Welcome to 1958

Ok, people, I have something to say about all this birth control rigmarole. I’ve been thinking about it for a couple weeks, ever since the whole contrived annoyance with the healthcare mandate’s birth control provision hit the 24-hour news cycle.

I just haven’t been able to condense what I want to say.

But thank you, Rush Limbaugh. You have successfully elevated my anger and disbelief to the level at which I just have to say something.

In case you don’t know what Rush did, click here. I can’t really bear to repeat his slanderous statements about a Georgetown University law student denied the chance to address members of the U.S. Congress about this manufactured, 1960s-era issue. She wanted to testify on behalf of a friend, who’s a lesbian and has ovarian cancer and needs the Pill for treatment.

I’m not sure if Rush Limbaugh understands that lesbians really don’t need the Pill for birth control. Someone might want to draw him a picture.

But I digress.

So here’s what I want to say. If you have ovaries and a uterus – or if you’ve ever had ovaries and a uterus – this should be the issue that causes you to call your member of Congress, your Senator, even your state representative. Because this is more than about whether you can have access to birth control pills – a right women have had since the early 1960s.

This isn’t about whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, a Catholic or a Protestant, a liberal or a conservative. This is about the rights of your daughters and your granddaughters to have the same unfettered access you’ve had, to take control of their reproductive lives and move from someone who merely breeds to someone with a larger purpose in life.

This is about a battle we, as women, won before I even was born. And we can’t be complacent.

Hey, I don’t even have a personal dog in this fight anymore. I’m 43. My husband has had a vasectomy. I’m cruising toward menopause.

But there was a time when I was in my early 20s that I had to scrape and scrimp to pay for my birth control pills. And excuse me, Mr. Limbaugh, but I wasn’t some sex-crazed, swinging college girl. I was a married woman – a monogamous, married woman. Not a slut. Not a prostitute.

Yet my husband and I knew that we weren’t ready to be parents yet. That was one of our goals, yes, but not at 22. So we budgeted our meager newspaper reporters’ salaries to pay for my pills, because my health insurance didn’t cover them.

I remember calling that company and asking why they didn’t cover the Pill but would cover pregnancy and delivery. Couldn’t get a good answer.  Even back then, a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery cost between $5,000 and $10,000. And, as it turned out, my pregnancies ended up high-risk because of another health problem. So they would have cost even more.

That’s what makes me so mad. Not everyone who uses birth control pills is wantonly bedding men left and right. But frankly, what if they are? It’s apparently OK for men to do whatever they want between the sheets – as long as it’s with a woman – but women can’t play by those rules.

You know, I find talking about sex distasteful and am livid that I am forced to write a blog about what people do in the privacy of their bedrooms. But Rush Limbaugh has driven me to it.

Apparently, Rush and his cronies don’t want people to have sex if they don’t intend to procreate. If you do have sex and don’t intend to procreate but end up pregnant, well, too bad for you. And it’s seriously too bad for you if you’re poor and unmarried, because you’re just going to have to live with your consequences.

And if that means that you can’t afford to feed your baby or pay someone to watch your baby while you work, oh, well. You should have invested in some aspirin, I guess. Or worked harder to pull up those bootstraps. Or been born into a better-off family. Or moved to Sweden.

Look, the fact that we’re debating this issue in 2012 is beyond ridiculous, as is any discussion of whether amniocentesis contributes to abortions or whether it’s a good idea to force pregnant women to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds.

That one stumps me, the ultrasound issue. Hey, Mr. Politician-With-the-Bright-Ultrasound-Idea. Guess how much the average transvaginal ultrasound costs. Answer: hundreds of dollars. How much does a month of birth control pills cost? Answer: as low as $15, depending on the pill. How much does it cost to raise a baby from birth to adulthood? Answer: about $440,000, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s child-raising cost calculator.

Now, I’m not too good at math, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out which one of those costs the most.

So please, for the sake of the battle your mothers and grandmothers and aunts waged, please don’t let this issue go. Speak up for yourselves, your daughters, your nieces, the checker at your neighborhood grocery store, your child’s teacher.

Don’t let some blowhard like Rush Limbaugh call you names. Because when he calls one of us a slut, he’s really saying that about all of us.