House Republicans made a point of trying to gut one of the nation's most effective family planning programs last week, in addition to (once again) trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and broaden their crusade against reproductive rights. In its funding proposal for the 2016 fiscal year, the House Appropriations Committee proposed to eliminate Title X funding for programs that don't meet certain ideological (abstinence-only) standards, which could effectively shut down critical family planning and reproductive health services for nearly 5 million low-income Americans. Naturally, those nearly 5 million Americans -- and thousands of others who have benefited from access to contraception and other basic healthcare -- are pissed.
What the GOP doesn't seem to understand (in addition to simple math) is that birth control, in particular, affords women control not only over their bodies, but over their livelihood and their futures as well. It is a virtual necessity for economic freedom and social equality -- which is why many advocates are speaking out about the role contraception has played in their lives.
As part of an ad campaign launched by Planned Parenthood this week, which has already picked up traction on social media, women from around the country -- whether they consider themselves beneficiaries of Title X or not -- are sharing their stories of how birth control helped them, illustrating the shameful potential consequences of congressional attacks on reproductive rights.
"Birth control is transformative, essential and irreplaceable, yet over the past few years it has become increasingly politicized — and these political attacks are only heating up, with Congress debating proposals to eliminate all funding for the nation's family planning program," Eric Ferrero, Planned Parenthood's vice president of communications, said. "This campaign is about empowering people to share their own stories about the very real ways birth control has improved their lives to keep our country moving ever forward -- never backward -- on birth control."
Birth control helped me get a job writing blog posts like this one. Here are some of the other things it's done:
#BirthControlHelpedMe graduate from college and join the Peace corps.
— Heather Sayette (@pcpowergirl) June 23, 2015
#BirthControlHelpedMe decide for MYSELF how I want to live MY life
— Katherine Wright (@kathrnwight) June 22, 2015
#BirthControlHelpedMe helped me be the first person in my family to graduate from college & to have control over my body:
— Elizabeth Estrada (@thatswhatEEsaid) June 22, 2015
#BirthControlHelpedMe save money on reproductive care not just by preventing pregnancy, but by being a long-term method instead of daily.
— Tiny Manticore (@DameGreyWulf) June 20, 2015
#BirthControlHelpedMe manage my hypermenorrhea and will someday help me plan my family.
— Lauren Clark (@lecclark) June 19, 2015
In my early 20s I suffered from debilitating cramps, mood swings, sickness. It helped me function in normal life. #BirthControlHelpedMe
— aprilhauck (@aprilhauck) June 19, 2015
#BirthControlHelpedMe by assisting my body to return to normal patterns after I recovered from my eating disorder.
— misanthropic pixie (@jams_pixie) June 19, 2015
#BirthControlHelpedMe get rid of acne, a 5-day amazonian attack on my body, unpredictable periods, and lessened migraines...I could go on
— Krissy Bryde (@BrydeK18) June 18, 2015