Republicans have framed the push for expanded access to contraception as a liberal “war on women.”
I find it difficult to understand the conservative argument that improving women’s access to birth control is restrictive to their reproductive freedom. The implication of this idea is that repealing the Affordable Care Act and its employer mandate – thereby making it harder to obtain birth control – would be somehow empowering to women.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee recently stated that the employer mandate is making women “believe that they are helpless” without the government. I’d like to hear some women’s perspectives on that.
If employers were, for some reason, morally opposed to vaccination, would they be within their rights to refuse coverage? Birth control is an important component of women’s health care. Also, making it easier for women to obtain birth control would help to prevent unwanted pregnancies, especially for women on the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. Better family planning would help not just poor families, but every citizen in the United States.
Republicans have long emphasized the importance of individual choice and personal responsibility. It seems to me that making contraception more readily available to women does exactly that.
Furthermore, oral contraceptives have numerous health benefits in addition to preventing pregnancy. Birth control can lower the risk of certain cancers; ease the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and endometriosis; and even give women clearer skin.
I don’t believe either side is waging a “war on women,” nor that using such language is helpful to our political discourse.
Quay A. Rice