Today is super Tuesday, there is nothing super about it. I hate politics.
Over the past few weeks we have seen an increase in public discussion of women’s rights, and what women should and should not be doing with their own bodies. The controversy as usual started with the abortion debate, then moved to law makers wanting to pass bills mandating invasive procedures for women who wanted to have an abortion, then to top it all off we have a widespread attack on female contraception. When will this madness end! Suddenly when did choices I make for my body become everybody else’s business and when did everyone really start to care so much?
The icing on the cake appeared last week when Rush Limbaugh decided to take it upon himself to call Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” on his nationally broadcast radio program. He must not realize that by calling her those names, he attacked any woman who has ever used birth control. He has since offered an useless apology, but really Rush, we all know that you are not sorry for what you said. Rush really should have kept his tired apology. To use his media influence to publicly degrade and humiliate a woman in our American society is disgusting to say the least, and an outright public form of bullying. Yes we live in a country that has freedom of speech, but with that freedom also comes personal responsibility. Rush is well aware of the power he has when he is on the radio, to abuse that power to spread an openly misogynistic and hateful message to the public should never be tolerated. So good for the advertisers who pulled out of his show, he should understand that ignorance about a woman, and a woman’s body is not an acceptable message to spread to the American public.
For Rush, or anyone else for that matter to assume that female contraception is just about sex, I would say why not take a minute to truly educate yourself about female contraception before publicly denouncing that insurance companies should cover the cost for it. First of all female contraception is a medication, just like every other medication you get a prescription for. It is not any less relevant than your heart or diabetes medication. It is taken as prescribed from the doctor. Yes, contraception stops women from getting pregnant. Pregnancy is very much a health issue. Does that make every woman who takes contraception a slut? Absolutely not. About 99% of women have taken a form a birth control in their life. Men, if you think not, then your wife, girlfriend, mother, daughter, or sister, is probably not being honest with you. So why not rethink that definition of a “slut” real quick. Married women use birth control. Why? Because they just may not want to get pregnant. Is she a slut? Women in monogamous relationships readily use birth control, the 15 or 16-year-old high school student down the block is probably using birth control . Are these females sluts? No they are just using a medication to control their own bodies.
I’m not a doctor, but real quick education on the other uses of birth control for anyone who questions why insurance companies should cover the cost of contraception. That adolescent girl going through early stages of puberty may be experiencing severely heavy bleeding monthly and cramping so bad that she cannot go to school 5 days out of the month due to these cramps. Her doctor prescribes her birth control to make that monthly week of bleeding, just a little bit more manageable (it still sucks!). Birth control helps women regulate that cycle of blood so at least they can determine when they will feel like crap for a week. Hormones have also has been found to assist with ovarian cysts, and decrease the risk of ovarian cancer. Bottom line, contraception is a form of medication, and it is also a preventative measure. Come on now, I’m sure you would rather cover the cost of stopping the pregnancy, rather than the cost of that abortion, or the cost of raising the baby when I become a single mother and start to use those entitlement programs that you also want to diminish. Now which is cheaper?
It will always troubles me when I hear the ignorant comments made about this issue. Comments such as “Why should I pay for women to have sex”. Suddenly why do men have so much to say about female birth control, when in reality they know absolutely nothing about birth control. Until men start bleeding out of their penis once a month, every man should just stay quiet about this issue. Men have no idea what a woman goes through with her body over the course of a lifetime, and to joke about female contraception proves how little they really know. No man or woman is paying for any woman to have sex. Unless you are actually leaving money on the table when the sex is over, that is when you are paying for a woman to have sex. Insurance companies cover the cost of Viagra. Why am I paying for men to have an erection, just so they can really have sex? When will we start having that debate? (I’m guessing no time soon right?)
Now if you wonder why you pay money into an insurance premium that covers the cost of birth control, stop thinking about it. Lets be honest, If all insurance companies decided they were not going to cover the cost of birth control, I highly doubt that anyone would notice a difference in the amount you are paying into insurance. However, you probably would notice the rise in unwanted pregnancies. If you are really that concerned over a few pennies, perhaps you would feel more comfortable with men practicing that pull out method that seems to work or not work so well (just ask the girls on 16 and pregnant how that worked out). But then again, that form of contraception is free, so I guess that would make you happy. Lets take money off the table here. It is not an issue about money.
On a positive note, maybe we can open up and have an intelligent conversation about female contraception. For a woman to enjoy sex does not make her a slut, it makes her human. For a man to degrade a woman for her sexual choices makes him a child. To any man who has a sister, a daughter, a girlfriend, or a wife, enlighten yourself to the importance of easy access to contraception. Increase your knowledge of its uses before passing and inaccurate judgement. Do I expect men to care about birth control? No they will never have to take it. However if you’re a father with a teenage daughter, do not assume the worst if your daughter wants to use birth control. You don’t want to see her and her baby on MTV right? Have a conversation with her, show her you are comfortable with the issue so she can talk to you. Ignoring that your daughter wants to have sex does not make it go away, the sex is will still be there, you just won’t be knowing about it.
If you are a boyfriend, or a husband, talk to your woman about her birth control if she is using it. Not all women are in a rush to get pregnant. It may be helpful for you to know that. A conversation is all that is needed. A conversation will stop judgments, insults, and inaccurate notions that continue to cultivate in a culture of ignorance.
In case your still interested in women’s health, check out these links:
Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences.
- Bonnie Fuller: Every Woman Who Has Ever Used Contraceptives Needs to Fight Rush Limbaugh’s War on Women! (huffingtonpost.com)
- Yeah, Rush, we are sluts. Now give us our birth control. (thegreengeeks.wordpress.com)
- What Men Should Know About Birth Control (everydayhealth.com)