Sometimes I read something and I just know that the man writing the letter either hates women or sees all women as a threat. What else could be operating–if not bold ignorance.
So this in the Letters to the Editor, LA Times. ...taking birth control is a choice made by women who do not want to become pregnant. That is their prerogative, but it should not be the financial responsibility of taxpayers or employers. In those rare cases where pregnancy can be life-threatening, private or employer insurance, or even Medicaid, should of course cover it.
Some say that birth control for women and treatments for erectile dysfunction in men should be looked at equally. Not so. One is a medical condition, and the other is a choice. Bob, Laguna, CA.
To pick apart some of this:
- instead of stating that women simply do not want to become pregnant (and I could write for hours about men who are totally unable to understand our sex’s physical and psychic responsibility as well as physical vulnerability that many men will never understand) the writer should instead realize that birth control is a means for women to POSTPONE pregnancy–for whatever reason they deem necessary;
- practicing birth control negates his next line about financial responsibility to employers. The woman who plans for a child by taking birth control does so precisely to become economically and socially able to give birth and care for a child. Employers of women should encourage birth control that can aid the woman in learning her job–thus being able to prepare her employer and fellow workers for the time when she will be on maternity leave (if in fact that is offered to her, which it should be.)
- Then the guy writes: in those rare cases where pregnancy can be life-threatening...I know this was a letter to an editor and thus brief. But he has no idea what he is talking about. If your only knowledge of a pregnancy is a wife, friend or co-worker and you really aren’t interested, then you can’t begin to understand all the conditions that can make a pregnancy life-threatening NOT ONLY FOR THE WOMAN BUT FOR HER CHILD. Thus: Maternal morbidity includes physical and psychologic conditions that result from or are aggravated by pregnancy and have an adverse effect on a woman’s health. The most severe complications of pregnancy, generally referred to as severe maternal morbidity (SMM), affect more than 50,000 women in the United States every year. Based on recent trends, this burden has been steadily increasing.
I’ll take a breath for a moment. I am a big advocate of birth control. I see it as a gift to women who can now control their ability to have children–can now plan for a family that they are able to support and care for. Regardless, life isn’t perfect. Some women discover they are unable to get pregnant after using birth control. Is there a relationship: “With a few notable exceptions, immediately after you stop using birth control, your fertility will go right back to what it was destined to be,” says Paul Blumenthal, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Johns Hopkins. There are exceptions.
Some women, me included, find it takes months to get pregnant. And for others, this is definitely not the case. Today, some women who postpone motherhood are freezing their eggs to ward off changes that might affect their individual fertility.
Maybe the writer sees birth control as a means of having sex without responsibility. But as a nurse, I can attest that their is always responsibility connected to HAVING SEX. There is the possibility of social diseases that currently are on an increase. Condoms as a form of birth control help fight the passage of some venereal disease but certainly NOT ALL. And there’s the psychological responsibility of sex–sadness, abandonment, guilt to name a few. Contraception cannot address those issues, but it certainly can provide a time period of adjustment before an infant is introduced into the mix.
Then this guy writes:
- Some say that birth control for women and treatments for erectile dysfunction in men should be looked at equally. Not so. One is a medical condition, and the other is a choice.
DAMN!! WRONG WRONG WRONG. First off, here is a link to the many medical conditions that doctors treat by prescribing birth control pills. (This editorial letter writer never uses the word PILL, but basically he must be referring to either the pill or the IUD. The pill can be costly and requires a monthly script. Some women cannot take the pill. Though a diaphragm is relatively inexpensive, in real life use it is only 88% effective. IUDS can be very expensive, but are said to be 99% effective.)
ERECTILE DISFUNCTION VS BIRTH CONTROL
The letter writer says ED is a medical condition. He’s right. It is.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, as many as 52 percent of men experience erectile dysfunction, with it affecting 40 percent of men age 40, and 70 percent of men age 70. Men who have heart disease, diabetes and are taking certain medications have higher risks of experiencing erectile dysfunction. (Jun 11, 2013)
But the real kicker? He says that birth control is a choice. No. Birth control is often needed to address issues related to feminine health. Once again, here are a few: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Endometriosis, Amenorrhea, Menstrual Cramps, PMS, and Primary Ovarian Insufficiency. If a woman has other medical conditions that indicate becoming pregnant would be adverse to her overall health, birth control could save her life. You can read about post-partum contraception here.
Maybe the writer of this editorial letter had just had it with women–after all we are making news and we should be!! I do hope this guy doesn’t have a daughter who needs birth control. Ignorance can often be the beginning of a mistake that spirals out of control and hurts a young life. Women and girls deserve the right to plan their lives and their families. Birth control has allowed that. It helps women stay solvent economically and can prevent abortion — if the birth control works and if in fact that was something the writer didn’t want to mention. I just saw a government ad that said contraception leads to abortion. LIES.
Information is power, but only if it is the right information. And hey that means evidence-based and research-based–words I will continue to use freely despite what anyone says.
PS If we’re talking the cost of Birth Control, consider this: eight to nine thousand for a vaginal delivery and a C-section is higher.