No, for the very last time, you are not paying me to have sex.
Most of you probably remember several years ago when Rush Limbaugh declared that Sandra Fluke was a ‘slut’ who wanted taxpayers to pay her to have sex. Fluke was making the case for contraceptives to be covered by healthcare, which would seem like a no-brainer when one considers the enormous cost of raising a child, which can be subsidized by taxpayers through programs like WIC, Medicaid, and other welfare programs for children of low-income families. But the obvious cost-savings of subsidizing contraceptives over children isn’t the point of this article. The point is that the idea – which somehow persists – that women receiving low-cost or free contraceptives are being paid to have sex goes so far past a logical fallacy that it’s about to come back around the other side and pass it by again.
But if you’ve got some friends, co-workers, or family members who like to talk about how responsible XX chromosome owners are using their tax dollars to fund their sinful escapades, simply reply with one of these 4, easily-digestible points.
1. If women on birth control are prostitutes, so are mothers receiving government aid. Every mother has had sex (though not always consensually). So how is it that a woman who takes contraceptives to prevent pregnancy is being paid for sex, while a mother on government assistance isn’t?
2. Women on birth control aren’t always having sex. Anyone who’s pregnant must have had sex, but due to the nature of hormone based contraceptives and devices such as IUDs, women use contraceptives whether they’re having sex or not. Some women use birth control for reasons completely unrelated to sex.
3. No one is being paid. I’ll repeat that: no one is being paid. Being able to obtain low-cost or free birth control is not the same as being paid. If you think it is, trying paying Mr. Limbaugh with pill packs and see if he accepts them as currency.
4. Even if they were being paid, it wouldn’t be for having sex. I want to stress this: the women using contraceptives aren’t being paid (though the pharmaceutical companies providing them are… does that make them sluts?). However, even if we were to imagine that receiving subsidized contraceptives was somehow the equivalent of receiving money, women would be receiving that money to either a) not get pregnant if/when they have sex anyway or b) treat a hormonal imbalance or other disease or disorder.
So next time your outspoken uncle tries to talk about how women are making a living off of subsidized birth control, you can kindly let him know why he’s been misinformed.