Opinion

Who needs free birth control? | Amy Johnson

You’d think the Institute of Medicine had recommended insurance companies cover visits to strip clubs, rather than its actual recommendation that health plans provide birth control at no cost.

Who did the Obama administration turn to in order to “draw up a list of preventive services for women that all new health plans must cover without deductibles or co-payments?” A radically liberal feminist organization? No, they went with (gasp!) the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine. Imagine that: scientists and medical professionals making recommendations about health care.

The Family Research Council objected on moral grounds. Apparently, they say people who don’t believe in contraception shouldn’t have to use their premium dollars to pay for anyone else’s contraception coverage. This is a slippery slope, especially since more than 99 percent of women who have ever been sexually active have used contraception.

Are we going to change what’s best for women’s health on a national level because of the objection of less than one percent of women?

Equally as disturbing was Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld, who said, “If you’re talking about free birth control, who’s going to use free birth control? The people who can’t afford it. So the left has figured out a way to eradicate the poor, and it’s by eradicating the poor!”

Mr. Gutfield, your ignorance is showing. Your spin backfired. I don’t think you’re going to get a lot of traction by claiming that reducing the number of people in poverty in our country is a bad thing.

There are two issues here. One is people who are living on the edge — not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, which already provides no cost contraception, but poor enough to have to cut costs for things like health insurance coverage, co-pays and deductibles. These are the people who will benefit from this Institute of Medicine’s recommendation.

By the way, in Federal Way, approximately 13 percent or about 11,000 people live below the federal poverty rate.

The second issue is the education that needs to go along with the contraceptives. To quote former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, “the best contraceptive in the world is a good education.” So the Institute of Medicine’s further recommendation that contraceptive education be expanded is also sound advice and good news for women and men in Federal Way. (www.iom.edu)

You see, if you’re a guy, and your partner becomes pregnant by you and chooses to keep the baby, you’re on the hook for child support for 18 years. Contraception is not only a women’s health issue — it is an issue that affects all who want to avoid unintended pregnancies.

If you don’t believe in contraception, don’t use it. But don’t impose a moral mandate on our government to deny women coverage for something proven to help increase their health and the health of our city and our country.

If we care about women, men, mothers, fathers, children and reducing the number of abortions in our country, we need to support the recommendations for birth control to be covered by health plans at no-cost to recipients.

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