Talking to students about the upcoming election over the past couple of weeks has been exhilarating. Most students I talk to are fired up and ready to vote, but there is the occasional student who believes this election is not about them. I’m sorry, but they’re wrong. There is one issue that has me personally irate. It’s a major issue that would affect the way all sorts of hook-ups would go down on campus: Access to birth control.
If you are a woman who relies on birth control, or a guy with a girlfriend who does, I’m here to tell you this election is all about you, and Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker is not on your side.
Imagine walking into a pharmacy to fill a birth control prescription that you’ve been filling regularly for months; it’s become routine. Now imagine getting to the pharmacy counter only to have the pharmacist tell you, “I’m sorry, I refuse to fill that prescription for you because I don’t believe in birth control.”
Not only would that situation be mildly awkward, but more importantly, that pharmacist would be denying women their basic right to plan for their own future. Plus, women are prescribed birth control for a number of reasons. It is not up to the pharmacist to decide what is best for each woman’s individual health. Currently in Wisconsin, this kind of denial of rights is illegal, but if Wisconsin elects Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker, guaranteed access to birth control could be a thing of the past.
While in the state Legislature, Scott Walker supported a bill that made it OK for any pharmacist to deny a woman access to birth control. We live in Madison, a city famed for its progressivism, and a city with more than one pharmacy. If I walk into Walgreens here and Joe Pharmacist decides for whatever reason I shouldn’t have my birth control, I can always walk to the next Walgreens, CVS or even our local Planned Parenthood chapter.
But think about a woman living in a small town in northern Wisconsin, where the only pharmacist in a 30-mile radius happens to believe unmarried women shouldn’t be having sex and therefore should not have access to birth control. Giving that pharmacist the right to deny that woman her right to plan her family and prevent an unwanted pregnancy is just ludicrous, yet Scott Walker supports it. Birth control is just one example of how Scott Walker’s policies are too extreme for Wisconsin.
Fortunately, we have a candidate in the race who supports women’s issues like guaranteed access to birth control, and that candidate is Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Not only has he supported women’s reproductive rights throughout his career, but as a result of his progressive policies, Milwaukee has also seen a decrease in sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancies.
Birth control is a basic right for all women, and Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker wants to take that right away. Mayor Tom Barrett does not. All of us have a stake in this election and we have the power to decide its outcome. Will we have access to birth control after Nov. 2? It’s your choice. Get passionate! Vote Nov. 2!
Sondra Milkie (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a volunteer coordinator with the College Democrats of Madison.