Tuesday, April 3, 2012

SC Governor Nikki Haley Contradicts Science, Just Because

"South Carolina's major exports are peaches, shrimp, and fodder for late night comedians." - Susanna King

Update 4/9/12: This post was featured as a guest article for Tell Them on April 4, 2012. Tell Them is a program of the New Morning Foundation, a statewide, reproductive health-focused foundation based in Columbia, South Carolina. In addition to making grants to improve reproductive health education and clinical access for citizens under age 30, the Foundation is committed to serving as a leading advocate for improving the state’s sexual health policies.

If there's one thing I never could stand, it's South Carolina politics. The Daily Show's Jon Stewart calls South Carolina "America's whoopie cushion", a nod to the countless jokes told about the regularly-occurring gaffes in the SC political arena. As a resident of the "famously hot" state of South Carolina for over 15 years now, most of the time I just roll my eyes and chuckle along with the rest of the country (world?), when SC shows up on the blooper reel.

But then this happened:

Dang it, Governor Haley! This is why we can't have nice things!

That is the governor of the state of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, appearing on ABC's The View on Tuesday April 03, 2012. I almost can't believe that anybody growing up female could bring herself to say such a thing without genuine fear of sprouting a Pinocchio nose and/or her pants bursting into flames on national television. Women do indeed care about contraception, and we care a great deal.

Governor Haley, like a lot of women, is an educated and successful person. She holds a B.A. in Accounting from Clemson University, and among numerous accomplishments on her way to becoming governor, she spent six years in SC House of Representatives.

Would Governor Haley have been able to meet her goals without access to, or use of, contraceptives? Anecdotally, one might say 'sure, maybe so'. Statistically, however, it's much more likely that the answer would be 'probably not'.

Here's why:
According to the famous 2002 paper "The Power of the Pill", the earlier a woman has access to contraceptives, the more likely she is to complete higher education and career goals . The authors state "The most persuasive evidence for a role of the pill is that its initial diffusion among single women coincided with, and is analytically related to, the increase in the age at first marriage and the increase in women in professional degree programs."

Forbes goes so far as to state that we women have "The Pill to thank for 30%" of our paychecks, in their report on a recently-released study of over 4000 women by researchers at University of Michigan.

So here I am, stating for the record: I care. If you live in South Carolina and you care, too, you can use this handy email form courtesy of Tell Them! to tell Governor Haley that you DO care about contraception, and that you do NOT support legislation which restricts your access to it. If you live outside of South Carolina, well, enjoy the current ridiculousness, and be glad it isn't you. Residents of Arizona, of course, exempt.

Internet Nation, I'll leave you with this quote, courtesy of my favorite astrophysicist: “The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” Neil deGrasse Tyson