This picture has been making the rounds on Facebook recently. It has a lot of really important statistics, but I would like to point out a couple of things.
1. Millions of women use hormonal birth control for reasons other than for contraception. If a “house of worship” would be happy to cover the cost of Vicodin for post-surgery pain, why wouldn’t they also be happy to provide pain relief for women’s menstrual cramps, or the awful pain that is related to endometriosis?
2. Why is it a big deal if women want to be on birth control because they want to use it as a contraceptive? Religious leaders seem to be absolutely obsessed with the state of a woman’s uterus. For Christians, the argument seems to be that using contraception goes Genesis 1:28 (“Be fruitful and multiply”). With nearly 7 billion people on the planet today, that argument just isn’t relevant.
3. Religious leaders seem to honestly believe that they should be able to force women into the false dichotomy of “married women who have sex are saints” and “unmarried women who have sex are dirty sluts who deserve to be punished by being unhappy, disease ridden, single mothers who will never get out of poverty”. There’s no middle ground in this argument. At some other time, I will discuss The Purity Myth, which I believe is required reading for nice girls who like sex.
4. I would like to see an additional statistic here. I recently read in the New York Times that areas with wide access to information about contraceptives, and contraceptives themselves, have fewer incidences of abortion. One can correlate that there are fewer unintended pregnancies, and therefore fewer abortions. (For those of you that somehow don’t know, abortion is a widely discussed and controversial topic in the US, and is particularly reviled among the religious.)
Lets get religion out of health care, out of legislation, and OUT of the bedroom. What you or I do in private is nobody’s business. If a woman wants to have sex, she should be able to do so without her employer or her health care provider making her feel like she is a bad person for wanting to do so without getting pregnant. In the end, the only people who should have any voice in the matter are the ones in the sexual relationship, who would be the parents of any child that was conceived in that relationship.