Friday, August 25, 2006

August 26th

Do not let August 26th pass unnoticed

In 1971, Untied States congress made August 26 “Women’s Equality Day.” It celebrates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Suffragists were not “given” the right to vote but rather won it. Their battle began back in 1848 with Susan B. Anthony and ended in 1920, after suffragists were wrongly imprisoned, beaten and tortured. We owe it to the memory of these brave women to never stop fighting for equality.

Consider women’s healthcare today. I had a harsh awakening as a 22-year-old woman when I realized my health insurance would gladly cover Viagra, but would not under ANY circumstances cover contraception in ANY plan they offered.

Money is the major barrier to contraception access. If a woman’s childbearing age is on average 15-44 and the average cost of contraception can run $360 a year – then you do the math. Women in my age group currently spend 68 percent MORE on health care than men because of reproductive health-related costs.

Where is our equality?

Meanwhile pharmacists are refusing to fill legal prescriptions for Plan B Emergency Contraception and birth control because they claim it conflicts with their moral beliefs. These are legal drugs that are vital to the basic health care of women. Restricting access is an outright act of gender discrimination and it can lead to unintended pregnancies.

Where is our equality?

Health insurers continue to ignore basic fact, that covering contraception saves them money! The average cost for one pregnancy is $10,000. One year of birth control just doesn’t compare.

Twenty-three states have issued laws that require full contraceptive equality. We could make it 50… if we don’t forget we have the right to equality.

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