Can we all gather as a country for two seconds and say, “thank God the government shutdown is over.” I want to see Starved Rock State Park in its Autumn splendor, which I can’t do if all the workers are furloughed.
I understand that people hold very intense opinions about all the issues Congress debates about. In the interest of peace, I’m going to avoid touching most of those (unless asked). Let just touch on one – the one that affects my personal life and bodily autonomy – birth control.
Take a deep breath. I’m not going to rant about contraception. Instead, I want to list the benefits of birth control, benefits which the Republican Party wants to deny through their insistence on a ‘conscience clause.’ This would allow business owners with a moral problem with birth control to deny their workers access to contraception if they get moral hebejebes at the thought the women in their work place might want to take control of their own bodies. Have you been paying attention to the laws being passed in states lately? Clearly a woman’s body is everyone’s business. I don’t even know why I bother wearing pants anymore. Do you want to make sure my hymen is in tact, too? (fun fact: Hymen is the Greek god of the wedding feast).
Sorry. I swear that’s as ranty as this post gets. I want to talk about what those benefits are.
- Ovarian and Endometrial Cancer Prevention: Use of birth control has been shown to reduce risk for ovarian cancer by 10 to 12 percent during the first year of use and 50 percent after 5 years of use.
- Family Planning: Women have the power to plan out their children, resulting in greater health for mother and child. A woman who is planning on getting pregnant can jump on prenatal care earlier. She can avoid having children too close together, which has also been linked to health issues with infants like low birth weight.
- Contraception Saves Everybody Money: A woman obviously saves money because she doesn’t have to deal with all the expenses associated with being pregnant and having a child. In addition, correct use of birth control dramatically reduces the need for emergency contraception and termination services, which tend to cost more than contraception. Employers also save money, as denial of birth control coverage has been shown to cost employers 15 to 17 percent more. They also stand to lose some of their workforce as many women will take maternity leave – paid or otherwise. Some may not return to the workforce for years. This all cost.
- Fewer Abortions: Did you catch that in the last point. This should be obvious, but if you are not getting pregnant, then you are not getting an abortion. How awesome is that! (p.s. please don’t tell me birth control is an abortifacient. It prevents ovulation. There is not a single zygote, fetus or baby being killed with the pill. Not even Plan-B does that. (If God can get a virgin pregnant, I’m sure Contraception won’t stop the Deity from knocking me up)
Increase in College Educated Women: It goes without saying it is easier to go to college when you don’t have kids.
- Increased Wages: Also goes without saying that having a college degree and time to devote to a professional career would result in a higher salary.
- Regulation of Menstrual Periods
- Treatment of Irregular Periods
- Treatment of Menorrhagia
- Treatment of Dysmenorrhea
- Treatment of Endometriosis
- Treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
- Treatment of Acne, Hirsutism and Alopecia
All of this is why stupid laws, like this one just passed in Kansas, are ridiculous. This is not a complete list of the benefits of birth control. It does, however, show that there are many uses for contraception other than preventing pregnancy. What if the person to whom an ignorant pharmacist in Kansas denied contraception is suffering from endometriosis or is a married mother of four who wants no more children? Why should that pharmacist have the right to decide what that woman does with her body?
I don’t think something that crazy will ever get passed on a national level (fingers crossed), but I am definitely checking the status of women rights before I ever consider moving to a new state. For the record, I will never choose to live in Kansas with that law in place.
- Blogger, Guest. “5 Reasons Why The Contraceptive Coverage Guarantee Is So Important.” ThinkProgress RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2012.
- Hamilton, Edith. “The Gods: Lesser Gods of Olympus.” MYTHOLOGY: TIMELESS TALES OF GODS AND HEROES. New York: New American Library, 1969. 36. Print.
- Rachel. “Access to Contraception Increases Social and Economic Benefits for Women And Society | Our Bodies Our Blog.” Our Bodies Our Blog. N.p., 29 Mar. 2013. Web. 17 Oct. 2013.
- “Resources.” Noncontraceptive Benefits of Birth Control Pills. American Society for Reproductive Medicine, n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2013.