A panel of medical experts recommended that all insurance plans be legally required to provide birth control for free, marking a huge advancement for women’s rights. The Obama Administration commissioned the non-partisan Institute of Medicine (IOM) to recommend what preventative health services should be fully covered by health insurance.
Along with birth control, the IOM reports suggested that HPV testing, contraceptive and lactation counseling, HIV screening and breast-feeding equipment be paid for by insurers.
Women’s rights groups were excited by the report. “As someone who has worked on women’s rights for nearly 30 years, I can say that today’s news marks one of the biggest advances for women’s health in a generation,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
“Currently, nearly one in three women finds it difficult to pay for birth control, and that’s why the United States has a far higher unintended-pregnancy rate than other industrialized countries. Making family-planning services available at no cost will help millions of women prevent unintended pregnancy and thereby reduce the need for abortion.”
Keenan added she was “confident that the Obama administration will adopt the IOM’s science-based recommendation and thus make affordability of contraception a reality for all women.”
The report by the IOM stated that nearly half of pregnancies in 2001 were unintended. The report noted that women who have unintended pregnancies are more likely to receive delayed or no prenatal care, smoke, drink alcohol, experience depression and live with domestic violence during a pregnancy. A recent study by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research and advocacy group, estimates that unintended pregnancies cost $11.1 billion dollars each year.
Anti-abortion rights and anti-contraception groups are calling for the Obama Administration to reject the IOM’s recommendations because they believe that some emergency contraceptives function as “abortion pills.”
“This is a question of whether the government should mandate every health plan to cover these drugs free of cost,” said Jeanne Monahan, director of Family Research Council’s Center for Human Dignity. “Whatever one’s position is on the issues of contraceptives, abortifacients and such, it does not matter whether proponents of such drugs do not care about the effect on human embryos.
The point is that many Americans do care, and many religious health plans would care, and that they should not be forced to violate their conscience.
This morality crap has gone too far. Really, birth control is bad now too??? I think every insurance plan already pays for a portion of birth control so I don’t really get the debate.