According to Yahoo News, contraception for women in the U.S. might become free because of the new health care law.
A panel of experts will meet in November to decide what kind of free preventive care should be provided for women, as required under President Obama’s overhaul.
Sen. Barbara Mikuski, D-Md., who is the author of the women’s health amendment, has stated that the intent was to include family planning.
Richard Alonso-Zaldivar, author of the Yahoo article, asks the question, “But is birth control preventive medicine?”
Dr. David Grimes, an international family planning expert, has said that family planning improves health and saves lives. He believes that contraception is a prototype of preventive medicine because spacing out of children permits “optimal pregnancies and optimal child rearing.”
U.S. Catholic bishops oppose requirements that cover contraceptives or sterilization for that matter, as something that would fall under the umbrella of preventive care.
John Hass, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, a think tank that mirrors church teachings, said, “We think there are other ways to avoid having children than by ingesting chemicals paid for by health insurance.”
Some religious conservatives have qualms about requirements that would include the morning-after pill. The United States Food and Drug Administration classifies this pill as birth control, while some religious conservatives view it as an abortion drug.
Jeanne Monahan, health policy expert at the Family Research Council, says that her group opposes mandates that lack “a conscience exemption for moral and religious reasons.”
Presently, almost all insurance plans cover prescription contraceptives.
In the U.S. the use of birth control is “virtually universal” according to a government report this year from the National Center for Health Statistics.
According to Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, there are lower pregnancy rates, lower abortion rates, and lower teenage pregnancies in other countries where birth control is available free of cost.