Free Birth Control: One Small Step for Feminists; One Giant Attack on the Consumer's Pocketbook

Earlier this week the Obama administration announced that health insurance plans must now be extended to include birth control without copay. These new guidelines for women’s health also include breast pumps, regular “well woman” visits, counseling about HIV and sexually transmitted infections, screening for gestational diabetes, domestic violence counseling and screening, in addition to several other services. For the most part, these new requirements will take effect Jan. 1, 2013.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, “These historic guidelines are based on science and existing (medical) literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need”.

However a recent Fox News article states “generic versions of the pill are available for as little as $9 a month. Still, about half of all pregnancies are unplanned. Many are among women using some form of contraception, and forgetting to take the pill is a major reason.” This shows that even if we offer them free birth control, we have no guarantee they will not get pregnant.

Who will pay to offset the cost of these new “free” services? We all know that nothing is truly free. The rest of us will be forced to pay for these services and premiums all over will be increased. In a Bloomberg editorial they admitted, “The average yearly cost to an insurer of providing full coverage for the entire range of contraceptive methods and counseling services (with no copays or deductibles) is about $40”.

As a young woman I believe these services should not become subsidized especially when the generic brand is easily accessible. We are 14 trillion in debt; there is no more money in order to cover all of these services. It is not a lack of access or information; they already have birth control and choose not to use it. We have an accountability issue not accessibility issues. If you choose to be sexually active then you are responsible for preventing a pregnancy, not the rest of us. These are goods and services, not a civil right. Do we really want the government micromanaging something as personal and private as pregnancies?

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