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Male Privilege and the Birth Control Debate

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"Excuse me, your male privilege is showing." This is what I’ve been screaming at the TV in the past few days of this debate over providing no-cost contraceptive coverage to women. I’ve seen argument after argument talking about how this ruling infringes on religious liberty, and how the Catholic Church is very much against this rule. And most of the talking heads I’ve seen making these arguments have been men.

I’m not going to get into an argument about religious liberty. Suffice to say that I think the initial rule issued by the administration addressed this topic sufficiently. But what I want to discuss is how the thoughts of a few men are not representative of the general population. My Think Progress colleagues just released a report showing that my perceptions were indeed reality. The majority of people speaking about this rule have been men; they made up 60 percent of MSNBC’s guests and 65 percent of Fox News Channel’s guests on this topic. It was painful to watch hosts like Joe Scarborough go on and on about the rule with his panel of mostly men, getting many of their facts wrong. Also, the last time I checked, men cannot give birth. That’s not to say that they don’t have a vested interest in the issue, because obviously they do. But they don’t get to speak with absolute authority about something they never personally experience.

Read more here.

This article was originally published in The Huffington Post.

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education, poverty)
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Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, Legal Progress, Half in Ten Education Fund)
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Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
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Radio: Chelsea Kiene
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