I have many reasons to care deeply about access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare. Firstly, as a woman and a mother I have been and continue to be affected by access to care personally. This has taken various forms, from insurance limiting what type, for how long, and even from whom, I could get birth control, to refusing to cover a routing prenatal ultrasound and generally causing me personal embarrassment and serious inconvenience at almost every step of the process.
Secondly, as an RN, and one who worked in women’s health care, both in a hospital labor and delivery setting and in the family planning department and maternal/child home visiting program of a public health department for many years, I have seen how important these issues are to so many women in my community. As a family planning nurse I became very familiar with the Oregon Contraceptive Care program. This has been an unbelievably helpful program for countless women in our state, improving access to contraceptive as well as other preventative health services such as pap smears and STI screenings. Programs like this must be expanded upon to reach more women.
As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Lack of preventative reproductive healthcare, whether it be access to contraceptives or to a pap smear, leads to very heavy financial, social and emotional costs for individuals and their families and for our society as a whole.