Women aren’t going to stand for this anymore
Every week, women see their access to basic, necessary health care threatened by the Republican Party in one way or another. At a gathering of the most conservative activists in the country, Rick Santorum called birth control “something that costs just a few dollars” and “not a critical economic need.” Then, the House -Oversight Committee led by Chairman Darrell Issa held a hearing on birth control – and asked a panel full of men to testify. Thursday, the Senate voted on an amendment offered by Senator Blunt that would allow your boss to make your private medical decisions for you and decide what kind of health care coverage you received (it was defeated). And then Rush Limbaugh publicly called women who use birth control “sluts’ and “prostitutes” on his radio show. If all of this can happen in less than one month - I shudder to imagine what comes next.
For me, these actions are about my right to choose. It’s about my access to basic health care and my right to not have someone else tell me what I can and can’t do with my own body. It’s absurd to think that I should have to forfeit my right to privacy simply because I’m a woman, and I was outraged when Senator Blunt introduced this shocking conscience amendment.
But the one thing that really hit me the hardest was Santorum’s comments at CPAC, the conservative convention. It brought me back to the first time I ever bought birth control. I went to the pharmacy to pick it up and was told it cost $67. I had to leave the pharmacy because I didn’t have that much money. Not only was that humiliating for me, but I also had to spend the next couple of weeks eating the smallest portions I could and did not do laundry to save money to pay for my medicine. For a college student (who didn’t have a lot of money to begin with) working my way through college, I can safely say that for me, birth control costs more than “a few dollars.”
This issue is extremely personal for me because like many women, I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I was prescribed birth control by my doctor, and I have to take it to keep from living in unbearable pain. With the help of birth control my condition is easily manageable, but unfortunately my insurance plan does not cover contraception. So, like many women, I am forced to bear the financial burden of buying birth control every month on my own.
In the year 2012, I never expected to have this debate. I never expected to have to defend this particular right, but the truth is this isn’t just a war on women’s rights; it’s a war on my freedom of choice. The freedoms of every single person regardless of gender are being threatened right now by the GOP politicizing yet another aspect of basic women’s health care. I’m sick of it. Like so many women around the country I’m standing up and fighting for my health care because I want the GOP to know that they can’t play politics with my rights and my choices. They can’t ignore us anymore.