RMC Responds: Prevention Over PoliticsPosted: April 18, 2014
This week, Facebook commenter Heather made a simple but important statement about prevention: “Birth control and family planning aren’t necessarily moral decisions. They’re medical decisions which people choose to overlay with moral constructs.” Heather’s comment is so significant because in today’s tense political environment, it is far too easy to loose sight of the real issues and forget how Americans actually feel about this important family issue.
In the aftermath of the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood hearings before the Supreme Court, it is easy to get caught up in the politicization of and moral discussions surrounding contraception. In reality, however, most people recognize the basic necessity of family planning, and that prevention is, after all, a personal family issue, not a political one. A recent survey published by the Pew Research Center reveals what Americans of all backgrounds actually think about birth control. The results of extensive polling show that only 7% of Americans think contraception is morally unacceptable. And among Republicans 92% do not think contraception is morally objectionable. The results are clear – Americans recognize that family planning is an important part of personal medical decision making. Over one-third of those surveyed don’t even think that birth control is a moral issue at all.
Conversations about contraception belong in the doctor’s office, not in the political arena. And extremists who oppose birth control on moral grounds make up only a tiny fraction of the American population. Far-right social extremists may be loud, but they clearly do not speak for most people. It surely is time to start putting prevention before politics and stop tolerating birth control being caught up in moral debates. Most Americans have made it clear that cost-saving preventive family planning is too important to politicize.