In 1873 the Comstock Act was passed which prevented any method of birth control from being mailed. During this time many states passed laws which made any form of contraceptives illegal. Anthony Comstock, a leader in the purity movement, felt that contraceptives promoted prostitution and veneral diseise and that preventing conception was immoral. These were the times when women didn’t have a voice or many rights. And we have come so far since 1873…or so I thought.
It took more than forty years but in 1916 the first birth control clinic was opened in the United States by Margaret Sanger. It was immediately shut down by the police and Margaret Sanger was arrested and sentenced to thirty days in jail. This was four years before women were even granted the right to vote. In 1923 Sanger opened a second clinic, but this one was not shut down. By 1942 there were over 400 birth control clinics in the United States alone. There have been so many victories for women’s rights since the Comstock Act was passed in 1873, which makes me wonder why we are still fighting over these same issues that have plagued our country for almost 150 years. And why is it that in 2012 men are still the voice behind issues that affect women’s bodies?
Presidential hopeful, Rick Santorum, has stated publicly that he favors making birth control illegal. Thats right. Illegal. One hundred and fifty years after the Comstock Law was passed we are in danger of being put in jail for using contraceptives. Even though the Supreme Court made it illegal for states to ban the use of contraceptives after the Supreme Court case Griswold v Connecticut in 1965.
Another issue we are facing is the fact that birth control is in danger of no longer being covered under insurance. Why is this? Because it goes against a bunch of middle aged men’s “religious standing.” What ever happened to that whole separation of church and state thing? Another issue that really irks me is that there are politicians who are openly stating that birth control shouldn’t be covered by insurance but they think its perfectly acceptable to cover Viagra. Apparently taking contraceptives is a “lifestyle choice” but not being able to get it up is a “medical condition” and therefor viagra should be covered. What kind of convoluted logic is this? What’s the point of getting an erection if you have no one to have sex with? Because even married people don’t want to have a baby every single time they have intercourse.
Now if you think that insurance companies covering viagra but not birth control is appalling, just wait. Because it gets even more ludicrous. Apparently according to Rush Limbaugh using birth control makes you a slut and a prostitute. That’s exactly what he called Sandra Fluke, a law student who publicly stated that birth control should be covered under insurance plans. He then said “So Miss Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal, if we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we all can watch.” What the f*#k? So now we have to become porn stars to get our birth control covered? And why don’t men have to make their sexual escapades available for all the world to see to cover their viagra? Wouldn’t we be essentially paying for them to have sex as well according to Mr. Limbaugh’s logic? I just don’t understand why some of these conservatives are so against people enjoying sex. Guess what? People like sex. Let them enjoy it. Now I agree with the first amendment, but at some point Rush Limbaugh needs to just shut up.
Another issue many of those with an anti birth control stance are forgetting is that contraceptives have many uses other than preventing pregnancy. It’s used to menstrual cramps, ovarian cysts, PMDD, acne, complications of uterine fibroids and endometriosis, and it can reduce the risks of some types of cancer. What is so wrong with that?
It has been almost one hundred years since our country’s first birth control clinic opened and women have made such strides since that time. Newsflash. We don’t sit at home and spend all of our time popping out babies anymore. Why can’t we come together as a country and move forward rather than going backwards? Not every woman wants to be a mother, so she should become celibate? As the late Margaret Sanger said, “No woman can call herself free who does not control her own body.”