The July 20 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom included a segment on recent recommendations from the Institute of Medicine that listed eight categories of women's health care, including contraceptives, that should be classified as preventive services and therefore available under the health care reform law without co-pays or cost-sharing.
Not surprisingly, Fox's Heather Childers framed the story as being about whether the government should be involved in women's reproductive health.
But the segment took a particularly vicious and personal tone when Fox News contributor and vice president of Family-PAC Federal, Sandy Rios, attacked IOM recommendation supporter Dr. Cathleen London, calling her “a disgrace to our gender.”
Rios criticized London as “a true feminist who makes no sense” and continued to display her own anti-woman agenda by proposing to “let women stop having irresponsible sex. ... Let's stop making excuses and providing a way to get women out of trouble when they should be responsible in their behavior.”
Childers also jumped in agreed with Rios that it's “not too much to ask for everyone to stop having irresponsible sex.”
CHILDERS: Sandy, I'll give you the final word on this.
RIOS: Cheap little fee for birth control? We're $14 trillion in debt. Spoken like a true feminist who makes no sense. You are a disgrace to our gender. I don't understand feminism. It's wacky. It makes no sense.
LONDON: Oh, so let's just stay barefoot and pregnant and have no choice.
RIOS: We can't afford it. Women have to stop having irresponsible sex. That's not too much to ask.
LONDON: So we pay for Viagra but not birth control.
RIOS: So you -- we want to encourage them -- well, I'm not for that either. I'm totally against that, too.
CHILDERS: Yeah, not too much to ask for everyone to stop having irresponsible sex.
RIOS: Come on, we can't afford it. And it is -- let's be responsible women.
CHILDERS: OK, I have to --
RIOS: Let's stop making excuses and providing a way to get women out of trouble when they should be responsible in their behavior.
CHILDERS: Got to wrap it up there, got to wrap it up there.
LONDON: Yes, birth control is responsible.
CHILDERS: Thank you so much. And this is definitely a hot topic all over the country. And we appreciate your insight. Sandy Rios and Dr. London, thank you.
What Childers and Rios both don't seem to understand is London's point at the very end: The solution to “irresponsible sex” is contraception.
The IOM recommendation is based on the goal of preventing unintended pregnancies because of the health risk factors to women and babies. The way to prevent unintended pregnancies, without completely abstaining from sex, is to use contraception. And the as the IOM report indicates, research shows that "[t]he elimination of cost sharing for contraception therefore could greatly increase its use, including use of the more effective and longer-acting methods, especially among poor and low-income women most at risk for unintended pregnancy."
*This post has been updated for accuracy.