Birth Control, Double Standards, and Oppressive Morality
Revolution #039, March 19, 2006, posted at revcom.us
During the 1990s pro-choice advocates began a campaign to get medical insurance companies to cover the cost of contraception. By that time birth control had been around for over 30 years. And even though over 82 percent of all American women born since 1945 had used the pill -- the pill, along with all other contraceptives, was still not covered by most insurance plans. The burden for birth control in this society falls disproportionately on women. And since birth control must be paid for out of pocket, this is an important part of why medical expenses are 68% higher for women than men.
By contrast, when the FDA approved the erection drug Viagra in 1996, it took less than two months after its release for half of all the Viagra prescriptions to be covered by health insurers.
By 1998 Christian fascists had captured the leadership of the Republican Party, and political operatives from the "pro-life" caucus in Congress were behind the defeat of federal legislation to require health insurance companies to pay for contraceptives. The Republican argument against this is that "fertility is not a disease but a function of a woman’s normal healthy reproductive organs."
This double standard and assertion of male right over women having any say over their own reproduction is not just some loony marginal religious doctrine -- it is part of an ideological outlook and oppressive morality of powerful forces that exercises authority over health policies that affect the whole country.
[Thanks to Cristina Page for her exposure of this and many other features of the Christian fascist war against abortion and birth control in her book How the Pro-choice Movement Saved America — Freedom, Politics, and the War on Sex." New York: Basic Books, 2006.]