Life is full of choices.
We choose whether to get up on time or hit the snooze button, whether to reach for a donut or a salad, whether to take that job or go back to school, whether to drive or to walk, whether to stay up late or go to bed early, whether to raise a family or not, and so on and so on. We are faced with so many choices in our daily lives that it is often hard to recognize the ones that confront us every so often that are much bigger than ourselves.
So let this serve as your wake-up call. The right you thought you had to determine the course of your own life? It’s under attack, and if you don’t stand up, you could lose it.
By now you’ve probably heard about the draft regulations being kicked around within the Department of Health and Human Services, the ones that say it is okay for doctors and nurses and other health professionals to refuse to give you your birth control. Many experts and policy-makers have written about this, expressing their outrage not only at the ridiculous, hypocritical nature of this attack, but also at how radically ridiculous it is to try and conflate contraception and abortion. Organizations, journalists, and Members of Congress have all eloquently spoken out against these regulations, and I have no desire to rehash what others have said so well.
Instead, I would like to point you to the bigger picture, the one that keeps me up at night.
For several years now, people have been talking about the "War on Contraception", that there is a growing movement within extremely conservative circles to not only overturn a woman’s right to choose abortion, but to take it even further and eliminate the right to contraception as well. These people believe that contraception is the root of all of society’s evils, and that we would all be better off if women stayed home and raised babies. "Barefoot and pregnant" is practically their rallying cry.
Yet many Americans, especially American women, do not realize that one of their most fundamental and cherished rights – the right to choose for themselves whether or when to have children – is under attack. Unfortunately, this war is very real, and the battlefield is expanding daily. The potential HHS regulations are just the latest salvo in the "War on Contraception", brought to you by our friends who hate abortion but want to limit access to common-sense measures like family planning, which reduces unintended pregnancy and thereby reduces the need for abortion.
What was won can always be lost, and right now the radical right is putting everything they have into making sure that we lose what is our unending, inalienable right as women – the right to choose our own destiny.
That which we take for granted is too often gone, erased from our lives by our own ignorance. We will cry that it was taken from us, stolen in the dark of night by thieves both radical and cunning. In truth, however, we will have only ourselves to blame, for we not only left the front door open, we left our rights in a box on the front porch and went to bed with dreams sustained by the certainty that the box would still be full in the morning.
We must do better.
We must do more.
Each and every one of us must make our voices heard, or else live with the knowledge that we gave our rights away. We must shout from the rooftops that we will protect our rights and that we expect our elected leaders to do the same. We must choose to stand up and be counted, for it is the most important choice we will ever make.
What can you do to make your voice heard? Send a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Leavitt now.
- An Outrageous Attempt by the Bush Administration to Undermine Women’s Rights, Sen. Hillary Clinton
- HHS Moves to Define Contraception as Abortion, Cristina Page
- Proposed Regs Only Latest Attempt to Redefine Abortion, Amie Newman
- Will McCain Also Define Contraception as Abortion?, Nancy Keenan
- Tell Secretary Leavitt to Block New HHS Regulations on Contraception, Mary Jane Gallagher