Posted by: mutantpoodle | March 6, 2012

What she said…and her, too…

Amused has a post up where she asks liberals to stop falling back on the “birth control pills aren’t just for birth control” argument:

Look, I know that a lot of women, even virgins, take hormonal birth control for certain gynecological problems, to control cramps, etc. Still, the primary purpose of such medication is to prevent pregnancy, and the majority of women who take such pills, take it for this reason alone. To rely on the off-label use as a justification for mandating coverage implicitly concedes the wingnut argument that sexually active women, even married women, should just “hold an aspirin between their knees” if they don’t want to get pregnant.

Or, as Amanda Marcotte put it last week,

We need to frame our arguments as a full-throated, unapologetic belief that sex is good, women are good, and women’s right to enjoy sexual pleasure without shaming or government interference is good. Unfortunately, I’m not seeing enough of that. Instead, the most important argument—that a woman has a right to be a sexual creature and that sex is good—being abandoned by all sorts of liberals and feminists. The most common form this concession takes is well-meaning, and often person conceding the argument that women who have sex for pleasure are somehow less-than don’t intend to concede it. But that’s nonetheless what they’re doing. That concession looks like this:

“Some women aren’t even taking the birth control pill for contraception! They need it for cramps/endometriosis/etc.”

Every time you say this, a right winger wanting to imply that women who have sex for pleasure are sluts gets his wings.

Amen to that.

Contraceptives should be covered because they are a basic health need. Whether women choose to make use of that coverage to control cramping, cysts, or to have tons of sex without getting pregnant is nobody’s damned business.  The notion that anyone thinks it might be is deeply disturbing on so many levels.


  1. Can you clarify how a Type I carcinogen (i.e., the birth control pill) is a health need?

  2. Well, let’s start with the premise. Yes, there is a link between combined hormonal therapy (i.e., the pill) and breast cancer. But:

    …the investigation also confirmed that the pill protects against endometrial and ovarian cancers.

    “It’s a complicated picture,” said Vincent Cogliano, head of the agency’s department that evaluates the cancer risk of chemicals. “There are still other reasons to take it. Each woman has to discuss it with her doctor and weigh the risks and benefits” for either the contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy.

    The increased cancer risk from the birth control pill was small and transient, the analysis found.

    While experts did not dispute the agency’s conclusions on hormones for menopause, some were less convinced about the dangers of the birth control pill.

    “I think it’s flat-out wrong,” said Dr. Steven R. Goldstein, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at New York University Medical Center. “Most of the studies were using pills 2½ to four times the dosage that I’m using today in most women.”

    “My advice to women is absolutely no different tomorrow than it was yesterday,” Goldstein said. “In nonsmokers who have normal blood pressure, I think the benefits outweigh the risk. I think there’s good science that they have less ovarian and uterine cancer and I don’t think there’s good science that they will have more breast cancer, especially in the doses and the way we are using it.”

    So: the question is this: do women have, as a basic part of their health coverage, the right to control their reproductive lives? Or, put another way, does a religious institution, acting as something other than a religious institution (e.g., hospital, university), have the right to dictate it’s values to employees who are not of that faith?

    No one is forcing any person of any belief to violate their conscience by taking contraceptives. And no religious institution will pay more to include free contraceptive coverage, because it’s cheaper than the alternative.

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