Facts speak for themselves

Various forms of contraception

Ninety-nine percent of women 15-44 in the U.S. use it. Eighty-five percent of Americans think it is “morally acceptable” or “not a moral issue” (Pew Study, 2012?). It’s small, white, and powerful.  It will cost the average woman $69, 854 (without insurance) and $12,412 (with insurance) in her lifetime. And one of the 2012 Presidential candidates has called it “dangerous to women.”

It’s contraception, and the candidate who condemned it is Rick Santorum.

I don’t actually know what his exact view is on this beyond the fact that he has condemned it. Different statements paint different pictures entirely. Because of this, I researched not only what he said on contraceptives, but what he said on sex education and abortion (all three tend to tie together, after all).

On Feb. 10, Santorum explained that he didn’t believe insurance companies should cover contraception.

“This has nothing to do with access. This having someone pay for it, pay for something that shouldn’t even be in an insurance plan anyway because it is not, really an insurable item. This is something that is affordable, available-”

Arguments — legitimate ones— are backed up by facts. But Santorum’s facts and assertions are plain wrong (and I don’t even mean morally, I mean literally, as in “opposite of correct”), and have been for a while. One may even call them a recurring pattern.

A survey of Planned Parenthood found that 55 percent of women ages 18-34 (the biggest demographic at BC, actually) have experienced a time where they could not afford consistent birth control. Fifty-seven percent of young Latina women ages 18-34 have also struggled in this manner, along with 54 percent of African American women in the same age group. Besides which, almost 14 percent of all birth control prescriptions are filled for reasons other than contraception, including ovarian cancer, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, acne, cramps/heavy periods, and endometrial cancer.

On Feb. 16, Santorum said “How do I feel about the issue of contraception? It should be available…I object to [it] when the federal government says that religious organizations that feel the way the Catholic Church feels should be required to provide it.”

OK, so what are you saying, Santorum? You say it shouldn’t be covered by insurance, but available (despite the fact that to a lot without health insurance, it’s not available), and then you say its availability should be limited. Which is it?

According to the Center for American Progress, even women with private health insurance often shoulder a significant portion of the cost for their prescription birth control needs. That’s one of the reasons women of reproductive age spend 68 percent more on out-of-pocket health care expenses than their male counterparts do.

On the issue of rape, Santorum accused his opponent, Romney, of mandating that hospitals provide emergency contraception to rape victims.

On rape victims in general, Santorum, pro-life, has said that a child as result of a rape is a “gift in a very broken way, a gift of human life, and the right approach to this is to accept what God has given to you…we have to make the best out of a bad situation.” His views are so extreme Wowza.

On sex education, Santorum has said that “comprehensive sex-ed has not been shown to have ANY impact on pregnancy or STD rates,” and that abstinence-only-sex-ed is the way to go.

Wrong again. Abstinence-only programs have no effect in reducing the risk for teen pregnancy and STD. Comprehensive sex-ed, on the other hand, was significantly associated with reduced risk of teen pregnancy, according to the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Why is a man in politics allowed to be so wrong, again and again, on these three encompassing, important issues? Imagine what would happen if, in a class presentation, you just started spouting what you believed to be facts, with no regard to what they actually were. You’d be kicked out of class.

What I see with this is a higher standard of a community college student than a presidential candidate. It’s weird, and it reveals a strange value system within our society.