Mark Kimble of St. Catherine of Siena Church in Kennesaw, Ga., stands with others during the "Stand Up for Religious Freedom" rally on the steps of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta March 23. They were there to show support for religious freedom and o pposition to a federal contraceptive mandate. (CNS photo/Michael Alexander, Georgia Bulletin)

The current administration tells us there is a war on women. And there is — absolutely — a war being waged on women. But where is this war coming from?

To answer this, let’s go back to 1960. That’s when the birth control pill debuted. Three years later, Betty Friedan in “The Feminine Mystique” convinced women that their victimization by men was over.  Bemused, we men watched women demonstrating, burning their bras in “protest,” and among other things, even refusing to let us open a door for them. We asked ourselves, “Is this what they want — truly?”

In her characteristically unsubstantiated way Friedan wrote, “…the fact that American women are kept [by men] from growing to their full human capacities…is taking a far greater toll on the physical and mental health of our country than any known disease.”

The legacy of “The Feminine Mystique” with the books and articles it spawned still plague us nearly 50 years later with the same message. Feminine happiness means a career, late or no marriage, and few or no children — and no reliance on a man. To prevent this great toll on the physical and mental health of women, there is of course, contraception, abortion, and sterilization.

Women have a right to be happy

So women, convinced that their physical and mental health were at stake if they stayed home having baby after baby amidst the crashing boredom, opted for the typing pool, the retail counter, or any number of other mundane jobs — the same kinds of jobs most men have.

Nevertheless, from the radical feminist’s perspective, mental health, personal satisfaction, and a sense of self-worth all depend on having a job — any job — whatever it takes to get outside the home and away from kids.

The Feds make their move

If men were largely the cause of all women’s problems, surely the worst men had to be those old celibates who know nothing about women, who run the Catholic Church. And in order to continue their domination, they condemn birth control and abortion. As a sop, they offer the “rhythm method” which everyone knows is totally worthless. Ooh! Wouldn’t that just infuriate thinking, liberated women — even Catholic women? Clearly, the Church needs a radical change.

Staffed and encouraged by Catholics protesting against the Magisterium, the Federal Government has made its move against the Church and seemingly, for women. It now feels secure in pursuing the mandate of requiring health insurance to provide contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization. Any opposition to the government’s mandate — which is coming mostly from the Catholic Church — gets accused of waging war on women.

The Catholic Church? Really? Consider that contraception has made possible a radical feminism with its concomitants of — on an unprecedented scale in human history — abortion, infidelity, divorce, illegitimacy, promiscuity, sexually transmitted infection and the poverty of single parenthood.

And where would you suppose most of the suffering from these societal ills falls? Hint: you see very few secular men complaining about the sexual revolution.

And let us not forget that with the pill, there are real risks to women’s health. Including cancer, cardiovascular and stroke disease, liver disease, and a host of minor problems including bleeding, nausea and vomiting, breast problems, headache, swelling, emotional problems, lowered sexual interest, and abortifacient potential to name some.

Can you imagine men putting up with the risks of the pill ? Or the IUD for that matter — risks of serious infection, infertility, bleeding, cramping, plus abortifacient potential?

Natural Family Planning supports women

With natural family planning (NFP), there are no complications and the risk of pregnancy can be the same as with the pill. Cost is negligible. Divorce is rare. Why is there so little information about NFP outside Catholic diocesan offices?

In 1968, Pope Paul VI predicted in Humanae Vitae that with the advent of contraception  “…[men] may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.”

The real war on women is not coming from the Church. The disappeared reverence due a woman — surely a result of warfare — is most paradoxical in that it is largely the result of the enthusiastic cooperation of radical feminists. Benedicamus Domino.