Bye-Bye, Birth Control? Our Reproductive Rights Are in Serious Jeopardy

by Diana Denza


Last night, Tea Party-pandering Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock claimed that pregnancies resulting from rape are “something God intended to happen.” His words come on the heels of a host of incendiary rape comments by members of the GOP –none of whom have a vagina, may I add.

But abortion isn’t the only right at stake this election season. According to a recent report by the National Women’s Law Center, pharmacists in more than 24 states have already denied women access to birth control and emergency contraception due to their personal religious beliefs. Moreover, these pharmacists often decline requests for referrals or prescription transfers.   

As This Is Personal campaign spokesperson Gretchen Borchelt points out, another pharmacy isn’t always just waiting down the road.

“One woman I know had to drive 45 miles to get her prescription filled at the pharmacy,” Borchelt told us. “It was a weekend and by the time she was refused, it was late and there wasn’t another pharmacy for her to go to.  Other women might be limited by their insurance plan to a particular pharmacy or doctor, so their options to go elsewhere are limited.”

This disturbing trend has been sanctioned by a handful of states. Last month, an Illinois appeals court upheld a ruling that allows pharmacists to deny women contraceptives. And this was just one out of hundreds of cases where lawmakers have attempted to slash access to and funding for contraceptives.

“Legislators in states nationwide – and in Congress – are specifically waging a war on women’s access to birth control,” Borchelt explained. “In 2011, state lawmakers introduced over 700 restrictions on women’s reproductive health – and passed more than 100 restrictions on birth control and abortion nationwide. I’ll just give you two examples of what they’ve tried to do: opponents in Congress attempted to defund Planned Parenthood, ignoring the 2.2 million women who rely on Planned Parenthood for birth control. Of course, Planned Parenthood also provides other critical health services to women, including pregnancy testing, lifesaving cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, abortions, and education about reproductive health. And opponents in Congress and state legislatures attempted to put women’s decisions about birth control in the hands of their bosses, by allowing any employer with religious or moral objections to deny women insurance coverage of contraception.”    

This fight for control over women’s reproductive health decisions are occurring at every level. Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan has referred to the Obama administration’s contraception mandate as “an affront to religious liberty”, and has pledged to repeal it.

With our right to choose (whether that choice involves carrying a pregnancy to term or accessing affordable contraceptives) in serious jeopardy, the right wing–proclaimed “sluts” of the world must take a stand. One crucial way to do that is by voting on November 6, 2012. Stay up-to-date on matters affecting women by visiting the This Is Personal campaign’s website. Are you fired up yet?

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