Culture Challenge of the Week: Mandated Contraception Coverage
"Contraceptives for free? Sounds like a good idea, I think," Kelly, a married mother of three, mused aloud.
The vast majority of American women use contraceptives during their reproductive years. So what's wrong with the new HHS regulations that require insurers to cover the costs of contraceptives, emergency contraceptives, sterilizations, and contraceptive counseling as "preventive care," with no out-of-pocket cost to women?
Three things, for starters: the regulations deny consumers the right to choose the kinds of coverage and preventive care for which they are willing to pay; they ignore the conscience concerns of groups and individuals who believe it is immoral to pay for emergency contraception (early abortion) or other forms of contraception; and the ease of availability to teens can be viewed as an endorsement of teen sexual activity and is likely to increase such activity and lead to more STIs, HIV infections, and other societal problems that typically accompany sexual activity among unmarried women. (See p. 83-85 of the IOM report.)
Why now, anyway?
The new HHS regulations arose out of Obamacare-mandated coverage of preventive care. A panel from the Institute of Medicine gathered evidence (including data from friendly pro-abortion groups) and delivered its recommendations to HHS. The bottom line: in spite of the ready availability of free or low-cost contraceptives (in schools, clinics, and public health agencies), too many low-income women are still having babies—too many, that is, in the eyes of the IOM panel. The powers-that-be have decided to take matters into their own hands: the HHS regulations will push more expensive, long-lasting (and therefore more effective) contraceptives on poor and minority women—while the rest of us pay the bill through higher premiums on our own insurance.
It smells a bit like eugenics, doesn't it?