On Tuesday, D.C. Councilmember David Catania introduced legislation that would allow District women to obtain birth control pills over the counter without a doctor's prescription. Catania argues that the legislation would increase reproductive health choices for low-income women, who often face financial and logistical barriers to accessing timely doctor's appointments. Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander has emerged as the main opponent of Catania's bill. "I'm going to do whatever it takes that this legislation will not see the light of day," Alexander told NewsChannel 8's Phil Stewart this week, adding: "Would Mr. Catania have a female loved one, someone close to him take a prescribed medication without consulting their doctor? That's the question he needs to ask himself."
Identity politics alert: Alexander is a straight woman! Catania is a gay man! What implications could these personal details possibly have on District policymaking? Enter Twitter:
I agree with Alexander that District women should absolutely have their voices heard on this issue. But I reject the idea that D.C. men have no stake in this legislation. Plenty of District men—and D.C. taxpayers in general—have a personal, financial, and social investment in preventing unplanned pregnancies and protecting women's health. And with men greatly outnumbering women in the D.C. council, women need men who actually care about the issues that affect us the most. We should be encouraging men to be invested in these discussions, not pushing them away.
Of course, that doesn't mean that every man has a terrible amount of insight into this issue—I'm still trying to figure out how Mark Stevens thinks birth control actually works, and how it may relate to the huffing of glue. But the same goes for the councilwoman. One woman with personal birth control experience should not presume to speak for all of us.