For many years in the 1980s, I drove past a slum in the outskirts of Lima, Peru. I could see poor Indian women living in huts, carrying heavy bags and buckets of water and their babies on their back. A large number of children of all ages would follow them. These women had no access to contraception, no access to education. Having to take care of that many children only pushed them deeper into poverty. And just across town, the daughters of the wealthy Peruvians would drive their fancy cars to college, eventually marry, choose when to have their children, and then have their nannies, often descendants of Indian women, raise them.
What you know immediately is that you had a dysfunctional society with two large problems, income inequality (and therefore poverty) and women who had no access to health care options that could help them make decisions to improve their family lives.
One of these problems has yet to be solved in America, but the other, with the new health care law has now been solved. Access to contraceptives is going to soon be free for all women, poor or rich.
The video below shows Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke speaking out for women’s rights to free contraceptives, but only after being denied the right to testify in front of an all-male Republican committee. (Georgetown is a Catholic Jesuit institution that does not provide contraceptives to students through their health insurance plans)
Some people, however, don’t seem to be happy.
This past week, they have not only insulted this courageous, young woman for speaking out for the use of contraceptives, they are also using vulgarity and sexual innuendo to do so. The controversy has dominated the news in recent days.
But what about those jobs?
Don’t we have bigger fish to fry? Aren’t we just recovering from a terrible recession caused by the previous GOP administration? Aren't we all aware that the last ten or twenty years have worsened income inequality in this country, yet, we don’t want to talk about that?
Sure, the economy is improving somewhat and so is the job market. But it is a very slow improvement. More needs to be done. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be in the best interest of some to focus on the economy, the housing market, and the high unemployment.
Instead, they prefer to talk about contraceptives and insult and demean women who fight for women’s rights.
In fact, all the current misguided controversies have been started by the political opposition. It is an old GOP tactic to manufacture new problems to divert attention from the real problems that they don't know how to or don't care to solve. Because talking about the economy does not help them win the November elections. For the GOP, it is all about motivating their supporters to go out and vote and help them win the elections. The economy? The job market?
It does not seem to matter.