This is women's healthcare? :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

This is women's healthcare?

Maggie Lawson

Thanks to the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and Progress Now Colorado Education, a new ad campaign has been circulating the internet with the intention of educating the public about the perks of Obamacare as well as getting young people to sign up for the program.

These ads, found on the website, are based off of the “Got Milk?” campaign, targeting those healthy twenty-somethings whose minimal insurance claims will help offset the staggering costs of Obamacare.

One ad, titled “Let’s Get Physical,” focuses on Susie who is excited that her birth control is free and easy; now all she has to worry about is “getting him between the covers.”

Another ad, “Brosurance,” shows you how easy health insurance can be, even after the bad hangover from the kegger the night before. Obamacare has the backs of all the bros out there.

Even more bizarre is how a cardboard cut-out of actor Ryan Gosling is thrown into the mix, showing how Obamacare’s easy access to birth control now somehow makes you desirable to Ryan Gosling himself. After all, he's really looking forward to getting to know you (and your free birth control).

Quick to respond to the ad campaign was Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado. At first enraged by these ads, thinking they were sponsored by an “anti-Obamacare” group, Planned Parenthood considered the campaign an offensive response to the new healthcare iniative. Posting their concern on Twitter, they commented:

Unfortunate that anti-Obamacare folks are #slutshaming #women who use #birthcontrol.”

A few hours later, after realizing these questionable ads were actually in support of Obamacare, Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado went on to withdraw their previous comments. Instead of finding the ads offensive, as previously stated, they tweeted their approval, saying the campaign was actually encouraging women to be healthy. The confusion resulting from Planned Parenthood’s initial response is just one example of how ineffective and ridiculous this campaign really is.

These ads are presumably meant to be funny and entertaining, but they miss the target on more than one account. Not only do they belittle women’s healthcare by implying her most important concern is getting a man to sleep with her without the possibility of pregnancy; they also insult the foundation of healthcare while giving the general public a very negative idea of what their tax dollars are funding.

Most of the ads are concerned with being able to afford birth control and booze. Now that the taxpayers are footing the bill for one of those items through the Affordable Care Act, these clueless millennials can worry about more important things. However, is this really our generation's biggest concern for health? Not only do these ads project women as seeing free birth control (and cheap wine) as their highest priority, but they also speak condescendingly to women, making recreational sex a young woman’s main concern. Only one of the eleven ads in the campaign show a pregnant woman, but with the negative view that bringing a baby into the world is the most expensive burden a woman could sustain, which is why you would want Obamacare to be there for you.

These ads promote the idea that being able to have free birth control should be as easy as getting a man into bed; however, doesn’t this project women as only having as much worth as the price on her birth control?

Women should be insulted by this campaign because it presents her dignity as nothing more than her desire to get a man “between the sheets.” Men should be offended by these ads as well because they relegate him to a sexual object for a woman once she has access to free birth control.

Fulton J. Sheen offers a different option for men and women. Rather than using and abusing each other for the fulfillment of lustful impulses, he suggests that men and women should instead love each other selflessly and become worthy of that love through truth and goodness:

“When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the most devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.”

This challenges men to actually love women, and to become worthy of them, rather than viewing them as an object. It also encourages women to be the standard of dignity and virtue, something to be pursued and valued, rather than a symbol of lust and pleasure.

This campaign not only degrades women by suggesting that their worth revolves around attaining free birth control, but it also fundamentally disregards the importance of insurance to be nothing more than cleaning up after (or "preventing") a mistake from the night before. Instead of submitting to these degrading attitudes, it is important for men and women alike to stand up for the dignity and worth of each other.

Topics: Abortion , Contraception , Current Events , Women's Health

Maggie Lawson is a recent graduate of Ave Maria University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History with a minor in Theology. Maggie is a Colorado native, and is interested in writing about current issues, Catholicism, and politics.

View all articles by Maggie Lawson

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