Think that the controversy over birth control is a purely social issue? Think again. In last week’s episode of “Fireside Chats” on Bloggingheads, Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Ellen Chesler and author and writer Michelle Goldberg discussed the economic impacts of birth control. “If you are a working woman in America today, government protection of your right to have contraception covered by your insurance carrier…is crticial to your economic well-being and the economic well-being of your family,” Ellen says.
As Ellen points out, women had worked before birth control became widely available, “but they worked episodically until the 1970s and ’80s, early in their lives before marriage or once their children were grown.” Then things began to change, and the change came rapidly. It was in the ’80s, she notes, “relatively recently in history, that in the United States Census more women indentified as workers than homemakers.” Now that’s the predominant family model. Yet this revolution didn’t happen all by itself. “Contraception is a sine qua non of this economic revolution,” she says.
Now that the revolution is here, what is the outlook for the future? Ellen is optimistic. “I think 80 percent of the country is comfortable with these long-term structural changes in the basic organization of families,” she says. “But 20 percent of the country is not, and they form the base of the Republican Party now.” Yet she points out that polling shows strong support among young people. “The future is really with us,” she concludes.
Watch the entire video below for a discussion of Romney’s changing position on birth control, whether the left should thank the GOP for going after contraception, and why Planned Parenthood is so important: