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The Other 99 Percent: Will Obama Betray Them?

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Written by Carole Joffe for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the  original post.

See all our coverage of the Birth Control Mandate 2011 here.

There is another 99 percent group in our country, distinct from but inextricably entwined with the now more familiar #99Percent, those everyday Americans, who--in such a brilliant framing by the Occupy Wall Street movement--are to varying degrees affected by the vast economic inequality that characterizes American society. I refer to the 99 percent of American women who have ever had sexual intercourse and have used a birth control method at least some of the time.

Contraception obviously is a deeply held value by American women. But the fact that in the United States a startling half of all pregnancies are unintended makes clear that birth control is used only sporadically by some. There are a number of reasons why this is so, but a chief one is that so many women cannot afford contraception, especially the most expensive—and most effective--methods, such as birth control pills, and long lasting reversible contraception, for example, the newer (and far safer) models of IUDs (intrauterine devices).  In short, the same economic disparities that pervade every other area of American life manifest here as well: poor women depend on publicly-funded programs for their contraceptive services, but, according to the Guttmacher Institute, only a little more than half of the 17 million women who need these services currently receive them.

This situation of tremendous inadequacy was supposed to improve considerably.

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