I. Plan. Everything. I’m almost as Type A as you can get. I pack my lunch the night before. I’m allergic to procrastinating. I’m the only person I knew in college who didn’t pull all-nighters. I’m never without my day planner and the calendar on my iPhone beeps at me incessantly.
Like many ambitious young women, I’m juggling a lot: career aspirations, relationships, stress. You know the phrase, “Life is what happens when you were busy making other plans?” Yeah. I plan as much as possible so that I can handle whatever unexpected hurdles life throws my way.
So it’s no surprise that I use birth control, right?
Funnily enough, I was an unplanned baby. I mean, a really unplanned baby. My parents couldn’t even legally drink when I was born. I’m happy I’m here and all, and I’m sure my family is too. But I know my mother got on the Pill tout de suite after she had me. As a single and then married mother, she did a wonderful job raising me, and she also did a great job with my little brother–whom she decided to have when I was ten.
What most irks me about this whole birth control kerfuffle is that idiot pundits like Rush or the screamers on Fox News make it seem like women who use birth control are careless whores with an endless slew of sex partners. But making the conscious decision on whether or not to be a parent actually shows a huge sense of responsibility, doesn’t it? I’m not going to have a baby until I’m emotionally or financially ready.
At the moment, I’ve got a student debt load that’s eating out of my monthly budget like a fast-growing child. Financially speaking, it’d be grossly irresponsible of me to have a child right now. I also happen to be a motherless and fatherless young woman, and the scars from losing my parents very young are just too big at the moment for me to even think about becoming a mother myself. Emotionally, I’m not in a good place to be a mom.
I really think so much of this national birth control argument is about sex. We just can’t accept that people who aren’t married have sex. Oh wait, that’s not true. We see premarital sex all the time on movies and TV shows. Sex is dripping from every commercial or magazine ad we see. It makes sense that we see it so much, since like 90 percent (yes, that’s right) of the population has premarital sex.
And yet the very idea of getting insurers to pay for the commonly used drugs that women use to plan their families sparks outrage. Never mind that these same insurers pay for older men’s erection enhancement drugs. Never mind that those drugs are being marketed to a younger and younger audience–have you seen those commercials lately? The actors look like they’re 25 with fake wrinkles painted on. And yet women using birth control is this hush-hush thing that we don’t talk about and certainly do not want to pay for.
I think it’s time for a grownup conversation about this. The slew of suited old men that I’ve seen discuss this at length just don’t seem to understand some simple cause and effect statements, but I will labor to explain them here, as simply as possible: Babies cost money. Unplanned pregnancies cost government a lot of money. Most people are having sex. The economy sucks and most probably aren’t intending to expand their families right now. It takes two to tango, and two to make those babies, so it’s about time insurers and employers pay for birth control as happily as they do for “old” men to have a four-hour boner.
For me, it’s not just about family planning. It’s about life planning. Taking control of my own destiny, and the babies I do or do not have, isn’t a crime. It’s the responsible thing to do.
–By Tara Cavanaugh
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