As of late there has been outcry from feminists declaring that the GOP is waging a “War on Women.” The complaints range from somewhat valid to completely absurd, but I would like to address this proclamation from a different perspective unaffiliated with any mainstream stance. Considered to be a hairy “feminist” myself (more so of the individualist libertarian type, if you want to get specific), I am amazed that an increasing number of women are demanding government intervention to provide them with the privilege of contraception. There are many issues with this claim, the least of which has to do with the ability for a woman to be considered “free” in our society.
Now, evaluating what the term feminist actually means, it is revealed that a feminist believes women deserve the same treatment in society as a man. Increasingly, some women are led to believe that women should have more rights than men or somehow get special treatment. I do and always will side with cooperation between the sexes, not superiority of one over another. I also believe that the best way for a woman to liberate herself is by taking responsibility into her own hands and not rely on the State to provide it.
We are awarded certain freedoms in this country that people in other nations can only dream of, but this has led to a sense of entitlement among Americans and often leads to the presumption that they deserve special privileges that can only be granted by the government. One of the more recent demands is that contraception be provided free of charge by one’s employer or place of education---basically this is depending on someone other than you to take responsibility for a personal decision. For the moment, I will address the issue of using birth control pills for the most obvious reason people use them: to not have an unwanted pregnancy. A woman absolutely has the right to have sex with whomever however often she desires. Alternately, no one has the right to forcibly prevent her from using her body the way she wants. But does a woman have the right to violate another person’s right by using the State to force others to provide her with a service she herself is responsible for? No, of course not because she is violating someone else’s right to the fruits of their labor if she demands a portion of their taxes (or expenses if it is an employer) go towards a personal decision. Also, if the goal is to avoid unwanted pregnancy, it is very simple to acquire other means to prevent a pregnancy like condoms or I don’t know, just paying for the Pill with your own money. We have the freedom to choose how we deal with the private issue of sexuality, and several options are available to us. The pill or other methods like condoms are not cost prohibitive for most women in this country (the rhythm method is free, just saying), so there is no excuse that a modern woman cannot afford contraception. Government is a coercive force worthy of no support from anyone regardless of whether or not it enforces your religious, philosophical, or personal beliefs.
Part of being a mature woman is taking responsibility for your actions and decisions, and this idea of personal responsibility can of course be extended beyond women to all Americans who feel that it is up to the State to provide them a job, an education, or anything else beyond basic human rights for free. I want to be clear; this is not a defense of the GOP, anyone initiating force against one person to provide a service to another is simply unethical. You either believe that initiating force is okay, or you don’t. It is not a philosophical grey zone that is subjective; as a libertarian I must conclude that taxation is wrong because theft is wrong---it doesn’t matter the context. Stealing is wrong much like murder is wrong, and I include childhood favorite Robin Hood in this assessment. Understanding the Non-Aggression Principle is one of the first steps in becoming a more thoughtful, less violent society.
The typical reaction to my critique of government backed birth control will probably be something like, “Well what if someone needs birth control pills to regulate other health issues?!” Well, let’s take a look at some of the other reasons women choose to take the pill. Irregular periods, ovarian cysts, acne, and painful PMS symptoms are all included on the list of reasons other than avoiding pregnancy to take the pill. As someone who used to suffer irregular, excruciating periods I have had experience with the pill because that was what my doctor recommended to me when I was seventeen. That was the only thing my doctor recommended to me, mind you, because they are not required to take courses in useful subjects like…nutrition
. So, as a naïve seventeen year old, I took my doctor’s advice. At the time, my periods were irregular and I had some skin issues, but those were my only problems. Science shows those two specific problems are ones that go away naturally
as a woman ages, and to treat a child with brain and life altering hormones is not only unnecessary, but bordering on criminal.
I was prescribed the very lowest dose of birth control there was at the time because I was even then suspicious of the side effects, and because I had to pay most of my own bills even at that age, I pragmatically opted for the lower price. The first couple months seemed normal, and I could not see much difference. It was around the third month I began to experience some of the side effects like weight gain, but more disturbing was my mood changes. I went from a relatively stable girl to someone who was paranoid, constantly depressed, suffering nightmares, and even contemplating the darkest notion of suicide though there was nothing in my life that would explain those feelings I had! I became withdrawn, and even more upsetting was the feeling that I had no control over my own mind---I literally felt like I was losing it. These side effects wreaked havoc on my mental state and physical body, and after about six months I decided enough was enough and threw away the remaining pills. I thought it was all over, but the worst was yet to come.
For the months and years after I quit the pill, my periods became so unbearable that I was bedridden for at least half the duration of a period. Each month seemed worse than the last, and it was because my natural hormones had been altered by chemical hormones. No doctor told me this though I knew it was the reason because I listened to my body. It would be one thing if doctors knew the effect the pill has on every woman, but the truth is every woman is slightly different and need different approaches to stay healthy. There was no reason for me to be put on the pill at such a young age, and until I figured out how to effectively control my hormones I suffered endlessly for years.
I started doing my own research on health, and came across the fact that the food we are putting into our bodies makes us sick and keeps us sick because it is so denatured one can barely call it food. I changed my eating habits by eating chemical free foods, home cooking my meals, buying locally, and finding the correct balance of proteins and carbohydrates for my body. Also, exercise played a huge factor. I had been vegetarian and vegan for years and by adding grass fed beef and organic meats was able to have more energy and feel overall better. I went to a natural doctor and he gave me a plant based supplement to help balance my hormones, and though my periods are still uncomfortable, they are nowhere near as bad as when I was damaged from the pill. The same natural approach can remedy more serious issues like ovarian cysts (which run in my family) or painful PMS symptoms. The best part is the fact that natural remedies are not only safer, more effective, but hundreds of dollars cheaper than any oral contraception used to treat those health problems! It’s a win-win for women, and should be a no-brainer. Why, as women and as a society in general, are we so quick to resort to unnatural band aids for our problems when our diet and lifestyle are the cause of our health woes 99% of the time, and the solutions are changing what we put into our bodies?
My question to these women who so adamantly defend the magical powers of the pill is this: Did you try anything to help remedy your health issues the way nature intended first before you trusted someone who gets bonuses from pharmaceutical corporations to push dangerous drugs? I would wager to say close to 95% of women who take the pill for “health reasons” are eating a poor diet, not getting enough exercise, and are deficient in vitamin D. Is this the image of a liberated woman? If you are truly liberated, then you should not take the word of a man with a fancy piece of paper and conflicting interests to tell you what your body needs. Do your own research, and you’ll discover not only the horrific consequences of oral contraceptives, but how to take your health into your own hands.
My case was very mild compared to the other women I’ve known. You know that shot you can take to limit the number of periods you have (Depo-Provera)? It sounds convenient, but one of the more frequent side effects is a collapsed uterus and resulting sterility. I understand not wanting a child too young, but to have the ability to create life stolen from you by a doctor is a greater violation of a woman’s rights than anything a politician can do. Also, the new healthcare bill only seeks to limit the amount of options you have for healthcare as natural doctors who use effective therapy based on real science are not covered in the mandate. So, not only will you not get the right to choose who provides health services to you, but you will be forced to pay for substandard, ineffective treatment by the very party you though stood for “women’s rights.”
On another note, the real “war on women” stretches much farther than the doctor’s office and some contrived idea of a political party. Right now, the US military with the approval of the US government under Barack Obama is raping and murdering women of all
ages all around the world. It is one thing to vote for someone who gives false promises to defend your choice to ruin your own body with chemicals, but quite another to support a man who has increased the war effort in Afghanistan, supported the war in Iraq that is still going on despite its alleged end a few months ago, escalated the conflict in Syria by punishing them with sanctions, and was partially responsible for the murder of fellow humans in Libya. He is also egging on an invasion of Iraq through the use of sanctions. As a woman, to support Barack Obama or Mitt Romney or anyone for that matter who is pro-war is a crime against the millions of women in US occupied countries. Obama, along with Bush, has the blood of millions of women from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Egypt on their hands, and you do to if you continue to support warmongers. As a feminist, you must ask yourself, do I support only my selfish privileges, or will I stand on the side of women from all nations who are suffering abuse, rape, torture, and murder at the hands of the US military?
As a woman, I refuse to condone the criminal actions of the Obama administration, and no amount of sycophantic pandering to a stereotyped collective will dissuade me from telling the truth of the atrocities of war. Seeing beyond the left-right paradigm is crucial if one believes they are truly liberated. Liberate yourself from lies, false hope, and manufactured promises of “change” that will never come lest you change your mind and facilitate growth on an individual level. That change comes from how you take control of your own health, not relying on a corrupt medical system and a fraudulent government to provide it for you, and the philosophy by which you live your life---whether you believe initiation of force is right, or if you believe the truth that no matter how or who is initiating it that it is an unethical action regardless of the circumstances. The Democrats do not deserve your vote, nor do the Republicans---think for yourself, realize neither party is working for the people, and break free from the lies and division perpetuated by the lapdog media.
Meghan has been writing poetry, prose, short stories, and essays for several
years, has been published in small independent publications (mostly
poetry), and currently runs the blog at Roberts & Roberts Brokerage (http://rrbi.co/category/blog/). Her focus is on social issues, politics, fitness, and natural health
topics. The best way to
contact Meghan is on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001243544080