A Note to Nikki Haley

Dear Gov. Haley,

You don’t know me, but I feel like I know you. I mean, I’ve known many women politicians who go against their own interests simply to win an election and curry the favor (no pun intended) of men, and not just Republicans like you.

On a recent broadcast of “The View,” you said something to the effect of “Women aren’t concerned about birth control. They’re concerned about the economy and jobs.” Respectfully, ma’am, your chief of staff needs to change the channel on the gubernatorial television from Fox News to some alternative. Then, you will see women are concerned about birth control and the loss of access to it because, well, it’s pretty simple–women can’t participate in the economy and have jobs if they’re perpetually pregnant. And the other, simple matter is that women get to decide whether or not to be pregnant, something I’m sure you’ve done at some point in your life. I suspect you were very careful not to get pregnant during that alleged affair you supposedly had, so I bet you were pretty concerned about birth control then and gave no thought to the economy.

I can understand–but not excuse–your dismissal of the importance of birth control. After all, the country of your heritage once used abortion as birth control when couples discovered they were having a daughter. I can see how that would mark you, that is, if you bothered to acknowledge that heritage. India, by the way, distributes birth control, free of charge, because they’ve grasped the concept of over-population and its deleterious effect on the economy.

Let me tell you a little story about my Irish grandmother. (Ireland is the country just west of England–I remind you because your narrow-mindedness about birth control makes me wonder if you know of anything beyond our shores.) My grandmother was a midwife in Virginia. One of her patients in the 1930’s had married at the age of 15, quite common in rural areas back then, even rural areas of South Carolina. By the time that woman was 30, my grandmother had delivered her 13 children. The thing that stood out for my grandmother, who was only a few years older than her patient, was that this 30 year old woman, who had been “a beautiful child,” according to Gramma, had gray, thin hair, weighed barely 100 pounds, had lost half her teeth, looked 60, and could barely stand. My grandmother tried to teach her the rhythm method of birth control, but the woman explained she couldn’t say no to her husband. She was dead before she was 35 and had three more children. The last one killed her.

Is this what you want us to go back to? Is this what you want for your daughter? Or your son, for that matter?

If you think women aren’t concerned about birth control, you haven’t paid much attention to the polls showing that independent, women voters are not supporting Republican candidates or their policies and are citing the recent birth control brouhaha as their reason. As a Virginia woman’s sign said at a recent protest in Richmond, “I can’t believe I’m still fighting about this shit.”

Women are concerned about birth control because that’s the single thing which has allowed us to be full partners in the economy. We’re concerned about birth control because we understand family planning is to the benefit of the family. You might say birth control is a family value.


A Post-Menopausal Woman Who Always Will Be Concerned About Birth Control