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Free Birth Control May Be Available Soon

By Sierra Black |

Free birth control may be available soon

Free birth control may be available soon

This month, the federal government will begin deciding what forms of birth control, if any, they’ll include as free preventative care under the new health reform bill. They have till next August to decide.

Making free birth control available could go a long way towards cutting the rate of unintended pregnancies. Currently, half of all pregnancies fall into the “whoops!” category. That’s a whole lot of unplanned pregnancy.

But is birth control really preventative medicine? Doctors and women’s health experts think so. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, sees it as a lifestyle choice.

Happily for women’s health advocates, the current head of the DHHS, Kathleen Sibelius, is pro-choice, and likely to include birth control in the preventative medicine category under the new health bill.

Hopefully, the resistance to that won’t sap too much of the energy that goes into shaping these regulations. We’d all be much better served letting the doctors and health care experts figure out which forms of birth control should be included, and how best to help women get the education and access they need to use them.

Photo: Brains The Head

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About Sierra Black

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Sierra Black

Sierra Black lives, writes and raises her kids in the Boston area. She loves irreverence, hates housework and wants to be a writer and mom when she grows up. Read bio and latest posts → Read Sierra's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Free Birth Control May Be Available Soon

  1. Sarah says:

    I’d love to see this. Years ago when while my husband was in grad school, I worked a job with crappy insurance that charged $40 a month for the pill. Because I did make some money (that all went straight to bills), Planned Parenthood wanted me to pay $30 a month for birth control. This led to a meltdown in the middle of the waiting room with me sobbing, “I can’t even afford to have sex with my husband!”

  2. Amy says:

    I think this passing..would be a good thing for alot of women!

  3. PlumbLucky says:

    ::evil grin:: so…taking The Pill to control my cysts is a lifestyle choice? N-i-c-e.

  4. Huh? says:

    I can’t believe this is even an issue.

  5. Laure68 says:

    This should be a non-issue, especially considering that there are many birth control pills that are generic, so the cost of providing them free would outweigh the cost of the unplanned pregnancies they would prevent. Those fiscal conservative-type Republicans should love this. If we let the church make this decision for us, what happened to separation of church and state?

  6. goddess says:

    I don’t give a FIG what the Catholic Church thinks- and their opinion should never influence law. I am a happy Born Again Pagan/Recovered Former Catholic.
    Hey Plumb- I take it even though my tubes have been tied to treat another condition too.

  7. Laure68 says:

    I should have said the cost of unplanned pregnancies outweigh the cost of free birth control pills.

  8. Joe Mersnik, Sr. says:

    Birth Control and Demographics
    Another point of view regarding whether or not to have children regardless of whether its by using the pill or abortion is a demographic one; meaning looking at the effect of birth control the population.
    Religious points of view aside it was not so long ago that the big scare was over population of the world with many starving and resultant civil disorder………….but in reality what has occurred is a population growth rate that is insufficient to sustain the culture, in other words not enough children are being born! In the United States one group in particular, Black Americans, fall into this category. What with the pill and Blacks accounting for 43% or more of all abortions, their culture is dying out; Liberals, white main stream Protestants, and of course homosexual of both genders are also failed groups because of low birthrates, or none, and their cultures will also die.
    Because of a deliberate policy inherent in the nature of Socialism we in the United States are now witnessing the cultural suicide in all the European countries, they are withering away and sadly have a birth rate so low they are beyond recovery.
    The choice we facing it to either to encourage family formation to sustain the culture of the United States, or face the consequences of not doing so, a culture that will die.
    Joe Mersnik, Sr.
    joeyem@gmail.com

  9. OLK says:

    This has taken WAY too long to happen. It is birth control for crying out loud. And after all the court battle and what have you, it will still be too long until it actually becomes in effect. This should have been done YEARS ago.

  10. starrsitter says:

    I think that it’s ironic that a group of people best known for its members who molest little boys has the audacity to talk about sexually-related “life-style choices.”

  11. Lisa says:

    Given how Obama threw women under the bus by removing abortion from insurance coverage, I doubt this will happen. Remember, there are some in this country who believe that b.c. pills are a form of abortion.

  12. ChiLaura says:

    It IS a lifestyle choice, since pregnancy is not in fact a disease. It may be inconvenient at times, but “inconvenient” does not translate to “disease” (barring, perhaps, some very serious health problems).

    And starrsitter, you MAY be interested to know (though I think that I give you too much credit) that there are far higher rates of sexual abuse in public schools than there are in the Catholic Church, AND that most of the abusive priests in the CC are homosexuals. Take the blinders off.

  13. Linda, the original one says:

    Grown men who molest young boys are not homosexuals. They are pedophiles. Adult men do not interest them. I think it’s really ugly and wrong to try and paint homosexual men with that brush. The catholic church need to own it’s own problem and stop acting like it’s a gay issue when it isn’t. This sort of thinking really makes me ill.

  14. Manjari says:

    I agree, Linda! Calling pedophiles homosexuals is a sick attack on a group of people who don’t deserve to be lumped in with criminals.

    Also, who cares if the Catholic church supports this or not? Are they part of the federal government now? They don’t want people to take BC, so everyone should either abstain from sex or have dozens of kids. Ridiculous.

  15. Gretchen Powers says:

    I agree with ChiLaura’s comments about birth control being a lifestyle choice, although I am not a big fan of Catholicism and I do think, purely from a cost-benefit analysis that it’s probably a good idea for the gov to include it in its plans. That said, with insurance, I’ve typically paid between $20-30 a month for the pill over the last 10 years. What’s the big deal? I’m sure most people pay that to watch TV, go out drinking, to Applebees or whatever other stuff they do…and, of course, you will still have the dopes who “forget” to take the pills and have their ridiculous “oops” moments…

  16. Gretchen Powers says:

    If this can keep a few careless and foolish people from having kids they can’t care for, then cool.

  17. ChiLaura says:

    To be clear: Many of the molesting priests either engaged in homosexual activities in seminary (some seminaries, sadly, are notorious for such perversions of the priesthood), and many others entered the priesthood hoping to remain celibate b/c they knew that they were gay and knew that they couldn’t engage in homosexual activity and be faithful Catholic (they hoped that the priesthood would help suppress these homosexual urges). I’m not calling all pedophiles homosexuals, or all homosexuals pedophiles — that would be stupid. The fact though, which the mainstream media either doesn’t know or willfully won’t report — is that a number of these priests were already gay. Whether or not some or all were pedophiles remains a somewhat different matter Think of it this way: If these priests had been heterosexual Protestants, they’d be having affairs with their congregants’ wives! Or daughters!

  18. Gretchen Powers says:

    Maybe not, because protestants let their pastors get married and have normal sexual relations. The whole idea of celibacy is backward!

  19. Linda, the original one says:

    Actually, ChiLaura, you seem woefully ignorant that homosexuality and pedophilia are two completely different things and it’s scary. You’re still attempting to blur the lines, even in your backpedal. Just to be clear, homosexual mean are attracted to other homosexual men. They are not attracted to children.

  20. jenny tries too hard says:

    GP, Catholic priests are accused of molestation at about the same rate as other men in authority or mentoring positions with children, like scout leaders, Big Brothers (sad but true), coaches and teachers. The rate is nearly identical to that of non-Catholic clergy. Furthermore, the man most likely to molest a child, across the board, is a married man. Pedophilia and molestation are much more about the need to feel powerful than to relieve normal sexual urges, so celibacy really doesn’t matter much here.

    On the actual topic of the post, I’m as usual annoyed by the whole damn thing and wish that the government would stop mucking around in insurance altogether (except for protecting consumers and companies from fraud and illegal practices) and let people choose a policy that covers b/c if they want it or a policy that doesn’t cover b/c if they don’t choose to use it.

    It’s also worth pointing out that while hormone-based b/c does prevent pregnancy, it also increases the risk (you know, the opposite of preventing) of stroke and heart disease. So, b/c pills and shots are not, in my opinion, a preventative medicine the same way that a flu shot or similar is.

  21. Huh? says:

    @ChiLaura- I won’t address the gay priest thing. The opinion you are expressing is so far outside of my reality that I can’t even begin to wrap my head around it. So I’ll try with BC. It’s healthcare. Period. Done. As is anything else that involves my body, which, interestlingly includes my (currently unoccupied) uterus. I don’t see anyone getting up in arms and taking a look at any healthcare men receive- why is what goes on when I see my dr. anyone’s business? Also, to beat a dead horse, in many cases, BC treats any number of “actual” ailments, and for some women, pregnancy can be a very real threat to their health.

  22. Huh? says:

    Gah. can’t resist. ChiLaura, please share your source regarding “these” (sex offending) priests: “The fact though, which the mainstream media either doesn’t know or willfully won’t report — is that a number of these priests were already gay.” And anyone, the reason (I thinkk) that the issue with the Catholic Church comes up so consistently *isn’t* that it happened, it’s that it happened (awful, heinous) it’s that these things happened, and the Church *systematically covered it up*, this allowing some priests to serially abuse, AND now that it’s been discovered, is *still* trying to cover it’s ass (hiding beind canonical law, hiding assets, etc.) and generally behaving exactly the opposite of how an institution based on love, etc. should behave.

  23. jrmiss86 says:

    I am curious if they would also cover other forms of birth control other than pills. I know that if I wanted to get my tubes tied, they only way I could get that covered was if the Dr. did it during a c-section. I also don’t think my husband would be covered if he wanted to get a Vasectomy. I think for many people the free pills are a great idea, It would also be nice if you had more options as well.

  24. Rowan says:

    @Gretchen: $20 – $30 per month is a financial barrier for many people (and not because they’re spending their money on cable or Applebee’s). Also, one of the other articles I read on this (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130952356) mentioned that when women are offered free birth control, most of them choose methods that are more reliable (and more expensive upfront) than the pill, such as IUDs and implants.

  25. starrsitter says:

    My original comment said nothing about the number of Catholic priests who abuse children, just that they have been recently most talked-about for that reason. Honestly, I doubt we’ll ever know how many are abusing children because the Church sweeps it under the rug and simply moves the offenders to new a diocese (as my fair city is familiar with). By the way, your disagreeing with me doesn’t automatically make me “blind” or unworthy of “credit.”

    Then there’s the comment about these priests being homosexuals which you’ve already been called out on. So, I will only add that (statistically speaking…from the people incarcerated for sex crimes against male children) the majority (70ish %) of pedophiles are white, middle-aged, men who self-identify as heterosexual.

    Lastly, I agree with Rowan….GP, $20-$30 dollars a month may not be cost-prohibitive to you, but it is to a lot of people.

    I don’t know if never having sex (which we need to admit is NOT going to happen) versus popping out as many babies as you can ought to be the only choices. If we can help people, for a reasonable cost in my opinion, avoid unwanted pregnancy and all of the inevitable ramifications of it, wouldn’t we be better off as a group? And, yes, jrmiss86…by offering other options as well.

  26. Rowan says:

    Elimination of co-pays for birth control would be fantastic, of course — but what I’d also like to see is elimination of the policy many insurance companies have of only paying for one month of pills at a time.

  27. Manjari says:

    Thank you, starsitter, for putting it so well.

  28. ChiLaura says:

    RE: birth control being “preventative”: Read this. It’sseiously scary. Even if you don’t think that BC includes a moral hazard, the physical hazards are real. http://www.zenit.org/article-30799?l=english Yes, yes, yes, so it’s from a Catholic site, but that doesn’t change the
    numbers. I’m always amazed that the same sorts of people who get mad that women are forced into C-sections (for example) don’t seem to care that women don’t know and aren’t told BY THEIR DOCTORS what kind of scary shit they’re putting into their bodies.

    Huh?: You may think it a copout, but I genuinely can’t find the source that I was thinking of when I wrote the quote to which you refer. I did look, I promise. Related, though different, is the wiki section on media coverage: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_sex_abuse_cases#Criticisms_of_media_coverage

    This, re: sex abuse in Protestant churches http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/sep/09092910.html

    Really, though, there’s also an element of common sense involved. IF sex abuse is no more prevalent in the Catholic Church than it is in other institutions (e.g. Protestant churches, schools, etc.) — which is true — and those organizations aren’t in the news at every turn, that speaks to a larger vendetta by the press (and liberal society in general) against the RCC. Frankly, it seems pretty disingenuous to deny that such a prejudice exists.

    This is the kind of thing that we could argue about till we’re blue in the face, right? I like to think that I give the benefit of the doubt to the press, and the accusers/victims, and the critics when I read about RCC abuse scandals, and the coverups make the inital abuse all the more heinous. I’m not Catholic, but I am Christian, and this is all very, very sad and shameful. However, the RCC is not in fact a magnet for pedophiles (look up “ephebophile,” which is what many of the abuse cases are IN FACT, not in hysterical “reporting”). Many would like to dance on the RCC’s grave, even if it takes lies and hysteria to bring it down.

    Anyway, this concludes my time here on this post. It’s beeping cold here, and I’ve a soup in mind for dinner to heat us up. And while I sometimes have time for this sort of thing, this time has now drawn to a close.

  29. Linda, the original one says:

    Yes, your form of “chrisitnaity” is very “sad and shameful.” You accidentally got something right. Congrats. :/

  30. Gretchen Powers says:

    WTF is “chrisitnaity”?

  31. Linda, the original one says:

    It’s a typo, asshole. :)

  32. Huh? says:

    @ChiLaura- I read the article, but it referenced studies without providing citations, and the vague, unfounded conclusions are, unfortunately, the same “evidence” that has been used to tell people that being gay (ie a presumed barren woman)causes cancer. That being said, I am no fan of hormonal birth control, but again, family planning is part of caring for a woman’s body, and as such, is health care.

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