The Hypocrisy of America's Political Priorities, in One Hand-Drawn Image

What's that saying about a picture and its rhetorical worth?

It may be a cliche, but this Tumblr photo — originally posted by "jennwitte" but picked up and reposted to Facebook by RH Reality Check — features an almost childlike chalk drawing that points to an alarming reality in America:


Image Credit: Facebook/RH Reality Check via jennwitte

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in the highly publicized case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that family-owned corporations, including the craft supply chain, can abstain from offering their employees certain contraception options if those options are deemed religiously objectionable. In the aftermath of the ruling, which was widely criticized, the imagery above is looking more true than ever — need we even point to the fact that there is a constitutional amendment protecting an individual's right to "bear arms" but not for women to have access to critical forms of health care?

It's been said before, but we'll say it again, just for due diligence: Women use contraception for myriad reasons — not just for abortions. 

That said, it is interesting to note the irony in how guns and contraception are federally regulated, considering that guns are much deadlier than the other.

Americans are more likely to own guns than anyone else in the world. We are also 20 times more likely to die by gunshot than a resident of another developed country.


Image Credit: Max Fisher/The Washington Post

Abortions, on the other hand, are at an all-time low since 1973 (the inception of Roe v. Wade), with researchers crediting the use of contraception in lowering the abortion rate.

With the Hobby Lobby decision it is not presumptuous to declare that this before-mentioned downward trend in abortions will reverse, and that abortion rates — and even illegal, back alley abortions — will increase due to regulations that make it difficult for women to have access to safe and affordable health care.


Image Credit: The Washington Post

To put it a bit more bluntly, U.S. politicians allowed the nation's assault weapons ban — which outlawed 19 types of military-type assault weapons — to lapse in 1994 and have since failed to pass any meaningful reform measures. This is in contrast to the constant flurry of anti-abortion measures that have been proposed, passed and challenged in the similar amount of time. While gun violence obviously hurts everyone, women often bear the brunt of the rampages, especially when it comes to workplace or domestic violence.

According to the think tank Center for American Progress, between 2001 through 2012, "6,410 women were murdered in the United States by an intimate partner using a gun — more than the total number of U.S. troops killed in action during the entirety of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined." Meanwhile, as the number of abortions decreased, so has the number of complications; in 2008, the Centers for Disease Control noted that only 12 women were "reported to have died as a result of complications from known legal-induced abortions."

Here's the kicker: While research suggests tighter gun control can reduce gun violence, studies on birth control notes that when a failure to provide comrephensive care can lead to women risking unsafe abortion procedures, in turn resulting in higher rates of potentially fatal complications.

The effects of federal legislation are clear: the tighter the gun regulation, the fewer the deaths; the tighter the health care restrictions on contraception, the higher the deaths. So why are politicians still not getting the message?

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Marcie Bianco

Dr. Marcie Bianco is a Staff Writer at Mic, a Contributing Editor at Curve Magazine, and an adjunct associate professor at Hunter College. She has contributed to AfterEllen, Feministing, The Feminist Wire, The Huffington Post, Lambda Literary, XO Jane, and The Women’s Review of Books. She writes and lectures about ethics, from feminism to race relations. Her current writing projects include a manuscript about lesbian academic affairs and a collection of feminist essays.

MORE FROM

Kshama Sawant on why Seattle needs an independent investigation into the Charleena Lyles shooting

Seattle City Councilperson Kshama Sawant, member of Socialist Alternative party, discusses the Charleena Lyles investigation, tenant voter registration, why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 and more.

The EPA seeks to undo clean water rule, putting 117 million American's water at risk

The new rule could have "long-reaching consequences for everyone living in the United States.”

This small Ohio town might stop treating heroin overdoses to save the city money

"People will die. It's plain and simple."

Here's what New York's first official LGBTQ monument will look like

Here's our first look at New York's new monument to LGBT communities.

How will Trump's travel ban be enforced? Here's what the Supreme Court's decision really means.

The Supreme Court's order prevents most of the ban from taking effect before the case is heard, with limited exceptions.

Tick saliva could be the key to fighting a dangerous heart condition

Ticks could hold the secret to treating this heart condition.

Kshama Sawant on why Seattle needs an independent investigation into the Charleena Lyles shooting

Seattle City Councilperson Kshama Sawant, member of Socialist Alternative party, discusses the Charleena Lyles investigation, tenant voter registration, why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 and more.

The EPA seeks to undo clean water rule, putting 117 million American's water at risk

The new rule could have "long-reaching consequences for everyone living in the United States.”

This small Ohio town might stop treating heroin overdoses to save the city money

"People will die. It's plain and simple."

Here's what New York's first official LGBTQ monument will look like

Here's our first look at New York's new monument to LGBT communities.

How will Trump's travel ban be enforced? Here's what the Supreme Court's decision really means.

The Supreme Court's order prevents most of the ban from taking effect before the case is heard, with limited exceptions.

Tick saliva could be the key to fighting a dangerous heart condition

Ticks could hold the secret to treating this heart condition.