Two Colorado advocacy groups, the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and Progress Now, have joined forces to educate younger people about getting health insurance through a new series of ads pointing people to the Got Insurance? website. Some of the ads use silly jokes to catch people's attention. There's one about sports, and another about drinking. Oh, and of course S-E-X, because sex is a thing that comes up sometimes with your health care.
It's a cute ad drawing attention to the fact that health insurance is required to cover contraception now. Of course, it's also an ad that makes the apparently controversial observation that women might feel sexual desire like they're people, so naturally, conservatives are up in arms. Rush Limbaugh has a word for the kind of woman this ad speaks to, the kind who likes to have sex sometimes without getting pregnant: "prostitute." "What these ads are really promising, if you like your risky promiscuous lifestyle, you can keep it," he said, adding, "If you like being promiscuous, you can keep on being promiscuous. If you like being a prostitute, then have at it."
As a reminder: The "risky promiscuous lifestyle" that Limbaugh is describing here is "using contraception," a "lifestyle" enjoyed by nearly all adult women. That presumably includes all four of Limbaugh's wives that never had children with him.
Limbaugh's belief that contraception makes you a slut is no big surprise, of course, but the panic at the possibility that women might be having sex for fun took off like wildfire on the right this week. Many conservatives on Twitter got a little excited at using some of their favorite words to shame nearly all adult women for acting like adult women do.
Even a congressman got involved:
In truth, the birth control is an insurance benefit, and not a "government entitlement." More importantly, in no way can this be construed as making sex an entitlement. There is no provision in the Affordable Care Act that puts a naked person of your preferred gender in your bed. You still have to go out in the world and talk someone into having sex with you. You built that, etc.
The whining from the right shows why the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and Progress Now were smart to run such a blunt ad highlighting the birth control benefit. Women do use birth control to have sex without getting pregnant, and if pro-choicers dance around that fact or employ euphemism to discuss it, it lends credence to the notion that there is something shameful about it. Being direct about sex provoked conservatives to once again reignite a no doubt doomed campaign to stigmatize contraception, making the right look like a radical fringe completely out of step with mainstream America.