Last week, the House passed an Iraq war spending bill without a Senate amendment that would have lowered the cost of birth control for patients at college health centers and some health clinics. Feminist Majority reported that "House Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey (D-WI) said that President Bush would have likely vetoed the spending package if it included the affordable birth control amendment." This, of course, is the sort of ridiculous attitude toward women's health we've come to expect from the Bush White House. If you want to stop abortions, jack up the cost of birth control, so college students can't afford it and decide … that they won't have sex because they can't afford the pill?
If that sweet little fairy tale allows the president to sleep at night, it shouldn't. Making birth control more expensive does not prevent unintended pregnancies for any age group. And keeping college women away from the pill takes away an important learning experience. For a lot of young women, the choice to go on the pill is the first medical decision they make independently. It is part of learning to be responsible for yourself, which, in a sense, is a process that's as much a part of college education as going to class. Depriving college students of the opportunity to take responsibility deprives them of an opportunity to make well-considered choices. Then again, when it comes to sex, why would anyone want them to do that?