I’ve heard just about enough about this fight over the Obamacare mandate that all heath insurance must provide birth control without a co-pay. It’s even spreading into the personal finance world with Sandy’s article Stay Out of My Uterus. I need to address it because if I don’t my head is going to explode! If you don’t want to read a political post, stop right now and I’ll see you tomorrow.
The amount of misinformation I’m hearing about the topic is outrageous. You have senators making intellectually dishonest statements such as these:
“For millions of American women reading the news today was like stepping into a time machine and going back 50 years seeing the headlines and the photos of an all male panel in the House talking about a woman’s right to access birth control.” – Senator Patty Murray
“When will they get this simple non-debatable fact? The power to decide whether or not a women will use contraception lies with her. Not her boss. Not her employer.” – Senator Kirsten Gillibran
Women have access to birth control, and no one is trying to take that access away! A woman still has a legal right to birth control, no matter what her employer’s health insurance plan covers.
She can buy it at full price, or she can buy a different health insurance policy that covers it. Women had access to birth control before Obamacare, and they will continue to have access to birth control even if Obamacare were repealed in its entirety tomorrow. They would just have to pay for it the same way they pay for any other medical services.
To suggest a woman wouldn’t have access to birth control if her employer doesn’t offer a health insurance plan that gives free birth control without a copay is to suggest that women are incapable of getting healthcare without the government or insurance.
If a woman wants birth control but the health insurance through her job doesn’t provide it, then she should pay for it herself or find a new job with health insurance she likes better. You can substitute “birth control” for “erectile dysfunction pills” or “chronic pain medication” or “some other medication”. If you don’t like your insurance, get a new one.
Being a “Women’s Health Issue” Doesn’t Matter
Some people are going to argue, “Birth control is important for women’s health!!!! It has to be free!!!!!” You know what else is important for women’s health? Multivitamins. And a gym membership to stay in shape. And healthy food in the cabinets to eat a balanced diet.
Antibiotics are important when someone is sick. So is a cast on a broken leg and chemotherapy on cancer. Every single medicine or medical procedure available is important for women’s (and men’s) health. If they weren’t important then they wouldn’t be available. Why aren’t those medical services free too?
To pick out one individual medication and decide it must be free is an affront to anyone who needs medicine that is not birth control.
Access Does Not Mean Free
Women have access to contraception in this country. No one is trying to take away their right to take or obtain birth control.
What is being taken away is a business owner’s right provide as much or as little health care for its employees as possible, including any healthcare that the employer might see as a violation of their right to religious freedom.
When the federal government proposes a bill that would make it illegal for a woman to take birth control, I’ll be the first one to stand against it. That is an infringement on a woman’s individual liberty. At the same time, I would expect people to respect the religious liberties of people who don’t want to pay for a drug that goes against their religion.
If you want birth control and your employer chooses not to offer it through your health insurance then you should have a right to buy it yourself. That is the only way to ensure no one’s liberty is trampled upon.