Should we rename birth control? To birth mind-your-business. Or birth nunya. Or something that would stop numerous conservatives in DC from crawling up our uterus’?
While the debate over abortion is well-documented, the BTS agenda of the Trump admin when it comes to birth control is less documented.
It started to come to light earlier this month when, according the the NY Times, “the White House argued that one reason for ending Obamacare’s birth control mandate is that it could promote ‘risky sexual behavior’ among women and teens." Under these regulations of the 55 million women with access to free birth control, hundreds of thousands of women would lose the benefits afforded to them under the Affordable Care Act.
So let’s talk numbers. More than 99% of women aged 15–44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method. Of the contraceptive methods, the pill and female sterilization have been the two most commonly used methods since 1982.
According to the fact sheet from the Guttmacher Institute, four of every five sexually experienced women have used the pill. More so, the pill is the method most widely used by white women, women in their teens and 20s, never- married and cohabiting women, childless women and college graduates.
You get the point. We use the pill. We like the pill. We like not getting pregnant. It’s not as wild or raucous as that “risky sexual behavior” quote would lead conservatives to believe. In fact, access to contraceptives has shown teens to engage in less risky sexual behavior.
And yet, last week, while we were distracted by [enter any number of horrors here] a leaked memo revealed that Trump and his administration intend to cut family planning funding and encourage women—including teenagers—to abandon birth control in favor of the rhythm method.
We wish this was about Janet Jackson.
(One more Rhythm Nation gif for prosperity.)
But it's not. It's still nasty tho.
Said memo was leaked to Crooked, and according to their reporting, “Each of the document’s repeated references to fertility awareness, including as a preferred remedy for teenage pregnancy, can be found in subsections that identify DPC staffers Katy Talento and Alexandra Campau as points of contact for OMB officials. Talento, a former adviser to Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), attracted the attention of the health news service STAT earlier this year, after Trump selected her to help shape the administration’s health policy, for expressing ‘strong rhetoric against birth control and abortion.’ In a January 2015 article for the right wing website The Federalist, Talento suggested that “chemical birth control” is “causing miscarriages of already-conceived children,” and, “breaking your uterus for good.”
Speaking of, here’s a little info on the rhythm method, in which women try to avoid pregnancy by tracking their ovulation. According to Planned Parenthood, these methods are about 76% effective. In other numbers, ““24 out of 100 couples who use FAMS will have a pregnancy each year.”
Talento has to be a hack! You might think. She's not. She studied epidemiology at Harvard (which certainly doesn't make her a vagina expert). Her first job, according to her LinkedIn was as a research instructor at Georgetown University Medical Center, where she helped oversee an unspecified NIH-funded study. She then worked at the Whitman-Walker Clinic, which provides services for HIV/AIDS patients, before moving onto politics. Why would a woman with an extensive scientific background call for such measures?
Why the call to take away our BC?
It’s certainly pre-historic and it has very little to do with your uterus breaking. Or deviant sexual behavior. But a conservative agenda that women should not enter into sexual relations before marriage. This is not politics as usual.
We say, my body, my choice. My Control.