Birth Control: A Human Rights Issue

by: Marina Lucic

July 8, 2012

It has been a widely established and accepted opinion of common sense that every woman has the right to birth control. The idea is one over which moral wars have been waged for many years, and it brings up issues of a woman’s ownership of her own body—the right to choose when and if she wants to have sex, and if she wants to have children or not. At the start of the 20th century, birth control in America was illegal and women such as Margaret Sanger, a nurse, began fighting for what they thought should be every woman’s right. Yes we have made progress since then, but it was just a few months ago that a prominent voice in America, Rush Limbaugh said: 

“What does it say about the college co-ed [Sandra] Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps…”

He implies what, sadly, many people today still believe—that any woman who asks for birth control is a slut. This, amongst countless other examples, shows us that in America, things are not quite as progressive as we like to think. In fact, in order to really see where America stands in terms of birth control, it’s important to analyze the mechanics of the country’s “thoughts” by taking a closer look at some of the facts involving the availability of birth control to its citizens. What does it tell us that birth control is so expensive that countless women cannot get access to it? Surely, if a woman cannot afford contraception, then she cannot afford to have a child either.

 This brings us to another reason that birth control is a human rights issue, because, not only should a woman have the right to control her body and to choose when she has children, but a man also has the right to choose when he is ready to have children. We all know that most women demand the right to affordable birth control, but this is also a man’s fight. How many men do any of us know who want to impregnate every woman that they have sex with? Most men, I’m sure, would rather have a choice in the matter.

On an earth that is already overly populated, where we are consuming our recourses at a terrifying pace, destroying the raw beauty of our planet, and where there are countless people starving and children without homes; it cannot possibly make sense to be preventing or making it difficult for both men and women to have access birth control. Birth control becomes more than an individual “problem,” and even more than a family problem. It is the problem of our world.


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