While Andy Hammond continues his enlightened viewpoint that women who want birth control are nothing more than promiscuous miscreants who want the federal government to subsidize their totally unnecessary sexuality, people in the reality-based community are measuring the impact of conservative social policy on the health of women, and the results are deeply troubling.
Now if this were just Andy, it probably wouldn’t matter. In Montana, unfortunately, we are seeing the ideology translate into policy. In recent months
- Broadus pharmacist John Lane has announced his intention to “save humanity” by denying access to birth control;
- Snyder Drug in Great Falls has announced plans to stop filling birth control prescriptions for “moral and business” reasons;
- College students faced enormous increases in the cost of contraception;
- Representative Rehberg voted to deny federal funding for family planning services for hundreds of thousands of low-income Americans.
What happens when a nation, dominated by a conservative orthodoxy about sexuality, restricts access to safe contraception? The very abortions conservatives decry. Increased teenage birth rate. Increased infant mortality. Health complications for women. The social burden of unwanted children. Financial instability.
When the United States lags behind Croatia and Cuba in terms of the safety of pregnancy and childbirth, it doesn’t take much of a social scientist to realize that we need to do more, not less, to ensure safe, affordable access to family planning in the United States.
Despite the tone of Andy’s posts, access to family planning is not a joke. It’s a serious subject with repercussions for real people and society as a whole. Andy and social conservatives may be “astounded” that people believe affordable access to health care should exist for everyone, but isn’t it more astounding that we would tolerate denying access to family planning to satisfy a minority, conservative opinion?