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Banning Birth Control: It’s Not Happening in America…Yet

Banning Birth Control: It’s Not Happening in America…Yet

Give birth, give birth, give birth! That’s the message being given to the women of Iran, where, due to dropping birthrates, the country has decided that it is time to consider more extreme moves to up the population. According to Business Insider, Iranian lawmakers are considering a ban on vasectomies and potentially tubal ligation, hoping that more pregnancies means more children and more children means more economic prosperity for the country.

“In response to the falling birth rate, the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a 14 point decree that called for Iranians to double the population from around 76 million to 150 million,” reports the outlet. “He said that reaching such a goal would ‘strengthen national identity.’”

According to the article, birth control was beginning to be frowned upon by the country’s leaders as too “secular” and “western,” two criticisms that are ironic after a week of hammering on the availability of contraception in the United States. Just days after the Supreme Court ruled that for-profit companies have the right to deny coverage of some forms of birth control as a matter of religious conviction, the court has already returned to their own decision and expanded it to include all birth control coverage, not just the original few forms being challenged, and even given religious non-profits the right to refuse to sign an accommodation paper that would take paying for birth control coverage out of their hands and instead put it on the federal government instead, a move that the religious right is now claiming is still tantamount to promoting abortion.

While the idea of a ban on sterilization procedures may seem impossible in the United States, the mindset that has lead to the proposal in Iran really bears little difference from the conservative arguments against abortion and birth control here in this country. After all, how many times has a leading Republican candidate mentioned that our problems with social security could be solved if we had more children to rely on, or that we will lose our economic edge without a robust baby boom to make more mini-taxpayers?

This mindset is even echoed in the recent Supreme Court ruling on birth control, which inherently relies on the belief that the state has “no compelling interest” in providing contraception to people who could become pregnant, or at least, it’s not important enough to make business owners “violate their conscience” over. According to the five man majority, making it easier for anyone who wants to not be pregnant to not be — an act that would both improve their physical and financial health but also in many cases reduce the cost in government services to support that pregnancy — is not as important as protecting a handful of social conservatives who believe it is actually in their best interest to bear children, and that the price for having sexual intercourse is that they should be open to that possibility.

Of course, the United States will never go as far as to criminalize sterilization, as Iran is considering. Instead, the religious right will continue to buy and merge hospitals and medical systems, and forbid them from allowing vasectomies or tubals to be done. They will use their politicians to block grants for IUDs and other long acting reversible birth control programs, and to defund any federal assistance for other forms of hormonal birth control. They will continue to fight to have birth control coverage stripped from insurance programs, ensuring that the most effective long term contraceptives will be too expensive to pay for up front, and that monthly co-pays will eat away at a person’s budget in the hopes that one month it will be too much and that person will skip it.

In the U.S., we would never do anything as blatant as ban birth control. Instead we will continue to chip away at its availability, one path at a time, leaving it there for those who can afford it. For those who don’t have that privilege, well, then the message is the same as in Iran: give birth, give birth, give birth.

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8:23PM PDT on Jul 19, 2014

So now women are supposed to have babies to keep social security funded. These people have no imagination about how to fund anything.

1:57AM PDT on Jul 14, 2014

Thank you for sharing!

1:43AM PDT on Jul 14, 2014

Thanks you for sharing

3:39PM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

The world already seems to be crowded enough without a bunch of religious zealots imposing their beliefs on everyone else. A little less populating would seem a better idea for the long term survival of the species and the planet. This is a prime example of why religion and politics should never mix, a small group of people who worship invisible men in the sky end up making everyone else miserable.

2:51PM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

@Barbara G.
Barbara, your concern is misguided. First, this ruling only means that a very small number of employers will not cover zygote-killing drugs in their health insurance. Other kinds of contraceptives are still covered, and employees who want the specific drugs under dispute can still easily buy them with their own money, and remember that this is a very small number of employers. This is a hurricane in a teapot.

And, the USA is not remotely close to overpopulation. Its population density is literally six times smaller than Germany`s. Besides, the fertility rate is actually below replacement level. See

1:52PM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

Over populated world here we come!

3:50PM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

Man, if only I had the power to reverse a star. I've never misclicked on the wrong name before, but some kind of computer lag made my screen jump and I just sent a star to someone I seriously didn't want to. Ah well, if you happen to be a misogynist here who got a star from me, consider it a gift for keeping the dialogue going, and hopefully pissing enough people off that we DO something about this travesty against women once and for all.

11:50AM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

Of course, the United States will never go as far as to criminalize sterilization

In the U.S., we would never do anything as blatant as ban birth control

NEVER? And we thought that the privacy afforded women after Roe would NEVER continue to be such an issue all these years later, didn't we?
I say we keep a close eye on the Nevers we presume, lest they morph into the maybes.

9:53AM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

i need to move.

7:18AM PDT on Jul 12, 2014

@Carole L.
To be more precise: your argument rests on a categorization that is irrelevant to the problem in question.

Doctors may use a specific categorization to define "pregnancy", but when one is dealing with the morality of killing a zygote, that categorization may simply be irrelevant. This does not mean that "beliefs trump facts"; when doctors perform objective studies and attach conceptual properties to the category of "pregnant", that is to be respected, and I am not disputing those properties. The problem is that the category is insufficient for the problem at hand; the properties of "pregnant" do not determine the morality of killing a zygote.

What I am trying to get into your skull is that the morality of killing a zygote is independent from the categorization of "pregnancy". The zygote exists independently from whether the woman is categorized as "pregnant" or not. The assertion that "doctors say that embryo-killing drugs do not terminate pregnancies, therefore the case is closed" is utterly fallacious.

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Lindsay Spangler Lindsay Spangler is a Web Editor and Producer for Care2 Causes. A recent UCLA graduate, she lives in... more
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