According to GOP Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), wanting to have control over their own reproductive system is a “recreational” activity for women.
Yesterday, on an episode of Sirius XM’s The Wilkow Majority, host Andrew Wilkow said that the real issue in the SCOTUS ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby was “whether or not a person who runs a business should be forced to provide something that is largely for recreational behavior if it goes against their religious beliefs.”
Sen. Lee agreed “Yeah, that’s right. That’s right.” He also claimed that “this administration is using the often coercive power of the federal government to force people into their way of being and their way of existing, their way of believing and thinking and acting.”
Nothing was mentioned about whether these men thought that vasectomies and erectile dysfunction medications were also used for recreational behavior, despite both often being covered by insurance and used to dictate procreation.
Studies have shown that, out of the 62 million US women in their childbearing years, “about 43 million (70%) of them are at risk of unintended pregnancies,” and that “the typical US woman only wants two children. To achieve this goal, she must use contraceptives for roughly three decades.”
While preventing pregnancy is obviously a large part of why women use some form of birth control, it is by no means the only reason, and over half of women who use oral contraceptives report to using the pill for multiple reasons. These include treating polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal imbalance which causes irregular menstrual periods, acne, and excess hair growth; endometriosis, a painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of it; and premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysmorphic disorder (a much more severe form of PMS), both of which cause mood swings, breast soreness, bloating, and acne.
Birth control helps to regulate menstrual cycles, which, in addition to treating the aforementioned conditions, lessens the length, severity, and duration of periods and the menstrual cramps that the majority of women experience.
Oral contraceptives have also been shown to reduce the risk of both ovarian and endometrial cancer by 70 percent over 12 years of use, and just one to five years of use can reduce the risk by almost 40 percent.
To conservative politicians and the religious right, reducing cancer risk, responsible family planning, and treating reproductive disorders are “recreational” activities. To the millions of women using oral contraceptives, the pill can, quite literally, be the difference between life and death.