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Father fights to keep birth control out of his grown daughters' hands

Rebecca Bracken is a news and views writer.






Dad goes to extremes to block adult daughters from getting birth control

A Missouri state representative, Paul Wieland, and his wife Theresa love them some Jesus. They’re super Catholic, and they think birth control is bad. Evil, in fact.

They hate birth control so much that it’s not good enough just to abstain from taking it themselves. They are suing the federal government to exempt their family from the free birth control provision of his state-provided health care coverage.

See, ObamaCare (aka the Affordable Care Act), which has been upheld by the Supreme Court, mandates that all insurance plans must offer copay-free birth control to women who want it. The Wielands want everyone to know that for their family, which, incidentally includes three daughters, two of whom are adults, to have any access at all to birth control is an affront to their religious freedom.

More: Tina Fey talks women's reproductive rights

“I see abortion-inducing drugs as intrinsically evil, and I cannot in good conscience preach one thing to my kids and then just go with the flow on our insurance,” Rep. Wieland said in a 2013 interview about why he’s filing the suit. “This is a moral conundrum for me. Do I just cancel the coverage and put my family at risk? I don’t believe in what the government is doing.”

Excuse us a moment while our heads explode.

There are so many things about this that bother us that it seemed a list was in order. And so, here are the top 10 things that really get us about Paul Wieland’s lawsuit to block his wife's and daughters' government-protected access to birth control.

More: The Mamafesto: Where motherhood and feminism collide

1. Religious Freedom review

This whole idea of “religious freedom” keeps getting twisted by people like Wieland to include the behaviors of others. See, religious freedom means you have the freedom to follow whatever religious practices you want, within the law. It also means we have the right to roll our eyes at you.

2. IUD bad, Viagra good?

Why do nuts like this not get just as worked up about Viagra and Cialis? How are boner pills less evil than an IUD? It's hard to understand the distinction other than "men are endowed by their creator with the right to do whatever they want with their privates," while girls need permission from their dad or husband. In which case, F that.

3. What's sexy about regular periods?

Would Jesus really get mad for a girl trying to regulate her periods? We find that a little hard to buy.

4. Free the Wieland girls!

Does anyone have the Wieland girls’ contact info? We'd love to take the two adult daughters out for drinks, watch an Amy Schumer marathon and then see if that doesn't get them in the mood to take their power back from their daddy.

5. What's so special about your morality?

Why does Wieland need the rest of us to spend tax dollars on courts so that he can deny his daughters birth control? Shouldn’t just telling them, “No birth control for you,” suffice for such a God-fearing family? The rest of us aren’t asking the government to help us impose our brand of morality on kids.

6. Birth control and porn aren't the same

In the lawsuit, the Wieland attorneys compare birth control to “passing an edict that parents must provide a stocked, unlocked liquor cabinet in their house whenever they're away for their minor and adult daughters to use.” They also compared birth control to porn. Maybe they just aren't doing any of this right?

7. My daughter, my body

How freaky is it that a father can exert this much control over his adult daughters? Or would even want to!

8. "My dad says I have to wear a burka"

Does Wieland think women should get to drive? This level of control being exerted over American women with rights is a little disconcerting to those of us ladies who have grown attached to rights like driving, voting and showing our hair. Just sayin'.

9. Paging notorious RBG!

Please, please, please let this go to the Supreme Court so we can all read Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s response, because we have a feeling it would be epic.

More: Worst U.S. states for reproductive rights in 2014

10. Why we still need to fight for women's rights

Families like the Wielands are why feminism and the fight to expand and protect women’s reproductive rights are just as important today as they were when we first demanded the right to own property or to vote. We, and we alone, must have the final say over our bodies and reproductive lives. Dedicate your uterus to Jesus? Good for you! But do it because it’s your choice, and empower our girls to find their own path. But we have to fight, whenever and wherever we can, a status quo that requires women to get permission from their daddies and husbands to access medical care. It’s unacceptable and un-American.

Let's just hope the courts ultimately agree.

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