I’ve always known it: Readers quite often say it better than — well, the usual columnists. In an unusual move, I’ve dedicated this space to a letter written by Diana Smith, the mother of nine children, grandmother of seven children. Smith, a long time East Valley resident is doing what she can to awaken women to frightening games being played in the political arena. She warns women their emotions are manipulated, while their freedoms to choose for themselves are at high risk. Read on:

“Dear East Valley Women:

Are you having the same nightmare that keeps haunting me, that we’re living in the pages of novelist George Orwell’s “1984,” where the federal government of the United States is a totalitarian regime manipulating its very own citizens? Well then, wake up! It’s time to get out of the twilight zone and into the bright light of what’s really happening with President Obama’s recent Health and Human Services mandate.

Reality check #1: The president is not as interested in helping women as he is in gaining votes! Yes, you heard me. Abortion is no longer a winning issue for liberals, so the president has shifted his debate to contraception or “health care preventative services.”

Reality check #2: Every woman in the U.S. already has absolutely unrestricted access to reproductive/family planning services aka: contraception/abortion. There are no laws against the drugs, devices, procedures, services or methods that fall under “the mandate.”

Reality check #3: When Mr. Obama says he’s “committed to making sure that all women have ‘access’ to these important preventative services,” he’s really saying that he wants American women to get these preventative services for free, but we know that everything has a cost.

Reality check #4: Women are being manipulated by this mandate; yes, you read that correctly, manipulated! Under the guise of making sure, the president is pitting women against one another; either you’re “for it” or “against it,” right? This twilight zone is really a smoke screen to distract each one of us moms, grand-moms, sisters, daughters, and girlfriends from seeing the true issue: freedom of conscience, which according to Oxford and Webster means the right to follow one’s own beliefs in matters of religion and morality. A constitution guaranteeing freedom of conscience and the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action: to follow the dictates of conscience. (Random House Webster’s College Dictionary: 1999. New York.)

Reality check #5: It’s imperative that we, as women, unite behind the cause of freedom — the freedom of conscience. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has already proposed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012. Call your federal senators and representatives and ask them to support SB 2043. Talk to all of your girlfriends, daughters, mothers, and grandmothers. Encourage them to take action against this manipulation of American women. It’s not about who’s for it and who’s against it. It’s about standing together to protect our inner sense of what is right or wrong, it’s about the protection of our own health and integrity as women, as well as that of our daughters and granddaughters.

Wake up, girls — let’s stand together against the president’s mandated violation of our core convictions. Let’s be informed and equipped to discuss the realities with friends and neighbors, and let’s get registered to vote, because, here’s reality check #6: Every vote counts!

Thanks for listening.”

I stand with Diana. What’s at stake is far more than so-called free contraception; it’s our very roots of autonomy. In a nation and a world where women have never, ever enjoyed such conveniences and good health care, we are at risk of losing it all. Stay informed. Our families count on it.

East Valley resident Linda Turley-Hansen (turleyhansen@gmail.com) is a syndicated columnist and former Phoenix veteran TV anchor.

(3) comments


I respectfully disagree with just about everything you said. Right now, women are having to fight for every issue that we thought had been settled. I'm 68 and I remember vividly the life I was expected to live when I grew up in the 50's. I lived in Roll, Az. for about 4 years and I found that, in addition to moving across the country, I had moved back in time. You are free for now to follow your beliefs and convictions. That will change if the republicans have their way and restrict access to contraceptives and, even in cases of rape or incest, abortion. An Republican Oklahoma representative is fighting for a "personhood" law that will make a fertilized ovum a person. You mention mandate--what if contraceptives were not available? It could happen if the religious right have their way. You have daughters and granddaughters and so do I. But I remember what it was like before women became more than chattel. I guess you don't.


Thank you for this article. I am so tired of all the hype surrounding this contraception issue. This is really all about the dollars! This has nothing to do with restricting access and everything to do with WHO is going to PAY for what is already available. The fact is anyone can go to Planned Parenthood and get condoms for like $1. But most people aren't interested in that. They want the pill. Oh, but they can't afford the pill. So insurance companies should have to pay for the pill. After all, everyone has a right to health care don't they! Everyone has a right to their contraception of choice. But not eveyone can afford to pay for their choice. So now we have the federal government telling who is going to pay. This and all of the issues surrounding it have nothing to do with access, or what we have or don't have but money. And who will pay for those who cannot afford to. It's is ludicrous to think that any politician will be turning back the cultural clock to the 1950's. I agree that the president is quite skilled at creating two groups of people who are divided on an issue and then stepping back to watch the chicken fight. Ane once a winner is declared in swoops the moderator to get his prize....their votes.


Many insurance companies provide Viagra. Why do I have to pay for some other dude to have intercourse?

I have a moral issue paying taxes to support illegal wars and torture based on my religious beliefs. Can I stop paying taxes?

My understanding is that insurance companies find it's cheaper to provide contraception than pay for prenatal care/childbirth/children. The government didn't make them, they already do this.

People like Turley-Hanson and Smith always find some little corner of a big issue that fits their world view and then stop. I like to know all the facts.

Just because your employer provides insurance that provides contraception doesn't mean you have to take it if it's against your religious beliefs. This is a case of allowing your employer to make personal decisions for you based on their beliefs.

Your employer making family planning and heath care decisions for you is Orwellian.

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