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Deborah Stambler Headshot

Birth Control and Reproduction --The Only Women's Issues?

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The Republican primary in South Carolina is less than a week away. News about the primary, the candidates and their prospects of cinching the candidacy are coming at us at a fast and furious rate. I keep listening and reading to hear the candidates' positions on women's issues. It's not that I'll be voting Republican, but I am trying to figure out which of these guys is the least scary.

And did you know that the only issues affecting women these days are abortion and birth control? To hear the Republican candidates talk about "women's issues," you would think that's it. Nobody's talking much, if at all, about daycare, balancing work and family needs, food, education, jobs, pay equality, violence against women, maternity leave, misrepresentation in the media and whatever else you can think of that impacts women's daily lives. Actually, you don't need to think about it. The candidates have boiled women's existence down to their ability to bear children.

The consensus from the Republican candidates seems to be that women should bear children regardless of their economic situation, health and whether they conceived after being raped or molested.

Birth control methods like IUDs and some versions of The Pill are also under attack because they prevent the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.

Clearly, if one of these men gets elected we will have a fight on our hands over reproductive freedom. The last time NARAL Pro-Choice America called me for a donation, I made the donation and had a heartfelt conversation with the woman on the other end of the line about how tired I am of getting these calls and giving NARAL money. Don't misunderstand -- I fully intend to continue supporting NARAL and Planned Parenthood in every way that I can. But I'm tired of fighting for a woman's right to choose. I'm sickened by the rabid right wing rhetoric that shows over and over they don't really give a damn about what it takes to raise a child properly.

Having a baby needs to be a woman's choice always and forever. Being a mother has been one of the biggest and best gifts of my life, but it's also requires more wherewithal, resources and constant thought and action than anything I've ever experienced. It's not a thing to be taken lightly. Or legislated. If the Republicans are against big government, then why are they trying to legislate my family life?

Mitt, Newt, and the others -- you have the opportunity to open up the discussion and be truly supportive of the families and individuals that make up this country. Leymah Gbowee said in her book, "Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War" that if you help a woman, you help a family. Take that to the next level and if you help a family, you support an entire community. Ask women what they need, what they think. Don't reduce us to babymakers. We won't stand for it.


This article is a reprint from www.betweenparents.org.