Birth Control Is Not a Women’s Issue: It’s a Human Right
The modern Cotton Mather of AM radio wants to blame the women, and in particular one woman, but rational, adult men need to own part of this conversation - don’t leave the dialogue to the pre-adolescent and puritanical sexual fears of the religious right.
Men need to take back this discussion from the screeching religious ideologues because there are too many unwanted children, because there are too many children born out of wedlock, and too many children born into struggling families who are barely scraping by in red states as it is.
Here’s a big hint: people who use birth control and who practice family planning to postpone children until they are ready aren’t the people who leave newborns in dumpsters.
Our national conversation about birth control has veered into bad science fiction lately, as Rick Santorum has declared the prevention of unwanted pregnancies wrong and Rush Limbaugh accused women who utilize birth control of being sluts. Flirting with some kind of misogynistic dystopian vision of a “new America,” far right radicals are trying to use the weapons of their words to undermine a hundred years of progress.
Woman-hating is nothing new in this country, but these men are going about it all wrong. Preventing pregnancy isn’t a women’s issue, it’s a human right; and one men want as much as women.
What exactly does the far right believe about most men…that they want to impregnate their partners with as many babies as possible and then support a large family? Some couples are into this, and the large family is making a comeback in conservative communities. But everyone I know would prefer to be accidentally sterilized to accidentally pregnant, especially after having a couple kids. Many married men I know signed up for vasectomies rather than risk adding one more babe to their brood. Is that a sin, Santorum?
The “guy culture” I observe in the media and in real life is far different than the fevered fantasy of masculinity preached by the religious right. Most guys I know just aren’t into that whole male dominion over women and families thing. It doesn’t float their boat. A woman who uses birth control isn’t a slut… she’s his wife or girlfriend.
Life in the 21st century is more responsible in some ways, and looser in others. I hypothesize the far right feels extraordinarily threatened by the casualness that most people regard birth control and sex. Couples have sex before marriage now, but also uncoupled people hook up. For most of us, there’s no shame in sexuality any longer, and if there is, a round of therapy will clear it up. This attitude doesn’t feel correct to the right, and so they rail against it for everyone else.