The Age of the Pill in Peril

On my Facebook wall, an argument is taking place, largely among men, about whether the government should support the cost of birth control for women who can't afford it. The most vociferous arguers say that "handouts" cause the "welfare mentality" and that we women ought not to be spoiled children who expect our government to pay for everything.

Listen, you naifs. I grew up before the age of the pill. Almost every advance made possible for women came as a result of both the pill and the Roe v. Wade decision. As a result of those two advances, both of which are in danger now, women became wage earners on a scale almost equal to men. We're still fighting for that kind of equality, but everyone knows that in American it is very difficult to support a family with just one wage-earner, especially if there are children. Especially if you want to send them to college. Women have been welcomed into the work force because it costs about 10x to support a family now over what it cost in the '50s and '60s. I went to Cornell for $2,500 a year. My daughter went to Cornell in 1989 for $25,000 a year. And it's more expensive now.

What's more, the latest recession was deemed a "Mancession." The jobs that went away were manufacturing and construction jobs, and the layoffs hit men especially hard.

Good thing women could still find jobs. And what if there were no birth control and they were having babies instead of trying to support their families while their husbands looked for work?

Birth control often makes the difference between developed and undeveloped nations. Do any of you really want America to go back to being an undeveloped nation?

Then be careful how you treat women, and what kind of policy to try to make on our behalf. Both abortion and birth control are useful tools that are part of an arsenal of choices necessary for survival in a developed country. You don't have to use them in your own family, but they must remain viable choices for people who do want to use them. It's not about baby killing or other slogans. It is about choice.

I, for one, do not expect government to pay for my birth control pills, and it did not. But I did expect government to pay for the birth control pills of my foster kids. Why? Because often their parents did not explain the facts of life to them adequately, and they had a terrible habit of getting pregnant at age 15. If it hadn't been for Planned Parenthood, one of my foster kids would have wrecked her life by becoming a mother as an early teen. I took her for the "morning after" pill, and we both know I saved her future. She is now a proud mother who pays for her own birth control. That's 10 years later. Planned Parenthood gave her a decade to develop and get ready to be a mother.

And do I want to live in a welfare state? Of course not. But I do want government to take care of the young, the poor, and the sick. I think that's a better use of my tax money than nation building across the world (where, by the way, I'll bet we hand out birth control).

Women, where are you? Why aren't you in the streets? We're in danger AGAIN.