I was thinking about this partly because I ran into a video of a woman's TED talk and how she'd struggled with getting a doctor to approve her for sterilization. This is very typical; younger women or women who haven't procreated are shamed by doctors, told they will change their minds, and reminded over and over again that their presumably male partners should have a say in whether they have children. One doctor even told this woman that her relationship with her current non-child-desiring long-term partner might end, and if she ends up with someone else, "what happens when HE wants kids?" What SHE wants isn't as important, even though it's her body, and she's expected to consider the hypothetical future partner's desires beyond those of herself and her current partner. She is in fact expected to prioritize the feelings of anyone who might want to use her body to have kids, and her own lifelong desire to not have children cannot be respected because she or someone else might wish it was different later.
So then I thought back to that awful rant that Rush Limbaugh went on about why women shouldn't have access to birth control even though it is a necessary aspect of continuing their lives as they wish to. If you don't already know the details of what Rush did: In discussing the birth control debate on whether hormonal birth control should be covered through insurance, Rush insisted that women who expect this are "sluts" who--among other things--are "having so much sex, [they're] going broke buying contraceptives" and want taxpayers to buy them, and are expecting the American taxpayers to subsidize their sex lives, and should be understood to owe the public something in return for having their birth control covered.
Specifically, Rush said that if women want to be having all this baby-free sex while being covered, they should be required to film themselves having sex, post the videos online, and "let us all watch."
I'm not making that up, by the way. Of course he was not advocating an actual program through which women would be required to make porn if they wanted a "free pass" on their contraception, but what he WAS stating is that women do not have the right to have recreational sex. Well, or that if they want to do so, they should be on their own covering it. If they don't want to, they OWE US SOMETHING--"us" being men, I imagine--and they need to be reminded that if they want a typical sex life without worrying about conceiving, they should be shamed, indebted to men, and silenced in return for that privilege.
There are so many things wrong with this. Let me count the ways.
- Casual sex is not illegal. It might be against your religion, but your religion is by law not supposed to affect what's legal.
- No one needs your permission to have a sex life. They don't owe you payment for enjoying their sex lives without becoming parents.
- Last time I checked, unplanned pregnancies cause an awful lot of children that parents have no means to support. Refusing to assist people in not conceiving unplanned children will result in more need for welfare, which these jerks are also against as they don't want to pay for it.
- People who are on birth control are not automatically "sluts." Most of them are married and having sex in the marriage bed. Your religion may state that even recreational sex within marriage is wrong, but if that's your argument, see number 1.
- I don't think taxpayers are, in general, contributing to other people's health care through their employers. What are you even complaining about, Rush? You're not paying for anyone's employer health care right now. And when it comes to the indirect ways in which the taxpayers end up supporting those who can't afford medical treatment, we have a different issue since that involves people who don't have insurance at all. We're talking about insurance covering people, not taxpayer-supported welfare.
- You're either on birth control or not on birth control. If you want hormonal birth control in pill form to be effective, you must be on it as a general daily regimen. If you want a type that does not require daily administration, other forms that can be inserted or injected are available. But no matter which of these options someone chooses, it does not increase cost with an increase in sexual activity. Rush, are you thinking of Viagra?
- Speaking of Viagra--nobody raised a stink when Viagra was accepted as a health expenditure that could be covered by insurance. But since it's those with PENISES being given an opportunity to have sex, I guess that makes it different. Especially since most of the people who appear to be making these laws have a vested interest in that being covered.
- Many, many, many people with uteruses in this nation are on birth control for reasons that have nothing to do with sex. Hormonal birth control happens to have a lot of different effects and it is prescribed for a number of health concerns. So even if it WAS your plan to deny women the right to a baby-free sex life, you still have to admit that some of the people who need birth control aren't even having sex (necessarily).
- Covering birth control is NOT a slippery slope. In Rush's latest missive where he pretended to apologize for his comments but actually went on to try to justify them, he insisted that covering birth control will lead to situations like expecting health care companies to cover athletes' running sneakers, forcing them to subsidize others' interests just because they want to do stuff. LAST TIME I CHECKED, SPORTS ACCESSORIES WERE NOT MEDICINE, and being able to choose whether to have children is fundamental to health and freedom.
- "If they don't want to have babies, they should just keep their legs closed" is a disgusting thing to say. Like most of the rhetoric surrounding this whole "put an aspirin between your knees" nonsense, it suggests that women are responsible for the creation of babies while the men who have sex with them are not--that this is a "women's issue" and shouldn't "force" men to chip in. And it also suggests that women don't have the right to have sex without "consequences." Again--we women OWE YOU something and shouldn't get a free pass to have sex.
- Having contraception covered by insurance is not "I'm paying for you to have sex," Rush. That was his argument for why he should get to watch porn of the sex he paid for. We're saying that contraception, among many other medications that improve the quality of life for people, should be affordable and handled like any other medication. It's not something men should rail against having to support any more than women ought to rail against paying for health insurance programs that provide treatment to men with prostate diseases. (For the record, women aren't doing that.)
- Because of our biology, people with uteruses are the ones who have to worry about making babies, but it should damn well be handled like it's just as much a penis owner's responsibility. Folks like Rush should want to protect themselves from having to support children they didn't plan for--lest they be hit up for child support--and unless he's a complete tool, he should completely understand that this is his problem too. I once had a conversation with a fellow who insisted that because he is childless, he should not have to pay the taxes that contribute to public schools. So unless taxes went to a program that he himself is directly benefiting from, he thinks it isn't his concern. So apparently it's not his problem if the next generation isn't educated. I disagree. Having an educated generation does benefit all of us. Same with those of you who don't have to grow babies in your belly as a result of sex. You should want to protect the interests of those who get pregnant and their children, NOT throw up your hands and deny that it's your problem because you have a penis.
- Attacking women and calling them sluts is just your mean, weak, ultimately ineffective way of saying we don't have a place in this discussion and we don't have real rights. But we do. We do have those rights. It's just so small and spineless of you to try so hard to make us scared to speak up. It is not excusable in any fashion to tell a woman that her desire for appropriate health care should naturally be followed with a responsibility to generate pornography for those who gave her license to take care of herself. How laughable. How sad. And how irrelevant you continue to make yourself, Rush.
Some men are fighting this on every level--resisting women's desires to have a career by acting like it's unnatural or "bitchy" for a woman to do that, or criticizing women's desires to keep their own names in marriage because they feel it takes something away from *them* if a woman doesn't assimilate the very symbol of her identity into her partner's. But this is all just a fear response. These people don't like change. They don't like being criticized for exploiting their privilege. And they don't like the idea that they don't "deserve" the king's chair because of what's between their legs.
We will not be put in our place. We will choose our place.
And we don't owe you a damn thing.