After weeks, nay months of reading about the attacks from both sides of the political spectrum regarding social and religious freedoms and women’s health I can no longer keep my fingers still. I must write my piece for this is about me, about my soon-to-arrive daughter, my sons even and all people in our nation.
Let’s get a few things straight:
First, Rush Limbaugh took the congressional testimony of one highly educated woman and completely distorted the facts, so much so that the real issue was no longer recognizable. IT IS NOT ABOUT TAX MONEY PAYING FOR WOMEN TO HAVE BIRTH CONTROL. It never was. It is about whatever information (if you can call it that) Mr. Limbaugh wanted to get out to the public. Well, it’s out and it spread like information, whether accurate or not, usually does across the country these days…via the Internet. He got his message out, there’s no taking it back and it’s mind-boggling to know that some people still believe it.
Second, birth control does not equal rampant sex. This is the Information Age, not the Dark Ages! How is it that, with so much information at our fingertips, so many are still so ill-informed? Aside from helping prevent unwanted pregnancies, birth control medication provides health benefits to women (and to the men who without it find out they’re about to become daddies). I was prescribed birth control pills in high school to prevent painful ovarian cysts and I did not immediately start having lots of sex and become the town whore. …That came some years later. Just kidding! (Oh goodness, what did I just start? Please, Mr. Limbaugh, don’t come after me.)
To continue to point 3, the Republican Party could be said to resemble one of Batman’s enemies, TwoFace. On one side they argue for smaller government and on the other many have passed, are passing or are trying to pass laws that limit a woman’s right to make private choices about her health care, including requiring invasive procedures in an attempt to simply prove a point. I dare anyone to tell me that is indicative of smaller government. Looser laws on gun ownership for protecting one’s home, but laws restricting a woman’s ownership over her own body – how does that make sense? It seems the Republican Party is really two different parties – the Social Conservatives and the, let’s call them, Old-Fashioned Federal Conservatives.
Not all conservatives are the same. Not all liberals are either. I consider myself liberal, but would like to see income tax reforms and believe that democrats have been guilty of over-legislating things that are best left to people’s own devices. I’m sure there are republicans who don’t want to be involved in women’s healthcare (they get uncomfortable just talking about “that time of the month”, let alone vaginas). In the end, I may not always be able to control exactly how my tax money gets spent, but my spiritual beliefs and my daily life are mine. They are not yours to maintain.
Back to this birth control thing, if I may. The church and the state are far from being separate, especially when religious institutions benefit from tax breaks and political candidates openly thank and praise God and use his name for votes. If I am employed by a religious institution, then I am an employee. Nothing more. The requirement for employers’ health care plans to include birth control does not mean that the employers themselves or the employees are being forced to take birth control. It simply means that it’s available. As much as a Church might preach not to take birth control, ultimately it’s my choice if I do or not. A church can offer all the counsel they can muster, but it’s up to me whether or not I follow what is said. That’s called free will.
The debate over birth control is not about sex, it’s really about choice. There are lots of men and some women who think it’s perfectly alright to take away another person’s freedom to choose. If I choose to follow the belief system of a certain religion, then I may, but that’s up to me. You may believe that God determines when a woman is or is not pregnant. That’s fine for you, but I do not have to live what you believe is religiously correct. Even without religion involved, if you are socially conservative, it’s still not ok for you to dictate what I do in my bedroom or what choices I make about maintaining my own health. If jogging is good for my health, do I need to get your permission before every run? (I don’t jog, but still…if I wanted to…)
There are certain basics of humanity that are and should be protected by laws. Murder, slavery, stealing…yes, stealing. Do not steal my ability to make personal and informed health choices or my access to adequate health care as is paid for by my health insurance premiums. I’m not taking your tax money to pay for my prescriptions. Don’t take mine to legalize the infringement of your personal religious and moral beliefs upon me and others.