A Pill By Any Other Name...

When five men in the Supreme Court decided that corporations have more rights than women by playing into archaic slut-shaming tactics in the name of religion and allowing for-profit companies to opt out of the Obamacare mandate that they must cover birth control in their health insurance plans, I had a novel idea. Let's stop calling it birth control.

Surveys state that 58 percent of women use the pill as a medication for other conditions such as ovarian cysts, debilitating periods, acne and other symptoms related to hormone imbalances. I propose renaming birth control pills "Hormone Adjustment Pills" or HAP (Happy). Can corporations morally object to providing their employees with medication that regulates their hormones? It would be impossible to prove who uses the drugs for medical purposes and who uses them for "free sex" unless employers really want to cross the lines of privacy. And do they really intend to ban Happy?

Changing the way we refer to the pill would not be difficult since most people are unaware of the many available brand names. While star-studded Viagra ads have splashed across the Super Bowl, there have been far fewer efforts to normalize the pill in American advertising. And although Viagra was initially tested as a cardiovascular drug to lower blood pressure, it is now used exclusively for pleasure-seeking purposes, which is fine by me. But I find it dubious that religious concerns about birth control have been raised repeatedly throughout our ongoing health care debates, and the only time that a ban on Viagra coverage was proposed was in 2010, for sex offenders, and the bill was immediately killed by both parties.

Of course, we shouldn't have to resort to using euphemisms for the pill because of a misguided political decision on the part of the SCOTUS, but the fact of the matter is that for many "birth control" is a misnomer. Language is powerful in changing perception. Years ago, I struck the term "pro-life" from my vocabulary to emphasize my stance that people who are "pro-choice" are not against life, and those who claim to be "pro-life" but don't support access to family planning, paid maternity leave, and affordable childcare certainly don't deserve to be referred to as "pro-life." So let's use the Hobby Lobby decision as a way to educate the men in robes about the many purposes of the pill.