Amid all of the hustle and bustle in Washington D.C. this week in regards to the national debt, another change occurred that is in some ways equally exciting and monumental - this time in regards to womens' health, one of our favorite topics!
On Monday,, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that insurers will be required to cover contraception and other fundamental services, without any additional cost-sharing (aka co-pays, which can add up to hundreds of dollars even for the best-insured patient). This will enable women around the country to receive services such as "well-woman visits; screening for gestational diabetes; human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing for women 30 years and older; sexually-transmitted infection counseling; human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening and counseling; FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling; breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling; and domestic violence screening and counseling."
Needless to say, this is fantastic news, folks! This is a huge step forward; I can hardly believe it that the government is (finally) endorsing family planning and recognizing the link between providing safe, available contraception, counseling, and testing and having healthy, happy human beings. Shocking, I know! Over here in Ohio, I'm doing a little dance in a pile of birth control pills!
Naturally, our friends at FOX News were shocked by this giant step forward, and they wasted little time before reminding us as to the depths of their hatred and intolerance. Family PAC Federal Vice President Sandy Rios was on the air yesterday, spewing all sorts of ridiculous assertions, made all the more offensive by the fact that they came from a woman.
Rios is outraged that, at a time of great national debt, "we're now going to cover birth control, breast pumps, counseling for abuse? Are we going to do manicures and pedicures as well?"
Yes, Sandy, because counseling for abuse - you know, when one person in a relationship physically or emotionally harms another and sometimes people die - is totally the same as sitting in a salon as my feet get scrubbed with pumice stone before I select the season's trendiest color with which to paint my toenails with. It's absolutely outrageous that the government should think to protect and counsel survivors of abuse. Outrageous.
Ms. Rios also claims that "uncontrolled sexual behavior is what is harming our girls, not our lack of birth control - which by the way they don't seem interested in taking anyway."
Funny, because I am pretty sure that over 15 million women in this country take birth control. Not to mention that that was an unnecessary snide afterthought of a comment.
I'm not sure of her logic through the rest of her diatribe, honestly, where she links the availability of contraception to promiscuity, that somehow if birth control is available those slutty, slutty young women will have multiple sexual partners (but no unwanted pregnancies!) rather than unprotected sex with one partner. She says that "having a baby is not the worst thing" - apparently the moral weight of having slept around is far, far worse than the lifelong commitment to a child that you can't afford to raise. Uh-huh.
This woman's crazy train proceeds to go down the rails, as she mentions a country I wasn't aware still existed called Red China, where womens' health is strictly regulated (wait - more regulated? I thought we were worried about spending on womens' health when we're $14 trillion in debt):
“In Red China, they have this down to a science. The local health care centers make women come in every month to be examined to see if they’ve had their cycle to make sure they are taking their medication and if they have a baby they are roundly punished, if they have an extra baby that baby is aborted. That is the control we’re moving toward.”
I'm sorry, but I don't even have words for this. It's especially confusing that a leader of the Family PAC is, for whatever reason, so vehemently against government support of safe, educational womens' services that somehow she advocates abortion. Do you see this right there?? I saw it. Let's look again: ". . . if they have an extra baby, that baby is aborted. That is the control we're moving toward."
You can watch the whole shenanigans - rewatching the craziest parts - right here:
Luckily, her comments have not created much buzz, and even if they have - the HHS's recommendation still stands. I, for one, am breathing out a sigh of relief that finally something good happened in this neverending battle, and that our opponents are having a harder time finding footing for their fruitless, offensive accusations.