March 8, 2012

Birth Control

Neutering is a much cheaper, much more effective method. Anyone?

So, this is a thing now. And I'm going to put in my two cents on why politicians should leave it the hell alone.

Birth control, and whether or not insurance companies should offer it without a copay and even whether or not women should have access to it, stands to be a real issue in the upcoming election. And when I use the word real, I do not mean legitimate, because it is not a legitimate issue for a presidential contender to discuss. There has been a lot of misinformed crap floating around about what birth control is or what it means to us as a society, almost exclusively spouted by old men, but the most egregious of all comments recently came from Rush Limbaugh, who believes birth control turns women into sluts.

His actual words:
"What does it say about the college co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We're the pimps."

We shouldn't be taking his comments seriously and do our best to just ignore him because he clearly has absolutely no understanding of how birth control works or even what this bill would mean, but there are people who listen to him and take his hateful remarks seriously, and those people scare me. Plus, this is an issue that's not only important for us as a society but something that will directly affect me. So I'm going to point out the glaringly obvious flaws in these comments.

1. Limbaugh doesn't have sex. This one seems the most clear and obvious. If he is having sex without the intention of creating a child (which is against Republican values anyway) he needs to be using some form of birth control so as not to have a child every year, and if he thinks so poorly of birth control he wouldn't use any or support his... wife? girlfriend? one night stand? from using it. So, Limbaugh must not have sex. At least, not with women.

2. Condoms and other barrier methods fail. Oral contraception makes for a lovely back up, and emergency contraception (which is not the same thing as abortion) is pretty darn crucial at preventing abortions, which both conservatives and liberals want, and helps responsible couples do the right thing.

3. Allowing women to have sex with men without getting pregnant does not turn them into sluts or prostitutes. It allows both women and men to have the kinds of relationships they want (most of which are loving and committed) without turning into rabbits and bankrupting our country. I have yet to figure out how this is bad. In fact, if a woman is going to be slutty it's better that she's using birth control so she doesn't either have abortions or bring several unwanted children into the world, which us taxpayers actually would be paying for. Whether that's condoms, barriers or oral contraception, preventing unwanted pregnancies when women and men have sex is something we must do.

4. People will always have sex. Any high school health teacher can tell you that people will want to have sex, and not having birth control available isn't going to stop them, which is why abstinence only education isn't effective and unwanted pregnancies do happen and the foster care system exists. Taking away the ability to prevent pregnancy will not ever in a million years turn people into chaste, abstaining, uber responsible citizens. And when married couples can't prevent themselves from having child after child, we'll change our minds about birth control.

5. Requiring health insurance companies to offer oral contraception without copays is not the same thing as paying women for sex. More accurately, it's giving men a way to have sex with women without being financially responsible for children. Think about it: a man can have the same amount of sex as any woman, but a woman can only get pregnant once a year at best while a man can get 365 women pregnant every year, which he would then have to pay. Who should be a bigger advocate of birth control?

6. Oral contraception treats many health issues unrelated to pregnancy or sex. I know a few women who have such horrible menstrual cycles that they are incapable of doing a whole lot of anything without major pain relievers and birth control helps lessen the intensity of the pain and allows them to have normal lives. Without hormonal birth control many women would be incapable of holding down a job, caring for others or completing tasks because of debilitating pain a few days every single month.

And finally...

7. Women need birth control because we have sex with men. Men get women pregnant because men have sex with women, and birth control prevents men from having children they have no interest in. Men benefit from birth control just as much as, if not more than, women but it seems like some of them are just too dumb to see the connection.

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