A few weeks ago I heard a story on NPR about how millions more women vote in the United States than men (I can't find a link to the original story, but I found this reference on the Diane Rehm show that nearly ten million more women than men voted in the last presidential election). This pattern has been true for several of the last presidential elections. I was shocked. Shocked because women are still so far from equality in the work place in this country. And over the last few weeks my shock has grown into anger as I've read story after story of the GOP-proposed attacks on reproductive rights and access to health care on both the state and national level.
It makes me wonder why, if so many women vote, ARE A BUNCH OF OLD WHITE MEN legislating our reproductive rights and essentially, our HEALTH? - deciding whether employers have to provide their employees with insurance that covers birth control, what sorts of invasive medical exams women have to undergo if seeking to terminate a pregnancy, in what cases a miscarriage can be considered murder, and if doctors should be allowed to withhold results from prenatal tests from mothers.
The debates on whether employers health plans should have to provide contraceptives with no copay to employees has been couched in terms of religious freedom. This is not an issue of religious freedom. In my world view, it is an issue of human rights. Every person in this country should have access to quality, affordable health care. And for women, that includes access to and choices for family planning care.
I CANNOT imagine my life without the access I have been fortunate to have to quality, affordable health care and contraceptives and I am sure many of you can't either. Whenever I hear statistics on the percentages of American women who use some form of contraceptive, I am all the more shocked at how many politicians continue to seek to limit our access to the methods of safe family planning that are essential to the lives of so many women (and men!) in our society. And I am outraged that laws continue to be proposed that could interfere with the relationship I have with my doctor and my partner about my reproductive health.
I still don't know why so many men are in office who have regressive views on women's reproductive rights, but I do know that we have the power to do something about it. One hundred years ago women couldn't vote in this country. Today, women are so involved in public affairs that millions more vote than men. So let's vote for candidates who believe women have rights to quality, affordable health care that includes CHOICES for reproductive health and family planning.