Lately the media has been in a tizzy over reports that the GOP might make access to birth control a priority to offset their support for protecting innocent life in womb. Note to the GOP: A principled defense of the least of these is ALWAYS necessary, and one of the problems that Republicans are having is their lack of clarity on the human rights issue of our day. But to get back to the issue at hand; Is there really some kind of “crisis” in the availability of The Pill?
Birth control can be a complicated topic. Putting aside religious objections and health objections to hormonal birth control for a moment, along with the fact that it does not protect against a pandemic of sexually transmitted disease, the issue is whether it’s really hard to get. After all, if it takes the entire GOP establishment to engage on behalf of contraception, surely there is a lack of accessibility.
Let’s do the math.
You don’t need to be an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB-GYN) to prescribe The Pill. (And in fact there are almost 69,000 active family practice medical doctors, according to American Association of Medical Colleges.) But for this thought experiment, consider the Bureau of Labor statistic assessment of how many places you can get to an OB for a prescription.
The BLS reports OBs in:
- 14,580 physician offices.
- 1,260 outpatient care centers.
- 4,980 general medical/surgical hospitals.
But no one is limited to traditional medical locations. For low-income individuals there are also Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) that right now number 17,890. Of courses we’ve all been told that women “need” Planned Parenthood for birth control, and there are nearly 600 of them, says the nation’s number one abortion vendor.
Add in the fact that you don’t need to go to any kind of office at all, because of telemedicine options. According to Zippia.com, 85 percent of Americans have smart phones, with the ability to get The Pill ordered by mail or to a local pharmacy.
“There are 44,900 pharmacy and drug store businesses in the U.S. as of 2023, an increase of 3.5 % from 2022,” reports IBIS World.
But if you get white coat syndrome, virtually or otherwise, and want to skip the stress of any consultation at all, you can. President Biden’s FDA just approved an over-the-counter version of The Pill, meaning that it’s as available as cold medicine.
And if we are talking about the money, consider that GoodRx reports a pack of pills can cost as little as $22 for the month, which really does compare to our fast-food temptations.
It’s a free country, and those who want to push The Pill, can do so. But if the real point is making other people pay in the name of “access,” just be honest about it. Because too often “access” means the taxpayer picks up the tab. And too often, the conscience rights of others, like the nuns of the Little Sisters of the Poor, have been trampled in a rush to solve a non-existent crisis.
If you can get a cup of coffee and a Big Mac, you can get The Pill. Please, GOP, solve a real problem.
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