The Republican angle: Feminism
[Columns, letters or cartoons published are the work of the attributed author and do not necessarily represent the offical views or opinions of “The Highland Echo.”]
My column this week is going to address an issue that I consider difficult to talk about in the political realm. The main topic for my article is the “F” word: feminism.
According to “Merriam-Webster Dictionary,” feminism is the “theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes; organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.” As a male, I, along with the vast majority of men don’t constantly think about the issues that women face every day. One of the biggest issues that face today’s women are the rights to contraception and the right to terminate a pregnancy.
Before we look at the main issues of the everyday woman, allow me to give you a brief overview of women’s rights. In 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. This allowed all American women the right to vote. As women gained the right to vote, there were many different changes in laws to protect women as they entered into the work force.
One example of the changes in the law occurred during the Kennedy administration. In 1963, President Kennedy signed into law the Equal Pay Act, which amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to prohibit pay discrimination based off of sex. One of the biggest things to happen in women’s rights was Roe versus Wade, a 1973 Supreme Court ruling that allows women to have abortions within the first trimester of their pregnancy. With this ruling came other stipulations and regulations to abortions.
One of the most recent pieces of legislation is the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Now that you have a better understanding of how we came to this point, I want to look at the issues of today. As mentioned earlier, women’s health and access to different contraceptives has been a key issue in the presidential race. This has become a pivotal part of the election due to the fact that with ObamaCare, women have easier access to contraception. Many women from the left are concerned that their newfound right may be taken away if Obama loses next month.
Personally, I believe that women should have the right to contraception. I say that with some hesitation, though. If a woman is unable to pay for her contraception, then the government should step in and help her out. A question that I often find myself pondering is why does the government provide contraception such as birth control? One would think that if a woman is capable of being sexually active, that they as individuals should be able to provide their own contraceptives such as condoms or birth control.
According to plannedparenthood. com, for a woman to get birth control, they simply have to get an exam from a physician, which costs from anywhere around $35 to $250. Birth control itself is typically priced anywhere from $15 to $50 per month. Also, keep in mind that a woman does not have to go the doctor every time her prescription runs out. A doctor can write a prescription with a certain amount of refills.
In my mind, it makes more sense for a woman to be able to decide for herself on what she wishes to do, rather than the government paying for it. Many young men in the United States are often told by their parents that if they do not wish to bring a child into this world, they need to “keep it in their pants.”
Since we are a society where equal opportunity is given to both sexes, shouldn’t we expect the same from women?
2 thoughts on “The Republican angle: Feminism”
Okay, three things I just have to throw out here for my own sake:
1. Women pay about 68% more than men for contraceptives, because, yeah, men can get free birth control, too. As long as Republicans don’t go on a witch hunt against Planned Parenthood and get it shut down somehow, men can go to it and other health clinics and get a handful of free condoms. Condoms which probably cost less than $10.00 for an entire box. According to estimates, if I started taking the pill today and didn’t have health insurance, I would have to pay around $60,000 to be allowed to have safe sex through my potential child-bearing years. That’s not spare change. This isn’t about women not taking responsibility for their birth control, it’s about a huge discrepancy between what men have to go through and what women have to go through to fulfill this bond. Women can’t just go buy condoms for their partner; any sexually active person who’s actively trying to prevent pregnancy would probably tell you that they obviously aren’t enough.
2. Birth control isn’t used exclusively to prevent pregnancy. Only around 42% of women on the pill use it exclusively for that. There are plenty of valid medical reasons that women who aren’t sexually active or who aren’t having sex that could impregnate them are on the pill, like regulating menstrual cycles and reducing migraines and cramps.
3. Obamacare, a term I use with affection, doesn’t take away a woman’s right to choose her own birth control. She can still decide for herself what actions she wants to take to prevent pregnancy. This simply gives women an accessible option, especially women who can’t afford to have more children and don’t have insurance or the ability to pay for their own birth control. Family planning is an essential thing, especially to low income communities, and the right to contraception is necessary.
As a man who cares/thinks about women’s issues fairly often, and, while realizing that this is the “perspectives section,” it needs to be noted that the “shouldn’t we expect the same from women?” argument is absurdly reductive and a blatant denial of a basic health care right to half our population, a good portion of which legitimately couldn’t afford even your ~$50 a month projection.
-Tarwater Liberal Rage, signing out.