First of all, women have had access to birth control for about two generations. For many women, their mothers were born in a world where the pill was a normal part of life!
Now, in 2012, we are suddenly…out of nowhere… going back to arguments we had over 50 years ago.
Margaret Sanger risked imprisonment for violating the Comstock Act, which forbade distribution of birth control information.
So after 50 years of having no issues with the pill, we are suddenly seeing arguments popping up online and on TV about the fact that birth control is a “luxury item”, that “it’s really not that expensive” or that women should just put “a Bayer aspirin between their knees.” In addition to these arguments, some people even dare to use the word “freedom” to explain why women should be denied access to contraceptives, and then say that women who use birth control are just “sluts and prostitutes.”
Contraception changed the lives of millions of women, who could now compete with men in the workplace.
These arguments are ridiculous and play on people’s baser instincts of prejudice and stereotyping – as they clearly don’t make any sense.
Let’s assume that the pill is simply a “luxury item” then what is viagra, sleeping medication, acne medication, anxiety medication and even vaccinations? If this is our concern – insurance companies having to cover luxury items – then why don’t we introduce bills for eliminating all medications that don’t immediately save your life? This assertion is simply an excuse for prejudice and unequal treatment.
And the argument that women should just buy their own birth control because “it’s not that expensive” also drives me crazy. If birth control is really not that expensive, then why not just have the insurance companies pay for it like they already do now? It is clearly not affecting their record profits. Why would we be wasting so much time and political resources to change something so inexpensive and trivial?
Yes – let’s just undo years of progress, so that insurance companies don’t have to pay for something so “cheap” as the pill.
Again, the arguments we see are simply a guise for oppressing women’s rights – and they make absolutely no sense! The real question is why we are revisiting debates we laid to rest over 50 years ago? We have many current issues to deal with – such as the economy.
Check out our 5 Questions w. Awesome Women page.We have a new interview with the creator of the site IamDrTiller.com and creator of the Safe Abortion Project. She is a tireless fighter and advocate for women’s rights and especially women’s reproductive rights. She is a frequent lecturer and guest speaker on the Women’s Rights circuit because of her inspiring work and accomplishments. Steph is an inspiration to us all! Thanks for your work Steph!
by Kate Pittman:
If you haven’t been paying attention to the anti-abortion, anti-contraception, anti-woman legislation that is currently being put forth and passed in state and national government, it’s time to wake up. The ultra-conservative anti-choice religious right has gained a very loud and powerful voice in government while we, the women who believe in reproductive freedom, stand by. Far too often it seems we have no voice at all. I watch in horror as I read about each new attack on my body and my life.
The individual laws requiring biased counseling, restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion and contraceptives, waiting periods, restrictions on method, and other attempts to reduce our reproductive rights are too numerous to list here. But you should know how serious this is right at this very moment. Please check these links if you have any doubt the Tea Party has something on its agenda other than jobs, jobs, jobs:
Yes, this is personal to me and it should be personal to anyone who is a woman who believes that she has the ability to make the right choices for herself in her own life. What can be more personal than the choice to have a child? Yet there are many who seem to think I am incapable of making serious choices about my life. I boil over with rage when I read about my rights being infringed upon by people who purport to want to “protect life.”
Let us be clear about one thing: this battle is not about life. It is not about saving unborn fetuses from murder. It is an attack on women’s sexual freedom, and consequently women’s autonomy, plain and simple.
When you get right down to it, you would be hard-pressed to find many people in the world who think abortion is a good thing. The overwhelming majority of pro-choice people will tell you that we also believe that if you don’t want to have a baby, the absolute best course of action is to never get pregnant in the first place. Women do not choose abortion lightly. Yet there are those who seem to believe that we are incapable of knowing when we are ready to raise a child. These are the same people, by the way, who are always proclaiming that the government should stay out of our personal lives. Oh, unless they disagree with the way we live those lives. They always seem to forget to add that part.
A woman, in this view, is nothing but a walking, talking set of reproductive organs.
If the Anti-Choice movement really cared about reducing the number of abortions, they would focus on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies. Yet they do just the opposite, taking every opportunity to reduce sexual education and availability of contraceptives.
Making abortion illegal does not stop abortion. Making it difficult to obtain an abortion by adding obstacles ensures that the only people who will still be able to choose whether or not to abort a pregnancy are the rich, who can afford to travel to a place where abortion is available. Relegating abortion to back alleys only harms women, and is sometimes even fatal; it does not save fetuses. When a woman wants to make this decision, she will find a way to make it. When abortion is legal and safe, women are protected. When abortion is illegal and hidden, we are not.
This is a scary time for anyone who believes in reproductive freedom. According to the Guttmacher Institute, in the first quarter of 2011 alone, 916 measures related to reproductive health and rights have been introduced in the 49 legislatures that held regular sessions. Seven states enacted 15 new laws on these issues.
If you feel strongly about these issues, now is the time to stand up. Let your voice be heard. Make sure to vote. Don’t let their voices be louder than ours.