It wasn’t all that long ago that Tomi Lahren was fired as host of The Blaze after opening up about her pro-choice views. Now she’s talking about how inexpensive birth control is, Mediaite reports.
Inexpensive, perhaps, if like Lahren, you reportedly have an estimated net worth of $3,000,000.
Lahren is just plain wrong
But she thinks it’s so inexpensive that government funding for birth control isn’t necessary, she said in an interview with Marie Claire.
[M]y birth control is covered by my insurance, and if it weren’t covered, it would cost $9 a month. I don’t know a lot of women who can’t afford $9 a month. I can understand that maybe there are some who can’t afford that, but I just don’t think birth control is so outrageously expensive that government funding for it is necessary.
But she’s definitely wrong here: Most forms of birth control are not cheap. Bedsider, a non-profit birth control support network, notes that without insurance, birth control pills can cost as much as $113 a month.
Long-term birth control methods can cost upwards of $858. That’s $14 per month over a five-year period. With poverty increasing among young women, it’s unsurprising the number who can’t afford safe and reliable birth control is rising. Women in these predicaments often turn to unreliable and unsafe do-it-yourself methods, such as the pullout method.
She’s not alone
Lahren isn’t the only conservative who seems to think all women can afford birth control. For those in positions of power, this can be a treacherous sentiment, Mediaite notes.
In 2012, then-Congressman Tom Price argued against the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate. He contended that it violated religious liberty. After all, it didn’t allow employers or insurers to impose their religious beliefs on women. He insisted that the mandate was unnecessary because every woman could afford it. Referring to women who couldn’t afford birth control, Price said in 2012:
Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one.
Price is now Donald Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary.
But it’s entirely likely that thousands, if not millions of women in the U.S. can’t afford $113 for birth control pills or $858 for an IUD. These misguided thoughts are driving the witch hunt to defund Planned Parenthood and other women’s clinics. Many conservatives hope to dismantle the contraceptive mandate itself.
This is tragic.
Our Bodies, Ourselves notes the mandate was so successful, by 2015’s end, more than 55 million women were covered. And wider access to contraception is correlated with economic growth, fewer unwanted pregnancies and fewer abortions, Mic reports.
But what’s even worse is that Republican attempts to put obstacles and restrictions in place have driven women to seek riskier options, rather than avoiding abortions. This is why birth control is still the most reliable way of preventing them.
What’s especially noteworthy here is that during the 1950s and 1960s, the number of illegal abortions ranged from 200,000 to 1.2 million per year. One analysis extrapolated data from North Carolina and concluded that an estimated 829,000 illegal or self-induced abortions occurred in 1967, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Illegality did not deter these women, obviously.
Lahren deserves a tiny bit of credit for being pro-choice. However, her ideas that all women can afford contraception are dangerous and misleading — and have the potential to lead to more abortions.
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