Health care reform: 'Free' birth control for all?

Conservatives are preparing for another battle over Obama's health care plan — this time on the question of whether birth control ought to be free. Is that a winning fight?

Conservatives are locked in a new battle against free birth control.
(Image credit: Corbis)

The new health care overhaul has a provision that could force insurers to cover prescription birth control, free of any co-payment or other "cost sharing" — raising strong objections from conservative and anti-abortion groups. At issue is whether birth control belongs among the free "preventative" services guaranteed in the law. Are anti-abortion groups justified in launching a fight to overturn the provision?

Bring it on: The "anti-abortion forces won the battle over their issue's treatment" in the health care law, says Matthew Yglesias at Think Progress. Well, free access to birth control "is the fight progressives have been wanting to have for some time now." It's overwhelmingly popular — unlike the mixed opinions on abortion — and this response simply highlights "the deeply reactionary and anti-woman ideology" of the anti-abortion movement.

"Conservatives moving to block implementation of contraceptive access..."

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Why should I have to pay for your birth control? We conservatives who oppose "free" birth control, and free love, aren't "anti-sex, woman-hating puritan[s]," says Calvin Freiburger in NewsReal, or even "opponents of birth control access." We're against "forcing Americans to subsidize the distribution or use of birth control." I mean, "I can't afford a Ferrari, but that doesn’t mean anyone is denying me 'access' to Ferraris."

"Birth control reminder: 'Access' doesn't mean 'subsidy'"

So much for common ground: "The coming battle on contraception" should be an eye-opener to "pundits who fancy themselves centrists on abortion," says Scott Lemieux in The American Prospect. Birth control lowers abortion rates, so promoting it should be "desirable from those who want to outlaw abortion altogether." Now we know it isn't, and that a liberal-conservative "'Grand Bargain' on abortion and contraception" is pure "fantasy."

"The impossibility of a 'Grand Bargain' on abortion and contraception"

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