The UConn Daily Campus

Birth control should only be paid for by individuals who need it

By Nicole Douglin

Staff Columnist

Published: Thursday, March 8, 2012

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013

Much controversy has occurred as a result of so called "inflammatory remarks" made by highly acclaimed talk show host Rush Limbaugh regarding his comments made concerning Sandra Fluke's statements about contraception and women. Barring any discussion on whether or not the phrases "slut" and "prostitute" were appropriate terms to use in the situation, there still remains an underlying question. "Should anyone else, outside of the actual person(s) using the birth control, be required to contribute to its purchase?" To this, I respond an emphatic and reasonable "no."

Here on campus, I have heard varying opinions from friends and foes alike, but many fall short of the central issue at hand. Some express sentiments of hatred toward Limbaugh for words they not only use on a daily basis, but encourage when leveled against conservative women like Sarah Palin or Laura Ingraham. Liberal hypocrisy aside, as a rational individual, I was able to appreciate the commentary by the talk show hosts.

Upon further examination of the issue, I must say that I whole-heartedly agree with the underlying sentiments presented against Fluke and her supporters. I will state it plainly; people should have to pay for their contraceptives, including, but not limited to, the birth control pill. I say "people" here because men and women, when choosing to have sex, should have to pay for the child they produce or the methods used to prevent that child from being created. It is incomprehensible that any individual would express sentiments contrary to such an idea. Any antithetical response to this throws any sense of personal responsibility to the wayside.

Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman is the biological process for a couple to procreate. However, when one chooses to engage in sex and does not want to produce a child, the act no longer becomes biological or necessary for procreation purposes; rather, it becomes recreational. The sex is now an act based purely in pleasure for the parties involved. Again, recreational. As such, a recreational activity should only be funded by those engaging in the activity. Allowing such subsidization, by any means, could lead to a slippery slope into subsidizing other recreational or purely pleasure-based activities. Take membership fees into a country club, for example. People join country clubs largely in part for recreational purposes, for fun. Would it be fair for any other person to contribute to the fees associated with such recreational activities? Should anyone pay for anyone else to play golf, get (non-physical-therapy-related) massages, play racquetball, or any other leisure based services provided by a country club? If your answer is "no," then you should agree that no other individual, other than the man and woman partaking in intercourse, should pay for any premium associated with their leisurely activity, i.e. birth control.

In her speech, Fluke mentions an anecdotal story of one woman who went to a pharmacist and for the "first time," found out that birth control was not covered by her insurance. Tragic, I know. Fluke continued, "Women like her have no choice but to go without contraception." Fluke is grossly misrepresenting reality by making such a statement. She is explicitly saying that if one does not have access to insured birth control, then there is no other contraceptive measure available. Clearly, Fluke is ignorant of the new innovation on the market: the condom. You know, the only form of contraception that helps protect individuals from transmitting sexually transmitted diseases, in addition to preventing pregnancy. Not only are condoms readily available, but Planned Parenthood currently provides birth control which they state would cost about "$15-$50 a month." If a couple can't afford that price, or condoms, then perhaps sex is not the recreational activity they should be partaking in.

Fluke claims she is speaking out for women's rights, but what about the women who have a false sense of security because they are on birth control and engage in casual unprotected sex, or are pressured into having condom free sex by their mate? I know some people think that bringing a child into the world is the worst possible thing that could result from engaging in unprotected sex. There are worst things, like becoming infected with HIV or other incurable viruses. I think the only thing Fluke is standing up for is her irrational idea that someone else should, as Rush put it, "pay for her to have sex." 

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