Friday, April 06, 2012

Contraception: The Breath of Modern Life

Much fuss has been made lately of the contraception fiasco, especially the statement by Republicans that contraception is not a big issue for women. But if that were true, why doesn't the issue go away? Why does it continue to dominate women's thinking and actions in a way that no other political issue has come close?

For women, contraception is like oxygen. In our day to day lives we don't think about it much. How often do you think about the air you breath? How many millions of breaths do you take without thinking, expecting the oxygen to be there for you when you need it, one thoughtless inhalation after another? The oxygen is there doing it's job, allowing you to focus on your life.

Contraception is like oxygen for women. As long as it's there it allows us to focus on our lives. Whether that focus is currently on furthering our education, our careers, figuring out what we want to do about an aspect of our lives, or on the child or children we already have, contraception gives us room to breath.

And just like the air we breath, contraception is not something women focus on all that often. We don't want to focus on it. We don't see why we should have to focus on it. It should be there in the background so we can make other things a priority.

But what happens when something threatens your air supply? Suddenly nothing is more important than drawing that next breath. Nothing focuses a person's attention so swiftly and thoroughly as not being able to breathe. Panic sets in, followed by an adrenaline surge. Nothing is more important than removing the obstacle which threatens your breathing. And nothing makes you angrier than the possibility that someone took away your ability to breathe deliberately.

That is the kind of reaction a threat to contraception sets off in modern women (and smarter men). And that is why women won't stop until the threat is ended, and until they can once again breathe freely and get on with the rest of their lives.

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