Address the problem of addicted newborns

In your opinion piece of Dec. 24, 2013, “Ohio can’t ignore drug, alcohol addiction of newborns,” you state that “A substantial number of babies born in Ohio come into the world addicted to illegal drugs. It is a problem everywhere. But the precise extent of the crisis … is not known. A bill introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives could change that. Hospitals in the Buckeye State would be required to report the number of babies addicted to drugs, if the bill becomes law. The reporting bill could provide information allowing more effective action to curb the problem.”

You state a well-known problem but leave out one of the most obvious solutions. If women had more access to affordable contraception, there would be fewer unplanned, unwanted and addicted babies and fewer children living in poverty. About one half of the children in this country live in poverty.

A provision of Obamacare provides women access to contraception in the planning of their families. There are a lot of misguided “religious” people and institutions that have taken the government to court over this issue. However, it is obvious that there are a lot of women who are not ready to be mothers or who have a substance-abuse problem and who need access to affordable contraception so they do not bring a child into this world that they do not want and cannot care for. When Gov. Kasich and the conservatives in Ohio cut the funding for Planned Parenthood, they likewise exacerbated the problem.

Women have been questioning the wisdom of the church for many years on the question of family planning, many of them quietly acting against church teaching. Large families may have been historically advantageous but no longer. Women should be free to plan the number of children that they want and can care for and not be constrained by the centuries-old thinking of the past that no longer makes sense. (I say that being the youngest of eight children, but loved and well cared for) It is especially egregious when politicians use the whole family-planning argument for their own political gains and pass legislation making it more difficult, expensive and often times impossible for women to have access to affordable family planning.

Carol Lazear Mitchell