Several weeks ago, I shared a post by new friend Jen Bailey Bergen on my Facebook page. Her post described her horror in discovering Hobby Lobby is fighting the federal government and facing $1.3 million in fines each day to refuse its employees insurance coverage for contraception. Within a few hours, the link garnered a handful of comments. One included this statement from a male friend; “I seriously don’t get this topic with women.”
Online advocate. Shana is excited to have this blog as an outlet for her personal opinions on reproductive health and hopes it will spark conversations that encourage change and progress.
My immediate thought was to respond with something to the effect of, “Of course you don’t get it, you’re not a woman.”
That’s when my always-wise (and far more likely to think before speaking) boyfriend spoke up.
He said, “He should get it, even though he’s not a woman. Women’s health affects men just as much. We should all understand the issue.”
So right he is, and so thankful am I to have someone like him.
It’s almost silly how obvious this concept is. The ideas that must float around in some men’s minds…
I would never compare the above-mentioned friend to Rush Limbaugh, but let’s use his gross perspective for a moment. Limbaugh and like-minded chauvinists think women like Sandra Fluke, myself and others only want contraception so we can be big ol’ sluts. They never bother to consider contraception as preventive medicine.
Let’s pause for a moment to list the ways contraception works as preventive medicine:
• Lower unintended pregnancy and abortion rates (no matter your opinion on choice, we can all agree fewer abortions are a good thing)
• Help women better space out pregnancies (happy healthy families)
That’s not all. Let’s think about the ways contraception is used for health issues unrelated to pregnancy prevention:
• Treatment of ovarian cysts
• Treatment of endometriosis
• Relief from severe or debilitating menstrual pain (think about your mother, sister or significant other dealing with killer cramps – you do not want this)
• Treatment of severe acne
• Treatment of some severe hormonal irregularities
What would happen if suddenly, prostate exams or some other men-specific preventive measure was no longer covered – for the sake of politics and at the cost of their health?
Back to my Facebook friend. He suggested comparing Hobby Lobby’s $1.3 million/day fine to the cost of covering contraception. (co-pays and deductibles) How about this comparison: how much it costs Hobby Lobby to comply versus the costs to Hobby Lobby for unwanted pregnancies. Women employees who then need pre-natal care, a hospital delivery – and a new dependent on their insurance.
And let’s be really clear here: Hobby Lobby isn’t refusing to cover contraception as a business decision. This is political pure and simple. It’s a statement that the religious beliefs and values of those at the top of the company will be imposed on anyone who works for them.
One final reason men should take notice. (There are so many more, but I’ve chosen my two “biggies.”) The cost of health insurance is still more for women. We have yet another year to wait before that practice becomes illegal.
Women account for $7 trillion in consumer and business spending in the U.S. Our pocketbooks are essential to the re-birth of this economy. Our purse strings are directly responsible for the survival of American families.
I want my brothers in arms to realize they should care - they need to care. We can’t afford for this to be a single-gender issue.