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Why Reproductive Rights Are Economic Issues

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September 12, 2012

I am SICK and TIRED of people telling me that women need to stop focusing on “frivolous” things, such as… oh I don’t know… the right to control my own fucking body… I digress.

In this article I am going to quickly demonstrate how reproductive justice intersects with the economy and also how providing birth control and abortion will ultimately save the country money (even though we know it’s really not about the money… on either side).

If Rush Limbaugh got his say…

“I’m offering a compromise today: I will buy all of the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as they want. … So Miss Fluke and the rest of you feminazis,”

Feminazis… because obviously wanting equality equates to contributing to genocide…

He continues,

“…here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

I’ll get back to you on that one Rush.

Back to the facts… so how much does making birth control and abortion services low to no cost benefit employers? Well, a study done in 2008 by the Guttamacher Institute (which works to further reproductive and sexual health through research) estimates that employers could save 15-17% in employee health plans by providing coverage based on the direct and indirect medical costs of pregnancy and lost productivity due to maternity leave.

The same study shows that for every $1 spent on contraceptive services will later save $3.74 in Medicaid services. Services provided at publicly funded clinics such as Planned Parenthood amounted to a $5.1 billion savings in 2008.

How much can a tiny little pill save a young woman?  According to the most recent study done by the USDA it’s a staggering $235,000 – and that’s without college.

What has affordable contraception services saved me?

For the first few years I switched back and forth between a few different types of pills and patches (all which of course I (my lovely insurance) had to pay for the doctor’s visits) and it cost me on the average about ~$30 a month. My monthly statements showed me the cost of my medicine before and after insurance, and I could hardly believe that 4 pieces of plastic could cost $150. There’s no way I could afford that! I recognize my privilege here and am aware that I come from a monetarily stable family so it’s hard for me to imagine how large that cost would be to someone who had not been provided with as much as I have.

Enter: the intrauterine device (IUD). In the fall of 2011, I decided with the help of a lot of research that this would be the best contraception for me. The only thing was the price… an upfront bill of $800. Even though over its usage of 5 years would end up saving me money, that’s a huge cost to have to pay at once. But here again is where I am so grateful for my insurance which covered 80% of the bill.  So I have birth control for the next five years and, besides checkups, it’s virtually at no more cost to me.

This saves me painfully awkward/heated conversations with my stepfather about who should be saddled by this cost-saving measure. It saves me the unspoken burden of having these bills sent to my conservative parent’s household.  It saves me from having to drive (privilege) to the pharmacy every month to wait in line and pick up my birth control from my pharmacist (privileged to live in a liberal city). It saves me the anxiety about what the next up and coming politician is going to do to my body.

Access to birth control has saved me so many things and has also given me a sense of control over my body and empowerment that I can make my own decisions.

And that my friends, is priceless.

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