Friday, February 17, 2012

On Why Birth Control Matters

I rarely get political on this blog for the simple reason that I have no interest in baiting the looneys. But, the jackasses who are attempting to run Congress right now have taken their kabuki theater one step too far and now I must protest.

Yesterday on Capitol Hill, a House of Representatives committee convened a panel to discuss birth control - both the decision of the Obama administration to compromise on requiring religious organizations to cover it in health plans and just birth control in general.  Five MEN testified to the panel. MEN. No women were allowed.  No Democrats were allowed.  These 5 men felt that they knew the needs of women better than women themselves.

It's an outrage. There is no other way to phrase it. The fact that I lack a penis does not mean that I lack a brain, free will, or the ability to think critically.

The whole thing boils down to a few simple concepts for these assholes:

1) Abortion is murder.
2) Contraception of any kind is equivalent to abortion and thus also murder.
3) Women are sluts.
4) Because women are sluts everything that has to do with their reproductive health is their fault.
5) If those dirty sluts would keep their legs closed, abortion would be unnecessary.

That's it.  That's the whole shebang right there.  They tie it up in pretty words and couch it in other terms but at the bottom of all of that are those 5 points.

On the subject of abortion I am pro-choice.  You know what that means? It means I support a woman's choice to either have an abortion or not have an abortion.  I support the idea that each woman is going to know what's best for HER and then pursue that course.  In conjunction with this, I support the idea of a social safety net for women who choose to keep their babies and I support the funding of adoption services for those women who choose to put their children up for adoption.  Notice I use the words 'choice' and 'choose' a lot in there.  If you believe that abortion is murder, then don't have one. I support that choice 100%.  What I do NOT support is the idea that anyone has the right to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body and her own uterus.  People who claim to be pro-life are not pro-life - they are anti-choice.

If, as a society, we want the rate of abortion to decrease (and, by the way - that would be great), the very best thing we can do is make contraception reliable, cheap, and readily obtainable.  That means that insurance needs to cover it.  ALL INSURANCE.  It means supporting Planned Parenthood - who does far more to help prevent pregnancy than end it.  Not only will it decrease abortions, it will reduce the cost of health care for everyone.  It's far cheaper to prevent a pregnancy than it is to have a child or have an abortion.  FAR FAR CHEAPER.

And what of those women who take hormonal birth control for reasons OTHER than the prevention of pregnancy?  There are a host of things that the pill remains the best treatment for - from endometriosis to severe PMS.  Some of those conditions are physically quite painful - causing lost wages, lower work productivity, more doctor's visits, and thus higher health care costs.

But no.  To these men those women are just dirty sluts who have no respect for the 'pre-born.'

Let's talk about those 'sluts' for a minute.  What a degrading and useless term that is.  Adult women with free will have every right to enjoy the sexual side of their nature without fear of unwanted pregnancy.  They don't have to be married.  They don't have to be in a committed relationship.  They don't even have to be heterosexual. All they have to be is safe and responsible.  If they are those two things, they are not sluts, they are adults and what they do in their bedroom on their own time is none of anyone's damn business. Unwanted pregnancy is not some kind of punishment for enjoying sex.  Sex is fun and if you're not digging it, you're doing it wrong.  The punishment for doing it wrong is bad sex, not unwanted pregnancy.

Then there is the hoary old argument of "I don't want my tax dollars paying for someone's birth control because I'm religious and I don't believe in that."  OH NOES.  Guess what? My tax dollars paid for two wars I was vehemently opposed to, they financed the passage of policies I find abhorrent like the Defense of Marriage Act, and they paid for us to break the Geneva Conventions and torture people.  I hate all of that. But that's how taxes work.  You pay into a big pot and it gets used for lots of different things - some of which you'll agree with; some of which you won't.  If you want to pay less for health care over all, you'll support access to birth control.  If, however, you still don't personally want to use birth control -  DON'T.  It's really quite simple.

Women are not chattel.  We're not animals.  We're not stupid.  We don't need a bunch of jackass old men trying to drag us back to the '50's.  You know what happened during the 50's?  Stuff like this.  Go read it.  That happened well after abortion became legal.  And that is the howling barbarism these men would like to drag us back to while demanding we thank them for it because we poor women just don't have the capacity to make these decisions for ourselves.


Freedom of religion means that you are free to practice your religion as you see fit.  It does not mean that you are free to shove your religious beliefs down my throat and demand that you're right and I'm wrong.  It does not mean that you get to base a government on it. There's a reason we have separation between church and state in this country.  Go ahead, practice your beliefs, but don't throw straw arguments at me about how requiring birth control coverage is infringing on your right to do that.  Because you're wrong.  It's NOT.

Scot has begun a petition through the White House asking that Obama issue a signing statement negating any legislation that limits access to birth control.  You can find it here.  If you feel so inclined, please sign it.  Pass the link on. Spread it as far as you'd like.  We should all be outraged that in 2012 this is being discussed on Capitol Hill at a time when we have far more pressing issues to worry about.  I am outraged that these men think so highly of their own anatomy that they believe they can get away with this.

Not on my watch.  Not this time.  Not ever.


  1. Hear hear!

    I want a new term, for women like me (for anyone like me): pro-life-choice. I want life to be valued from the very start, even before viability, and all the way to the grave. Being able to value life like that and have quality of life like that involves being able to make choices. It's that simple. (I added and updated a couple things over at the rpmp site, in case you're interested.)

    And your point about what the GOP thinks about women is spot on. It's incomprehensible that a political party in American can't see the way they are infantilizing half the population. It's willful ignorance at best, misogyny at worst. Welcome to the 21st century, guys.

  2. I like your notion of pro-life-choice. I know there are a lot of people that feel that way. I respect that point of view. I still think abortion should remain safe and legal but there are ways to reduce its necessity that have nothing to do with banning it (or contraception). Having read your updates, I know you know what I mean.

  3. Restricting access to abortion does nothing but kill women. There's nothing pro-life about the so-called pro-life platform.

    I'm so glad you posted this, Cari. I don't suppose you've heard of They have some excellent arguments about keeping abortion legal, including facts and statistics that debunk the lies told by the anti-choicers. They also share some horrifying stories about back alley abortions and the deaths that result from those abortions; deaths that often leave actual living, breathing, children motherless. (Not to mention killing the mother, but since an embryo is more important than children and children are more important than women there's no point in bringing that up.)

    I'm at a point where I think women as a group need to start placing the burden for child-rearing on men. Carry an unwanted pregnancy to term? Give it to the father and walk off. Why not? Men do it to women all the time and they fail to pay child support and it's common enough that no one even bothers to comment.

    I don't know what these people think is going to happen. If a woman is invested in sleeping around or having casual sex, do they think she'll stop just because she got pregnant? She won't. If someone wants to sleep around then they're going to do so and do so whether or not they have children. You know, the way the fathers of these unplanned and often unwanted children did and continue to do.

  4. I love this post. I absolutely HATE the term pro-life. EVERYONE IS FREAKIN' PRO-LIFE. I actually, as a "pro-choice" woman, consider myself far, FAR, more "pro-life" than anti-abortion advocates. Because, let's face it, being anti-abortion means you are not supporting a woman. Not supporting a life that already exists.

  5. I'm simply going to paste what I tweeted after I clicked the "Create Petition" button:

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  7. Thank you. Could not have said it better myself.