It’s hard not to miss all of the latest controversial news going on in the U.S around access to contraception (ahem, Rush Limbaugh, Rick Santorum…) – which, honestly, as I watch the U.S. news from South Africa, quite literally have to put my hand to my chin from allowing it to hit the floor too hard. Is this really a controversial issue today?!?! Especially in America?? As my favorite South African expression goes… SHAME!
Below is an excellent article and excerpt from Keli Goff on the important reality of having contraception accessible. It really is shocking that “the other half” of the population has to fight to be heard and protected amongst a bunch of men that are making decisions on their behalf. I am not suggesting all men are against women, or that all women are for contraception, but what I am suggesting is that this is a very obvious example of modern-day patriarchy that is being played out.
Not only has the fight over access to contraception been led entirely by men (President Obama on one side, Sen. Marco Rubio and House Speaker John Boehner on the other), but a recent report has confirmed that the voices that have dominated this debate in media have been overwhelmingly male as well. By a nearly 2 to 1 margin male guests and commentators outnumbered females in discussions of the contraception controversy on news programs. Sen. Rick Santorum’s inaccurate remarks regarding the cost of contraception served as a powerful reminder of the severe handicap to our political discourse when women are not permitted to speak for themselves on the issues that directly affect them.
Before contraception was widely available, there were far fewer women able to do just that because of the physical, emotional and financial demands that giving birth to and raising sometimes more than a dozen children (something my great-grandmother did) required. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe some of these elected officials fighting so hard to make contraception as inaccessible as possible want to return to the good old days when contraception was illegal, and therefore men were able to rule the world and more importantly their households. Men were able to enjoy absolute power in the legal system and in domestic life without fear that a woman could carve out some semblance of financial and political independence enabling her to engage in such scandalous behavior as running for office or leaving an abusive relationship. Because after all, where would a woman with six, or seven, or eight small children to care for really go, even if she had a good reason to?
1. In countries with the highest fertility rates women have the shortest life expectancies.
2. In countries with the highest fertility rates women have the fewest rights.
3. Country’s with low contraception usage have the lowest number of women who can read.
4. Men who physically abuse their partners fear contraception.
5. When contraception availability goes down, abortion rates go up.
6. Countries with the highest fertility rates have the highest poverty rates.
7. Before contraception* American women were statistically more likely to die in childbirth than they are today.
8. Before contraception men greatly outnumbered American women in colleges.
9. Before contraception there were no female CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies.
10. Before contraception women were virtually invisible in Congress.