Stephanie Pearce: My perspective on the birth control debate
I have been doing a lot of thinking about the Colorado U.S. Senate race between Mark Udall and Cory Gardner. I actually have been getting extremely angry about it, to be honest. To me, the issues they are running on don’t even compare. I am a woman in Colorado who owns a ranch and works at a coal mine and somehow my livelihood seems more important than making sure my employer helps me to not make a life.
I keep hearing pro-Mark Udall ads about women’s rights in Colorado. They boast about how he thinks employers should stay out of personal health care decisions. They brag about how he will stand up for women and women’s rights and write legislation to keep corporations out of our private health care decisions. He cites the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision on his website and explains why Congress must pass the Not My Boss’s Business Act.
This intrigued me to do some research of my own. In my research, I understood that the Hobby Lobby decision did not take away access to birth control. It limited what the insurance would pay for as anything eliminating pregnancy after conception, such as the morning-after pill and any IUDs. There are so many forms of birth control still available through the insurance with this decision. But even if it didn’t pay for birth control pills, most birth control pills cost $20 to $50 per month when not covered by insurance. When covered by insurance, they range from $0 to $30. So with insurance, you could spend $0 to $360 per year, a savings of $240 to $600 per year.
Now, let’s put this into perspective. With the government putting more and more pressure on agriculture and energy businesses with regulations from sage grouse to renewable energy, every form of income I have is under attack. So, if I don’t have a job or if my community falls apart because our biggest economic contributors are closed down or even stalled to the point that they have to drastically reduce workforce, I won’t have to worry about having an employer to provide my birth control. This would be a loss of $40,000 to $200,000 per year for several people who could lose their job instead of the $240 to $600 per year savings for birth control. (I know some will say I am simplifying the women’s rights stance, but it’s my opinion that the big picture still doesn’t compare the livelihood of so many being stripped away.)
The coal mines are where I receive most of my income and help me keep my ranch and support my family. Coal mines and the power plants are where a majority of the people in our community are employed. We are fighting for our livelihoods when we vote.
To me, it’s a no-brainer. How can you complain that insurance doesn’t pay for birth control when you may not have a job to even supply the insurance? I would much rather obtain economic stability than have someone pay $50 per month for my birth control.
I am a woman in Colorado. I think that if my family doesn’t have an income or if my community is decimated due to the government controlling and eliminating almost every economic contributor, I will lose more than if my employer makes me buy my own birth control out of pocket.