Over the last few weeks, a long-sleeping beast was awakened: the debate over access and the affordability of birth control, women’s health care, and abortion. Who should pay for it? Who shouldn’t? What is basic health care, and what is vanity medication? And consistently, the perception has remained that, by and large, men are the ones controlling the conversation. Which is partially true–a lot of non-uterus-having individuals are doing an awful lot of talking about an issue that directly relates to the uterus (like that all-male joke of a congressional panel)–but it’s also misleading, because a lot of women are taking part, too. You just may not know them by name, or realize the impact they have on you and your ovaries.
Here are 10 women who’ve played key roles in the debate over birth control, abortion, access, and women’s health in general. They come from both sides of the aisle, as well as in between. Some firmly believe that insuring contraceptives is unconstitutional, because it infringes on the religious freedom of those who don’t want to pay for it. Others believe that it’s discriminatory not to provide equal and affordable access, because birth control is an integral part of women’s health care. Whichever way you lean, these women are speaking and acting in ways that may impact your future–get familiar, because this conversation isn’t going away any time soon.
Did I leave anyone critical off the list? If so, please let me know in the comments. We want to know about all women involved in the conversation.