This just in: A study has proven that couples who use birth control earn more, and that their own children earn more down the road.
Raise your hand if you are at all surprised. Anyone?
A new study about to be released by Martha Bailey, an economist at University of Michigan, lays out the basic facts: Families that have easy access to cheap, available birth control are shown to have children who earn more down the road, compared to the average earning rates of those who were born before the pill was legal.
When you really sit down and think about it, the results shouldn’t be too shocking. Families who have access to family planning services have fewer children, allowing them both to be able to work more because one of them isn’t always at home caring for a child, out of work giving birth or working at the type of jobs that tend to go to those who come in and out of the job market.
As for their own children earning more, with less kids to put through school and more individual attention, there is little surprise that those children would also go on to be higher earners, building on their own family’s growing potential.
What is surprising, however, is how these simple economic facts fly in the face of the policy stances of the allegedly pro-family, pro-business GOP. For a party that claims its biggest desire is the economic success for all American families, it spends a ridiculous portion of its own time obsessed with ensuring access to birth control remains as difficult as possible.
Recently, the Republican Party allowed its far right faction to hijack and shut down the government in order to rid the country of the menace that is the Affordable Care Act, especially irked by the fact that a key component of the reform is requiring that birth control be covered with no co-pay. Over 70 federal lawsuits were filed against the birth control mandate under the guise of religious freedom, and until recently Republican House leaders were said to be working hand in hand with the United States Council of Catholic Bishops on continuing the shutdown until Obamacare and birth control coverage were eliminated.
These latest moves come after years of trying to strip funding from Planned Parenthood clinics, even those who only supply birth control and do not offer abortion services, knowing that the end result is to create deserts for family planning services in the very areas of the country where access is the most necessary. Just look at Texas and the over 70 subsidized contraception providers that have closed since the “non-abortion funding” Texas Women’s Health Program went into effect. Only about 25 of those clinics were even Planned Parenthood affiliates.
So why is the family budget obsessed GOP so adamant about eliminating access to a simple measure that is so obviously tied to better economic outcomes for all American families? In reality, this is a mostly new development. Even the Bushes, as Republican a family as you can find in the U.S., used to at one time be great believers in Planned Parenthood, and the birth control mandate was in many ways in effect for most of the George W. Bush administration with little GOP hand-wringing.
Like much of what we’ve seen in the current political landscape, the opposition to birth control has become another plank in the platform of the Tea Party, who claims to be a simple, fiscal based political group, but increasingly has shown an alarming tendency towards rooting for a Biblical theocracy in our country.
As long as the Tea Party continues to pull the strings on today’s GOP, expect contraception to be eliminated in every avenue they have access to, regardless of how fiscally responsible family planning truly is.
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