“What’s your stance on birth control?”

That question was posed to me last night via Twitter from one of my followers. It was in reference to me railing against the GOP presidential candidates during Wednesday’s CNN debate in the no brown people wanted state of Arizona.

At first, I thought the question was rhetorical; that this follower, who is actually a college classmate, was just trying to start a conversation. He then said he wanted to get a woman’s opinion, so I chimed in my two cents.

I tweeted the following:

I believe women should have an option to control whether or not they want a child. Birth control pills are also prescribed for women who have severe menstrual cramps and heavy bleeding. Traditional birth control pills help alleviate those symptoms as well as aid in making a woman’s cycle regular.

Luckily, for my blood pressure’s sake, my friend didn’t even contend my points. He merely replied with “understood.”

My friend’s question got me thinking: why aren’t the opinions of women when it comes to our reproductive health ever sought out by male politicians? Why do politicians seek out the experts on every other subject, whether they are scholars, journalists or lay folks who live and breathe a particular subject, but refuse to do so when it comes to birth control and women’s reproductive health?

When Rep. Tom Price of Georgia (who, ironically, is my Congressman), last week smugly declared to the left to show him one woman who can not afford birth control, I suspect he really could care less to hear from women as his mind has already been made up as his voting record proves he’s no fan of Planned Parenthood, abortions and birth control.

Courtesy of Planned Parenthood

The infamous photo above comes from a U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on birth control and religious liberty. Rightfully so, the Democrats on the panel walked out of the hearing in protest.

A panel as bland and monotonous as the photo above would garner no respect if the topic was on a subject Congressional committees are tasked to study such as racism, poverty, immigration, national security or education. However, it’s clear Congressional Republicans as well as GOP presidential candidates have no plans to defer to women on the issue of birth control and women’s reproductive health in general.

Last night’s debate was not exactly an wake-up call, but more like yet another nudge reminding me why I can’t take these GOP candidates seriously.

Not only all four GOP candidates were more than willing to hide behind the excuse argument of religious liberty in their opposition of women being able to enjoy affordable access to birth control, they also didn’t even mention women in their discussion at all. Women have been and continue to be treated like children when it comes to our wombs and what goes on inside them; we are excluded from debate by paternalistic politicians and anti-choice activists, who believe we do not possess the life experiences and skills to make our own decisions. Last night’s omission of women throughout last night’s talking points was another example of this unfortunate reality in American politics.

From states like Virginia to Georgia, lawmakers are hell-bent on enacting laws that protect life and religious freedom without even thinking about or consulting the people these laws will target. Women continue to be called upon to support candidates when it comes to what I call big tent issues (economy, national security, etc.), but are pushed aside and ignored when the topics of abortion rights and women’s reproductive health are introduced by candidates as political footballs used to divide and conquer the electorate.

How do you feel about women, our opinions and experiences being pushed aside in the debate over our reproductive rights? Is the latest conversation on birth control a matter of religious liberty or one of quality health care access for women? Will this have any bearing on who you support in November?