Here we go, another chapter in Cowshut’s liberal-bashing right-wing propaganda. He links to an article he found at the Daily Beast by political reporter Eleanor Clift about Hilary Clinton’s appearance at the Women in the World Summit in New York this past Saturday, and somehow twists it into anti-Obama rhetoric centering on birth control.
The Secretary of State talked about brave women she’s met in her life and the obstacles they faced; and about relationships she built with women all over the world. She talked about Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, and how women can make a difference in the world.
Clinton told the audience that she wondered “why extremists (like Cowshut and Limbaugh) are always focusing on women,” and how “they all want to somehow control the decisions we make about our own body.”
Cowshut attacks President Obama’s “birth control mandate.” What’s wrong with requiring private health plans to provide preventive services that include breast exams, HIV screening and contraception for free? This new policy will help millions of women get the affordable care they need.
Contraception was included as a required preventive service on the recommendation of the independent, nonprofit Institute of Medicine (part of the National Academy of Sciences) and other medical experts because it is essential to the health of women and families. Access to birth control is directly linked to declines in maternal and infant mortality, reduction in the risk of ovarian cancer, and linked to overall good health. Nationwide, 1.5 million women use contraceptives only as treatment for serious medical conditions. Most importantly, broadening access to birth control will help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions, a goal we should all have.
Proper planning through birth control results in healthier mothers and children, which benefits all of us. Some 99% of women in the U.S. who are or have been sexually active at some point in their lives have used birth control, including 98% of Catholic women, according to the Guttmacher Institute (a non-profit organization working to advance reproductive health). A recent survey by Hart Research shows 71% of American voters, including 77% of Catholic women voters, supported this provision broadening access to birth control.
Consistent with other federal policies, churches and other groups dedicated to teaching religious doctrine are exempted from providing this coverage under a “conscience clause.”
Those now attacking the new health-coverage requirement claim it is an assault on religious liberty, but the opposite is true. Religious freedom means that Catholic women who want to follow their church’s doctrine can do so, avoiding the use of contraception in any form. But the millions of American women who choose to use contraception should not be forced to follow religious doctrine, whether Catholic or non-Catholic.