Having a job with health insurance is becoming a luxury these days! If you have a job you like, maybe even enjoy, you are even more lucky. The conversation in the news this week has been about religious institutions who provide health insurance to their employees, and their challenge to maintain their organizational priorities of not supporting the use of contraception, and their responsibility to provide appropriate coverage to employees which may or may NOT believe the same as they do.
As a matter of full disclosure, I am pro-woman, pro-choice and an advocate for equal pay for equal work. When I say pro-choice, that does not mean I am in any stretch of the imagination that I am pro abortion. In a perfect world, I wish that both men and women were able to have children, and understand the implications of having the joy and challenge of carrying and caring for a child within your body then delivering said child into the world through what previously was a very small exit location. In addition, I wish that men were able to feel the violence of an unwanted sex act that results in fear and other negative emotions along with the dread that the experience will continue through a possible pregnancy and birth of a child as a constant reminder of the horror of that event. We live in a sometimes ugly world, and much of the ugliness is experienced more by women than men.
Back to the issue of contraception! Women choose to use contraception for a multitude of reasons. The greatest reason is to be responsible. The women I know who are of child-bearing age are choosing to use contraceptives because of the following reasons;
1. have chosen NOT to have ANY children
2. have chosen to have children when they (both parties in relationship) are ready
3. have chosen to have children when they are financially prepared
4. have health issues that require special attention during pregnancy and are waiting
5. not in a serious relationship
These women are of various backgrounds, economic situations, and religious persuasions. For those who are Catholic and Christian especially, it is at least partially BECAUSE of their religious convictions that they have chosen to use contraceptives, believing that they want to be responsible when bringing a new life into the world.
No matter where the public dialogue continues on this issue, contraception is a very personal issue. It is a right of women to make a choice for their own bodies, their own health, and between them, their partner and their god. If a woman has to choose between a job she may love, with health insurance that should provide her coverage without discrimination, or being forced to receive care and treatment outside of the health insurance provided, or forced to have a child when she is not ready, financially able or prepared to do so, there is a flaw in the system. This should not be an issue. Shame on those who are shifting the focus of this issue from women’s equal access to health care to a ridiculous “cry wolf” situation over religious freedom.