Raleigh, NC

Opinion: Can we lose the right to contraceptives?

Becky Roehrs

Medication pills arranged as a question mark/Photo by Anna Shvets/Pexels

Why would we lose our right to birth control?

  • How can this be when the majority of Americans are using contraceptives?
  • It was only a matter of time.

The right to use contraceptives is primarily based on Supreme Court decisions, NOT on federal laws.

Now that the US Supreme Court is more conservative, reproductive rights could be ours to lose without federal legislation.

How did we get here?

Yes, condoms have been legally available since 1920 in the United States.

In the early 70s, when I was in high school, abortion was illegal, and contraceptives (the pill) were only available to married couples because of a 1965 Supreme Court decision.

  • Even then, the decision didn’t cover the sale or manufacture of contraceptives…
  • So it took a few years before married folks could legally access the pill throughout the United States.

When did birth control become legal for all US adults?

A Supreme Court decision in 1972 made contraceptives legal for all.

  • It took a while before single women actually had access to the pill.
  • In the 1990s, some states made certain contraceptives were paid for by insurance. But that left out a lot of people who couldn’t afford reliable, safe contraceptives.
  • Finally, in the 2010s, nationally, you could get contraceptives paid for by insurance.

Now, even though viagra is covered by insurance, contraceptive coverage is being chipped away.

Religious exceptions are being given as excuses to deny contraceptive coverage, but not viagra coverage.

Why do some Americans want to deny access to effective birth control?

I wondered.

So I went to a Right-to-Life convention (held at a local church in Raleigh, NC) to find out what was said.

Were they only against abortion?


They believe every sperm should be treated like a prize, and each should get their chance to find an egg.

  • Of course, there was no talk about who would be raising the humans that resulted.
  • And the assumption was that sex only occurred in a marriage. But fewer people are getting married than ever before in the US.

Abstinence-only “sex education.”

Our other problem has been the dumbing down of Americans, specifically about sex.

  • If you don’t know what birth control is, how do you know what to believe?
  • How do you know the difference between the birth control pill, the morning-after pill, and abortion?

Just because some folks don't want their kids to know anything about sex, does that mean we all have to be ignorant?

  • Abstinence-only “sex education” is the norm in many states or stressed in others, and often schools aren’t allowed to talk about contraceptives or STDs either.
  • Where are we supposed to be learning about sex? From our families. And how is that working out?

So we now have generations of Americans who don’t know the basics of reproduction, birth control, abortion, or how to protect themselves from STDs.

An end to abortion or birth control?

Planned Parenthood has been demonized, even though only 3% of its services are for abortion.

  • They primarily provide reproductive health support (birth control, STD testing, etc.).
  • Why are there protestors bothering folks getting pap smears and birth control?
  • What are they really fighting?

The new fight against birth control

To muddy the waters, some folks are now mixing over-the-counter morning-after pills with abortion pills and abortion. Morning-after pills are NOT abortion; check out the facts.

  • The Mayo Clinic states: "The morning-after pill interferes with ovulation. It does not end a pregnancy that has implanted."
  • According to verywell health "If you are already pregnant, and you take the morning-after pill; it will NOT harm your pregnancy and does not cause an abortion."

The abortion pill IS a method of abortion-the two are very different.

Now that the Supreme Court has a conservative majority, abortion could become illegal; otherwise, it could, state by state. But that’s not all.

  • Next, politicians want to make morning-after pills illegal. They are not abortion pills.

The ultimate goal, birth control access, could be chipped away and could be made illegal as well.

Get informed if you want access to birth control, morning-after pills, reproductive rights, and sex education.

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I write about local events, politics, education, relationships, online dating, and humor. Sarcastic and silly. Loves coffee and canoeing. I've been a computer programmer, outdoor guide, and taught programming at Fortune 500s and community colleges. Now, I help folks teach online.

Cary, NC

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