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We need to clear something up here and now: women who want affordable contraception — and moreover, quite simply want contraception that’s wrapped in plastic, not judgement or condemnation — are not motivated by promiscuity.

This is the word that keeps coming up over and over in the debate. Here’s a snippet from a commentary on cultureimpact.org’s home page:

Like drinking, overeating, or smoking, promiscuity is an optional lifestyle habit–not a basic human need.

Here is the problem with promiscuity being ushered into the contraception dialogue: first of all, dictionaries define it like this: "casual; irregular; haphazard."  There is nothing haphazard about choosing birth control.  Maybe the pools of men discussing the issue are confused becuase they’ve never had to seek out birth control, but I ensure you it’s not exactly a quick, easy process.  It takes work.  It takes planning.  It takes thought.  I think that’s something we can all agree on — that sex should be preceeded by thought.  Promiscuity, by definition, is all about a dearth of deliberation. 

Here’s what would be promiscuous: spreading one’s legs before thinking like Rush Limbaugh spreads his lips before thinking.  That’s promiscuous, not making appointments, alloting money, undergoing tests (a required prerequiste before Planned Parenthood will prescribe any birth control), finding the right form, and then maintaining proper usage in order to plan and ensure safety. 

Secondly, birth control is not always used for sexual activity.  The Guttmacher Institute, compiling data from the National Survery of Human Growth, reports that 14 percent of women who take the pill do so for reasons other than preventing pregnancy.  This could mean a range of things: they’re treating debilitating pain during menstraution, endometriosis, or PCOS.  Tell me what’s promiscuous about any of that. 

Excessive drinking, overeating, and smoking are purely unhealthy behaviors. Sex does not have to be.  It can be healthy, positive, and beautiful.  Let’s give women who are trying to make it such, and keep themselves and their partners safe, or women who are protecting and caring for their bodies, the credit and respect they deserve for that.  And for goodness sake, can we at least, please, stop calling them promiscuous?

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