Friday, March 16, 2012

Using "the pill" equivalent to using a condom? Are uptight Conservatives that in the dark about women's sexual health?

Conservatives seem to think women use the pill like men use a condom. Idiots.

Gotta watch your baby-maker. I mean, uterus.
To the vast majority of women, taking the pill is no big deal. There are a variety of reasons why women begin taking the pill and at what age they start. I got a prescription for contraceptives in my late teens. Other women I know, including in my own family, started the pill much earlier because of highly irregular, unusually painful or heavy cycles. Some women try the pill, but find they prefer not to be on it. Some women prefer patches, shots, rings or implants. The point is, we all have to go through it and deal with it (our periods that is) ... and we all pretty much end up having sex at some point. Enter (more than 50 years ago I might add): oral contraceptives. Except in 2012, women's access to the pill is under attack, as well as the reputations of women who take the pill.

In Arizona, women may be forced to provide personal details from their health care providers to their "moral" employers to justify that they aren't just using the pill for pregnancy prevention. (In other words, for sex). These details could range from including the very nature of your uh-em, lady cycle, to private medical disorders whose symptoms oral contraceptives help treat (such as polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis).

Besides the medical reasons, there are plenty of other non-sex benefits, which include acne control, PMS relief, and to time that time of the month more conveniently. However, the "it's violating my religious freedom" or the "who's going to pay for it" arguments are the only intellectual backbone social conservatives can pretend to give this "controversy". To me, it seems there is a false equivalency being drawn between the pill and condoms. Although it isn't always said outright, this is how the pill is being treated rhetorically by conservatives (including high profile conservatives):

"Let me get this straight, Ms. [Sandra] Fluke, and I'm asking this with all due respect: You want me to give you my hard-earned dollars so you can have sex." Bill O'Reilly on "The O'Reilly Factor," March 2012. (Highest rated show on primetime cable news)
Back in my day, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees.” Foster Fries, wealthy Wisconsin businessman and Rick Santorum backer. 
"Ms. [Sandra] Fluke, have you ever heard of not having sex? Have you ever heard of not having sex so often?" Rush Limbaugh on "The Rush Limbaugh Show," March 01 2012. (Highest rated nationally syndcated talk radio show in US). 
"A Georgetown co-ed told Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s hearing that the women in her law school program are having so much sex that they’re going broke, so you and I should pay for their birth control. Speaking at a hearing held by Pelosi to tout Pres. Obama’s mandate that virtually every health insurance plan cover the full cost of contraception and abortion-inducing products, Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke said that it’s too expensive to have sex in law school without mandated insurance coverage." Craig Bannister,, Feb. 2012 
"This has never been an argument about access; it’s an issue about who pays. The GOP is not anti-women, because they don’t want institutions that object to birth control to have to pay for birth control. The GOP argument is that birth control is a luxury good because people choose to have sex and can survive without it. For those of you that say birth control has other health benefits, you’re right. but you can’t win that discussion if you don’t put the other benefits front and center and focus on fear-mongering." Neil Weinberg Eastern Echo student newspaper East Michigan State University March 2012 
 “If these young women were responsible people and didn’t have sex to begin with, we wouldn’t be in this situation." New Hanover County, NC Board of Commissioners chairman Ted Davis. The county recently rejected state grants to cover contraceptive supplies.
In every instance, taking the pill equals having sex in the same way that putting on a condom means you're prepping for penetration. Ergo, you buy a pill to prevent that sex from making babies in the same way you choose Magnums ribbed for her pleasure. Albeit, some revisionist pre-sexual revolution thinking, this is exactly the logic behind Bannister's dodgy pill-to-sex-ratio mathematics, for example:

$3,000 for birth control in three years? That’s a thousand dollars a year of sex – and, she [Sandra Fluke] wants us to pay for it.
Yes, us. Where do you think the insurance companies forced to cover this cost get the money to pay for these co-eds to have sex? It comes from the health care insurance premiums you and I pay.
But, back to this woman’s complaint that women are spending $3,000 for birth control during her time in college.
"For a lot of students, like me, who are on public interest scholarships, that’s practically an entire summer’s salary," she [Fluke] complains.
So, they can earn enough money in just one summer to pay for three full years of sex. And, yes, they are full years – since that could translate into having sex nearly three times a day for three years straight, apparently.
At a dollar a condom if she shops at CVS pharmacy’s website, that $3,000 would buy her 3,000 condoms – or, 1,000 a year. (By the way, why does list the weight of its condom products in terms of pounds?)
Assuming it’s not a leap year, that’s 1,000 divided by 365 – or having sex 2.74 times a day, every day, for three straight years. And, I thought Georgetown was a Catholic university where women might be prone to shun casual, unmarried sex. 
Throughout all of this, funny enough, no one seems to mention the fact that condoms are in fact used for sex (or the occasional balloon) and are completely free if you go to a local state health clinic. You know, the ones you go to for all your booster shots and stuff. And here's another kicker: under age teens can get them. I guess we are all paying for that sex too. Hypocrisy aside, the shear ignorance of Republican males is out of this world. What's more disappointing to me, however, is when women support this radical thinking about the pill. In fact, in Arizona, the bill mentioned above is sponsored by a woman, AZ Rep. Debbie Lesko, who in defense of her bill said this, "We don't live in the Soviet Union," followed by this, "And so government shouldn't be telling employers, Catholic organizations and mom and pop (businesses) to do something that's against their moral beliefs." 

But make no mistake, by supporting the "first amendment" argument is to confirm the notion that women on the pill are just on it to fuck. That's right, the US is a nation full of women who are sex crazed and need insurance or the government to pay for that sex. Moreover, a pervasive theme in all of this birth control talk is a fear of women, (this is just a sex-crazed female issue), having sex outside of marriage, which some people  have "moral" qualms with.
Contraception 101: History as Prologue. Many conservatives appear to believe that prior to the Obama administration requiring employers to fully cover contraceptive care as part of their health plans, contraception wasn’t considered a medical service, but something more like a party item you pick up with your beer and cigarettes. Tina Korbe of Hot Air argued that supporters of the new regulation “labor under the illusion that contraception is a medical necessity.” Limbaugh argued that health insurance covering contraception means women are “paid to have sex.” The reaction on the right suggests that this is the first time in history someone has suggested that contraception care be included in general health benefits.  ... 
The ignorance on display on the right regarding the birth control pill, which has been around as a contraceptive for over 50 years, has been astounding. Limbaugh’s comment — “she’s having so much sex she can’t afford her own birth control pills” — indicates that he believes there’s a correlation between the number of sexual encounters and the number of pills necessary. Limbaugh also seems to think mothers and women who use birth control are mutually exclusive categories, saying: “How do you become a mom if you’re into birth control?” Additionally, with words such as “slut,” “prostitute” and “sex-crazed” flying around to describe women on hormonal contraception, it appears many conservatives believe that the drugs exist primarily for use by single women with multiple partners.

Students in our remedial sex ed course will take their time learning about hormonal contraception. They will learn that women on the pill must take one every day for it to work, no matter how much sex they’re having. Students will discover that monogamy isn’t enough to prevent unintended pregnancy, and thus married and monogamous women use the pill just as single women do. To drive home what not using contraception would mean for women, married and otherwise, students will be asked to watch the TLC show about the Duggar family, with its 19 children, and then offer a five-minute presentation in class.
While this cooked up controversy continues to take it's toll in actual policy terms, (seven state's attorneys general are suing the government over Obama's mandate on first amendment grounds), we must be reminded that this is not about the pill or first amendment rights or right-wingers calling women sluts. This is partisan politics and both sides are playing along. Wendy J. Murphy points out in "The politics of sex and sluts,":
The obvious answer is that the controversy involving Limbaugh really isn’t about the word.
Indeed, the fact that President Barack Obama injected himself into the fray by personally calling Fluke, presumably to say he was sorry she had to endure such suffering, says it all about how overtly and intentionally politicized this whole mess really is. If Obama is really so worried about gender inequality, why didn’t he say anything last month when five female college students in Massachusetts, over a span of about a week, reported being raped? A guy who cares about gender epithets should care about gender violence more, right? But the victims in Massachusetts didn’t get so much as a presidential tweet.
This isn’t a criticism of Obama, per se. The guy has been doing good work on the epidemic of campus sexual assault and he deserves credit for caring more about the issue than any other president in the recent past. But the mere fact that a president injects himself into a controversy about a word is, itself, proof that the controversy is driven by partisan politics, and is being exploited for larger political gain having everything to do with the religious vote and nothing to do with gender equity.
Women should rise above the fray and refuse to be dragged around like puppies chasing pull-toys. Neither of the two major parties gives a damn about women’s equality. If they did, someone would at least be talking about putting the ERA back on state ballots, and the epidemic of violence against women would be a dominant platform issue.
The simple and ugly truth is, there’s nothing meaningful going on for women, politically, and this contrived battle over whether religious institutions should pay for the pill proves it.
Murphy's point is a good one. Understanding how both parties are exploiting this issue is important. But we must also keep in mind that beyond the disturbing and denigrating ideology where this is all coming from is the idea that women need to be controlled. That women cannot be trusted to take contraceptives, because we'll just go have uncontrolled non-marital sex. (And that for some reason, one pill buys you 2.74 sex sessions a day). America is no place for extremists in politics. And at the end of the day, most female voters are going to side with Obama, because taking the pill, as we lady folk already know, is no big deal.


  1. Ever notice how co-ed as an adjective means "for both men and women," but co-ed as a noun means a "female college student?"

    He joined the co-ed softball team.
    Should insurance companies pay for these co-eds to have sex?

    I have a policy with the words male and female, I use them only as adjectives not nouns. From now on the same thing goes for co-ed. I actually don't know if I've ever used the word co-ed as a noun, but that's the way ass-hats like Rush Limbaugh use it. So, you can be sure that I never will.

    Because words matter.

  2. This is brilliant! The Colbert Report:


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