Why do we spend so much time talking about reproductive rights? Because it’s the primary arena in which women’s rights are inferior to those of men — but it’s definitely not the only one. I read something this week that infuriated me so much I had to listen to Spurned Woman Country Music (a most beloved genre) for three straight hours: The cost of simply being a woman tallies up to about $430,480 over the course of your career. That figure varies quite a bit from state to state — in Louisiana, it can be up to $671,000.
That’s insane! That’s an insane amount of money. This week, I’m going to try to put that number into perspective for you by sharing some things you could buy for that much money. They’re really tiny chasers of rage, but that’s the point! Get pissed off and go ask for a raise. (Disclaimer: That’s probably not the best way to ask for a raise.)
SHOT: This deeply personal story from Rolling Stone ties together the author’s experience with miscarriage, access to Planned Parenthood, and how Gov. John Kasich — touted as the moderate, reasonable Republican candidate — has effectively taken a jackhammer to abortion rights in his home state of Ohio.
CHASER: This travel writer estimates that you could spend around $150,000 to visit all 193 countries. With the sum of what the gender wage gap will cost you, you could do that nearly three times. Or just visit them once, in a really swag way.
SHOT: According to a new report from the National Abortion Federation, 2015 saw 94 threats of death and/or violence to abortion providers. By contrast, 2014 saw one. Tell me how those Center for Medical Progress videos were harmless again?
CHASER: Sometimes I look up real estate in Seattle just to torture myself. That’s how I know you could buy this perfect little gingerbread cottage — which is right next to a nice lake — almost entirely upfront.
SHOT: Remember our man Gov. Mike Pence (R), who wrote one of the most restrictive anti-abortion omnibus bills into law in Indiana last week? Let’s have a round of applause for all the Indiana women who are calling his office to fill him in on the status of their uteri in detail, since he seems to care so much about it.
CHASER: Look — I really want these pants, which they don’t even have in my size anymore, but a girl can dream. With $430,480, I could buy 2,657 pairs of those pants including tax. That does seem excessive, but I’m trying to prove a point here.
SHOT: Another anti-choice legislator — that’s Gov. Rick Scott (R), from Florida — got an earful at the local Starbucks for approving a similar omnibus bill to the one Pence enacted in Indiana. Props to this woman, but it’s pretty bleak that our options for immediate recourse against those who infringe on our rights are reduced to yelling over the din of Frappuccino-blending.
CHASER: The “world’s most expensive steak” costs $3,200, apparently. You could have 134 of those for $430,480, and almost certainly die.
SHOT: South Dakota, which already holds the bleak title of one of the very worst states for reproductive rights, just got itself a brand new law that will force abortion providers to deliver false information about the procedure to their clients. Specifically, they are required to say that an abortion induced by mifepristone and misoprostol can be reversed if patients decline to take the misoprostol, despite the dubious evidence that it’s even true.
CHASER: I asked a friend what would be on her birthday dream wish list, and she said: scuba gear ($969), Everlane boots, ($195), cashmere sweater ($228 at J. Crew), and a nice camera (let’s call it $6,000). She could buy all of those things (with tax) 52 times over.
SHOT: What are the 2016 presidential candidates saying about women this week? Hillary Clinton: An “unborn person” doesn’t have Constitutional rights — which, of course, managed to piss off both pro-choice and anti-choice constituencies at once. And Donald Trump claims that women have told him they want him, as a candidate, to “protect them.”
CHASER: The estimated cost of raising a child in the U.S. is $245,340 (not accounting for inflation), meaning you could raise 1.75 children. Sorry, 25 percent of Bobby!
NIGHTCAP: This week, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, the first piece of federal legislation to recognize young people’s right to sexual health information. It would eliminate funding for abstinence-only programs, and devote money instead to accurate and effective sexual health education. Cheers!
(UPDATE) AND ANOTHER ONE: Congrats, West Coasters: You can now get birth control straight from the pharmacy (without having to consult with your gynecologist first) from Bellingham to San Diego! California just enacted a law that allows pharmacists to prescribe birth control pills, patch, and ring. Oregon enacted a similar law earlier this year, and in Washington, collaborative practice laws have allowed women to get birth control pills directly from pharmacists for decades. (A bill currently awaiting Senate approval in Washington will make prescription birth control even more easily available from pharmacies.)
Why do we do this news roundup every week? Even if each subsequent development in access to sexual education, contraception, and abortion is hair-tearing-ly frustrating, it’s really important that women know that they’re happening.
But why should all environmentalists (and humans, honestly) care about reproductive rights? Watch our video to find out more: