A Woman’s Perspective on the Birth Control Issue
The following article was written by my niece, Adrienne, a senior engineering student at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY. Our family has been so proud of her academic accomplishments, and she has a heart of gold. Wishing that this young woman and all younger people educate themselves, keep their minds open and make contributions toward a healthy future for all.
“For those of you that are unaware, one of the hot topics in the political spectrum is the debate on birth control. I follow the news on and off and recently I’ve been thinking about this issue. It first really grabbed my attention in a class I’m taking this semester. My professor showed us a media clip highlighting the facts of this issue and I understood that right wing conservatives are strongly opposed to insurance coverage for contraceptives. Our professor then showed us a media clip of a woman speaking from the 90s that agreed with the right wing feelings of today. What struck me about this video however was the fact that Viagra, which indeed is a medicine that helps men to perform sex, is covered under insurance, and the people who are against contraceptives see no problem with Viagra being covered.
Our professor then posed the question to the class of “How many of you would make this single issue a reason of voting for or against a candidate?” I was the only one who raised my hand. I’m not sure if the women in the class were too afraid to raise their hands or whether they hold the same views as the ultra conservatives, but I feel all women, especially those of my age, should be informed on what is going on in today’s politics, including this issue.
I am not afraid to admit I am still a virgin and so is another friend my age. I have been using contraceptives for the past three months and she has been using them for the past four years. There are numerous proven medical reasons why women take different forms of birth control for reasons other than to prevent pregnancy. I use it to regulate my period, my friend uses it to regulate her period and help with her two conditions (Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), and another friend first used it to help with her irregular and painful periods. To further prove my point I asked a third friend who happened to be in the room where I wrote this article. She and her boyfriend both knew of two or three women who are using it to regulate their period and for ovarian cysts. Here are prime examples of using birth control for something other than pregnancy prevention.
On February 29 Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student, spoke to Congress advocating for health insurance plans to cover the cost of contraception. In response, the next day Rush Limbaugh, a conservative political commentator and radio host, stated “What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.” I wholeheartedly disagree with Limbaugh’s statements, regardless of what his new recent “apology” on March 3 states. It upsets me that there are people out there who share the same views because it shows a lack of respect for women and our right to choose appropriate medical care. I was, however, glad to hear that there are advertisers pulling their ads on his show in response.
I find it appalling that these supporters want to deny coverage of birth control and other valuable women’s health care procedures. Let’s look at what contraception is most commonly known for—pregnancy prevention. What is so wrong with birth control in a world that continues to struggle to provide food, education and medical care to those at the lower economic scale? Surely, these “taxpayers” realize that their dollars could continue to go toward food stamps, Medicaid and other social services for the poorer population, who could have prevented having so many kids if they used birth control in the first place? I know that cutting out social services for the poor is another big issue and it seems that the conservatives are now going after younger women because the older population spoke up so strongly when they wanted to cut Medicare. Are we as younger women going to be docile while women over 65 stand up and speak out? Yes, much of this is about how our taxes are spent. To quote John Stewart ‘I’m just saying to the people who are upset about their hard earned tax money going to things they don’t like, welcome to the f****** club. Everyone pays for sh** they don’t want to all the time. You know what, reimburse me for the Iraq War and oil subsidies and diaphragms are on me.’
Another thought is teen pregnancy, if teens cannot get birth control under insurance how many of them would really pay out of pocket for it. What is so wrong with helping to prevent pregnancy, no matter what age the woman is? Referring back to the issue that not all birth control is for prevention, I sure as hell don’t want to pay full price for medicine that I’m using to regulate my period. It only costs me $5 a prescription under my insurance plan. I shouldn’t have to pay full price just because men, of all people, say it shouldn’t be covered under my insurance.
Why say no to birth control and say yes to Viagra? Women, please think about this when considering whom to vote for in the coming election. And men, you may think this may not directly affect you, but it does affect your friends, sisters, mothers, and other female family members. If the condom breaks, you don’t like using condoms, or by the odd chance you’re allergic to the majority of condoms (it happens), wouldn’t you be happy to know your girlfriend is using birth control?”
Thanks for a great article Adrienne. Go out, make a difference and have a fabulous life.