In a candid on-camera interview two weeks ago with the campus newspaper of her alma mater, Cornell University, contraception activist Sandra Fluke explained that her agitation for free and universal access to contraception has a larger goal: removing the “barriers” of unwanted children from women’s paths to career and political success.
“I don’t think that I am in particular entitled to contraception, or that that we’re entitled to contraception,” the thirty-one year-old activist explained in a little-watched video The Cornell Daily Sun put online Oct. 15. “I think the case is much more about what kind of society do we want to live in.”
“If we think about what contraception means for people, it’s not only about having access to the health care that you need, and the human rights aspects of having access to health care, but it’s also about what being able to control your own reproduction does for women specifically, but for men as well,” she said.
“It allows us to pursue the educational opportunities that we hope for and to have the careers and the career trajectory that we dream of.”
That sort of broad political language has become increasingly common from Fluke on the lecture circuit. (RELATED: Sandra Fluke to campaign with Obama in Denver)
During a Sept. 24 speech at Southern Methodist University, she pointed to birth control as a significant reason American women have had greater access to career success and elective office.
“So it’s important to make that option available to all women,” she said, referring several times to children from unwanted pregnancies as “barriers” to women’s commercial success and political status.
Women who lack access to contraception are more likely to be poor and “women of color,” she noted in a multicultural message, and claimed a lack of affordable contraception among those populations of women excludes “the perspectives of very specific communities, communities that I hope will be increasingly included in our public dialogue and that all of us need to be able to hear from to have that rich and full conversation as a society.”
“That’s what it ultimately comes down to — equality,” she said. “Not just equality on paper, of saying that contraception is not illegal, or equality on paper, of saying you can be admitted to a university or you can hold a job.”
Instead, she explained, “equality” should translate to all women having “the ability to control your reproduction so that that a career is a realistic goal and something that can be achieved and not derailed.”
At Cornell, she framed widely available and free contraception as one form of leverage that could ensure a greater role in politics for women who are unencumbered by children they didn’t plan on bearing.