GOP opposition to birth control is politics, period

After an election in which more than ...

Posted: Nov 9, 2018 6:15 PM
Updated: Nov 9, 2018 6:15 PM

After an election in which more than 100 women were elected to Congress, Nevada voters eliminated the state's "tampon tax," and according to some exit polls, two-thirds of those who voted in the midterms support Roe v. Wade, the American people have made one thing overwhelmingly clear: women deserve and are capable of being in positions of power, whether it's in Washington, DC or in their doctors' offices.

Yet two extreme anti-abortion measures passed in Alabama and West Virginia on Election day, both of which could criminalize certain forms of contraception and fertility treatment along with abortion care, if Roe v. Wade is ever struck down. And the day after the midterms, the Trump administration issued new rules allowing employers to deny contraceptive coverage, despite several pending lawsuits and two federal courts blocking them.

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This administration and the GOP are ignoring the overwhelming majority of Americans who want access to contraception, abortion, and other modern sexual health services and education. Reproductive freedom isn't controversial; the majority of voters support abortion and over 99% of women ages 15-44 who have had sexual intercourse have used at least one method of contraception, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

But here we are, in 2018, living in a country without mandatory paid family leave and the worst maternal mortality rate in the developed world, home to 15 million children living in poverty and paying mothers less than fathers and women without children. Yet the political party in power, touting "family values," is more focused on curtailing abortion rights, attacking access to birth control, and creating a cultural fissure where one simply does not exist.

According to the Pew Research Center, most Americans -- 72% of women and 62% of men -- believe employers should be required to provide birth control coverage in employee health insurance plans. Yet this administration has repeatedly attempted to repeal the birth control mandate initially set by President Barack Obama, first issuing a plan to "circumvent the mandate" a year ago.

Using pseudo-science and outright falsehoods to justify their continued attack on contraception coverage and access -- from claiming birth control doesn't really reduce unwanted pregnancies and leads to riskier sex, to inflating the so-called "harms" of birth control pills -- the Trump administration clearly aims to curtail reproductive freedom not because that's what the majority of Americans want, but because it appeases a religious base that helped elect President Donald Trump in the first place. Trump was previously pro-choice before running for president and becoming aware of the voting power of far-right evangelicals. "I'm very pro-choice," Trump said in 1999 during an appearance on "Meet The Press." "I am pro-choice in every respect."

Trump is now singing a different tune, and along with Vice President Mike Pence, has emboldened anti-choice politicians to introduce, and in some cases pass, an unprecedented amount of anti-abortion legislations -- most recently, the state constitutional amendments passed in West Virginia and Alabama. If Roe v. Wade falls as the result of Trump's appointed anti-choice judges, abortion will automatically become illegal in both states.

This political grandstanding has consequences, of course, and it will be young people, women, trans men and non-binary individuals, and particularly black people and other people of color who pay the price. Limited access to birth control will mean an increase in unwanted pregnancies and, in places where abortion access isn't severely restricted, an increase in the number of people who seek abortion services.

In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, teenagers who were given contraception were less likely to get pregnant or have abortions compared to those who did not. The teen birth rate dropped to an all-time low in 2017, and the rates of abortion also dropped to an historic low in the same year, all due to access to increased access to contraception and evidence-based, comprehensive sex education.

Experts say those who cannot terminate their unwanted pregnancies due to limited abortion access experience more anxiety, lower self-esteem, and less life satisfaction compared to women who obtain abortion services. Women who are denied abortions are more likely to live in poverty, and according to a 2018 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, women refused an abortion "were more likely than those who had an abortion to report not having enough money to cover basic living expenses."

According to a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, children who are born to women who were denied abortions are less likely to reach developmental milestones, more likely to live in poverty, and experience significantly less maternal bonding than the children of women who had abortions and were able to start their families when they were ready and willing.

Denying access to contraception and abortion services is bad for the mental, physical, and financial health of women and their families, but this administration and the GOP are willing to watch American citizens endure those consequences if it means placating their base and maintaining political power.

But we know that Democrats, Republicans, rich, poor, religious, atheist -- everyone has abortions, and everyone knows and loves someone who has had an abortion. Continuing to attack reproductive freedom by blocking abortion access and limiting access to contraception isn't the will of the people, but a priority on the agenda of a small few in positions of power who want to stir widespread anger and deny Americans access to medical care to hold onto that power.

In a country already facing so many great divides, we don't need our politicians sowing further division about contraception. We need them to protect our inalienable right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Because for so many of us, birth control and abortion are contained in the word liberty.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 482902

Reported Deaths: 9425
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33063488
Hinds31021589
DeSoto30610358
Jackson23687348
Rankin21340370
Lee14909220
Madison14166271
Jones13404227
Forrest13160240
Lauderdale11601305
Lowndes10443176
Lamar10214130
Pearl River9098221
Lafayette8241137
Hancock7514112
Washington7102150
Oktibbeha6964124
Monroe6514164
Neshoba6475201
Warren6464164
Pontotoc630393
Panola6250126
Marshall6126123
Bolivar6115144
Union574186
Pike5613136
Alcorn537290
Lincoln5303131
George471472
Scott459196
Leflore4476140
Prentiss446779
Tippah446480
Itawamba4444100
Adams4416116
Tate4394101
Simpson4335112
Wayne433066
Copiah431787
Yazoo423386
Covington415792
Sunflower4148104
Marion4099104
Leake397586
Coahoma3957100
Newton370875
Grenada3556104
Stone350860
Tishomingo336289
Attala325387
Jasper314162
Winston304691
Clay296473
Chickasaw287065
Clarke282190
Calhoun266141
Holmes262187
Smith250649
Yalobusha221047
Tallahatchie220450
Walthall211058
Greene209045
Lawrence206833
Perry199953
Amite198452
Webster196542
Noxubee178939
Montgomery172454
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162137
Tunica153334
Benton142535
Kemper138640
Choctaw127026
Claiborne126834
Humphreys126637
Franklin116728
Quitman103926
Wilkinson101936
Jefferson91333
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 787421

Reported Deaths: 14022
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1114521765
Mobile708161234
Madison49744633
Baldwin36201495
Shelby36186315
Tuscaloosa33818548
Montgomery33135678
Lee22590220
Calhoun21140410
Morgan19795335
Etowah19188462
Marshall17659274
Houston16788386
St. Clair15408305
Cullman14568258
Limestone14553188
Elmore14444264
Lauderdale13486281
Talladega12932236
DeKalb12174237
Walker10561330
Blount9693157
Autauga9652137
Jackson9363158
Coffee8847175
Dale8584173
Colbert8508184
Tallapoosa6661181
Escambia6585121
Covington6432167
Chilton6372144
Russell605355
Franklin5779101
Chambers5398134
Marion4789120
Dallas4694189
Clarke462279
Pike461597
Geneva4396117
Winston425295
Lawrence4112108
Bibb408581
Barbour346570
Marengo326285
Butler318190
Monroe318153
Randolph305256
Pickens304474
Henry301358
Hale292285
Cherokee289455
Fayette279073
Washington245248
Crenshaw237970
Cleburne235251
Clay228365
Macon219258
Lamar196243
Conecuh181846
Lowndes170758
Coosa169935
Wilcox159736
Bullock149243
Perry136437
Sumter124436
Greene121243
Choctaw73427
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