Friday, March 2, 2012

We're all sluts now, I guess.

Dear Rush Limbaugh,

I'm 30 years old, married, mother of a 3-year-old, and I have used various forms of birth control for the past decade. I guess you could say, as you put it a few days ago, that I'm "into" birth control. Contrary to what you apparently believe, most mothers use birth control before and after giving birth in order to prevent and space their pregnancies. In fact, according to the Guttmacher Institute, over 99% of women aged 15-44 have used some sort of birth control. And 99 percent? That's pretty much everybody. So when you say that women who use birth control are sluts, you are slandering all women. ALL of us-- the evangelical Christians and the Catholics, the Republican women, the ones you probably consider virtuous because they're on your side politically, they all use birth control too.

This is going to be a serious issue for you; I see you're already starting to lose sponsors as the backlash over your comments about Sandra Fluke ramps up. See, the thing is, when you lose touch with reality-- the reality, in this case, that pretty much everyone uses birth control and it is not even a little bit controversial in the real world-- your "edgy" comments wind up offending a significantly larger demographic than you probably intended. You probably thought, given the right wing pontification over "religious freedom" and "conscience clauses" and "abstinence-only education," that it would be safe to pounce on college-aged women having sex outside of wedlock. I mean, normally that impulse would be dead accurate, because there's nothing a conservative panty-sniffer enjoys more than condemning sexually active young women, but you somehow missed the part where sexually active young women aren't the only ones who use birth control. So when you called Sandra Fluke a slut and suggested that you should be able to watch her have sex if she uses birth control that was provided for free by her health insurance, all the women of the country went, "Wait, WHAT?"

Because, Rush, we're all using birth control. All those women you've slept with (and I'm sure there have been many of them) were probably using it, and likely all four of your wives were too. And you know who else likes birth control? Men who like having sex with women. Most people, in general, enjoy engaging in sexual activity without risking pregnancy every time. Most people (and I know this might be hard for some of the more conservative politicians to stomach, but it's completely true) enjoy sexual activity for its own sake, because it's fun and it feels good.

Do you realize what the larger implication of all this is? Let me spell it out for you: having premarital sex and using whatever birth control method is available is pretty much universal among heterosexual people in this country. Almost nobody is having sex only for procreative purposes, and we can all see through your hypocrisy when you bloviate on this topic as if you were some sort of moral arbiter. When almost all women use and need birth control for a variety of physical conditions-- and yes, there are off-label uses for the pill that have nothing at all to do with having sex-- it is necessary healthcare that should be covered by insurance. When there is an unambiguous public good that comes from providing free birth control to anyone who wants it (preventing unwanted pregnancy is good for society, in case you need help figuring that out), it makes perfect sense to mandate that this healthcare should be provided for free.

Using birth control doesn't make us sluts, or whores, or prostitutes, or whatever you want to call us. It makes us normal women who enjoy sex but don't always want to get pregnant. You painted with too broad a brush on this one, and hit a much larger target than you apparently realized; as a woman who has enjoyed a healthy sex life for the past ten years thanks in large part to Planned Parenthood and insurance coverage, I hope you lose what little credibility you had left. This whole episode reveals that you are not merely a partisan hack and a liar, but a misogynist as well.


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