Women's Reproductive Rights Under Attack

In a recent PolicyMic article, pundit Matty Carville correctly cites political reasons for the recent DHHS overruling of the FDA with respect to the availability of Plan B. Flying in the face of all scientific evidence, women must (still) provide a prescription (or drop $50 of their own money since insurance doesn’t cover pills without a prescription) and prove they are over the age of 17 to receive the morning after pill. The FDA has ruled the pill safe be sold over the counter.

While Carville is correct — this is a political ploy to pander to a more conservative element, to win Obama more votes in 2012 — it is a symptom of something more widespread and damaging.

As a nation, we and our political leaders have been leading a highly publicized war on preventative medicine in the field of sexual health. Everything from the availability of birth control and condoms, to the legality of abortion, to the use of Gardasil (the HPV vaccine), is de facto limited in its efficacy by both the negative press surrounding it and out-and-out attacks on its safety and morality. Reproductive rights and human, particularly female, sexuality are under attack.

In July, the Republican-run New Hampshire executive board voted to defund Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, rendering them unable to provide birth control and other contraception, and making the status of routine pelvic exams and STD screening and treatment rest on thin ice. Their reasoning? “I am opposed to abortion. I am opposed to providing condoms to someone. If you want to have a party, have a party, but don’t ask me to pay for it,” said Raymond Wieczorek about his council vote to defund PPNNE.

When Texas Governor Rick Perry suggested all young women in Texas be required to receive the three-stage HPV vaccine (kudos to Perry, by the way), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) countered, pandering to her own ultra-Conservative base, by citing unsupported claims of devastating side effects (despite the fact that both boys and girls can take it safely).

And then, of course, there is the right to choose: Billboards throughout the country try to shame and scare women out of this right, and anti-abortion activists spout unsupported claims that abortion causes mental illness and harass women outside clinics. Not to mention the anti-abortion pledge signed by several of the current GOP candidates, in which they “vow to appoint only anti-abortion personnel to “relevant administration posts” and “promise to advance pro-life legislation’ and end taxpayer funding of abortion and de-fund Planned Parenthood.”

These are only a few examples of how all-encompassing the war on preventative medicine in sexual health has become. By outlawing every safe and effective preventative measure, we are wasting money on later treatments and harming the physical and mental health of those who, with adequate preventative care, would not have needed care later on. Until we can understand and, more importantly, accept that preventative medicine will save more money and more lives in the long run, we will continue to fight these superficial political battles while we suffer.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Audrey Farber

After graduating from some prestigious university somewhere, I worked for academic research, social justice, and arts non-profits in the U.S., Israel, Jordan. I formerly ran a collective blogging project and contributed to Middle East-oriented discussions around the interwebs until I gave up on changing the world. I usually believe in complete social revolution and I make it a point to flout every social expectation I encounter. I do this by living in the Rocky Mountains (for realz) and complaining about tourists, enjoying waffles for dinner, putting easter egg links in my posts, and wishing I was way nerdier. I also like to think I'm the funniest person you've ever met, which may or may not be true. I've also driven across the country by myself more times than I'd care to admit.

MORE FROM

Will Justice Anthony Kennedy retire at end of Supreme Court term? Here's what we know.

Rumors that the 80-year-old swing justice may leave the bench are fueling fear of a second Trump pick on the nation's high court.

3 states and D.C. allow same flammable building materials behind Grenfell Tower fire

The causes of London's Grenfell Tower are similar to the justifications used to waive fire regulations in the U.S.

New Jersey bill would require kids to be taught how to interact with police

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade would receive the education.

UK Parliament hit with cyberattack

Members of Parliament had difficulty accessing their emails Saturday in the wake of the attack.

Istanbul LGBT pride march banned by government for safety concerns

A right-wing nationalist group has vowed to stop the protest.

Compounds seized by US in December reportedly contained material useful in Russia probe

The Trump administration has reportedly been considering returning the New York and Maryland compounds to Russia.

Will Justice Anthony Kennedy retire at end of Supreme Court term? Here's what we know.

Rumors that the 80-year-old swing justice may leave the bench are fueling fear of a second Trump pick on the nation's high court.

3 states and D.C. allow same flammable building materials behind Grenfell Tower fire

The causes of London's Grenfell Tower are similar to the justifications used to waive fire regulations in the U.S.

New Jersey bill would require kids to be taught how to interact with police

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade would receive the education.

UK Parliament hit with cyberattack

Members of Parliament had difficulty accessing their emails Saturday in the wake of the attack.

Istanbul LGBT pride march banned by government for safety concerns

A right-wing nationalist group has vowed to stop the protest.

Compounds seized by US in December reportedly contained material useful in Russia probe

The Trump administration has reportedly been considering returning the New York and Maryland compounds to Russia.