Who Cares?

Dawna Cornelissen

Since issues and concerns that are important to unmarried women are often marginalized by legislators, it is no surprise that Congress recessed last month without fixing the birth control crisis.

Sometimes I wonder: Do any of my elected officials really care what I think? Sure, I can write or call, but every time I write or call, I hear about his/her conservative values and that he/she does "not support the use of abortion." One of the most frustrating feelings is knowing that the politicians who are supposed to represent me disagree with almost everything I believe.

This could be why unmarried women are not voting in numbers as high as their married counterparts – the issues and concerns that are important to them are marginalized in legislative priorities. Although altogether women vote in higher numbers than men, unmarried women are still underrepresented in voter turnout and seem to be a low priority for campaigning politicians. One reason could be that unmarried women make less money than married couples (assuming two incomes are greater than one) and so are not targeted by politicians because they are seen as unlikely donors.

Enter the birth control crisis. Since issues and concerns that are important to unmarried women are often marginalized by legislators, it is no surprise that Congress recessed last month without fixing the birth control crisis. That's not to say that some legislators did not give fixing the problem a good, honest try – for example Obama (D-IL), Crowley (D-NY) and Lowey (D-NY), who introduced the Prevention Through Affordable Access bill. But in the end, the simple fix that would have corrected the problem got lost somewhere in the goal of passing the omnibus spending bill without a veto threat from President Bush.

So, what happens now to the millions of unmarried, underrepresented women affected by this birth control crisis? Until Congress reconvenes on January 15, there is not much that can be done – even then, who knows how long it will be until a fix is passed. So, some of us will continue paying triple what we paid last year for birth control, while others will buy condoms and cross their fingers. Let's hope that all of us will register to vote and vow to vote for the candidates who listen to us and value what we have to say.

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