Geez. What a week it’s been for women’s health rights. The Susan B. Komen Foundation flip-flopped after the online outrage for defunding Planned Parenthood. (Over a million Planned Parenthood Tweets!) Now the Obama administration appears to be hedging on a decision to require all health plans, including Catholic universities and hospitals, to cover contraception.
As usual, our sports-minded ‘us vs. them’ or ‘Obama vs. Romney’ media mentality leaves little room for compromise. Both Komen and Obama are seeking to satisfy multiple audiences and deserve some congratulations for their reversals. Hedging and flip-flopping may be a sign of indecision, but it is not always a sign of weakness.
As much as I recognize and resent the sexism inherent in institutions refusing to prescribe birth control to women (when they prescribe other problematic, addictive drugs), I’m enough of an independent to believe that successful communities get to implement a few of their own beliefs. Since I teach at a Catholic Jesuit university, I know that students at my institution are at least provided with information about where they can receive birth control. (A Planned Parenthood is just across the street).
What is missing from this media debate is the fact that low-cost birth control options for women that reduce--rather than marginally increase--our chances for breast cancer don't exist. Is this really the twenty-first century? (Was Hillary Clinton almost the Democratic nominee for President?)
The Komen Foundation should direct some of their research dollars to discovering healthier reproductive solutions for women. Let’s find a low-cost birth control option that reduces abortion and destroys breast cancer! (Maybe then the Catholic Church will support it…)