Letter to the editor: Young Texans in supporting Access to Birth Control
How important is it to you that Texas women have access to family planning and birth control, regardless of their income? Is it extremely important, very important, just a little important or not important at all?
This is a question that was asked in a recent statewide poll conducted by a pair of Democratic and Republican-leaning pollsters for the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund. The TFN Education Fund is an Austin-based grassroots organization that does research and civic engagement in support of religious freedom, civil liberties and strong public schools. You can read the poll at www.tfn.org/birthcontroltx.
According to the poll, 68 percent of registered voters in Texas support access to family planning and birth control for all women, regardless of their income. Support is especially strong among young people under the age of 30 — a whopping 84 percent say they support full access.
However, too many Texas lawmakers have taken to playing cupid when it comes to matters of love, birth control and family planning, which is downright stupid. They think they know what is best for Texas women and families, while most Texans — especially young people — disagree. Politically, this is a dicey position for politicians to take because our generation is becoming more civically engaged. Lawmakers are way out of step with our views.
When asked whether or not they support “teaching about contraception, such as condoms, birth control, along with abstinence, in high school education classes,” 93 percent of young people also said yes. 85 percent of young people said they support state funding for family planning services, including birth control, for low-income women. Support for both among all registered voters in Texas was also strong with 84 percent for comprehensive sex education and 73 percent for state funding for birth control.
During the last legislative session the governor and the state legislature slashed state funding for family planning and birth control programs by two-thirds, threatening access to those services for thousands of women in Texas.
According to the TFN Education Fund poll, young people support reversing the budget cuts to those services by 64 percent.
A large majority of young people also told pollsters for the Texas survey that they oppose allowing any employer to deny their employees health care coverage for certain services, including birth control and Plan B, because it violates the employer’s religious or moral beliefs. Like most Texans, they clearly think government and employers have no business interfering with the freedom of women to make decisions about their own health care and when or if to have children.
We’re fed up with far-right politicians’ “war on women” and now their “war of birth control.” Later this semester, we’ll be taking petitions we have collected to the Texas Legislature to let our lawmakers know what young people think. Will you add your voice? Consider joining the Texas Freedom Network Student Chapter at University of Houston today. Find us on Facebook and get involved.
— Ann Lynd, public relations junior and the Texas Freedom Network Student Chapter president