The Election and Sexual/Reproductive Health Choices: Teens, Get Voting!

November 5, 2012
72 Views

Today I stumbled across this article written by Madeleine French in the UK Guardian, Oct 19th. It’s a great summary of what direction adolescent sexual health could go, depending on who wins Tuesday’s election. It’s pretty frightening. As a UK citizen living in the US, I can’t vote. I just WISH I could… Read on and get voting!

Today I stumbled across this article written by Madeleine French in the UK Guardian, Oct 19th. It’s a great summary of what direction adolescent sexual health could go, depending on who wins Tuesday’s election. It’s pretty frightening. As a UK citizen living in the US, I can’t vote. I just WISH I could… Read on and get voting!

Election

At some point this year, somewhere in the US, a teenage girl will decide she wants to have sex. She might not know when, or who with, but she has made that choice. Unfortunately for her, this is a turbulent and uncertain year to be making sexual and reproductive health choices in the US.

If a student, she might have been relieved when Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act passed in June, knowing she can access student health plans that provide free contraception. She may already be benefiting from the Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Initiative launched by Obama in 2010, which funds school sex education programmes that show evidence of success, those predominantly promoting contraception over abstinence.

But this is an election year and early in 2012 voters got an idea of what to expect from the Republicans’ presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, when he challenged contraceptive coverage included in the health reforms. Along with many Republicans, Romney supported an amendment that would exempt employers with moral objections from including contraception in employees’ health plans. Though the amendment failed, Romney promised to not only “undo” the contraceptive mandate but to repeal the entire act on his first day in office.

“They could starve it financially, cripple it even if they can’t repeal entirely,” explains Adam Sonfield, of the Guttmacher Institute, which specialises in sexual and reproductive health and rights. “There are lots of opportunities to do damage.”

Whatever the route, his point is clear: as president, Romney will do all he can to ensure federal money isn’t spent providing contraceptives.

 

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