Healthcare is one of the basic needs of all human beings however many people do not have access to quality healthcare. In the United States, people have access to quality albeit expensive healthcare. However; there is still a lot of debate around contraceptives. Should they be used? What are the moral implications of using them? But the most important question that needs to be answered is “Why birth control should be free and accessible to everyone?”
This debate is not as shallow as the notion presented by the slogan “My body my choice”. It is deeper than the desires of the people who do not wish to destroy their bodies due to childbirth. It is a matter of the mother’s health, a matter of the child’s future and a matter of the environment that child is going to be born into. Many families around the world cannot take care of children but due to misconceptions or religious beliefs around contraceptives, they are in a situation that could have been safely avoided through birth control. Raising a child is extremely expensive and many people are not prepared for it as their circumstances do not allow such a big change in their lives.
Contraceptives are not only much safer than abortions but also have health benefits as these reduce the risk of cancers which include ovarian, cervical and endometrial cancer. Some contraceptives also help in treating conditions like endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, and heavy menstrual bleeding. Unintended pregnancies can affect the health of the mother and child adversely because a mother may not be healthy enough for a pregnancy that may cause preterm birth of the baby and other related issues. It is usually the lower-income women that are affected by unintended pregnancies. In 2011, 45 percent of the pregnancies in the United States were unintended, many of which ended in abortions or adoptions. This amount of unintended pregnancies is why the Institute of Medicine (IOM) urged the government to make contraceptives free so that they are more accessible for everyone.
Contraceptives are a preventative measure that ensures that unplanned children do not suffer the consequences of their parents’ inability to provide for them. It is also not the question of giving power to women or any other government or religious agenda. It is a basic human right to have a choice to either bring a healthy child into this world or not. Unfortunately, a man can walk into the pharmacy and buy precaution products as he wants but a woman needs to get a prescription for it while she is the one most at risk. Contraceptives should be more accessible to women as over the counter product so they can avoid getting into a responsibility that they are not ready for.
Consider a very simple example; you are sitting in a class waiting for the teacher to give a lecture but your teacher walks in and says “Today is your final exam”, hands you the paper that none of you prepared for and all of you fail. This situation could have been prevented if the teacher had informed you beforehand about the exam. It is the same with birth control it prevents you from a situation you are not prepared for. So why is it that it is not as accessible easily? The answer is “unawareness”. People are not educated enough on this topic as it can be taboo for some for religious reasons and for others it can be a lack of education. Efforts should be made to raise awareness about contraceptives. Even though efforts are being made in making them more accessible, it is still far from being implemented but it is nonetheless a step in the right direction.