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Froma Harrop's op-ed column on women and birth control
PROVIDENCE, R.I.--Mitt Romney is running ads explaining that he does not object to birth control. But no one questions his stance that women should have, as the ads say, "access" to contraception. They already do. They also have access to Coach handbags and flights to Acapulco. And that's where the Romney smokescreen, intended to close a gender gap favoring Democrats, needs clearing.
Most women of childbearing age would consider birth control an essential part of their health care. But of the medical services employers must provide under the new health care law, Romney singles out birth control as one thing that should be optional.
Sure, most women can afford birth control. Women who lead disciplined lives would move heaven and earth to manage their fertility. From a practical standpoint, these women can be counted on to take care of business. To them, this exclusion in coverage
But they are not the concern. The concern is women scraping by. Some live paycheck to paycheck,
These are the women who may not dig into their empty or messy pockets for the $120 to $1,000 a year needed to buy contraception. Also, to obtain the pill, one must first visit a doctor and get a prescription. Organized women
Consider the low-income 24-year-old wanting to have sex with her boyfriend and not wanting to get pregnant. She knows where she can find birth control pills, but rather than spend a week's pay to get there, she rationalizes: "This the 'safe' part of my monthly cycle. I probably won't get pregnant, and so I'll take the risk."
Next thing you know, she's pregnant. She'll either have an abortion or join the growing armies of unmarried women who have babies out of wedlock.