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Contraception Should Always Be Free

Despite ongoing controversy and about a million lawsuits filed over the Affordable Care Act requirement that insurance companies provide free contraception coverage, the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine point out that birth control is crucial to women’s health and benefits all of society. Sarah Posner provides this quote:

More important, planned pregnancy affords women and their children a better quality of life: it gives younger women the opportunity to complete school, start careers, and establish stable relationships, and older women the ability to add to their families only when they have the capacity to care for them. Finally, a full panel of contraceptive services saves money for the state, as evidenced by gathered data and empirical modeling. Simply put, there is a compelling public health value in preventing unwanted pregnancy.

In working with women to prevent unwanted pregnancy, physicians need the full panel of FDA-approved contraceptive methods. If that panel is limited by a woman’s inability to pay — if the method deemed optimal for her is unavailable because her health insurance does not cover it — then the religious freedom of her employer will have interfered with the provision of high-quality medical care to her. In this context, the welfare of the patient must trump the religious convictions of her employer. After all, it is the woman, not her employer, whose health is at risk.

I think contraception should be provided free of charge to all women. I don’t care how it’s paid for, we as a society will spend far less on free birth control than we would for the unplanned pregnancies it would prevent. And those who consider themselves “pro-life” because they oppose abortion should want the same thing. The fact that they’re not is compelling evidence that it’s not abortion that they aim to stop, it’s women having control of their reproduction in any way whatsoever.

Comments

  1. marcus says

    And, as noted above, the prevention of unwanted pregnancy will save societymillions, probably billions, of dollars; reduce the number of unwanted, abused, and neglected children; and save the lives and health of hundreds of thousands of women. It’s all win.

  2. Chiroptera says

    … the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine….

    Uh oh. Being endorsed by scientists is an almost guarantee that conservatives will reject this even harder.

  3. says

    The fact that they’re not is compelling evidence that it’s not abortion that they aim to stop, it’s women having control of their reproduction in any way whatsoever.

    YOURE LOOKING AT THE MONETARY AND SOCIETAL COSTS OF “UNPLANNED” PREGNANCY, WHEN YOU SHOULD BE LOOKING INSTED AT THE MORAL COST OF PLANNED WHORING!

  4. raven says

    1. One study I read, said that for every $1 the government spends on birth control, it saves them $6.

    Some of those unplanned pregnancies are going to end up being unplanned families on welfare.

    I suspect the number might be even higher. Teenage pregnancy is highly correlated with lifelong poverty. Poor people aren’t paying a lot of taxes and sometimes consume tax money.

    2. We know how to lower the abortion rate. Birth control and sex ed. Where these are done effectively the abortion rate is 1/6 the US rate.

    If the forced birthers and female slavers really cared about abortion rates, they would be demanding free birth control everywhere.

  5. John Hinkle says

    AND BTW WE LIVE IN A FREE COUNTRY IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT DON’T USE CONTRACEPTION IF YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT WALK AWAY OR PLUG YOUR EARS YOU DON’T HAVE TO USE CONTRACEPTION AND LISTEN IF YOU DON’T LIKE THOSE RULES TAKE YOUR CRY BABY ASS SOMEWHERE ELSE CAUSE WE ARE SICK OF HEARING IT*

    * cribbed and modified from a few posts back

  6. amyjane says

    Modusoperandi is correct. The power to choose when or whether to have children, is the power too live how I want. With whom I wish to live my life. Education and employment is a matter of choice for a woman who can control her fertility. When women can’t control their fertility, employers have a more justifiable excuse to say women are too unreliable to promote because they just get pregnant. Too many too close pregnancies are harmful both physically and mentally. They are terrified of female power.

  7. karmacat says

    These companies are arguing that allowing the insurance companies to give women free contraceptives is affecting their “religious freedom.” So why isn’t anyone arguing that employees’ religious freedoms are being infringed upon by these companies?

  8. nekoonna says

    Free contraception is a good start. But, it is only a start. if we really want to save money, decrease the incidence of child neglect/abuse, free women, and begin to bring our human population back into something that passes as equilibrium with the rest of the natural world, we’ve got to stop society’s relentless natalism.

    Natalism, or the fetishization of conception and parenthood, is one of the most damaging features of the patriarchy. In today’s world, parenting should never be the “default” mode- the default should be childlessness. Only people who feel uniquely qualified for/called to parenting should have children. I believe 100% in bodily autonomy, so I’m not talking about forced sterilization. Rather, I’m talking about a shift in how we think, as a society, about reproduction.

    Think about it- if you lived in a world that talked honestly and openly about the problems associated with parenting, the grand scale of the undertaking, the real societal costs of overpopulation, child abuse, and neglect; If you lived in a world that did not “congratulate” new parents as if they had won the lottery, didn’t refer to babies as “bundles of joy”, did not just assume parenthood was in the offing for all “normal” people- how excited would you be to have children?

    I know, I know, “biological imperative” blah blah blah… Sure, some people would still reproduce. That’s fine. Necessary, even. But many people, when allowed to really weigh the costs and the benefits in an environment that encouraged them to do so… would likely not reproduce. ‘Cause honestly, there are precious few tangible benefits to reproduction in today’s society, and a whole lotta costs. And many of the “intangible” benefits, if we are being totally honest with ourselves, are pure BS. BS that would be revealed in a more balanced look at parenting.

    Bring THOSE changes on line, and then we are REALLY talking about a better tomorrow.

  9. says

    I don’t care how it’s paid for, we as a society will spend far less on free birth control than we would for the unplanned pregnancies it would prevent.

    This is a kind of calculus unavailable to a person who claims they’re in favor of “small government,” but thinks the government’s only job is to catch and punish wrong-doers. Which, of course, ends up making the government far, far bigger than the one which also attempts to help people.

  10. says

    karmacat “These companies are arguing that allowing the insurance companies to give women free contraceptives is affecting their ‘religious freedom.’ So why isn’t anyone arguing that employees’ religious freedoms are being infringed upon by these companies?”
    Bosses have rights. Employees have privileges (granted by their bosses).

    “What is Liberty if not the right to control other’s cooters?” Benjamin Franklin said that. True story.

  11. erichoug says

    And those who consider themselves “pro-life” because they oppose abortion should want the same thing. The fact that they’re not is compelling evidence that it’s not abortion that they aim to stop, it’s women having control of their reproduction in any way whatsoever.

    EXACTLY! The vast majority of people who are strongly pro-life really don’t give a hairy rat’s butt about children or even life for that matter.

    Pro-Life people don’t have a problem with abortion, they have a problem with sex. And the whole recent fight over the ACA and the way different conservative politicians in the previous election strove to be as Pro-Life as possible while also being anti-BC and anti- comprehensive sex ed only goes to show that their issue is with sex, and/or women. Not with abortion.

  12. mobius says

    Someone once tried to use the argument that government paying for abortions for the poor would just cost too much money. I then asked them just how much money it would then cost to provide 18 years of welfare to support those unwanted children.

    No response.

  13. thascius says

    @8-Because when conservatives talk about freedom and liberty they aren’t talking about ordinary people having the freedom to do whatever they want. They mean the freedom for the rich and powerful, and big corporations to do what they want to those who are less rich and powerful without the government interfering. Or to put it another way, restricting someone’s freedom to do whatever they like is only wrong if it’s the government doing it.

  14. Michael Heath says

    Ed writes:

    . . . those who consider themselves “pro-life” because they oppose abortion should want the same thing. The fact that they’re not is compelling evidence that it’s not abortion that they aim to stop, it’s women having control of their reproduction in any way whatsoever.

    We do observe behavior from fundie leaders, especially their males, that’s compelling this is true, but only for them. I think most people who consider themselves, “pro-life” have never developed a coherent, consistent, well-framed set of premises to establish that position where they would currently oppose this position. They’re taking a position from a very shallow, defectively narrow position, though deeply held. Just like their religious beliefs, their position on abortion can’t withstand scrutiny.

    However I would agree these shallow thinkers would be susceptible to joining the ends of the fundie leaders, without ever understanding why they are.

  15. thebookofdave says

    “What is Liberty if not the right to control other’s cooters?” Benjamin Franklin said that. True story.

    Ahh, but that comment was not rendered ex cathedra, modusoperandi. The more relevant quote, after his election as the first Pope of America, would be: “They who would give up essential control over cooter, to purchase a little temporary health, deserve neither health nor cooter.”

  16. howardhershey says

    I personally think that if employers get the right to impose their religion wrt contraceptives on employees, that insurance companies should have to charge them (both male and female employees) rates based on the assumption that all their female employees will have 8+ children over their reproductive lifetime and put those children on their family health insurance (thus radically increasing the cost of family benefits, which are based on more realistic numbers of children because real people use birth control). This will repay the insurance company for the predicted cost that would be put on them if the employees did not choose to buy contraceptives (or have tubal ligation or vasectomies, which are also often religious no-nos). I bet a lot of these corporations will opt to fund contraceptives at that point. Or drop health insurance completely (which would put them at a disadvantage in hiring).

  17. sunsangnim says

    I’m sure it will be some years before we have hard data, but it would be interesting to see how much the contraceptive mandate reduces the abortion rate. It would be quite ironic if Obama’s policy ends up preventing far more abortions than all the abortion restrictions that the GOP has passed through congress combined. And it would be done the right way: by empowering women, not restricting them.

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