By Nadia Shamsedin
Discrimination. It is a battle still being fought to this day. Why are women still objects of discrimination? In my opinion, some men feel threatened by women in today’s society. We do not want to get married and have children as early in our lives. We want to establish our careers first. Two-thirds of college graduates are now women. About 40% of two-parent households now have women as the main breadwinners.
Despite the advancements of women as social group, to say insurance companies should be allowed to discriminate against women just for being women is akin to saying employers should be allowed to discriminate on the basis of gender. An employer could use the logic “women can become pregnant” as a reason not to hire them. They might one day have to take an extended maternity leave, costing the employer time and money. That quote, by the way, is taken directly from Stephen Edwards’ article, published in the last issue of this newspaper, about the logic behind why insurance companies should be able to charge women more.
Sandra Fluke, a women’s rights activist who spoke to a meeting of Democratic legislators last February, only spoke to recount the tale of her friend who attended Georgetown University, a private Catholic university, who could not obtain birth control because the school’s insurance policy would not cover it. Many people (particularly men) do not quite understand birth control. We should not blame them for not knowing, since they do not have to take it.
There is a common misconception that birth control is prescribed for one reason and one reason only–to prevent pregnancy. While this is certainly the reason a large number of women choose to take birth control, it is not the only one. Birth control is prescribed to treat ovarian cysts and acne, regulate menstrual cycles, and relieve the pain of menstrual cycles, among other reasons. Fluke’s friend needed birth control to treat her ovarian cysts, as Fluke pointed out repeatedly, but the medication was not covered due to the university’s healthcare policy.
The Right did not listen to her and twisted her words to make it seem like she just wanted the taxpayers to pay for her sex life. Her health, as well as the health of other women, is being jeopardized because some people choose to be uninformed.
If Edwards is so concerned about the cost attached to providing birth control, I pose this question. Which do you think would cost more—ensuring women have access to birth control, even through their private insurance, or women having more children that must utilize Medicaid, a program funded entirely by taxpayers? As we all know, health care in this country is expensive, and if the latter is the chosen option, we would have to pay for the care of more and more people. If the main concern of the Republican Party is to curtail government spending, they should be all for women’s rights. Being pro-choice and supporting access to birth control means less people will end up on state-sponsored health care.
However, it comes as no surprise that the Right works hard to hide the contradictions in their beliefs. We have the right to liberty, so long as you get to regulate women’s reproductive choices and decide who people can and cannot marry, right?
Edwards implies that the Left is just using baseless rhetoric to scare women into voting for them. With all due respect, the Right wing scares us enough. When Republicans continuously try to pass laws severely restricting our reproductive health choices, women do not understand how they can be so misogynistic.
When Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) held a special committee hearing on to discuss contraception access and did not include any women in the conversation, women did not understand how the Right could be so misogynistic.
When Republicans blocked the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act to ensure women can sue their employers for pay discrimination, women did not understand how the Right could be so misogynistic.
When former Representative Todd Akin (R-MO) made the extremely inaccurate statement “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” women did not understand how the Right could be so misogynistic.
When Edwards implies that discrimination against women in health insurance is completely fine, I do not understand how the Right can be so misogynistic.
Despite what society might tell you, being a woman is a not disease. We are not second-class citizens, and we will not buy into the Right’s rhetoric that men should be allowed to make our choices for us. Clearly, they are not well versed in the subject.