In a potential "birth control revolution," American women may gain free access to the morning-after pill under President Obama's health-care reform law. The catch: First the administration must decide whether contraception qualifies as preventive care. Public health officials say there's no question that family planning saves lives, but social conservatives says contraception shouldn't be covered. Commentators weigh in on the debate:
Of course, birth control should be covered: "It's crystal clear that family planning improves the health of women and the children they bear," say the editors of the San Jose Mercury News. You would think that social conservatives who oppose abortion would support this idea: After all, "There's no more effective way to prevent [abortion] than making birth control readily available."
"Of course federal health care must cover birth control"
But pregnancy is not a disease: Unlike immunizations, pap smears, mammograms, or colonoscopies, says Wesley J. Smith at First Things, birth control doesn't "prevent illnesses." In fact, it "prevents a normal, healthy condition." Let insurers cover it if they choose, but forcing them to do it wastes money, and turns women's health into a political football.
"Obamacare: The government shouldn't order insurance companies to provide free contraceptives"
Free contraception is good for everyone: This is a fight conservatives are "bound to lose," says Cynthia Tucker in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Our "strangely prudish" aversion to free contraceptives is the reason our rate of unplanned births is higher than in western Europe — and Americans realize it. "One of the best things that could happen for health care, family planning, and family dysfunction is widely available contraception."
"Health care reform could make birth control pills free"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The best online movies to watch this weekend
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
- The secret to Gabrielle Hamilton's amazing grilled cheese sandwiches
- The danger of the Democrats' lack of desperation
- Hey, Paul Ryan's new poverty plan isn't completely terrible!
Subscribe to the Week