One of the main reasons Kacie, Abby, Alina, and I started Vageniuses was to be able to express our views without the ridiculous back and forth that generally occurs on Facebook statuses. Additionally, it’s difficult to fully express your views in comment form. So my very first post has (of course) been prompted by a nauseatingly ignorant Facebook status from my Newsfeed today. It read:
“Contraception is medicine. Pregnancy is a disease. We’re in trouble.”
Now, let me preface my response by stating that this status was made by a male. This particular male is also a Caucasian, Evangelical whose status updates and comments have continually ticked me off over the past few years. He has every right to make these statements, obviously, but I personally feel that one should educate themselves before making such pronouncements.
My first response was to rant angrily at him via comment. Then I thought, “Why the hell am I friends with this person? I met him once like three years ago…” Anyway, he got defriended. STILL, his ignoramusness (new word!) has now prompted an extensive blog post.
1) First issue: You are a man. You do not have lady parts. You do not have a uterus. Can we all agree that you should SHUT UP ABOUT YOUR PROBLEMS WITH FEMALE CONTRACEPTION. Thanks. (Much appreciated if you would read the capitalized words with extra emotion).
2)You are not a healthcare professional! You have not been to medical school. You do not specialize in women’s health. So, PLEASE SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE.
3) Contraception is medicine! This is apparently really difficult for white, conservative, Evangelical males to understand. So here are some facts:
-Birth control is prescribed for PCOS. “Between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 women of childbearing age has PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Sydrome). As many as 5 million women in the United States may be affected. It can occur in girls as young as 11 years old.” This comes from Women’s Health. PCOS results in a variety of symptoms, just one of which is cysts growing on the ovaries. Now, treating PCOS, as the site states, often requires a multi-option approach, but as you can see the medicine women are often prescribed is birth control. The other things listed there are for other symptoms of PCOS, like hair growth and acne. Again, they are often used in combination with birth control. Keep in mind that when Rush Limbaugh referred to women who want birth control to be covered by their insurance plans as “sluts” and “prostitutes”, that he was also saying that to the 11-year-old girl with PCOS. In addition, women can and do die from burst ovarian cysts. Birth control helps to prevent cysts from growing on the ovaries. It saves lives.
-Birth control is also prescribed for Endometriosis, which also affects millions of women. It is an extremely painful disease that only affects women. Here’s the definition via Mayo Clinic. And here are the treatments. As you can see, hormonal birth control is used to regulate hormones and the menstrual cycle to help prevent the debilitating pain that comes with this disease.
-Birth control is prescribed for amenorrhea. As Mayo Clinic tells you, amenorrhea is the lack of a period. Now, of course that happens during pregnancy and menopause, but it has other causes (like anorexia) which make the condition something to worry about. It can and does often happen as a result of chemotherapy. Yes, that’s right. Treatments for cancer like chemotherapy can cause a woman’s period to stop. It’s normally temporary, but a doctor will decide if a woman needs to be prescribed birth control to aid in restarting her period. So yeah, the Rush Limbaugh “slut” comment was also referring to cancer patients. Way to go, Rush. Way to go.
-Birth control is prescribed for menstrual cramps. I don’t have to provide a definition for this, right? Most women get cramps. When those cramps are too powerful to be helped by over-the-counter medication, doctors will often recommend birth control. Birth control also can help if a woman’s periods are overly long or heavy. Also, if the symptoms that occur before or during a woman’s period are overly horrible (nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.), then birth control can help that. Here’s a link, but I have personal experience with this. My gynecologist recommended birth control to me because my periods were very long and were accompanied by symptoms like nausea and diarrhea. It sucked and birth control helped. I still use it for that purpose.
-There are many, many reasons that birth control would be prescribed to a woman. Which brings me to my next point…
4) Do you have health insurance? Great. When you go to the doctor because you are sick or for a checkup and that doctor writes you a prescription, when you go get that prescription filled you expect that your insurance should pay for it. In fact, I bet it annoys you when you are written a prescription and for some unexplainable reason known only to health insurance companies, your medication is only partially covered. Perhaps there is a large copay for that medication. That is annoying and frustrating and wrong, right? Well that is how women feel about birth control! My doctor prescribed it to me. He said I need it. Therefore, I feel like my insurance company should pay for it with NO copay. Thanks for playing.
5) I’ve been assuming that your status concerned the current controversy over the Affordable Care Act’s rule that insurance plans have to cover birth control and other preventive health measures with no copay. So let’s address that directly. Your thinking is that this rule somehow violates religious freedom. Now, if the law stated that all women of childbearing age will be forced to take birth control daily until the government allows them to bear a child, then I would say that definitely violates religious freedom. Or even if the law said that Catholic or religiously affiliated universities, hospitals, etc. had to hand out birth control pills to their students and employees and patients, I’d even say that crosses a line. BUT THE LAW DOESN’T SAY THAT. All the ACA does is say that if you employ people and provide them with health insurance, then that health insurance plan that you offer to your employees has to cover contraception. That’s it! That’s all it says! AND since people like you started fa-REAKING out about it, the law was amended to say that religiously affiliated universities and hospitals, etc. don’t even have to pay extra for those plans! The costs are shifted to the insurance company. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU COMPLAINING ABOUT? How does this violate your religious freedom? It doesn’t. This is FAKE outrage because Republicans (and, let’s face it….lots of politicians) essentially work directly for insurance companies. They take money from health insurance companies and then make laws to insure that those people who own the insurance companies make out like bandits. Insurance companies will lose some money for their CEO bonuses and the like because of the ACA, and so the Republicans fake outrage at this one rule because they know that Evangelicals like you will join them in their collective hissy fit. Republicans in general don’t want the law to exist, but it DOES. It does exist. It’s law that millions are already benefiting from, including, probably YOU (facebook status guy). This is really an issue about money in politics, but I’ll address that another time…
6) This applies to many aspects of Evangelical/Christian/Republican thinking, but let me just say…when people tell you that you can’t discriminate against women, gays, Latinos, African Americans, etc., that’s not a violation of your religious freedom. It’s pretty simple. You don’t get to spread hate and fear and make laws based on hate just because you are part of a religion. There is a separation of religion and government in this country. In fact, it is that separation which insures that people of ALL religions can practice in freedom in this country. If you don’t like that, then move to Afghanistan or the UAE. They really respect religion there. Also…pretty sure birth control is a no-no.
7) Over 99% of women have used or are using birth control in America. Get over it already.