By Hannah Sherman, JWI Intern
With the plethora of reality T.V. shows nowadays, from Teen Mom to I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant, you would never know that 98% of US women have at some time in their lives used birth control. In our post-feminist society, where it is commonplace to see birth control ads on television (I know you get that Nuvaring jingle stuck in your head every time), I would think that the stigma has been removed, and that it is the recognized right of every woman to control her reproductive life and health.
Several weeks ago, the Obama Administration proclaimed that most health insurance plans must cover contraceptives for women free of charge, rejecting an exemption sought by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for insurance provided to employees of religiously-affiliated hospitals, colleges and charities. Citing religious freedom, the Bishops argued that they should not need to provide basic women’s health needs such as birth control, goes against their religious principles, to their employees.
But many sexually active women of child-bearing age do not wish to become pregnant; in using birth control, they are taking control of their own lives and bodies, making a responsible reproductive decision. Furthermore, to many women, birth control is much more than a contraceptive, and is used in the treatment of other problems such as menstrual disorders.
JWI applauds the Obama Administration’s decision. We believe that access to reproductive health information and services builds a foundation for healthier families and communities, reduces maternal and infant mortality and improves the health of women and their families. We are strongly committed to reproductive choice and we believe women deserve the right to make private health decisions according to the dictates of their own faith and conscience, not according to legislation and public policies.
Sadly, anti-contraception activists are not backing down. So far, they have launched a multi-million dollar campaign and have collected 20,000 signatures on a petition on the White House’s “We the People” website calling on the Administration to repeal its new birth control coverage policy. The White House will respond to every petition that collects 25,000 signatures – our opponents are close to reaching this number.
We need your help today. Counter these damaging efforts by signing a petition generated by pro-choice women’s groups expressing your support for every woman’s right to no-cost birth control.
Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.