Contraception: like a "flu shot"? — UPDATED

That seems to be the rationale behind the Obama Administration’s directive to make insurers pay for birth control pills for all women.

From the Washington Post:

A half-century after the advent of the pill, the Obama administration on Monday ushered in a change in women’s health care potentially as transformative: coverage of birth control as prevention, with no copays.

Services ranging from breast pumps for new mothers to counseling on domestic violence were also included in the broad expansion of women’s preventive care under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

Since birth control is the most common drug prescribed to women, health plans should make sure it’s readily available, said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Not doing it would be like not covering flu shots,” she said.

Officials said the women’s prevention package will be available Jan. 1, 2013, in most cases, resulting in a slight overall increase in premiums. Tens of millions of women are expected to benefit initially, a number that is likely to grow with time. At first, some plans may be exempt due to an arcane provision of the health care law known as the “grandfather” clause. But those plans could face pressure from their members to include the new coverage.

Read more.

UPDATE: There is a religious exemption, but the Catholic bishops have sharply criticized it:

The Department of Health and Human Services’ proposed “religious exemption” to the requirement that all health insurance plans cover contraceptives and sterilization for women is “so narrow as to exclude most Catholic social service agencies and health care providers,” according to the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

Comments

  1. kathyschiffer says:

    Really frustrating. A friend of mine wrote today, “I’d love to know why birth control is FREE but we have to pay through the roof for my husband’s insulin and epilepsy medication. Not to mention the testing strips and other “gear” that goes along with diabetes. We had to fight tooth and nail to even get it partially covered and we waited for YEARS to see any of that money.”

  2. pagansister says:

    There is only one word for this, from my point of view—-excellent.

  3. 1612190210 says:

    Are we surprised? This was the agenda from the beginning.

    Look, the government can do whatever it wants, make us pay indirectly through taxes, even force us into complying with its regulations, enforcing insurance coverage of what for Catholic doctrine are amoral practices.

    But it all comes down to individual Catholics refusing to participate in contraception and valuing life through a moral life. No one can force you to take the pill, no one can force you to go against your conscience, even the government can’t. No one forces us to have sex without thinking of the consequences.

    Of course the battle is not against government, because the government is not a religious institution; it ceased to be “Christian” (if it ever was) a long time ago. The battle is a battle for the minds and hearts. And the Church is loosing.

  4. PS

    Excellent for whom? Not the lost souls who are deviating from the way God intended. Do you think that you have the right to alter your body? Who do you think this is helping? You are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Does this mean anything to you?

    Do you think there are no repercussions for playing God?

  5. midwestgirl says:

    How about mandating maternity should be covered on insurance plans?

    I was married about a month ago, and my husband and I are using NFP and trying to discern when we are called to have our first child.

    About a year ago, I went on an individual insurance plan as I don’t plan to work full-time after having our first child. We expected about a year wait before maternity was covered. My husband’s insurance plan is cost-prohibitive.

    Unfortunately, the ONLY individual plan in my area has a two year waiting period.

    They’ll pay for me to contraception or abort a baby, but they won’t pay for me to give birth for another 13 months.

    We feel bad insurance is even part of the equation when we are discerning when to have our first child.

  6. But… but… but… Flu Shots aren’t universally covered without a copay…

  7. pagansister says:

    #4 joseph: Actually, yes, I have the right to do with my body as I see fit, as a woman. The final decision is mine. All women have that right, depending on their personal beliefs. No one will or should force a woman to use any birth control at any time. This bill will help benefit those who chose to chose their reproduction times or if indeed they wish to have children at all. Yes, not having intercourse is the best decision if a woman wishes no children. In reality, many women will have intercourse, married or not, and IMO should be able to prevent the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy. Condoms too, help prevent the spread of disease.

    Playing God? No.

  8. PS, I always cringe when I hear people say this is my body I can do with it as I wish. Really? Whose body will it be when you die?

    What are you saying to the man you are with? You can have my body but not my fertility? Or the guy, I want your body but not your fertility? That is not love, its called lust.

    The repercussions are this: divorce, unhappiness, cancer…

    You are playing God whether you believe in Him or not.

  9. pagansister says:

    #8, Josephw: I have been married 46 1/2 years, have 2 grown, married children and a grandson. My husband and I chose to have only 2 dhildren—that decision was done with love because we wanted to be able to feed, clothe and shelter our children as well as love them. That, IMO, is love between 2 people, not lust. However, IMO, having a little “lust’ for the one you love is not a bad thing. When I die my earthly body will be cremated, and taken some place beautiful that I enjoyed being in and scattered there. Love between 2 people is, IMO, not measured by how many children a couple has.
    Obviously you are entitled to your opinion, and I to mine. In my world, God is not measuring me by how many children I had.

  10. deaconnorb says:

    Re: josephw #4 and #8 “Do you think that you have the right to alter your body?”

    IF I understand your position correctly — and I said IF (so please feel free to comment and correct my misunderstanding) — then the following would be true:

    –Circumcision would be immoral because it “altered the body” even though Jesus of Nazareth was circumcised.

    –Everyone who ever had a tattoo placed on their body would be condemned as immoral.

    –Anyone who had artificial knees or hips installed would be condemned as immoral.

    –What about those heart valves from pigs which are regularly used as replacement for human heart valves?

    –Would breast augmentation or reduction fit your criteria?

    –How about artificial limbs of all kinds?

    –Does DNA replacement gene herapy fit here too?

    I am fascinated at your moral position. Are you a graduate-degreed human biologist with a comparable graduate-degree in Canon Law?

    Your position seems to be far more narrow than our official church actually teaches that is why I ask from where you are coming from.

  11. pagansister says:

    Good questions, deaconnorb.

  12. Deaconnorb,

    I am assuming your are a Catholic deacon. Not sure why you would then seem to support the forced payment by everyone for birth control which last time I looked was a serious sin in the Catholic Church or was Humane Vitae not clear to you?

    As to your questions on all those various treatments, many of them are not covered at all by insurance and many are covered but with high costs to the individual. The issue here is should the government force everyone to pay for birth control choices of others. If someone chooses to use birth control, that is their choice, their body as some want to say. They are wrong becuase babies are lost in the use of birth control and it also has a huge impact on marriages and the culture as layed out long ago by Pope Paul VI in his outstanding encyclical. Everything he said would follow has indeed happened even though many within the church blasted him at the time saying it was predicting things that would never happen and were not connected. You might read this enclyclical and especially what would happen if these pills came into wide use and compare America when it was written versus today in each and every catagory. In each one he was amazingly correct. Again, the issue is forcing everyone to pay for this as it will not be free. With healthcare costs now causing huge issues with employment and millions out of work, getting these low cost pills free would only make sense to someone like Obama and the fools who supported him believing there is some magical tooth fairy out there that keeps on giving us free lunches each and every day. The bill is already coming do and the government is broke.

  13. peregrinus says:

    A couple thoughts:

    1. @ pagansister: “All women have that right, depending on their personal beliefs.” -this is a very small point, but I’m kind of a stickler. Are we using the term “right” in the same way? When I think of a right, I think of something that’s there no matter what. So the idea of a right that does or doesn’t exist based on what someone thinks seems a little problematic to me.

    2. I think the issue of “playing God” is kind one of the major issues of modernity, isn’t it? Changing material conditions (improved technology, especially medical technology, but also things like adequate sewage and sanitation systems) have revolutionized how human beings relate to “nature”. These new material conditions in turn have led to new superstructures/cultural attitues. (I have the ability to control my body in new ways… I SHOULD control my body in new ways). I think a lot of these new attitudes are sufficiently examined.

    3. As to playing God with birth control: is it playing God to determine when you’re going to have kids? Well, not really, because natural family planning is OK. So what’s the issue? Using a pill or a piece of latex to do it… which seems kind of odd. Because we tinker with nature in all sorts of other ways when we take pills for disease x. So we kind of play God all the time in that sense. I think it’s a contradiction.

  14. pagansister says:

    peregrinus #13: IF I understand correctly, NFP is used to prevent a pregnancy—just not using what some consider “artificial” means to do so, but the purpose is the same—no pregnancy now, thank you. If a woman judges incorrectly, then an unintended pregnancy results—with artificial means—whatever that might be—pill or condoms, there is less chance of an unintended pregnancy. For now I’m using this in the case of a married couple. IMO, why take the chance of calculating incorrectly when a woman has a choise? Many Catholic women are using artificial means to not get pregnant, and some are using the NFP method—some successfully and some not, I suspect. The means of birth control are mostly up to the woman, as time has shown (but not the way it should be, IMO) Must close due to time constrints. Will try to finish later.

  15. deaconnorb,

    When I say alter I was referring to the menstrual cycle, and I don’t have the greatest vocabulary in the world. I do know that the Catholic Church teaches the truth and nothing but the truth. Faith and reason have taught me that contraception is wrong. You either believe in the truth or you make it up.

    Since you are a deacon I do not need to cover church teaching on all your examples. Interesting enough none of your examples are preventing or hindering life, but I think my word alter gave you room to question what I was saying.

    NFP is always open to life, just because we can watch for signs in our body doesn’t give us full assurance that we won’t get pregnant. If God wills us to become pregnant we will become pregnant because we are open to it and are not using external means of controlling it.

  16. pagansister says:

    peregrinus, #13: Will try to continue. Think I said all I wanted to about the NFP and artificial means of birth control.

    I understand your definition of “right” so perhaps my use was not quite “right “. Perhaps I should try and state it is a woman’s choice whether to reproduce or not. This choice can be based on many things, faith being one of them. Did that make sense? Am not sure.

    Yes, I guess many of us “play God” everyday, just living in this world.

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