Finding Common Ground

(This blog entry was originally posted on the Florida Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates website. )

On Saturday, June 6th, anti-choice extremists across the country
gathered around doctors’ offices, health centers, pharmacies and public
spaces to protest something that most American women have used or will
use at some point in their life, and a majority of Americans strongly
support: birth control. This protest against the use of birth control
pills and other birth control methods was dubbed by its organizers
“Protest the Pill Day ’09.” This protest represents a perfect example
of how far outside of the mainstream the views of anti-choice groups
can be, and how unwilling many in this movement are to find common
ground around prevention and common sense measures to reduce the need
for abortion.

A national protest against birth control is extreme. The image of a
modern woman in 2009 being harassed on her way into her local pharmacy
to pick up a mainstream prescription medication is haunting to say the
least. Birth control, after all, is recognized as basic health care and
birth control methods have been used for thousands of years in order to
prevent pregnancy.

It goes without saying that women should be able to receive quality
health care without fear of violence, harassment, or intimidation. But
on Saturday, June 6th, women seeking birth control were accosted by
anti-choice extremists trying to scare them with misinformation and
hateful taunts. Here we see their real agenda made clear. Using scare
tactics and misinformation campaigns, these extremists are fighting to
keep women and men from taking charge of their own lives. After the
senseless murder of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas, we must recognize the
danger of this sort of irresponsible rhetoric.

Most importantly, we know that the tried-and-true tactics from the
anti-choice movement of harassing, misleading and intimidating women do
nothing to prevent unintended pregnancies or reduce the need for
abortion.  There are a variety of safe and effective birth control methods available
that allow for women and couples to plan strong, healthy families.It is
by increasing the availability of birth control that we can help women
and couples prevent unintended pregnancy and the need for abortion.
This is why Planned Parenthood has put such a strong focus on ensuring
access to contraception and quality reproductive health care.

The overwhelming majority of Planned Parenthood services are focused
on prevention and no other organization does more to prevent unintended
pregnancies than Planned Parenthood.   So, if these extremists are
truly concerned with the well-being and health of women and families,
they should work in conjunction with Planned Parenthood to increase
access to birth control and comprehensive sex education.

As President Barack Obama stated in his commencement address at Notre
Dame last month: “when we open our hearts and our minds to those who
may not think like we do or believe what we do – that’s when we
discover at least the possibility of common ground.” Putting
ideological differences aside and finding common ground is an important
first step. The need for prevention should be something that we can all
agree on.

The demand for health care is urgent and the value of prevention, a
cornerstone of Planned Parenthood services, is self-evident. What can
you do today? Stand with us in support of health care reform.

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  • brady-swenson

    Amanda, for sharing this post here. You make a very good case for finding common ground on prevention, especially via birth control. Agreeing to improve easy and affordable access to safe methods of birth control seem, to me, to be the area most ripe for agreement in search for common ground. We just launched a new section of the site today, On Common Ground, in an effort to explore the possibility of common ground.

    Thanks again…