Women's birth control: No place to play politics

Posted: October 24, 2012

AS I HANDED my credit card to the pharmacist, I couldn't tear my eyes away from the red letters from the cash register:

$49.99 for a month of birth control pills.

Sure, I could afford it. But weren't there other things I could be putting my money toward? The school year had just begun and I had yet to purchase my textbooks for the upcoming semester. "Oh, well," I reasoned to myself. "Birth control is an essential."

And then it struck me. If I, a middle-class student at an expensive private university, am struggling to rationalize my birth-control expense, what goes through the mind of women in less-than-ideal financial circumstances as they decide whether to sacrifice necessities or preventative-care services? Birth control is vital to a woman's health, and a lack of access to these essential services can - and has - resulted in dire outcomes. Half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended.

On Nov. 6, I'm voting to ensure that all women and girls receive access to health care, including reproductive health care. This past August, the Affordable Care Act ensured that certain women's preventative health-care services are available to insured women without co-pay, and I believe my vote can help reinforce the idea that politicians should not insert themselves into the birth-control decision-making process. That's why I'm working to make my voice and vote heard through the American Association of University Women's Action Fund's "It's My Vote: I Will Be Heard" campaign, a nonpartisan, get-out-the-vote campaign targeted at millennial women. By engaging and empowering millennial women, we can support an enormous generation of young women in establishing lifelong voting habits.

This year, women can make a difference. Our votes can help determine who runs our country and makes decisions about our bodies. So, vote! Apathy has a high cost.

Rebecca Rutenberg, 21, grew up in Haverford.

Grateful vs. gimme

Christine Flowers:

Your article entitled "What Malala Yousufzai could teach Sandra Fluke" was in the Racine, Wis., Journal Times newspaper yesterday on the editorial page.

I read every word and all I can say is: Bravo! You did a magnificent job telling this story, beginning with your friend who came to the U.S. from Pakistan many years ago. You truly related the story of a person coming here legally, why he chose to relocate and the benefits he derived.

And, yes, Sandra Fluke is the self-absorbed "gimme" person with the perpetual student attitude you so aptly described. I'm happy she's not been on TV lately . . . we are so weary of her selfish message. I started birth control in the mid-'70s and paid for each and every pill myself, grateful such a medication was available.

Thank you for your article. I plan to share it with my friends.

Judy Weisbrod

Flowers' column appeared in Friday's Daily News.

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