As U.S. policy on health care shifts to more preventative care options so do public opinions about abortion and contraception. Is it a woman’s right to choose or should congress make the decision for her? As a response to an all male panel at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) said birth control “is not a male issue, it’s a female issue. I’ve never met a man that had the need for birth control.” In the Supreme court case, Employment Division v. Smith, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, “[i]t may fairly be said that leaving accommodation to the political process will place at a relative disadvantage those religious practices that are not widely engaged in.”
Throughout American history women’s issues have taken center stage during election years and have become a definitive mechanism for influencing independent voters. Last week, Santorum supporter Foster Friess, caused some controversy while mocking the issue of a woman’s right to choose and not be discriminated against in the process, he stated on MSNBC, “You know…back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.”
Some politicians on the Hill believe the new Obama Administration Health care policy disrupts religious fundamentals in effort to eliminate discriminatory application thereof. In a public speech this week, President Obama declared that no employee will be denied access to contraceptive coverage, and that no objecting religious employer will have to pay for that coverage, in his effort to finding the middle ground on the issue. Perhaps there should be no middle ground when it comes to how Americans plan for their future off-spring.
I as a woman of color believe that planned parenthood makes better parents, safer, and happier environments for children. Not to speak of the impact it could have on ethnic/racial group success and failure ratios. Black women are still the least likely group to choose an abortion. In the past, women weren’t able to choose what was best for them, which limited their civil rights and freedom. It’s a new day, contraception is a proactive step in preventing teenage pregnancy and school drop-outs especially in the Black and under-represented communities. Elected officials need to consider the interrelated variables prior to implementing public policy and legislation that hamper society and does not impact it for the better.
You decide, has congress overstepped its boundary on a women’s access to contraception or is this merely another exercise in political strategy to win votes?
Hannah A. Molette