Monday, October 22, 2007

On Contraception

Some days a story will insist getting included. If I ignore it in one context a mis-click on the keyboard takes me to a web page with a different version of the story, and if I still mutter with a tight jaw about other uses of my time some third place pushes the same topic down my throat. That's when I give up and give you the story, because it's not from me but from some universe of neglected and angry stories, and if we don't pay it attention, who knows what will happen next?

So today it is contraception. At first Scott Lemieux posted on the TAPPED about the favorite fundamentalist candidate Mike Huckabee's views on who it is who is responsible for illegal immigration. Not surprisingly, it is women. Women tend to be responsible for almost everything that goes wrong in the conservative world view. This is what Huckabee said:

Speaking before a gathering of Christian conservative voters, GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said legalized abortion in the United States was a holocaust.

"Sometimes we talk about why we're importing so many people in our workforce," the former Arkansas governor said. "It might be for the last 35 years, we have aborted more than a million people who would have been in our workforce had we not had the holocaust of liberalized abortion under a flawed Supreme Court ruling in 1973."

So those nasty women have aborted all the people who would otherwise now pick our fruit, clean our houses and wash our laundry. Got it? Then Scott points out that abortion is not necessary at all to put the blame squarely on the women, because contraception also allows women not to make enough low-income workers, and that's what has caused the illegal immigration. So contraception is part of the evil axis in the fundamentalist world.

And what else has happened to contraception? One of those odd errors I mentioned got me on this page of news from last spring:

Millions of college students are suddenly facing sharply higher prices for birth control, prompting concerns among health officials that some will shift to less preferred contraceptives or stop using them altogether.

Prices for oral contraceptives, or birth control pills, are doubling and tripling at student health centers, the result of a complex change in the Medicaid rebate law that essentially ends an incentive for drug companies to provide deep discounts to colleges.

"It's a tremendous problem for our students because not every student has a platinum card," said Hugh Jessop, executive director of the health center at Indiana University.

There, he said, women are paying about $22 per month for prescriptions that cost $10 a few months ago. "Some of our students have two jobs, have children," Jessop said. "To increase this by 100 percent or more overnight, which is what happened, is a huge shock to them and to their system."

Now, it is not me who finds a connection between the two quotes I have given here; it is that dratted screeching contraceptive story demon. I think the connection is deeper, having to do with the fundamentalist spirit of these times and with who it is who is in power and how the wars against women are carried out in a quiet voice and in hidden places, and how we are beginning to wonder if contraception in fact is a good thing at all. Really.

The third part of the story came in my e-mail. A link to a student's musings on that very same question about how to afford contraception now the prices on college campuses have risen:

This is a terrible situation. My boyfriend and I are madly in love and hope to spend our lives together, it's affecting us both. He said he will help me pay but he already pays for so much and we're both poor students. Birth control pills are so ridiculously cheap to make, it's almost criminal what they're doing. Meanwhile Viagra is still covered by insurance. What sort of message are they sending? This makes women more powerless over their lives, I wouldn't be surprised if there will be a huge spike in STDs and a decrease in women graduating college due to pregnancy.

Is this enough on you, demon of contraception or whatever it is that you are. Angel?