Who would have thought that a tiny little pill could cause so much controversy?
When I started taking birth control in high school, I assure you I never once thought that some rich old dudes such as lawmakers and conservative politicians would be pissed about it.
It seems like a pretty simple concept to me: as a woman, I am free to enter into any sexual contract with another human being on my own terms. I have a right to determine when, where, how and with whom this happens.
Based on that logic, then, shouldn’t I be able to choose what method of contraception I choose, if I decide to use it?
The reality is, though, that not everyone can afford contraception.
I have great insurance, and my birth control still costs me $21.80 a month. Contrary to popular belief, both Planned Parenthood and the health department do not throw out free birth control to all those who come calling. Their systems work on a sliding scale based on income and insurance coverage. Even though I only make about $500 dollars a month, I make too much to receive free or even discounted birth control from these organizations. A woman has to make next to nothing or lie about her income in order to benefit from these services.
That doesn’t sound like much, but when I’m working hard to pay for school, gas, my personal expenses and my dog’s expenses (okay, so maybe I spoil him), every cent that I can save counts.
My favorite argument is that a kid will cost a hell of a lot more than birth control.
While this is true, the fact that it even needs to be said is why this conversation about contraception is so important.
According to Lawsonry News, women pay over 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care expenses than men do. While women pay the same insurance premiums as men, more of their medications are simply not covered by their insurance policies.
Because of this, women without insurance are less likely to make contraception a priority because they are paying ridiculously high amounts for the medications that keep them alive.
So, will a kid cost me more? Sure. But in the short term, I don’t have much of a choice.
Most people seem to think in terms of immediate needs, and it is no business of our lawmakers to tell a woman that she ought to do otherwise when they themselves do not.
A donor to Rick Santorum’s super PAC (How dumb are those things, anyway?) made a statement about women in his generation having free access to contraception and said something to the effect of holding an aspirin bottle between one’s knees is a totally free form of birth control.
To paraphrase, he said to keep your damn legs closed, implying that if a woman wants access to contraception she must be promiscuous.
It amazes me that men have the audacity to suggest that if women don’t want to get pregnant, they shouldn’t have sex.
Thanks, bro, but most people do not have sex for the sole purpose of conceiving children.
Many people wrongly assume that contraception is frowned upon by the church because the church believes sex is only for procreation.
Since Rick Santorum is Roman Catholic, and it was a top donor to his super PAC who made such an idiotic remark, this is an important item to discuss.
The popular opinion is that the Catholic Church condemns contraception because the only purpose of sex ought to be to conception. The more accurate reason for the ban on contraception is that any sexual intercourse could result in a pregnancy.
Methods of birth control, therefore, prohibit the life that could have come from such a union, and is, therefore, not to be used.
Now, let’s be real.
Lawsonry also estimates that 98 percent of Catholic women have used methods of birth control not authorized by their faith at least once in their lives.
The bottom line is that they should be allowed to do so if they choose.
If a pattern is not emerging at this point, someone is not paying attention.
It seems to me that women are given more rules than choices in this country. Even the decisions we are able to make for ourselves are questioned and regulated by those in power who believe they can or ought to think for us.
Contraception is a relatively small issue in a sea of gender-equality issues.
The truth is, we have not come nearly as far toward equal rights for women as some like to think.
But if we back off now on things like birth control because we’re afraid of being called “sluts” by certain political commentators or that people will look at us differently for advocating the sexual freedom of women, we could lose everything we’ve been fighting for.
That is not a chance we can be willing to take.