No such thing as FREE

“FREE” is one of the most horribly mis-used words of our time. Marketers use it incessantly, as they know that it catches people’s attention. “Buy one get one FREE” (they love to capitalize it) sounds so much catchier than “Two for the price of one”. So when I received an e-mail informing me that my company was offering free birth control, my attention was somewhat piqued.

This is actually part of The Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) that is being phased in over the next twelve months. It only applies to women, though; apparently, somewhere along the line, women became a privileged class. For all the talk about women’s rights, women’s issues and women’s reproductive freedom, there is no equivalent conversation about men’s rights/issues/reproductive freedom – mention those and women look at you as if you were speaking Swahili.

As things stand, when a woman gets pregnant, the husband/boyfriend/baby-daddy has precisely two options – watch helplessly while she “makes the choice” to have an abortion, or pay for the upkeep of the kid for the next eighteen years.

So much for equality

What about free birth control for men? Don’t make me laugh; some men were never meant to breed — and these are generally the chaps who do. And while we’re on the subject of our right to guilt-free sex, where’s my free Viagra? Ridiculous. And yet the principle – the idea that you can merrily make whoopee inside or outside of marriage without worrying about the consequences – is the same in both cases.

But wait! There’s more! This “free birth control” applies only to women who have private health insurance. No insurance? Tough – pay up. Even so, this legislative giveaway benefits over forty million women. That’s forty million co-pays that “someone else” has to pay. Who? The insurance companies. And who do you think they will pass that cost on to? That’s right – the rest of us.

Now I am old-fashioned enough to believe that sex is best enjoyed within the confines of marriage. Guilt-free, disease-free, regret-free; absolute trust and rampant lust rolled up into one delightful package. It’s the best thing on Earth – trust me on this one. But, ladies and gentlemen, sex – guilt-free or otherwise – is not a human right. It is a privilege reserved for the grown-ups. And if you can’t afford contraception, maybe sex is a luxury you can’t afford.

I have no problem with birth control – if you don’t want children, you probably shouldn’t have any. Some people weren’t meant to reproduce; I’m one of them. But seriously, folks, isn’t this whole “free-birth-control” thing sending out the wrong message to our young people?

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