond. Nobody would take the bet on whether or not you would understand the comment. That was a foregone conclusion.”

        [Back to my comment here]: Hmmmmm. Absolutely NO “Name calling, deliberate baiting, presumptive derogatory comments about other commenters” there, huh? (*laughing*) Hypocrite!

        And what was it that I had had the temerity to say to you that led to the comment of yours quoted just above? This:

        “Zuma Bound
        March 15, 2012 at 8:27 am

        While I’m still not entirely sure what particular ‘horse’ you have ‘in this race’, NQ, let me just steal a quote from your commment, and say, “Right back atcha” (ironically, NQ, it’s one I regularly share with the wild-eyed, insult-laden, toxic wingnuts here who avoid meaningful comment like the it’s the plague, people like Notalib, Orlin Sellars, AND Angry Andy. AFTER trying unsuccessfully to engage them in civil and substantive discourse):

        NQ: “Sometimes it is better to listen, at the risk of being perceived a fool, than to open one’s mouth and prove it.”

        So, do me a favor, NQ, just let it go. Unlike you, I realize that I don’t have a ‘horse in this race’. We’re on the same side of things, so just let it go, and accept the fact that we fight the good fight in different ways. Just a heads up, I won’t be responding further in this thread, and I will probably tend to ignore any further peanuts which you elect to throw my way from the peanut gallery elsewhere from now on. And that is regrettable, but your unforced, holier-than-thou condescension in this thread was truly misplaced, not to mention wholly unproductive.

        Take care.”

        [Zuma today]: OMG, right?! What an assh*le, huh?!

        Look, Church Lady, people can look at my comments in the “Empty Threat of the Week” comment thread, and at yours, as well as at my original comment here and all my other comments on Blogging Blue, if they want to in order to see that my comments here and elsewhere, while sometimes biting, are intrinsically substantive. The true irony of the sanctimony that you directed at me is that the comments that I contributed to the “Empty Threat of the Week” comment thread and initially contributed in this thread were altogether temperate.

        In trying to sanitize political discourse as you have tried to do here, you misapprehend the way it has always played out in American political life because you have a fixation with “proper” conduct, and a tendency to project your Emily Post-ian sensibilities onto others here, and, I imagine, anywhere you go.

        My experience with you has brought to mind how the Supreme Court viewed the nature of political discourse in the case of Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, a viewpoint to which you should pay heed. The Court, in overturning a lower court judgment in Falwell’s favor [over a satirical fake Campari ad in which Falwell was the butt of the joke], indicated, in dicta, that satire, caustic, biting satire, is a natural part of the “robust poltical debate that should take place in a democracy.”

        Words to live by, Church Lady. But, if you’re not going to live by them, at least get your tight-ass, sanctimonious, Ivory Tower sensibilities out of the way.

        I make fun of the wingnuts among us, dear Church Lady, because they ask for it. Angry Andy was, and is, a case in point. Because he had used the “candy ass libs” comment elsewhere, I used it in the “Empty Threat of the Week” against him, not because I sought to wound him personally, but because it helped to explain the knee-jerk, wingnut position that he was taking in that thread.

        Now, Nonquixote, perhaps you’ll understand where I was coming from all along. If not, please restrain yourself in the future with respect to judging me or others in how they comment, or at least refrain from expressing your sanctimonious judgments.

  9. Zuma Bound says:

    Fixation, Steve?

    Seven words.

    Ron Paul, Phil Scarr and Steve Carlson


    That said, I endorse your first and third paragraphs which I think address my concerns about Nonquixote quite nicely, not mention more nicely and more succinctly.

    Anyway, back to “fixation”. This contratemps with Nonquixote got started back in the “Empty Threat of the Week [by Shirl Barre]” comment thread, and followed me here (check the link out). I will agree that someone here has a “fixation”. It isn’t me.

  10. Zuma Bound says:

    @ Steve

    Here’s the problem that you have now, my brother. Now that you’ve rightly “stepped on The Church Lady’s toes”, she may very well “fixate” on you now, just as she did on me both in the “Empty Threat of the Week” comment thread, and here.

    Good luck with that.

    In any event, let just take issue with one more thing that you had to say.

    You know me to be an intelligent and incisive commenter.

    The Church Lady is an “ivory tower” type of person who can’t abide the humorous snark/sarcasm which I, and, let’s be honest, you, often employ for the purpose of making a point, someone who ridiculously equated it with the physical abuse of others.

    Don’t fault me for taking umbrage at the “Church Lady” bullsh*t which she directed at me in the other comment thread and here, and for my having said, “Enough is enough. Keep your f*cking sanctimony to yourself, and leave me alone”.

    “JUST a blog”, huh? (*laughing*)

    Seven words. . .

  11. Zuma,

    Guilty as charged. Write my confession and I’ll sign it.

  12. John Foust says:

    It’s more about religious exceptionalism. They want a free pass to negate anything they choose. Meanwhile, where’s our definition of “religion”? Which aspects of society can they negate, if you use this logic?

    • nonquixote says:

      Great questions John. Per Ms Otto’s letter, we have a moral responsibility, really a social obligation, to provide health care to those in need for whatever reason. Anything less is us becoming the people we criticize as somehow being beneath genuinely moral in their temperament. So where and when do we begin to question/examine our own behaviors and the things we as progressives, populists, “libruls,” or independents are willing to allow to continue?

  13. Zuma Bound says:

    @ The Church Lady

    Facing accusations of name-calling by Republicans, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said Sunday that he never called House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, a “baboon” at a dinner rally Friday night in Manchester.

    “I called him a buffoon,” said Buckley, correcting the record. “I wouldn’t want to insult baboons.”

    Ouch, huh, Church Lady?

    If you need to scold Speaker O’Brien, just e-mail him at the New Hampshire Democratic Party website.

    I have to warn you, though. I suspect his reaction to your uptight sanctimony may be much the same as mine. I’m also pretty sure that he’s read the Supreme Court’s opinion in Hustler Magazine v. Falwell (Jerry Falwell, another uptight, sanctimonious scold for those of you keeping score).

    Oh, and by the way, thank you. “I won the office pool, [sic] we [sic] settled on guessing the time it would take for you to [unclench]. Nobody would take the bet on whether or not you would [be able to]. That was a foregone conclusion.”

    Buh bye, Church Lady. Try to mind you own “Peeze” and “Queues” from now on, huh?

    “Better to be only thought [the sanctimonious, uptight bee-yatch], than to speak and remove all doubt”, right?

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