This V-Day, I’m with the 98%.

NSFW: According to the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2002 98.2% of women 15 – 44 who have had sexual intercourse have used contraception. Here’s the breakdown by method:

Percentage of women who have ever used the specified contraceptive method, among women 15-44 who have ever had intercourse, 2002:

  • Any method of contraception: 98.2%
  • Male condom: 89.7%
  • Pill: 82.3%
  • Withdrawal: 56.1%
  • Female sterilization: 20.7%
  • Injectable contraception: 17.7%
    • 1-month injectable (LunelleTm): 0.9%
    • 3-month injectable (Depo-ProveraTm): 16.8%
  • Rhythm method: 16.2%
  • Male sterilization: 13.0%

Why are we having a data-swarm on Valentines Day? Because whether you are a lady, are partnered with a lady, or were born from a lady (that last one includes everyone), I am 98.2% sure you have been near lady parts protected by contraception. And that’s what contraception is to the the 98.2% of us who use it: protection.

My IUD protects my future. When I was on the pill–starting a few years after my first period because life is too short to spend 13 days of it heavily medicated to deal with menstrual pain–it was protecting my ability to wrestle and keep up with school work.

And for the 1.8% of women who have never used contraception? That’s their choice. Feminism is all about choices and maximizing freedom while minimizing harm.

Valentines feminist heart

Some passionatearticulate (and funny) people have argued that the new rule from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requiring religiously-affiliated universities, hospitals, and organizations to provide health insurance plans that include contraception without co-pays (which costs women up to $600 a year) is an attack on religious liberty. Not individual religious liberty–since there is nothing in the decision requiring any person to use any form of birth control, just to chip-in to support others if they choose to use it–but group religious liberty.

A majority of Catholic men and women support contraception with no co-pays according to Public Policy Polling. But faith isn’t a democracy, so when the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) objects on behalf of all Catholics they might be representing the spiritual needs of all Catholics rather than their opinions. Here is a letter read at all of the Masses in Brooklyn last weekend:

This gets us into even deeper territory: I believe paying taxes to the government and premiums to the insurance companies are two morally different things, but if I were morally opposed to unnatural erections from Viagra and refused to buy health insurance plans that covered Viagra, then I would appear to have the same moral stance as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

So if you can be exempted from method of birth control, since you are MORALLY OPPOSED to it...Can I be exempted from having my taxes pay for war, which I am MORALLY OPPOSED to?

Not that I am morally opposed to Viagra, though I believe it has no business being covered under any health care plans that do not also cover contraception. As in all things, Bill O’Reilly disagrees with me here:

Caustic sexism aside, Mr. O’Reilly gets to the core of exactly why I think everyone should help pay for the birth control: today, $600 a year is part of the cost of being a woman. $600 a year women could be using for textbooks, for car-payments, for paying down their student loan debt.

I do not think it should cost more to be a sexually active woman than to be a sexually active man.

I think someone who employs people should be governed by the laws for employers.

I think employees should be able to make moral choices for themselves based on their faith, or non-faith, and health needs, as determined by them and their doctors.

Birth control without co-pays is our societal down-payment on gender equality. If women don’t want to use birth control, as a feminist, I support that choice. But as in nearly all things, I think it should be an individual, not a governmental, and not an institutional, choice.

Inspirational Quote:

“There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.”–Madeleine K. Albright

3 responses

  1. Politically, we might be different, but when it comes to protecting the rights of women to obtain contraception if they choose to do so, I don’t see how anyone could NOT support this opinion. This is really well written and admirable. Hope you are doing well.

  2. That means a lot, thank you for the kind words. I’m doing well.

    I’m still struggling with the 1st Amendment argument that any given faith should have line-item veto on the health plans they provide their employees. Every time I start to make a list of treatments and medications I could make a moral argument against (any that were developed with animal testing? any that included gluten if I were a celiac? that help an ethnicity of which I am not a part?) I

    1) feel like a creep for even thinking of denying other people the choice to access coverage they need,

    2) remember that the entire point of insurance is to pay into a giant pot that will even out with everyone getting about what they need.

    The entire reason I don’t have line-item veto for my group insurance plan is that I have no idea why someone else might need that pill that was tested on puppies, that wheat-based pill, or that treatment for a genetic condition I am blessed to have avoided.

    It is simply none of my business what other people do for their medical decisions as individuals. I might have some say as a member of society, but to point to a given person as they walk into a clinic and say: “No, you may not have the care.” *shudder*.

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