Birth control debates without the ladies who use birth control

Birth control debates without the ladies who use birth control


There's some pretty scary business happening these days in Congress and in Virginia. Last week on Capitol Hill, a committee of eight men and a male chair, spoke about how they felt persecuted by Pres. Obama's birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The first version of the bill required non-houses of worship to subsidize the cost of female employees' birth control. Conservatives threw a fit, and the Obama administration tempered the bill by adding a compromise that would require insurance companies to subsidize the cost of birth control in religious institutions.

That still wasn't enough.

The panel was awful, oh man, so, so awful. It was like the 1950's again and men had to control women's bodies because women's brains are too small and men's hopes for procreation are simply far too great.

During the hearing, the men testifying didn't have any facts to back up their feelings on birth control, but simply stated that "a man's conscience" should guide laws in America. Democratic women walked out of the joke hearings in protest. But this isn't simply a circus--it's a reality that is a possible future for our all-too-Victorian country's leanings.

It may be laughable that these men devalue women and try to put rules on what happens to their bodies--because it offends their "moral" consciences, but they will never have to deal with a painful period, too many children and too little money, a child making his body sick. Still, these men feel the archaic notion that women's bodies come second to their functionally-illiterate ideology.

I can be furious about these proceedings, and try to portray their lunacy in words, but Amy Poehler does it much better. Thank god she returned to SNL this weekend to disarm the idiocy, revising her popular segment "Really!?! with Seth and Amy" on Weekend Update. Take a look.

The most to-the-point statement in Poehler's segment was her point about the Chinese Olympics' opening segment with the pyramid of people, saying "that should be an advertisement for condoms." And it's true. These white, conservative, religious men may be able to pay for another child if their wife got pregnant for the fifth or the sixth or the EIGHTH time, but poor communities cannot.

These hearings exactly demonstrate the problem's initial conceit: men should care for women; women cannot care for themselves. In this thinking, men need to wear the condoms to care for the woman's reproductive health. But how many times do we have to learn that he will not?

Ladies, speak up.