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Andrea's column: It's not about the pill, Sillyhead

By now, you must have heard about Foster Friess and the remarks he made during an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell.

In case you missed it, when Mitchell interviewed the billionaire last week, the subject of birth control came up. Friess, who finances a super PAC on behalf of presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, said he didn't understand what the fuss was about because birth control is so cheap.

Mitchell set him straight on the not-so-cheap cost but Friess was on a roll. He said women should use Bayer aspirin like they did in his day.

"The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly," he said, with a good ole boy chuckle.

While Mitchell tried to regain her composure and proceed with the interview, I was taken back to "my day" when birth control pills, not Bayer, were my only solution for staying out of the poor house.

My husband and I eloped the year after we graduated from high school. Fifteen months later, our darling daughter was born. We wanted another baby; just not right away.

My hubby was in school and worked part-time. I would need to work, too. Maybe, in a couple of years, we could afford another child.

Six weeks after giving birth, I explained that to my doctor and cautiously broached the subject of birth control pills. He was part of a group of male obstetricians -- all Catholic -- who had brought my husband, me, and our nine siblings into the world.

The physician could give me a prescription, he said, but only with permission from my priest. I knew the Benedictine would never agree, so I didn't ask. Instead, I waited a few days, called the doctor, and said it was okay. Later, I went to church and confessed my lie.

Many sources claim that 98 percent of Catholic women have used artificial birth control at least one time in their life to prevent pregnancy or correct medical problems.

Even so, Rick Santorum, a Catholic, has made an issue of contraception. If elected to the presidency, he says he will keep his religious beliefs about birth control out of the White House.

Yet, in an October interview, he stated, "One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is, I think, the dangers of contraception in this country."

Really, Rick? Don't you think there are more important issues at hand? Did you miss last Sunday's 60 Minutes report that said one-third of unemployed Americans have been out of work for over a year?

Women care about unemployment, Rick They care about the economy. Health insurance. Education. The arts. That is what you should be talking about. What "the fuss" should be about.

Women can figure out birth control on their own. They can figure out who should be in the White House, too.

And for sure, Rick, it will not be the candidate who wants to set them back 50 years.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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