When it comes to birth control, I shouldn't have a dog in the fight. In addition to the fact that I play for the all-girl team, I'm the mother of a son. So I'm in no particular danger of being responsible for an unintended birth, let alone birth control.
But the current national discussion of women's access to birth control, one filled with loud claims by opponents of birth control for women (I'm talking to you, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney) sets me on edge. Without a doubt, a woman's access to educational, economic, social, and political power in this nation is a direct function of her access to the ability to control when (and if!) she will become a mother. In the less developed parts of the world today, access to education and birth control for women reduces the poverty of any society within 20 years. The dangers and responsibilities of childbirth are real and significant and women who can control their reproduction have so many more opportunities for both themselves and the children they choose to mother. In my mind, this is a human right.
I realize that men have a stake in reproduction and I'm not discounting that. But for nearly all of human history, men have sought to control women's bodies. Women in modern, developed 2012 may not always realize just how close they are to patriarchal management of their uterus. But they are incredibly close, as close as the 1965 Supreme Court ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut, a ruling that prevented states from making birth control illegal for women to obtain. It's as close as the election of one of the chuckleheads who seems determined to ignore the very real health concerns of more than half of the population.
This morning, Mother Jones organized a chart to show the costs of birth control in this nation. Check it out here. There are both women and women's groups speaking out about birth control and the importance of making it widely and easily available. Planned Parenthood is here. The Guttmacher Institute is here. These folks deserve our dollars and our very loud support as they fight the good fight for women and their children.