We're already gearing up for the 2008 election and some candidates have some rather antiquated views on birth control. That's right, the pill and other routine methods of contraception considered controversial -- at least if you're trying to gain the Republican nomination for president. Take a look at what some of the candidates are saying:
Unannounced candidate and former Sen. Fred Thompson at first denied he had been a lobbyist for the contraception advocacy group the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association. Until billing records materialized proving he worked for the group, he somehow had "no recollection of it."
Presidential hopeful Sen. Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, beefed up his anti-contraception resume by co-sponsoring a bill to de-fund the nation's largest contraception provider, Planned Parenthood, by excluding it from Title X family planning for the poor. Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain's campaign officials boast he has "consistently voted against taxpayer-funded contraception programs." And Mr. McCain reports that his adviser on sexual-health matters is Sen. Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, who leads campaigns claiming condoms are unsafe and opposing emergency contraception.
Another presidential candidate, Rep. Tom Tancredo, like Mr. Romney, has ventured far into the "contraception-is-abortion" territory. According to Mr. Tancredo, a Colorado Republican, emergency contraception "cheapens human life and simply uses a woman's body to dispose of the child instead of a doctor." By the same logic, so do the birth control pill, the contraceptive patch, the IUD, the NuvaRing, and the Depo-Provera shot - which, it's worth noting, together account for 40 percent of the birth control American women use.
These men want to eliminate your access to abortion; they don't believe women under the age of 18 are smart enough to take emergency contraception without a prescription; they tout abstinence-only sex ed, despite study after study after study proving it ineffective; and now they want to make it even more difficult to obtain effective, affordable birth control. Fortunately, there are some things we can do to prevent this nonsense:
1. Register to vote.
2. Keep yourself informed. As it gets closer to the actual election we're going to hear more and more from presidential hopefuls, not to mention candidates for other state and federal positions. Research anyone asking for your vote and use your vote to back the people who are committed to the things that matter to you.
3. Share your information. Encourage your friends and family to vote. Tell them who you like, what issues are important to you and why. This is something you can do even if you're not yet old enough to vote for yourself.
4. Actually vote. But don't let it stop on election day. Continue to keep tabs on your representatives and keep in touch with them, giving your input as they're asked to actually represent you.
We might have to listen gibberish like the above but we certainly don't have to put those people in positions of power.