Most prominent rights theorists consider that the fundamental right in a democratic society is the right to political participation. It’s the base right, upon which all other rights are built. If you can participate in society, you can advance your interests. Disenfranchisement; restrictions on freedom of assembly, expression and access to information; and denial of equal treatment under the law all amount to a limit on participation in society. Ergo, bad.
Most prominent rights theorists are men. The right to contraception is perhaps not forefront in their mind. Yet it’s just as important as the other rights listed above. Without contraception, I’d have four or five kids by now, and another nine or ten waiting in the wings. That would be a pretty significant burden on my ability to participate in the world beyond the walls of my kid-filled home.
Without contraception, a woman does not own her body. It can be taken over by someone else, made subservient to another’s needs, again and again and again. Without contraception, we’re screwed.
“Why should a seventy year old who’s had the same partner all their life, have to pay for a young woman who wants to sleep around? People should be responsible for the consequences, and meeting the cost of their own lifestyle choices.”
Well, a seventy year old woman who’s had the same sexual partner all her life might have used contraception all her pre-menopausal life too, and be totally happy that it’s taxpayer funded. She might think that’s bloody brilliant. She was in her 20s when the pill was introduced in New Zealand, and unless she has 10 children she’s probably quite keen on the freedom afforded by reproductive autonomy. So don’t feign concern that the taxes coming out of this woman’s superannuation contribute to reproductive health care. What he really means is “ladies, you got wombs, and that’s your problem”.