Abortion rights demonstrators rally in Chicago's West Town neighborhood, Saturday, May 14, 2022. Demonstrators are rallying from coast to coast in the face of an anticipated Supreme Court decision that could overturn women’s right to an abortion. Credit: Pat Nabong

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I think that if the anti-abortion folks were really concerned about the unborn, then every woman in the U.S. of childbearing age would have unfettered access to effective, affordable contraception. That’s not the case though.  

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) required private health insurance plans to cover all 18 FDA-approved contraceptive methods. Yet some companies opted out of providing that coverage on religious grounds, and 12 states still have not expanded Medicaid under Obamacare, denying women in those states coverage. And Republicans, demonstrating their disdain for Obamacare and the health of citizens, led 70 unsuccessful attempts to repeal Obamacare.

In addition, Title X, part of the 1970 Public Health Services Act signed into law by President Richard Nixon and devoted solely to providing family planning services to low-income women, has been routinely underfunded. The  impetus for Title X was rooted in evidence that access to contraception, which allowed women to plan their families, helped to reduce poverty and to increase the health of women and children.  

So does access to birth control prevent unintended pregnancies? After Colorado invested in providing long-acting reversible contraception to low-income women in the state, unintended pregnancies fell by 27,000 each year. According to research in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “The elimination of cost-sharing for birth control was associated with more consistent contraceptive use and a decrease in birthrates among all income groups.”

So what’s this really about? Controlling women? Sentencing the next generation to poverty? Or just complete disregard for those needing support when costs are prohibitive?

Mary Ann Larson