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Flipping Out Over Birth Control

July 20, 2011

What is it about birth control that makes anti-choicers flip out?

Yesterday, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended including prescription birth control as a woman’s preventive health service, which would be covered without co-pays by new insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act.  This is great news for millions of American women. About 99% of American women rely on birth control at some point in their lives.  The cost can make consistent use difficult — even for those with health insurance.  Out-of-pocket costs typically range from $15 to $50  every month for birth control pills and can be several hundreds of dollars for IUDs and other longer-acting methods.  

 I am thrilled — doing back flips thrilled–  with the decision. Birth control matters to women.  On average, a woman spends 30 years of her life trying to avoid getting pregnant.  The best way to prevent an unintended pregnancy is consistent use of birth control.  Every woman should be able to choose the method that works best for her.  Plain and simple, a woman should be able to choose her birth control based on what best fits her lifestyle, not what fits her pocket-book.  The IOM’s recommendation,  if accepted, will be a giant leap forward in making this a reality. 

Half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended. Full coverage of birth control without co-pays is one of the most important steps we can take to reduce that number.   

You would think that organizations and individuals opposed to abortion would be cheering  the recommendation.    That they would be just as excited about this as I am.  Instead the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Family Research Council,  Americans United for Life, and other organizations are lining up in opposition.

The way that they are flipping out just goes to show that they are out of touch with the vast majority of Americans. According to a recent Thomson Reuters-NPR Health Poll, 77 % of Americans believe that private medical insurance should cover the costs of the pill.  The same poll shows that 74% of Americans believe that government-sponsored insurance should also cover the pill.  Among people under 35 years old,  the numbers are even higher, with 83% believing private insurance should cover birth control and 79% believe government-sponsored insurance should cover the pill.

It also exposes another agenda — their real agenda.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said “the ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.”   Birth control gives us power over our reproductive destinies.  With it women can decide when, whether, and how many children to have. 

That power is exactly why the anti-choicers are flipping out over birth control.


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