Planned Parenthood: Birth Control Must Be Free for Women

Margot Riphagen of New Orleans, La., wears a birth control pills costume as she protests in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, March 25, 2014, as the court heard oral arguments in the challenges of President Barack Obama's health care law requirement that businesses provide their female employees …
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

With talk of another Republican healthcare plan on the horizon, Planned Parenthood is eager to ensure birth control remains free for women while the group itself can be reimbursed – for the contraception it distributes – by the federal government and insurance companies.

While campaigning for Hillary Clinton last year, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards boasted that Obamacare enabled 55 million women in the United State to obtain free birth control.

“The thing that’s important to me, because it’s really part of why this election is so important,” Richards said, “as a result of the long, hard fight for the Affordable Care Act, 55 million women in America are getting birth control–and no co-pay.”

Planned Parenthood asserts that, prior to former President Barack Obama’s administrative maneuver to grant all women free birth control in the Affordable Care Act, contraception accounted for 30% to 44% of women’s out-of-pocket health care costs. Obamacare, Planned Parenthood claims, has saved women $1.4 billion on birth control.

What Planned Parenthood denies, however, is that taxpayers are footing the bill for “no co-pay birth control.”

In yet another manipulation of the facts, the group states:

One of the key questions that people have been asking is about the cost of the benefit to taxpayers. Many are asking, “Is birth control free, or are taxpayers paying for birth control?”

Check out the graph below to learn all about what birth control with no co-pay really means and who is paying (hint: not the taxpayers!)


In the graph, the group – whose primary business is abortion – states that, prior to Obamacare, women paid health insurance premiums to their private insurance companies, but had to pay co-pays for their birth control. Since Obamacare, however, women still pay premiums to health insurance companies, but now pay no co-pays for contraception.

“You get an insurance plan with better coverage,” Planned Parenthood touts, apparently with the implication that private health insurance customers – and not taxpayers – are paying for women to obtain free birth control as a result of a federal mandate that it be covered. Of course, the group assumes none of these customers is a taxpayer.

Secondly, with Obamacare premiums soaring as they have, it’s more than likely many of those women health insurance customers are paying even higher amounts for their “free” birth control – even if they are paying out when premiums are due rather than at Planned Parenthood or the drugstore.

The claim that taxpayers are not footing the bill for free birth control is also misleading because Obamacare essentially has been an expansion of Medicaid. Most Obamacare customers were able to obtain insurance cards because more Americans were eligible for Medicaid, and women receiving free birth control through Medicaid or Title X family planning grants are being funded by taxpayers.

In a 2015 op-ed at the New York Times, the Guttmacher Institute’s Kinsey Hasstedt wrote public investment in contraception “enables young and low-income women to plan their own pregnancies” and is “smart government at its best.”

“Public investment,” of course, translates into “taxpayer funding.”

Hasstedt encouraged continued “federal and state investments in publicly supported family planning services.”

“That means adequately funding Title X and implementing the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion in all states,” she urged.


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