As women, we would like to take this opportunity to appeal to our fellow women. Last week we discussed the attack made on Sandra Fluke’s character as a woman who advocated for birth control to be made a necessary part of health insurance for women.
It has come to light with this incident that many men, and even some women, do not understand that birth control can be used for more than the prevention of pregnancy. As a result, it is important that women speak up and tell the truth about birth control.
In this month’s issue of Cosmo, Fluke wrote an article on this very topic. She starts by saying, “Access to affordable birth control affects women and our families in ways that many people don’t realize.” This idea hits close to home for many women who struggle with certain medical conditions that birth control helps moderate.
Even if a woman isn’t having sex, birth control can be used to help regulate the menstrual cycle and relieve some of the symptoms such as cramps, as well as help women with iron deficiencies who may lose too much blood during their menstrual cycle. It can even help prevent the growth of ovarian cysts.
Another thing at stake if affordable birth control is taken away is the freedom women have to pursue education and hold jobs even after they are married. Talking about things as private as this comes more easily to some than others, but it is important to tell our stories. So Fluke urges women “to explain to people they trust why they care about this issue…so that those people will care too.”Despite this, some still aren’t convinced of the need for birth control to be cost-free under a new health insurance plan. While campaigning at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. in March, Mitt Romney said, “Let me tell you something, if you’re looking for free stuff that you don’t have to pay for, vote for the other guy. That’s what he’s all about.”While Romney doesn’t believe in making birth control free, at least he understands that there might be a legitimate need for it. Rush Limbaugh on the other hand— not so much. In response to Fluke’s cry for contraceptive coverage, Limbaugh asked “did you ever think about maybe backing off the amount of sex you have?” By his reasoning, women need birth control because they have so much sex that they can’t afford the amount of contraceptives they need.
Limbaugh’s view is obviously extreme, but there are people out there who don’t know how contraceptives work and what they’re used for. For you men reading this that thought you were off the hook, take the liberty of doing research for yourself. Or ask women you are close to about this topic. Ignorance is not bliss, and it won’t solve any of our problems.