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Published on Mommy Tracked (http://www.mommytracked.com)

Birth Control Bigots

Now that my three kids reliably use a toilet and can brush their own teeth, it’s been a while since I’ve been so flustered and frustrated that I felt like pulling out my eyelashes.

 

 

But last week was a doozy. First came the wondrous news [1] that U.S. health insurance companies were finally being required to cover prescription birth control, the most common drug prescribed for women. I felt like doing a jig on my kitchen counter.

 

Then came the backlash.

 

At first, the reactions were quasi-intellectual and quasi-credible. Stuff like The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney [2] alleging that the only reason Obama supports insured birth control is to reward drug companies and abortion providers who’ve contributed to his campaign. Twistedly cynical and derisive of the possibility that our president might actually be attempting something to benefit mankind, but okay, I see his point. I do not agree, but there is a teeny bit of logic here.

 

Then Sandy Rios, the Family PAC Federal Vice President, apparently detached his brain from the orbit of the universe:

 

"We’re $14 trillion in debt and now we’re going to cover birth control, breast pumps, counseling for abuse? Are we going to do pedicures and manicures as well?”

 

Rios also suggested that young women are better off having babies:

 

"Having a baby is not the worst thing. I think having multiple sex partners without any kind of restraint or responsibility is much more damning."

 

(Note to Rep. Rios: I’ve had babies, and I’ve had multiple sex partners without restraint. I need to report back that babies are worse than multiple sex partners.)

 

Then we heard from GOP Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) who suggested that providing free birth control would lead to the end of the entire human race, and that birth control medication is not, well, medication exactly.

 

“Preventing babies from being born is not medicine. That's not -- that's not constructive to our culture and our civilization. If we let our birth rate get down below replacement rate we're a dying civilization," King said [3] on the House floor last Monday.

 

Oh vey! Where do we start with these men?

 

First off, I’d like both Mr. Rios and Mr. King to spend nine days (let’s not bother with the whole nine months) throwing up, swelling up, and watching their bodies expand by 25 to 65 pounds, and then pushing out an eight pound bowling ball through their belly button, without pain medication of course, since that would not be natural and would limit their full enjoyment of the experience.

 

Next, each one must spend seven days straight with three children under age five without any daycare or babysitters or household assistance. All three kids must be fed three nutritious homemade meals a day. No television allowed. Cloth diapers only. During this time, each child gets the flu - sequentially of course, to spread out the festivities.

 

They cannot call their wives - or their mothers -- or 911 -- for help. They may not run away, leave the house for a short break, or even take a nap. No matter how much money they offer, no one is allowed to assist them.

 

Then we’ll see how they feel about birth control.

 

Next, let’s fast forward to the day one of their daughters gets into Harvard College after 15 years of four hours of homework a night. The same day, she finds out she is six weeks pregnant, after having sex three and a half times with her boyfriend. Gonna tell her that having a baby at 17 is not the worst thing in the world? Really?

 

And finally, lets tease out this concept that giving women low-cost access to birth control will end the human race. The hypothesis implies that women don’t have the right or instinct to voluntarily get pregnant - that if you give us the choice about when to conceive, most of us will pick…never. Does he know about the biological clock? Has Rep. King ever met a 36-year-old single childless woman? Or someone suffering from infertility who craves a baby like a gallon of Haagen Dasz at 2 am? What planet does this man live on? How is it possible that women voted for him?

 

Excuse me, I need to put a supersize Band-Aid on my forehead - that wall is way too hard.

 

As for me, I think the latest proposal for health insurance does not go far enough. If I were president, I’d hand out free birth control on every street corner and nightclub. I’d toss it into the backseat of every car I passed. I’d troll high school hallways with an Easter basket of condoms and morning-after pills.

 

My logic is simple and faultless: every single person in our society - male and female, teenagers, infants, grandparents, the childfree - collectively benefits from widespread access to affordable family planning. It’s a public good - as important as sidewalks, elementary school education and fire stations -- for girls and women to have babies only when we desire them and can care for them, emotionally and financially.

 

If men had babies or more raised children by themselves - or at least played a significant daily role in child rearing, and discovered firsthand how demanding and exhausting and important it is when done right - our male politicians and journalists and pundits would have a more balanced view of the tradeoffs all mothers face.

 

For some women, the time to have a baby comes at age 22. For others, 42. For others, never. But the choice is ours. Birth control should be too.

 

Originally posted on ModernMom.com


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