Is the Pill only about preventing pregnancy? Is the Pill really just a license for women to have wanton sex? Is the current brouhaha over requiring Catholic hospitals to provide the Pill really just another example of government shoving regulations down the throats of those poor, innocent hospitals? Ask a Republican and the reply will almost certainly be “yes” to all three questions.
But there’s more to the Pill than that. Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) describes it best:
Birth control is directly and undeniably related to women’s health. Birth control protects women from the risk of bearing children before they are ready. Birth control helps to ensure that women do not bear too many children or bear children too soon after their last pregnancy. Birth control is used to relieve symptoms of endometriosis, regulate a cycle, reduce acne, relieve symptoms of depression, reduce migraines, treat polycystic ovary condition, alleviate anemia, and even reduce the risk of some cancers.
And despite misleading Republican talking points about not wanting to subsidize birth control, studies have shown that it may be less expensive in the long run for employers to provide employees with no co-pay coverage of birth control than to deny such coverage altogether. This is in large part due to the fact that no-cost coverage improves a woman’s access to birth control, which means fewer unwanted and/or potentially harmful pregnancies. And that can significantly reduce the huge long-term costs of care related to problem pregnancies and premature births.
But none of this will make one whit of difference to the Republicans. Why? Because when it comes to manipulating public perception prior to an election, “right and wrong” and “beneficial and not-beneficial” are of no consequence whatsoever. The Pill has become another strawman in the culture wars foisted on America by the Republicans. But that’s okay, because come November, we’ll all see what the women of America think of the Republican stance on women’s health.