Thursday, August 2, 2012

Did Women Win the War on Women?

After months of fighting over contraception, abortion, the right to call our parts by their anatomically correct names, several new provisions of the Affordable Care Act affecting women's health are now in effect. They include:
  • Contraception and Sterilization
  • Annual "Well-Woman" Visit
  • Diabetes Screening and Supplies for Pregnant women
  • Domestic Abuse Counseling
  • HPV Testing
  • Testing for STDs and HIV
All of these services are now free of charge under insurance plans. It makes me  believe that after months of fighting, the arguing was all for naught as women's health rights have not been eroded. Despite the push for Personhood to become a major ballot initiative in states across the country women's right to privacy, right to choose, and right to take birth control and control their sexuality and sexual health remains in tact. But is this victory a decisive win or a temporary taste of sexual freedom before being told to put our parts back in the cage of a chastity belt?  

I ask because this picture from Planned Parenthood is circulating Facebook. It highlights that not everyone, especially some male employers, are on board with giving women birth control just because we ask for it. In fact one company is already using the court system to make the denial of contraception more valid. This is in addition to the religious exemption granted by the Obama administration.

It still baffles me men can't get over themselves to see how this law helps them as well. I understand the consternation attached to the fact all tax payers will now pay for the basic health care of 50 percent of the population. What I don't understand is why men don't see how women's sexual health benefits their own expression of sexuality.

Just by creation women have a lot going on when it comes to sex. Making basic care free allows all women to become more healthy and keep men from being burned -- literally and figuratively -- by the wrong girl.

These provisions under the health care law I doubt will lead to more promiscuity or a higher rate of abortion. In fact I'd argue just the opposite will happen. Like what happens when sex ed is taught with the inclusion of common contraceptive measures instead of just abstinence. But this may work as well.

But as we've seen over the past few months common sense is lacking in these discussions and politicos and health activists both for and against women make impassioned pleas based on gut feeling and not always facts. While a good many in this country believe "ObamaCare" is bad, that many more believe it is good. The 2010 law is settled by the Supreme Court. Only an extreme stroke of luck will land Mitt Romney in the White House with a Congress totally controlled by Republicans that will give him the ability to repeal it.

Yes it is that same extreme stroke of luck that allowed the passage of the law in the first place. And yes history does often repeat itself; especially in politics. But I highly doubt it will happen with this Republican Presidential Candidate. I mean did you see the debacle that was his foreign tour?


These seven provisions may not be a decisive win for women (just look at what's going on in Arizona) but at the moment we're still on top riding our way to the day when our sexual health will be our choices alone and the expression of our sexuality and the result of it will be between us and those with whom we choose to share the experience.


1. Do you think the new provisions of the Affordable Care Act will end the so-called "War on Women?"
2. Is the erosion of women's sexual health rights still a frightening possibility going into the Presidential election.
3. What can women do to protect themselves, their bodies and their health in light of this perceived assault?
4. Do men benefit from the Affordable Care Act provisions?
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