Additionally, condoms are wasteful, and, for married couples of those in committed relationships with no fear of STIs, are kind of extraneous. And, if we all were to rely on condoms alone, about 20 million women would be unprotected against pregnancy. Women who–guess what!–would be having sex anyway.
But that seems to controversial, too inflammatory to say. To say that yes, sex is a part of human nature. People are going to have sex and they are going to have it without intentions of having children because it is what humans have been doing since the beginning of time. People are going to have sex and they need to have options as to how to prevent pregnancy because if every single woman in the United States had a child every time they had sex, we would be so overrun and broke it would be a legitimate disaster.
Instead of saying all of that, we are being forced by laws like those being proposed in the state of Arizona to rush to tout birth control’s many other features. But wait, there’s more! It also fights breast cancer! It also regulates our hysterical, ladylike moods! When what we should be admitting to is this:
Birth control is basic health care, not because of all the things it can potentially do, but because of the one thing that it does best. Birth control prevents pregnancies, and allows women to have sex with men. It allows men to have sex with women. It allows for people to have sex together without making a baby. Every instance of heterosexual sex doesn’t need to–and in fact, cannot, realistically speaking–end in a baby.
Because if an employed, educated couple, or an employed, educated individual, can’t afford birth control, and if their employer won’t pay for birth control, they probably won’t be able to pay for the medical bills that come with having a baby–let alone the food, the clothing, the diapers, and the other expenses. If you think women are strapped because they can’t afford the $30-$70 per month it costs to get contraceptive, do you think they’ll magically be able to pay the $10,000 hospital bill they get when they deliver the baby and it gets taken away by the state, who will then have to pay for it?
And, moreover, would you abstain from sex if, say, you or your spouse lost your job, and, as a result, health coverage? Would you immediately become celibate because you couldn’t, at that exact moment, afford a child? It seems unlikely.
The point is this: I, and many other women, want our birth control covered by insurance, or made affordable by another provider, like Planned Parenthood, so that we, as women, can have sex with men, regardless of our tax bracket. Regardless of our chosen professional.
And if that isn’t allowed–if lawmakers continue to pass laws that limit our access to this critical aspect of our health care, and if men continue to espouse the same tired statement that they don’t want to pay so that we can have sex–then we will need to do what we’ve been doing, which is lie and say we are taking birth control because of it’s many other wonderful benefits. Or, we will also have to become celibate, which means all of the men who didn’t want to pay for us to have sex also may not have sex with us.
Those are, it seems, all the choices there are.
Image: Yuri Arcurs via Shutterstock, an infographic from The National Campaign, and a pro-birth control infographic from Oregon, where employers are required to cover contraception for any and all purposes, via the Portland Mercury.