Healthcare Access for Women – The Contraception Controversy

 “Health-care decisions should be made by women, with their doctors and families — not politicians. Lawmakers should stop playing politics with women’s health and lives.”

–       Cecile Richards

It seems everyone is talking about contraception.  Politicians, pundits, serious journalists, and bloggers are discussing when a woman should get pregnant, how she should get pregnant, if she should get pregnant, and even what kind of birth control she should use.  Republican Super Pac donor Foster Friess even supported the ridiculous idea that a great form of birth control is for a woman to put an aspirin between her knees.  I don’t know about you, but in my knees, that aspirin might just get lost.

As far as I’m concerned, that method could result in a population boom from all the women crawling around the living room on their hands and knees looking for the aspirin when they lose it.  The men in their lives might just get the wrong idea. 

How many of you have played the game of trying to keep a dollar bill between your knees while you run across a park field?  It’s not easy. Perhaps we can ask Mr. Friess to demonstrate the aspirin method for us. 

If the subject of access to healthcare and contraception weren’t so crucial to the health and welfare of our nation, much of what we have been reading might be downright funny.  A group of aged men in the House Oversight Committee (headed by Rep. Darrel Issa) were put in charge of deciding the fate of contraceptive access. Women were excluded from the discussion. Did these men have a clue what they were discussing?  They have never menstruated, gone into labor, or been ridiculed and harassed for actually wanting to have sex.  In their world, they are congratulated for their libido and excused when they allow it to dictate poor and irresponsible behavior.  These same men seem to think women should practice abstinence.  Except, of course, when they are ‘in the mood’.  How can we have two people engaging in sex and call one a stud while calling the other a slut? They are, after all, typically in the same proximity when this occurs.

Perhaps we could level the playing field a bit if a group of female legislators held a meeting to determine if Viagra should be covered by health insurance.  (More than half of the prescriptions for Viagra are paid for by insurance).  Maybe men should put the little blue pill between their knees. 

The 1990’s were almost more progressive than the current political climate.  We are at risk of women’s rights being set back by 50 years.

Women’s rights are really everyone’s rights.  We all have a father, brother, son, friend, boyfriend or husband whose lives are in some way affected by our access to appropriate health care and contraception.  Thankfully, most men are supportive and caring.  The decision to have children and when to do so is one that ideally will be made by both parties involved.  It is a complex and life-changing issue, deserving of consideration and educated choices. 

According to Planned Parenthood, women of reproductive age spend about two-thirds more than men on out-of-pocket health-care costs. Birth control and reproductive health-care services are believed to account for much of the difference.

In a recent article by Jenna Chandler of the Santa Monica Patch she relates that ‘One-third of American women believe there is a broad effort under way to limit their access to contraception and family planning and abortion services, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released this week.’  She further shares, “Recent months and weeks have brought a wave of attacks across the nation on established women’s reproductive rights,” the League of Women Voters said in a press release. “As the presidential political season moves into high gear, these attacks can be expected to escalate and the accompanying rhetoric to grow even more heated.”

So, what can you do?  In our community, support Citizens for Choice and The Clinic!   The Clinic! offers education, counseling, and information on all available types of birth control and family planning.  Services are either low or no-cost, and are available to men, women and teens.  Condoms are always free of charge, and are available throughout the community in baskets.  Citizens for choice supports and fosters education and responsibility for our bodies and our lives. We strongly advocate for everyone’s reproductive rights, and honor individual choices.

Freddy Zylstra owns The Written Word Professional Copywriting. One of her favorite jobs is writing blogs for business.