Wouldn't It Be Nice If Birth-Control Pills Were Free?


Do birth control pills count as “preventative services,” which are free under the recently passed health care reform act? They will if Planned Parenthood has anything to do with it.

Sarah Kliff reports for Politico that though the abortion coverage was the primary front for the women’s health battle while the bill was being debated, pro-choice organizations are trying to get ahead of the next fight: trying to get birth control to be covered in full by insurers. By September 23, six months after the Affordable Care Act’s passage, co-pays will be eliminated for anything that’s classified as “preventative services.”

About 90 percent of insurers cover the pill, according to Guttmacher Institute statistics, but co-pays range from $10 to $50 a month, which can be prohibitively expensive for many women.

Naturally, certain religious organizations are all set to oppose this. Said a representative of the Conference of Catholic Bishops:

“Requiring contraception and sterilization in all private health plans would be an enormous imposition on the consciences of religious organizations and others who now have the right to purchase a health plan in accord with their moral and religious values.”

Note the neat distortion and the conflation of contraception and sterilization.

The effort is being led by Planned Parenthood, whose strategy is to capitalize on the Pill’s 50th anniversary and launch a site collecting personal stories of women whose lives have been helped by the pill. Those stories might be used to lobby the agency deciding what counts as a preventative service. As will the young women whose apathy has sometimes been bemoaned — among other places, in a piece by Kliff herself back when she was at Newsweek:

Planned Parenthood has other plans in the works, too. It might soon tap young adults, particularly those who have had their dependent coverage extended up to age 26, who are curious about what benefits they will receive. “Certainly, we have a very large, grass-roots organization interested in making an impact,” Rubiner said. “It’s a very tangible thing for women and something they will really support.” College campuses, too, could be fruitful territory for reproductive rights activism.

Bring it on.

Free Birth Control Under Health Care? [Politico]

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin