After the Hobby Lobby ruling, liberals and abortion activists came crawling out of the woodwork to let everyone know about how this was ruining health care for women. Because in pro-abortion fantasyland, abortion and birth control equals women’s health care. That’s why they do things like compare birth control to treatment for leukemia. Ever eager to be on the front lines of the battle to claim the title of Foremost Abortion Extremist, Jessica Valenti is taking the argument in a different direction though.
[I]t’s awfully depressing that, in the summer of 2014, when 99% of American women use birth control, we can’t just come out and say that most women use birth control for sex. And that we like said sex – a lot.
I can promise you this, too: focusing on the non-orgasmic reasons women use contraception will not magically change conservatives’ minds about the issue. No matter how many articles come out imploring the public to think about the very real health problems women have, conservative organizations have had their minds in the gutter for years, and they like it there.
… [W]hen female reporters covered the Hobby Lobby decision, it was not a coincidence that the majority of us were being called sluts and whores across social media and elsewhere. To conservatives, contraception is not about health – it’s about sex, their fear of sex, and a panic over women having sex that doesn’t lead to babies. The more we ignore that truth – or focus on on the “valid” reasons women use birth control – the more women give ammunition, and give up the moral ground, to the right.
Liberals concede the same ground when we make pro-choice arguments using the most extreme examples – rape, incest and health. Yes, women need abortions for those reasons – but they also need them when they’re simply not ready to be parents. And that’s OK.
It’s also OK – wonderful, even! – that women use birth control to have sex and not get pregnant. Even more wonderful: it works. The advent of contraception is arguably the most important liberatory discovery for women of all time. We’re allowed to use it. And not just for our periods – but to have hot, sweaty, fantastic, fun, non-procreative sex. That doesn’t make us “sluts”; it makes us human.
Jessica Valenti is right about one thing: almost all women using birth control are using it to avoid pregnancy, not for the health reasons that many activists like to pretend they’re having. And that’s not a bad thing to bring up. Everyone likes sex, right? Men, women — sex is enjoyable, people want to have it, and they want to have it without consequences. There’s nothing wrong with that. But guess what? There’s also no right to sex in the constitution, let alone a right to free birth control.
The Hobby Lobby decision had nothing to do with keeping women from having sex and using birth control, believe it or not. Hobby Lobby continues to cover 16 out of 20 forms of birth control. They refuse to cover forms, like Plan B and Ella, that could cause abortions. They do not ban their employees from using these birth control methods on their own; Hobby Lobby just doesn’t want to cover it themselves. If a woman works at Hobby Lobby and can’t afford Plan B somehow (doubtful, considering it’s available over the counter), choose not to take advantage of one of the 16 forms that Hobby Lobby does carry, and does not feel ready for a baby, then guess what? She can choose to not have sex, and the world will not end.
There are plenty of things that people would like to be able to do, but can’t, for any number of reasons. Yes, this is America, land of the free — but that doesn’t mean that everything we want is handed to us on a silver platter. Valenti’s mindset is that of a child — an entitled, spoiled child at that — who wants what they want, when they want it, but for someone else to provide it for them.
It isn’t Hobby Lobby’s responsibility to provide anyone, man or woman, with the ability to have consequence-free sex. So yes, Jessica Valenti is right about something. Women enjoy having sex, aren’t always ready to have a child, and therefore, use birth control. They don’t need to be ashamed about using it, either. But it’s no one else’s responsibility but theirs to ensure that they can have consequence-free sex.
We are not animals, mere slaves to our urges and desires. If someone can’t afford birth control because their employer doesn’t provide it, then oh well. It doesn’t mean their human rights are being somehow violated because they’ll possibly have to abstain from sex for a little while.
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