I have a copper IUD. It serves one purpose, to prevent pregnancy.
My boyfriend had a vasectomy, a procedure that has no health benefits beyond preventing pregnancy.
I am proud of these decisions because A) we both don’t want me to get pregnant and B) we both like sex.
These should be reasons enough to use contraception. So, I am more than a little put off by the discussions regarding the heath benefits of contraception. I am not for a minute suggesting that hormonal contraception is not without health benefits that are completely apart from controlling reproduction. There are many medical reasons to prescribe hormonal contraception outside of birth control. However, that’s not the point. When I prescribe hormonal contraception for acne it should be considered as an acne medication. When I prescribe hormonal contraception to treat menstrual migraines it should be considered as a migraine medication. Hormonal contraception isn’t listed in the treatment algorithms for these conditions because it is a contraceptive.
When advocates resort to the, “But birth control has health benefits beyond contraception” argument they have conceded that wanting to have sex but not wanting to be pregnant is simply not reason enough. They have retreated to a defensive position. They have made it okay to question contraception. It makes me think of the 80’s in Canada when women would have to petition a 3 member panel for an abortion. It was a rubber stamp. An, “Of course you will be psychologically harmed by continuing the pregnancy” nudge-nudge wink-wink rubber stamp. A degrading rubber stamp.
We should not be ashamed of wanting to have non-procreative sex.
If you want to talk about the health benefits of controlling reproduction, I’m all for that because it’s a valid argument supported by evidence-based medicine (notably absent from many State level decisions on reproductive health). Contraception allows women to lead longer lives, to work outside of the home should they choose, and reduces poverty. Contraception also reduces health care costs, because every contraceptive is cheaper than the cost of prenatal care and delivery. In addition, contraception is a green choice because our world can not sustain the carbon footprint of 3 children families. Seven billion is already too many.
If you focus on the non-contraceptive health benefits you’ve told your opponents that you’re willing to bargain with reproductive rights because you’ve come to the table. I’m not.
Sex is my Maginot line where contraception is concerned.
And watch this clip from the movie The Contender. I really couldn’t have said it any better.