The Republican all-male-dominated debate on contraception took a new turn this week when Teaparty Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told women to hop on Google in the event they were seeking birth control and could not afford it, and search: “What if I can’t Afford Birth Control?.” Well, at least he didn’t tell them to Google “aspirin between my legs”.
Johnson, who has been a strident critic of the new regulations that require health insurance companies to cover birth control at no cost, offered this ‘winning’ advice to women:
“Go online and type in, ‘what if I can’t afford birth control?’” “If you can’t afford it, you can get birth control in this country,” Johnson explained. “You can get it. Go online, type it in. It’s easy to get.”
If getting affordable birth control is as easy as finding out the meaning of Santorum, then perhaps women should stop thinking about sex for one second in their lives and heed the Senator’s advice. After all, a recent survey discovered that one in three American women voters have struggled to afford birth control.
According to ThinkProgress, the very first link that comes up explains that the entire process, from the initial exam to a follow-up to the pills themselves, can cost upwards of $210 the first month. The rest of the first-page results included two sites informing women that if they can’t afford contraceptives, “don’t have sex,” four sites attacking Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, and one site explaining how birth control is a lot more expensive than many believe.
One problem with the contraception debate, aside from Rush Limbaugh pretending to be a gynecological expert, is that it has largely been focused on shaming women for having sex. Also, it has ignored the fact that many women rely on birth control for noncontraceptive reasons and also can’t afford it. For example, 4 percent of pill users—1.5 million women—rely on them exclusively for noncontraceptive purposes, according to an expert study on birth control issues. The same study concluded women using birth control to reduce menstrual pain (31 percent); menstrual regulation, which for some women may help prevent migraines and other painful “side effects” of menstruation (28 percent); treatment of acne (14 percent); and treatment of endometriosis (4 percent). Additionally, it found that some 762,000 women who have never had sex use the pill, and they do so almost exclusively (99 percent) for noncontraceptive reasons.
Until Senator Johnson is ready to have a reasoned an adult discussion on all matter pertaining to birth control, perhaps he should google “why Senator Johnson has no credibility on birth control.”