Monday, March 5, 2012

the birth control debate.

About 99 percent of the time, you will find that I try to keep my politics and faith out of many conversations. I don't want to offend people, and I don't necessarily need to put all of my opinions out there. Some, sure. Not all.

But this is important to me.

You've probably heard by now that Rush Limbaugh called a law student by the name of Sandra Fluke a slut because of her pro-birth control argument. He's apologized but many people, myself included, don't particularly believe this. A number of organizations (including AOL) have pulled commercials from Limbaugh's radio show. He was wrong.

Because not everyone that takes birth control is a slut. Not everyone that takes birth control is having sex. And even if they are, so what?

a face situation i'd rather forget (2003)
I started taking birth control when I was 19. Not because I was in college and partying and sleeping around. I wasn't. I took it because my doctor thought it would be a good idea for me.

For example, some women take birth control to help clear up acne. Not many people probably remember my terrible teenage acne, but I do. It was awful. It wouldn't go away. Nothing I tried would make it go away. Eventually I had to go on Accutane, which I honestly believe is the only thing besides birth control that helped a majority of my acne disappear.

One of the main reasons I take birth control is because it helps keep my face from breaking out and potentially scarring like it did when I was younger.

Women take it to control the symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Women take it to keep their cycles regular and manageable. Women take it for a number of reasons that don't all include sex.

If someone is taking it because she wants to protect herself against an unplanned pregnancy, shouldn't we be applauding her for being responsible?

The problem is not women on birth control. The problem is that there are people who are having children because they are not using protection, and some of those children end up mistreated instead of cared for. The problem is that birth control is so expensive, women who are trying to be responsible are ending up spending an incredible amount of money (although less than having a child) in order to be so responsible.

ThinkProgress posted these stats on their tumblr, based on this article on the high cost of birth control from American Progress:
  • Oral contraceptives, or “the pill,” can cost $1,210 per year without health insurance.
     
  • Women of reproductive age spend 68 percent more on out-of-pocket health care costs than do men, in part because of contraceptive costs.
  • Surveys show that nearly one in four women with household incomes of less than $75,000 have put off a doctor’s visit for birth control to save money in the past year.
It's wrong that we are trying to limit who can take birth control based on who can afford it, because some people don't think of it as a responsible or health-conscious choice. It's wrong that we consider women sluts who might want to make that choice. It's wrong that it's 2012 and we're having this discussion.

You can disagree with me. You can point out flaws in my logic. You can tell me I am wrong because I take birth control. But I will echo what Kat said in her post: "What I’d really like you to do is consider this an open invitation.  To break the silence on your blog and show your face as an ordinary woman who uses birth control.  Pay it forward and invite your readers and blog friends to write as well.  And if you do (decide to write, that is), please leave me a comment with the link to your post."

My use of birth control doesn't define me. And I hope you won't be closed-minded enough to think it does.