If you're an American citizen, the Senate is talking about you. More specifically if you're a woman or a person in a sexual relationship with a woman you should be particularly interested in the recent contraception debate. The good news for everyone is the Blunt amendment (attached to to a highway funding bill) was shot down in the Senate yesterday, but only by a 51-48 vote - that's way too close (click here to find out how your senator voted). The Blunt amendment (named for Sen. Roy Blunt) was a ridiculous measure to try and create a massive loop hole in the health care plan President Obama has created. The Blunt amendment would have allowed for an employer to opt out of providing any health care measure they wished not to cover due to their "moral" objections, etc. More recently the debate has been about contraception and the "right" of religious employers not to provide women with something they don't personally agree with. Aside from this discriminatory problem, the amendment would have certainly led to several other issues regarding coverage. The Pence Bill has already made its impact on women's health by de-funding Planned Parenthood and other women's health providers. In fact, the clinic I used to go to shut down last August due to this.
Let's get real, contraception, such as birth control pills, isn't just about good sex. Sure, that's part of it and it should be! Sex has positive impacts on your health and is an enjoyable experience for everyone. Birth control helps couples plan their families and keeps individuals from having to put a hold on their career or drop out of school to care for a person that they're maybe not mentally or financially prepared to be able to give the best life possible. It takes a risk out of sex that allows for a more enjoyable experience, which improves our quality of life. This is nothing for anyone to be ashamed of and religious zealots are not going to decide whether or not I have access to birth control. For me, birth control is about regulating my hormones, preventing severe cramps that put me out of commission and, to be completely honest, preventing abortion, because I'm not going to have a child any time soon. This debate also hits home for me because my insurance recently expired and just today I had to request a new perscription that I can actually afford.
I recommend looking up any and all episodes of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report from the past two weeks, as they've been covering this topic very well. I'm grateful for their efforts to the cause of supporting women's health. To keep up to date about women's health issues and the politics surrounding it, you should also visit http://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/.
For those of you just finding out about the demise of the Blunt amendment I suggested having sex to celebrate! However, the battle for women's health and the rights of everyone is far from over. Expect similar attacks on contraception in the future, because they will keep coming back.