What Is Controversial About Birth Control?

If you were planning a wedding for 300 guests, and you knew that one person attending was a strict vegetarian, would you order him or her a separate meal? Or would you simply decide not to have food at all?

If it sounds like a ridiculous situation, in essence, that is what is being demanded by groups like Family Research Council in the wake of the recommendation that contraceptives be covered by insurance as preventative care. According to groups like FRC, because an extremely small fraction of Americans do not approve of birth control, allowing insurers to cover it would “violate their conscious rights.”

A very small fraction indeed. According to a Guttmacher report [PDF], “There are approximately 62 million women of reproductive age in the United States, and virtually all of them will use a contraceptive method other than natural family planning at some point in their lives.”

Virtually ALL of them.

But apparently the utterly vast mass of people who not only approve of birth control to avoid unwanted pregnancies, but also use it themselves, don’t make enough noise to drown out the incessant outrage posed by critics of women not having babies once a year. Hence, all of the media is debating the “controversy” of birth control.

There should be no controversy. As always, if you don’t like birth control, don’t use it. You still overall benefit from the cost savings that will be reaped by lower medical costs from births that are further spaced out, unneeded abortions, and the social and financial costs of caring for more children than a family can afford. Your objection to chemical birth control should not supersede another’s ability to access affordable preventative medication.

No one should have to cancel an entire wedding dinner because one guest doesn’t eat meat. Neither should all people have to go without preventative care because a very small, very vocal fringe minority disapproves.

Reprinted with permission from Care2.
Photo from Flickr user WeNews under Creative Commons 2.o.


Robin Marty is a freelance writer, speaker and activist, and the author of Crow After Roe: How Women's Health Is the New Separate But Equal and How to Change That. Her articles have appeared in Ms. magazine, Politico, Rolling Stone and other publications.