Here’s the thing I don’t understand about the Affordable Care Act. If the government can force private employees to provide insurance that will pay for contraceptives, then why isn’t the reverse true – why doesn’t the Affordable Care Act force employers to provide insurance to pay for fertility treatments for those woman having trouble getting pregnant?
If the federal government can demand that an employer provide health insurance that covers the cost of abortions, then why can’t the federal government also mandate the provision of health care that allows couples longing for babies a chance at conceiving one?
Yes, I understand that there was a time when infertility treatment was considered experimental, a risk. But then again, there was a time when open-heart surgery was considered experimental but most insurance companies cover that now.
As far as I know there is no ceiling cap on how many abortions a woman can have. No limit to how many different forms of contraceptives a couple may access. So if employers – even those whose faith traditions are in direct conflict with the use of contraceptives or abortion – are forced to make provision according to the Affordable Care Act, then doesn’t it only seem equitable that the Affordable Care Act also make provision for couples in need of fertility treatment?
It’s not like infertility is a new problem. American fertility rates hit a historical low in the late 1800s. So, we have been struggling with a creation conundrum for well over a century.
Currently, according to the Center for Disease Control, the number of women with an impaired ability to get pregnant is 6.7 million. An estimated 1.5 million married woman have been unable to conceive even after a year of unprotected sex with their husbands. In other words, 20 percent of all couples looking to conceive in the US are having problems.
But if those couples want to do even the most basic of fertility procedures, they are looking at paying thousands of dollars out-of-pocket.
Does that make any sense?
Why are there no headlines about the infertile lobbying Congress for health care? Why is there no collective voice demanding that these discriminatory laws that favor fecund couples be changed?
Somebody please explain to me, why we Americans consider it noble to champion the prevention of a life, and the termination of a life, but not the creation of a life?
Could it be because infertility is just another one of those “female” issues that a mostly male Congress chooses to ignore?
I bet if it was the men who birthed the babies, the powers that be would have mandated better insurance coverage for infertility a long time ago.
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of the forthcoming Mother of Rain (Mercer University Press).