In a Friday interview with Marie Claire, former The Blaze talk show host Tomi Lahren opened up about being fired for being pro-choice. But the interview touched on a host of other hot-button political topics, too — one of those being access to birth control.
According to Lahren, “government funding for [birth control]” isn’t necessary.
“I can’t speak for every woman, but my birth control is covered by my insurance, and if it weren’t covered, it would cost $9 a month,” Lahren said. “I don’t know a lot of women who can’t afford $9 a month.”
She continued: “I can understand that maybe there are some who can’t afford that, but I just don’t think birth control is so outrageously expensive that government funding for it is necessary.”
Good thing Lahren conceded that she “can’t speak for every woman,” because she really can’t. I don’t know where she’s getting her $9 birth control, but according to Bedsider, a nonprofit birth control support network, birth control pills can cost up to $113 per month without insurance.
More long-term forms of contraception such as an IUD can cost up to $858, or $14 a month over five years. Especially when one considers how poverty has increasingly become a young women’s issue in recent years, it’s no surprise that studies show women who can’t afford safe and reliable contraception often have no choice but to turn to DIY forms of birth control, such as the pullout method, and these can be not only ineffective but also dangerous.
And yet the sentiment that birth control access and affordability are no problem for women is one shared by many of Lahren’s fellow conservatives, and it’s a dangerous sentiment for these men in positions of power to hold.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in 2012 argued against the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate on the grounds that it violated religious liberty (you know, by prohibiting employers/insurers from using their personal religious beliefs as an excuse to discriminate against women), and claimed that it was altogether unnecessary because women have no problems affording birth control.
“Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one,” Price said of women who couldn’t afford contraception. “There’s not one.”
But it should go without saying that plenty of women in this country can’t afford $113 a month or $858 for an IUD. And the misguided belief that they can is what’s driving efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and other women’s health clinics, as well as efforts to dismantle the contraception mandate altogether. Over the years, on top of being correlated with economic growth, wider access to birth control also appears to result in fewer unintended pregnancies and, as a result, fewer abortions.
It appears that where restrictions and obstacles put in place by conservatives have failed to stop abortions from happening, merely serving to compromise women’s safety, birth control is the far more reliable tool to combat abortion rates.
But unlike her fellow conservatives, it’s not as if Lahren is too concerned about whether or not abortions happen. Still, given her stance on access to birth control, it’s hard to imagine her caring much for who can afford to have an abortion and who can’t.
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