What’s next, birth control?
About a week ago, in a post responding to Bob Imbelli’s thread on the Stupak amendment, David Cloutier chastised progressives for exaggerating the implications of the amendment. He wrote, “When people say, ‘oh, what’s next, birth control, etc.’ this is just like Republicans claiming that this bill is a ‘government takeover’ and [that] Dems want government to run people’s lives and decide who lives and who dies. It’s just silly.”
This comment got me to wondering about the status of contraception and whether it would be covered under the health-care reform bill. As far as I can tell, the answer is no. I can’t help wondering why not. In the process of hunting around, I found some interesting facts.
In a study conducted in July and August of this year, the Guttmacher Institute surveyed 947 women aged 18-34 to explore how these women’s reproductive behaviors have been influenced by the recession. (This report can be found here; it’s under reports and the title is “A Real-Time Look at the Impact of the Recession on Women’s Family Planning and Pregnancy Decisions.”) Here are a few of its findings:
- Eight percent of women report that they sometimes did not use birth control in order to save money.
- Among women using the pill, 18% report inconsistent use as a means of saving money.
- Nearly one out of four women report having put off a gynecological or birth control visit to save money in the past year.
When states have tried to mandate insurance coverage for contraceptives, the Catholic Church has opposed these actions. For example,the Catholic Church fought to overturn New York’s “Women’s Health and Wellness Act,” which required employers who offer prescription drug plans to provide coverage of FDA-approved contraceptives for women, it doesn’t seem “silly” to ask whether there isn’t a slippery slope here. Will those who gushed about the Stupak amendment also gush about an amendment eliminating prescription coverage for contraception? (For NYTimes piece on the New York law, click here.)