Quick Hit: Sandra Fluke speaks again

Speaking to Soledad O’Brien this morning, Sanda Fluke reiterated the fact that she won’t be silenced by slurs.

I wrote last week about the problem with talking about federal funding for contraception (and abortion) as something more controversial than private funding for those services. My aim was to bring attention to a dangerous slippery slope that kind of argumentation puts us on. Specifically, that making the distinction to make contraceptive coverage seems more palatable to folks who disagree (Oh, you don’t disagree with abortion/contraception? Don’t worry! YOUR tax money won’t go to support that!)  is a short-sighted women’s health strategy. And it’s short-sighted because it puts the question of tax-dollars and federal vs. private funding in play in a way that compromises our own key message: all women should have access to the full range of reproductive health care regardless of whether they are rich or poor.

Notably, in an op-ed she recently wrote about the experience she makes clear the public/private funding distinction and what it implies, writing:

“Most recently, certain political commentators have started spreading misinformation about the underlying government regulation we are discussing. To be clear, through programs such as Medicaid, the government already does and should fund contraception coverage for the poorest women in our country.

But, despite the misinformation being spread, the regulation under discussion has absolutely nothing to do with government funding: It is all about the insurance policies provided by private employers and universities that are financed by individual workers, students and their families — not taxpayers.

I am talking about women who, despite paying their own premiums, cannot obtain coverage of contraception on their private insurance, even when their employer or university contributes nothing to that insurance.”

I concur with this assessment. Medicaid does and should include contraceptive coverage. AND let’s push just one step closer to this argument’s logical conclusion – If women should have access to a full range of health care services, then Medicaid (and other federal health care programs like those that provide health care for military families) should also fund abortion coverage. In this moment, when there’s a spotlight on health care access disparities, we shouldn’t miss the opportunity to draw attention to that fact.


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