The Contraception Panic Was Based on Lies

Remember the panic over how it was necessary to force every employer—down to the last Little Sister of the Poor—to provide free birth control?

Four years ago, just as soon as conscientious objectors spoke against the federal “contraception mandate,” women were allegedly freaking out about the cost and availability of BC. WSFT said it was a lie at the time, and marshaled the data to prove it.  Now we’ve been proved right six ways to Sunday (as the saying goes!).  We showed that women weren’t even complaining about the cost of contraception; that childbirth and longer lives—not contraception—account for the difference between men’s and women’s lifetime health care costs; and that women aren’t crazy about contraception’s side-and health-effects.

We also showed that the government knew all of this all along, and was just cynically exploiting the issue to claim that the Obama re-election campaign was pro-woman, while the opponents were “waging a war” on them!

Now, an Obama White House advisor has admitted that the President and his re-election campaign leadership refused to back down on the contraception  mandate despite high- level advice, specifically to beat the Romney Campaign with an  “anti-woman” club.  And Planned Parenthood’s former research arm—the Guttmacher Institute—has published a fact sheet showing that the mandate created no changes whatsoever in sexually active women’s use of contraception, in the mix of drugs and devices chosen, or in the use of LARCs. Its major effect seems to have been to increase pill usage (by almost 100%) among non-sexually-active teens.

Before diving into this data a little bit…may I offer on tiny bit of advice for now and for later. Whenever the “contraception industrial complex” makes a claim… be suspicious! Be very suspicious.

In fact, assume it’s a lie until proven otherwise.

Now, the contraception cheerleaders admit what we pointed out in 2012:  that women already receive a boatload of free contraception via Medicaid and a federal program called Title X;and that many factors other than cost affect women’s thinking about using contraception.

But one final troubling note (before reminding you again to assume they’re lying): although the majority of the increase in pill usage among the youngest women was tied to pregnancy prevention, a large percentage of these young women were put on the pill as a response to acne or menstrual regulation. The scale of expansion of the “indications” for a birth control prescription is very troubling from the perspective of new data showing that young women are at highest risk of depression from birth control. It is troubling from the perspective that long term use of synthetic hormones may alter brain architecture or function. And it is troubling because more sophisticated and nonhormonal protocols are now readily available.

And did I mention…that the next time the contraception-and-abortion industrial complex tells you a story about why free birth control is “necessary”…to assume they’re lying?

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