Quick, someone inform Rush Limbaugh.
A little free norgestrel in the system will not, in fact, turn you into a coitus-hungry, panty-dropping, megaslut. Yes, women on free birth control still behave just like they always did.
A study released yesterday in Obstetrics and Gynecology followed over 7,500 women ages 14 to 45 who had adopted no-cost contraceptives and tracked if, over the year they were popping the free pills, their sexual behavior changed in any way. "It makes her a slut, right?" Rush Limbaugh would predict, with his wide, red face. But the findings were that Obamacare might actually make women less promiscuous.
Most women, (70 percent) reported absolutely no change in the number of partners they were boning while they were on these cost-free BC methods compared to their out-of-pocket regimen. In fact, 13 percent reported a decrease in the number of new partners they took on. And, even when some women did report that things had been a bit busier in the bedroom, it's because 80 percent of them saw an increase from zero partners to one partner. In those special cases, it's safe to say that suddenly popping a NuvaRing subsidized by the government probably had nothing to do with that woman ending her dry spell.
Plus, having contraceptives covered by insurance didn't increase the risk of STI transmission. While pills had no effect on risky sex, they did get women laid more frequently — by the same partner. The average amount of times the study participants got laid every month was six times, up from the four that ladies without cheap contraceptives experienced. In this case, frequency does not beget risk (only high-fives).
While, sure, this study is based upon self-reporting, it does indicate that when we provide women with more access to healthcare, it doesn't mean their behavior will really change. The only thing that changes is the number of unwanted pregnancies each year, and, possibly, women will have clearer skin.
Of course, that doesn't stop religious non-profits and church-affiliated groups from fighting for exemption from the birth control mandate. Recently, Mike Huckabee made an unforgivable gaffe when he claimed Democrats were giving out free birth control because they believe women can't control their libido. I'm sorry, Mike, but women aren't a legion of insatiable ids. They're just a group who doesn't have to pay $50 at Rite Aid every month for their protection.
Image via Flickr.