Once again GOP politicians are trying to one up each other on the Women Hating Platform. Today, Mike Huckabee babbled this nonsense:
"If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing them for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it," Huckabee said. "Let's take that discussion all across America."
Uncle Sugar? That's a new one. Cute.
Huckabee is considering another presidential run in 2016 so he's getting his jabs in early. Considering his party's consistently shoddy record on women's issues, I'm not sure where the shock and awe is coming from on my Facebook feed.
Given how commonplace statements like this are, I'm just too lazy to keep getting outraged. Instead, my irritation is directed at Planned Parenthood. Because I'm a huge advocate for the organization, I'm far more concerned with Planned Parenthood's immediate response:
"The problem isn't what Mike Huckabee says – it's what he and too many other politicians believe. These politicians need a basic anatomy and sex ed course. Birth control is basic, preventive health care for women. It helps women plan their pregnancies and manage their lives, and many women use it for a variety of other medical reasons, including treatment of endometriosis that can lead to infertility. The fact that Mike Huckabee doesn't understand what birth control does is a perfect illustration of why decisions about birth control should be left to a woman and her doctor, without interference from politicians."
Planned Parenthood's response is highly problematic because it strongly implies a medical reason for birth control is "better" or than a sexual one. That organization certainly isn't the first to go that route, and it won't be the last.
Where Planned Parenthood fails is here: the reason a woman uses birth control is no one's business — not even her doctor's.
Reasons for birth control are distractions, and those justifications do nothing but further reinforce the idea that some excuses are more deserving than others. The GOP is already pushing that slutty nonsense so why are family planning advocates responding like it's a given?
A woman on birth control because she's having casual sex is no more deserving than a woman who is taking it because she has PCOS, and that woman is no more deserving than a woman taking it because she doesn't want children. All of these women are equal in their reasons. Debating whether one reason is "okay" when others aren't is an insulting waste of time.
It doesn't matter for my argument, but sex IS a medical reason to be on birth control. Sexual activity isn't this magical category all on its own; it's part of a woman's health care too. Doctors can't extrapolate sexual activity in medical treatment so why do we do it during health care debates?
To be sure, Huckabee was predictably citing a woman's libido as a problem. Of course that's provocative and ridiculous, and a lesson in sex education isn't going to change his mind. But Planned Parenthood's response assumes his premise for birth control is legit, and that doesn't help anyone.