A Troll Primer on Birth Control

(Clarification: “troll” is not an insulting term for a conservative. A troll is a stranger who posts an insulting or deliberately aggressive comment on your blog or Internets in an attempt to anger, embarrass or put you in your place.)

I’ve been pretty outspoken on Twitter lately about the birth control debate (Really? This is a thing? In 2012?) and Rush Limbaugh. Of course, this sort of talk attracts trolls and I have yet to have one who seems to know anything about anything. I’m getting tired of repeating the same facts over and over, so I decided to write up a little primer, so I could simply point them toward it, pat them on the head, and tell them to educate themselves so they don’t have to weather the shitstorm I’m going to rain down on them.

I’m a layperson, in the sense that any woman can be a layperson about birth control, and I’m also pissed, so please excuse any messiness or disorganization or vulgarity in the delivery. And warning: there be snark in them thar hills. Snark. And maybe bitchiness.

1) Why do you think you deserve free birth control?

I don’t think that word means what you think it means. This debate is about insurance coverage of birth control. Is your insurance free? Mine isn’t. Mine costs a buttload of money every month. When you go to your doctor for a check-up that would cost, say, $300 out of pocket and you pay nothing, do you consider that free? Do you pat yourself on the back for pulling one over on the man? Do you dance your way to the parking lot, shouting, “I’m the most wily welfare queen in a world of welfare queens!!!!”? Somehow I suspect you don’t. It’s not free, it’s a service provided by a policy I pay premiums for.

Except when it’s not. Since the dawn of time, many insurance policies haven’t covered all of women’s prescriptions. Why? I don’t know. Because they haven’t had to? Because discrimination is fun? Regardless, many states (24, I believe) have enacted laws requiring plans to cover birth control if they cover other prescriptions. A new federal law will make this true in all states. It’s about time.

2) Why do you think you have a right to use my tax dollars to subsidize your birth control?

Assuming you’ve dropped the whole “getting it for free” issue, I assume you’re referring to the zero cost for preventative health care issue wherein I won’t have to pay a co-pay for birth control? I don’t think it’s subsidized by the government, I think it falls to insurance companies. They seem to be fine with this, as birth control coverage costs them a lot less than pregnancy visits and childbirth. Regardless, 50% of the taxpayers in this country are women, and 98% of women have used birth control in their lives. So I think we’ve got our share of it covered, thanks. You can use your tax dollars to “subsidize” no-co-pay preventative checks for prostate cancer, chief. Draw the imaginary lines in your head and feel better. Your tax dollars protect your little man down there. My tax dollars go to prevent the pregnancies that women would otherwise generate on their own without any fault or responsibility of men, whose magic sperm only ever create pregnancies when both parties are ready and prepared. Tricksy women.

3) Why don’t you just keep your legs closed, slut?

Why don’t you just suck it.

4) Why do women need so many birth control pills all the time? $3000 worth a year? That means you’re taking twenty pills a day with twenty different partners, right?

Please see this video if you’re confused about how people make babies and how birth control prevents that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwYvIu53t-c

Ms. Fluke testified that a student can pay up to $3000 for birth control coverage over the course of her law studies. That’s three years. $1000 a year. That’s for a prescription, given by your doctor, for a pill you take once a day, every day, to prevent pregnancy. It doesn’t matter whether you have sex once a year or ten times a day. It’s the same cost and same prescription. I can have five partners of varying age and size and do unspeakable, vile things with all of them for hours and hours every single day for a year. One pill a day. I can also be a virgin who needs the pill to control debilitating cramps. Same one pill a day. It’s not complicated. There’s no way to measure whether a woman is a slut by her pill consumption. I’m sure that disappoints you.

5) Birth control pills don’t cost $1000 a year! If you want them, you should go to Planned Parenthood to get them for $9 a month and leave me out of it!

This is one of my favorite comments, because it usually comes from the same person who thinks Planned Parenthood should be shut down. Ha! Personally, I don’t live in a magic town with a Planned Parenthood on every corner. Do you? Here’s an article about how hard it has become for women to find low cost healthcare: http://www.empowher.com/reproductive-system/content/states-slash-birth-control-subsidies-federal-debate-rages Now, say all you want to about immorality and sluttiness, we’re talking about women with families. Women with actual children they need to care for and feed. Women who can’t afford to pay full cost for birth control and gynecological care. And you want these women to what? Get pregnant and somehow scrape up the money to care for another child? That should work out fine for everyone. That should lower our spending.

As to the cost, yes a lot of women can get birth control pills for $9 a month. (ETA: But that low price is partially subsidized by government grants. Uh-oh. This might create some…mental friction over your suggestion to go there?) Except that many women use birth control pills for health issues. It’s a way to control ovarian cysts, not to mention excessive bleeding and cramping. As with many prescription drugs, there is not one pill for every woman. Pills use different chemicals in different combinations. A woman uses the pill her doctor feels is best for her and which addresses her medical needs. This applies to contraception use, too. Some pills are not as effective or usable for some women. That’s why there are many choices. When newer formula, name-brand pills are introduced, they can cost over a $100 per month. So yes, Virginia, it can be very expensive.

6) Religious freedom!

What about my religious freedom? Why do an employer’s beliefs trump mine? They pay part of my insurance premium. I pay part of my insurance premium. It’s my body and my healthcare. So…my religious freedom and my choice? Yes, thank you, that’s what I think, too!

ETA: It’s been pointed out to me that in the case of Sandra Fluke, in fact, she is the ONLY one paying her insurance premium. Georgetown doesn’t contribute at all. They REQUIRE her to buy a policy, pay none of it, and still feel a need to insert their beliefs into her personal plan, regardless of her religion or her medical needs. http://studentaffairs.georgetown.edu/insurance/

As for an employer not wanting their money to go to something they don’t believe in? Either they pay via my insurance or they pay me and I use the money to buy birth control myself. Same money, so let’s not play a stupid semantics game. It’s pointless.

7) New Addition! Should the Catholic Church have to pay for nuns to have birth control, too? Birth control is a mortal sin and the church forbids it!

Here’s the thing. Actual churches and religious institutions have different employment rules. For example, only men can be priests. Only women can be nuns. That’s legal and it should be.

But when a church opens a public business(and happily accepts funding and tax breaks from the government!), they no longer get these special employment rights. They have no right to only hire Catholics. They can’t decide they’ll only employ male doctors. They can’t fire a surgeon because she has premarital sex and they don’t want to finance that lifestyle. They can’t ask what your religion is and turn you away if they don’t like the answer. And they can’t make employees conform to their beliefs. Legal if you work in a church. Not legal outside the church. They know this. They somehow manage to operate under these laws every single day and are just fine with it. Birth control is a political issue.

8) Rush Limbaugh’s First Amendment rights are being trampled.

Oh, Lord. You have a right to free speech. Hey, there’s that free word again! Now that we’ve covered what it means, please note that you have no right to paid speech. There’s no law that you are entitled to $400 million dollars to say what you think. Here’s the First Amendment, if you need a refresher: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Congress hasn’t made a law restricting Rush’s ability to call a woman a slut, a whore, or request that she make sex videos of herself so he can watch. In fact, a boycott is nothing more than the free market at work. If people want your product, you will get money for it. If your product is terrible, harmful or just plain gross, citizens will take their money elsewhere and pass on their opinions to others. (Free speech!) Also, the Supreme Court has ruled that money equals speech, so here we are speaking up a storm.

(ETA:) By they way, if you STILL believe you have a right to be paid for your free speech, and that free speech means you’re protected from consequences, you should try telling your boss what you really think of him or her. Go ahead. I’ll wait here. Be sure to mention the First Amendment.

9) I see you write dirty books. Is that why you care about sluts getting birth control?

Well…Hmm. How to answer this? I write books for women. About women. Women’s hearts and minds and dreams and needs and bodies. And their sex lives! *Gasp of outrage!* I want each woman to live her life to the fullest. I want her to love fiercely. I want her to only settle down if she wants to, and I want her to only choose partners who respect her in every way, in bed and out. I want this for every woman, virgin or slut, Wiccan or Christian, pro-life or pro-choice, mother of ten or footloose and fancy-free, rich or poor. So yes, I suppose my books do have something to do with it. Because I write books for women and their dreams. It’s my job, but it’s also my life, and it’s the best thing in the world.

10) New Addition! Sandra Fluke is a lying activist who wants us to pay for her birth control so she can have more time for boning her boyfriend and traveling through Europe.

I foolishly thought I didn’t need to address this, because -SILLY ME- I assumed that you, dear troll, would’ve actually read the testimony you profess to hate so much. I thought you might have actually looked into that one, tiny kernel of fact that started all your distress. The basis of all your rage and heartbreak for our country. I thought you would’ve taken thirty seconds to read the testimony that so threatens our vital freedoms and so grievously insults this beautiful nation. I was wrong. I guess you don’t care so much about our country after all?

Here. Read it. It’s the least you can do. REALLY. I mean that.

Sandra Fluke said nothing about her sex life. She said nothing about taking the pill or why she might do so. She spoke about people she knew who had been affected by the policy at Georgetown.  A friend who couldn’t get her prescription covered, despite that she needed it for medical reasons. That friend lost an ovary to cysts that could’ve been prevented by birth control pills. A married student who had to stop using birth control because of the costs. These are the kinds of things she addressed.

She also mentioned that she was a past president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice, so congrats on ferreting out that activist past, troll. She only mentioned it during her testimony. You’re a real Perry Mason! And yes, according to recent blogs, she once took a trip to Europe with her boyfriend. What that tells me is that people are sick and obsessed with this young woman who dared to ask for insurance coverage like some sort of murdering Jezebel. Did I say sick? Because it’s sick. I hope you can get coverage for that.

Lastly, this woman chose to speak about a topic that sometimes has to do with sex. Because of that, you seem to consider her a public figure whose sex life is now open for discussion and ridicule. Okay, I embrace your viewpoint. And since I’m sure you don’t want to be a hypocrite, and you’ve been spreading your opinion about sex and birth control all over the Internet like dirty nut pollen, I guess you’re a public figure now, too. So let’s hear it. All of it. Tell us everything you’ve done and the terrible sex acts that shame you at night. Sorry, I really don’t want to know, but you brought it up. (And don’t ask me to do the same. It ain’t my viewpoint, buddy.)

11. New Addition! You’re just one of those pro-choice, abortion-loving Jezebels!

The truth? No-cost birth control causes abortion rates to drop DRAMATICALLY. Please see the article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/study-free-birth-control-abortion-rate_n_1942621.html

To sum up the study: abortion rates among among participants ranged from 4.4 to 7.5 per 1,000 women compared to the national rate of 19.6 abortions per 1,000 women. I’m sure I don’t have to explain why this is important. No one, whether she is pro-choice or anti-choice, is pro-abortion. This is great news. Also, the study found that the annual birth rate for teenage girls dropped from 34.3 per 1000 girls to 6.3 for 1000 girls. Science! It’s a beautiful thing.

(I’m sure I’ll be adding to this as more troll questions pop up. Please feel free to let me know if I’ve missed something or gotten something wrong.)

If you want to know why the idea of restricted access to birth control turns otherwise nice women into berserkers, please read this very important column: http://www.alternet.org/visions/154144/?page=entire

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    A Troll Primer on Birth Control
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    Reblogging Victoria Dahl’s awesome birth control/troll primer in honor of International Women’s Day.
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