ONTD Political

Birth Control Pill Tax: Forbes Writer Argues Women On Hormonal Contraceptive Pills Should Pay More

10:26 am - 06/07/2012

While President Obama wants to grant women access to free birth control, this guy thinks women ought to pay more for access to contraception -- $1,500 per year more, to be precise.


It's true. Forbes.com contibutor Tim Worstall, who himself admits that the idea sounds "entirely absurd," argues in a recent column that because of the pollutive effects of contraceptive pills, women should be charged a tax of £1,000, or $1,500, to help fund upgraded sewage treatment systems.

Worstall writes:

The basic problem is that the hormones in the pill itself, the hormones which produce the desired contraceptive effect, then end up in the sewage system as part of the normal function of kidneys and bladders in human beings. Those hormones are then not captured by the standard sewage treatments and end up being released into the fresh water of the area. Where they are believed to cause sex changes in fish.

The hormone in question is called ethinyl estradiol (EE2) and is the main active ingredient in birth control pills, according to the Guardian. The hormone causes fish to develop both male and female traits, therefore inhibiting population growth.

It would cost the EU £30 billion, or more than $46 billion, to remove the hormone from rivers, streams and other drinking supplies in England and Wales alone, the Guardian reports.

It's not just the UK that's being polluted by the contraceptive pills. According to a story that ran in the Guardian in 2010, more than 80 percent of male bass fish in Washington D.C.'s Potomac River exhibit female traits, likely the result of drugs and chemicals deposited in the water. A 2009 report found that one third of the fish tested at 111 sites across the U.S. were "intersex," or exhibited both male and female traits.

Worstall dismisses the idea of making pharmaceutical companies pay for the mess their products create, saying that such a move could cause women to have to pay more for contraception, to the tune of £1,000 per year.

"It is their [women's] choice to use the pill," Worstall writes. "However, their choice of method of doing so imposes costs on the rest of us, upon the society at large."

Worstall's point of view has caused quite a raucous across the blogosphere.

Jezebel's Cassie Murdoch writes:

Fingers crossed that we all keep in mind that contraception is a society-wide issue, not a women's issue. If men want us to take the pill so they can sex us up without worrying about polluting the world through overpopulation, then they should also share the burden of paying to protect the environment from our resultant toxic pee.

AN: Forehead smack. Forever. So many causes but it all comes down to the cootch as the root of every evil. PS: If I posted this twice, sorry! My internet cut out the first go around.

EDIT: Eeek! SAUCE! I'm sorry I thought I added it the first go around! :|
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spiffynamehere 7th-Jun-2012 05:51 pm (UTC)
saint_monkey 7th-Jun-2012 05:51 pm (UTC)
Worstall should be forced to pay for sex forever after writing this. Tell him it's a pass-through cost.

So much stupid.
oceandezignz 7th-Jun-2012 05:55 pm (UTC)
Actually in the comments on the first page someone said they ought to tax sex seeking males for intercourse with a woman! NGL I did chuckle at the thought.
lone_concertina 7th-Jun-2012 05:55 pm (UTC)
Why doesn't he find another more accessible method for us to use and then start whining about it. Because I can see not wanting all those hormones in our water system, but you can't tell use an IUD is a better option when that shit costs hundreds (or a thousand) of dollars I don't have.
saint_monkey 7th-Jun-2012 07:50 pm (UTC)
vasectomy = $400 bucks

best money i EVER spent.
lurkch 7th-Jun-2012 05:57 pm (UTC)
Yeeah. Let's just overlook the fact that many, many pharmaceutical drug by-products (including male-soecific medication) end up in sewage and can't be removed through current treatments. Let's also overlook all of the industrial chemicals with hormonal effects (e.g. BPA) that end up in the environment and affect wildlife. Let's just pin it all on one drug class and one subsection of the population. Let's also forget about all the money saved and all the pollution that doesn't happen because more humans weren't added to the planet.

In fact, let's just abandon logic, science, economics, etc. altogether then, shall we?

skellington1 7th-Jun-2012 06:13 pm (UTC)
No shit. My first thought was "And this is an issue specific to birth control pills because...?"

Also, would this mean that I get off without the proposed giant fee because I take progestin only pills (no ethinyl estradiol ), or would he come up with a different way to penalize me for being female? I'm betting on the latter.
mirhanda 7th-Jun-2012 08:17 pm (UTC)
While the point that hormones are messing up the ecosystem is valid, it seems that the burden should fall more on the pharmaceutical companies rather than individual women. That spreads it out more fairly, plus it also considers the other drugs being excreted into the ecosystem, not just the hormones.
crossfire 7th-Jun-2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
I think the burden should be on society at large to clean up after itself. Better water purification and waste management infrastructure is what we need. It's not hard, we just don't want to spend the money.
atheistkathleen 7th-Jun-2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
give us free IUDs and save the fish
crossfire 7th-Jun-2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
Worstall is just trying to come up with an "environmentalist" argument for justifying his misogyny, probably in the vein of "let the bleeding heart libruls chew on THIS one har de har harr."

He can go take a flying fuck at a rolling donut. Birth control should be free. We should also be working harder on our environmental impact. These are not mutually exclusive things, and he's a fucking idiot for thinking so.
empath_eia 8th-Jun-2012 12:56 am (UTC)
He can go take a flying fuck at a rolling donut

That is quite the mental image.
kaymyth 7th-Jun-2012 08:47 pm (UTC)
Wait....his logic is that the pharmeceutical companies shouldn't pay for cleanup because the cost would just get passed on to the women who use birth control, implying that this is a bad thing.. So instead he's going to tax the women who use birth control.


Is anyone else thinking that his logic does not resemble our Earth logic?
catalana 8th-Jun-2012 02:22 am (UTC)
Thank you - I thought I was the only person scratching my head over this.
vulturoso 7th-Jun-2012 08:51 pm (UTC)
Ho, ho, whoa there... Now, let's not go talkin' about holding pharmaceutical companies responsible for the pollutants they generate when we can very easily just blame sluts for being slutty (and men are great).
emofordino 7th-Jun-2012 10:33 pm (UTC)
maynardsong 7th-Jun-2012 09:15 pm (UTC)
So...this is gonna be a wake up call for every man to get a vasectomy, as that's free of hormones. Right? Right?
nope_de_plume 7th-Jun-2012 09:18 pm (UTC)
If guys want women to not use birth control, they should stop having sex with us. That'll cut down most of the use
xbriyeon 7th-Jun-2012 10:06 pm (UTC)
this. 100% this. fucking hypocrites.
flyghosh 7th-Jun-2012 10:44 pm (UTC)
Rampant misogynistic douchebaggery aside (even though that's pretty much the entire reason for this ridiculous article), his logic/purported knowledge of the average tax system is non-existent. And given the fact that this whole article is talking about taxing one group over another...well, some knowledge of tax codes is probably a good thing.

Do only people with children pay property/school tax? Do only citizens of the country pay taxes for the sake of national defense? Do only women pay taxes to support social programs aimed at women? Do only people with cars pay taxes for roads (though it can be argued that we all make use of them, since most of the things we consume tends to come via highway)?

No. Because we have a standardized tax code, which is complicated enough already. I can't even imagine what it would be like if we were going to make categories like that. Taxes, how do they work?

If he knew better (and chances are, he does...he just doesn't expect anyone else to), this argument would not even have been made. This is just misogynistic trolling disguised as concern for the environment.
umi_mikazuki 7th-Jun-2012 11:33 pm (UTC)
On top of the obvious slut-shaming and misogyny, and the absurdity of this asshole's argument, I'm just gonna drop this right here.
furrygreen 8th-Jun-2012 12:28 am (UTC)
Where's the source? I want to read the comments.

"It is their [women's] choice to use the pill," Worstall writes. "However, their choice of method of doing so imposes costs on the rest of us, upon the society at large."

Yeah. Because unwed/single young mothers still in high school or before any significant college/career training with a horde of children doesn't, in itself, impose huge costs upon the society at large (via welfare, healthcare, law enforcement, etc.) It's just the sewage that has problems.

I like who we women just spontaneously get pregnant. It's all women's fault. I think some men feel like they just descended from heaven that day. There should be a campaign: "Save our water from contraceptives! Get snipped today!"

BTW, why didn't this guy bring up the fact that anti-depressants also get into the sewage treatment centers? I hear that's a huge problem too. We should impose a tax on depressed people.
oceandezignz 8th-Jun-2012 12:40 am (UTC)
Eeek! I totally though I sauced the post. I'm sorry! I added it to the main body of the post, but here it is too: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/04/birth-control-pill-tax_n_1568483.html
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