My uterus is not a pawn

Call this the slow burn. I’m always a little on edge about what I call The Uterus Wars — access to reliable, accurate health care; access to birth control; access to abortions; access to the morning-after-pill; insurance companies refusing to cover birth control while doling out Viagra (an entirely elective drug, might I add) like it’s no big deal.

You see, the clincher here is always ACCESS. And I hate to be the kind of feminist who has to write a sentence like this, but in this case it’s true: This just wouldn’t be an issue if men had the babies. (Sigh.) But somehow, even though men DON’T have the babies and therefore are NOT (directly) unnecessarily burdened by bureaucracy and meddling pharmacists, there are still plenty of male lawmakers who are willing to put up more roadblocks.

It’s enough to make a woman yell: MY UTERUS IS NOT PUBLIC PROPERTY!

I don’t see laws being passed about penises, penis health (should we really leave it up to you to decide if your penis is healthy or not?) or the like. I don’t even see laws passed about any other part of the body the way they’re passed about the female reproductive system.

Am I not an autonomous person, capable of making my own decisions? Is my college degree worth less than a man’s? Is my vote? Is my life, if I chose to give it in service to this country in the armed services? For that matter, would I be any less culpable if I were to murder someone? I didn’t think so.

And I’m not just ranting to rant. There’s real roadblocks being erected at every turn for women these days. How about the bullshit going on in Congress over the cost of birth control. Thanks to a glitch in a law passed last year, the cost of birth control available at clinics that predominantly serve low-income communities (including Planned Parenthood) has shot up 900 percent. That’s not a typo. 9-0-0 percent. So this year Congress is wringing its hands (and taking its sweet time) passing a new law that would rectify the situation. It’s all fucking bullshit!

Here’s what you can do. Contact your representative and tell them to get off their asses and pass this law. Planned Parenthood has even done all the heavy lifting for you.

Save your virginity sermons for someone else. The fact of the matter is that if we want to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies in America (particularly to teenagers), women need access to affordable birth control. They don’t need scare tactics or lies, like the ones perpetrated by the Bush administration’s “abstinence only” education plan. Studies show that teens have been having sex at the same rate since the Baby Boomer generation. So let’s get real and give the ones who are going to do it the option to do it safely and without unintended consequences. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a public health issue, not one of morality. Moralize on your own time.

And this isn’t just about teens having sex, which is what the conservative right would like you to believe. There are plenty of adult women in America who are uninsured or who’s insurance does not cover birth control. For them, having access to affordable birth control at these clinics is vital to maintaining their lives as they’ve planned — not as the government or conservatives would like to plan for them.

— Emmily

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