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3 Reasons the Government Shutdown Is a Women's Issue

Posted: 10/02/2013 4:41 pm

Hood Feminism points out who is most-likely affected by the government shutdown.

Women.

First, it comes to a matter of nutrition and survival. Nine million mothers and children who receive benefits under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) will be left without in the onset of the shutdown. Hood Feminism writes, "The 53% of American infants and 25% of expectant mothers currently covered by the program will stop receiving clinical care and food benefits in the next week or so, unless the states can pony up. (SPOILER ALERT: Most of them can't.)"

Secondly, and this is a secondary issue, but part of the problem the GOP has with Obamacare is contraception. The current state of Obamacare mandates employer-provided health care plans offer coverage for prescription contraception with no co-pay. The GOP is insisting that a "conscience clause" be slipped in so that employers could deny health care services if employers find morally or religiously objectionable. Yes. This is real.

Right now, I pay $15 a month for my birth control, which comes to $180 a year. When I was on Mirena, it cost me $500 for insertion, and then another $75 to get it taken out. Birth control is still an enormous cost in this country, even when it's covered. We need a contraception intervention! Teen pregnancy rates are on the decline. Contraception prevents unwanted pregnancies. This, in turn, prevents abortion. While $15 dollars a month is nothing to me -- it's my latte budget, it's the cost of a Rainbow Loom kit -- for women whose wallets are already tight, this is an exhausting cost.

3. Lastly, according to Slate, there are a number of government-funded programs that overwhelmingly support women. These include Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), a program mostly used by single mothers. Slate says "states will cover the shortfall when the federal government stops paying out." At least 20 Head Start programs are expected to be hit right away. No news flash is needed to relay that most women run American households (the actual number is 83 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Those same women are in charge of their children's schedules. If Head Start isn't operating, then the children's schedules will change, leaving mothers to either find alternative child care, or skip work.

The government shutdown might not have impacted you directly yet, but it will affect all of us --especially women -- eventually.

 

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