Shawhan is a junior magazines major and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year’s presidential campaigns brought a multitude of controversies to the forefront including health care, same-sex marriage, abortion and contraception. Yes, a woman’s access to contraception is actually being debated.
Roughly 98 percent of women use or have used contraception, according to the Guttmacher Institute. You would think this would be an issue that’s non-debatable — women need contraception, therefore it should be readily available and insurance should be able to cover it.
With the Obama administration’s new birth control policy, insurance companies would have to cover the cost of contraception. This is wonderful because birth control is expensive, sometimes as high as $100 a month, which makes it difficult for students and lower income families to afford it.
According to ABC News, the majority of Americans support the use of contraception and Obama’s policy, even many Catholic women.
But some conservatives and religious institutions still don’t like it because they claim it forces “immoral activity,” aka sex before marriage. But no matter if this policy is in place or not, let’s face it — people are going to have sex anyway. Bringing down this policy won’t stop anyone.
In fact, this policy could potentially lower the number of unwanted pregnancies, and therefore abortions. Which would you rather have, conservatives? Women being able to get access to birth control or women having more abortions? You can’t make contraception hard to obtain and unaffordable and then expect women to not get abortions for unwanted pregnancies.
Now, I know what the argument against this is going to be — “Women shouldn’t be having sex unless they want to get pregnant!” Or the ever-popular “I’m not going to pay for a woman to be a whore!”
When I hear these arguments, I’m going to say this again: people are going to have sex no matter what you do — both men and women, so why do the women have to suffer? Why don’t men ever get slut-shamed for having sex?
And insurance companies would be covering the cost of contraception, not the government, so you aren’t actually paying for anything either.
Not every woman who is using contraception is using it because she is sexually active. Many women use contraception because they have irregular periods or need help with cramps, acne and medical conditions like ovarian cysts.
But these aren’t the only arguments against contraception. Many conservatives also claim that the policy violates their First Amendment rights because it forces insurers to cover contraception even if they are morally objected to it.
You can’t deny women their basic rights and use the argument that it goes against your religion or morals. If you don’t like contraception, don’t use it — it’s as simple as that, but you can’t force other people to follow your values and beliefs, even if you are in a higher position of authority. It’s called religious freedom for a reason.