Thursday, 14 October 2010

Planned Parenthood Seeks Mandated ObamaCare Contraceptive Coverage

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, mandates that insurance companies cover a variety of preventive services at no out-of-pocket cost, thanks to an amendment sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.).

“Although Mikulski said her amendment would include family planning services,” writes Congressional Quarterly, “the language does not specify whether contraceptives should be included.” However, says the news service, “[Health and Human Services] officials say an independent panel including doctors, nurses and scientists will decide which services will be covered. The guidelines are expected to be issued by Aug. 1, 2011.”

With mandated “free” contraceptive coverage a possibility but not a certainty, Planned Parenthood is pulling out all the stops to make sure the panel requires it. CQ Weekly reported in July that Planned Parenthood had already “sent 300 advocates to urge lawmakers to include coverage of birth control,” hoping “to receive the support from lawmakers such as Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who oppose abortion rights but in the past have supported birth control measures.” Now, says CQ, the nation’s number-one abortion provider “aims to get 1 million signatures on a petition supporting the measure. The education campaign, including a website, is planned to last for months and will focus on gaining support across the country, especially on college campuses.”

The report adds:

Planned Parenthood is trying to make the case for requiring insurers to provide prescription birth control without making patients pay a share of the cost, saying it will improve women’s health care and reduce the number of unintended pregnancies.

“Providing contraceptive care helps keep women healthy. Keep women healthy, they have healthier pregnancies, and therefore they’ll have healthier children. It’s a logical continuation. And that is just a huge benefit to society. It’s what health care reform should all be about,” said Hal C. Lawrence III, vice president for practice activities at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which is supporting Planned Parenthood’s campaign.

Contraception keeps women "healthy" only if one believes that pregnancy, a natural phenomenon for which the female body is made, is generally unhealthful. Birth-control pills have a variety of negative side effects, including fluid retention; increased risk of certain types of cancer; higher cholesterol and triglyceride levels; high blood pressure; increased risk of cardiovascular disease for smokers; and (as The New American reported recently) “moodiness, depression, decreased libido,” and potential brain alterations. Plus, widespread use of contraception tends to lead to more sexual activity with more partners, with a resulting increase in sexually-transmitted disease, according to Susan E. Wills, assistant director for Education and Outreach in the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who wrote that “in the U.S., 1 in 4 teen girls has at least one STD; many of these are incurable and some are fatal.” (A cynic might also note that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has a self-serving motive in supporting the measure: Any woman needing a prescription for the Pill will most likely obtain it through one of the group’s members, who in turn will collect a fee for the office visit.)

Nor does easy availability of birth control necessarily translate into fewer unwanted pregnancies. In fact, Wills pointed out,

Numerous studies in the United States and Europe have found that greater access to contraception fails to reduce unintended pregnancies and abortions. A recent $10 million intervention in England giving at-risk teens comprehensive sex education and contraception is a perfect example. Teens in the program had a pregnancy rate 2.5 times higher than a similar group of at-risk teens (16 vs. 6 percent).

Planned Parenthood’s premises, therefore, are completely false, which does not, unfortunately, mean the organization’s campaign cannot succeed. Those opposed to mandating contraceptive coverage have been slow to make their opinions known to the administration and, says CQ, “have not yet engaged in major lobbying efforts.”

If such no-cost coverage is mandated, it will force individuals who have health insurance, through their premiums, to underwrite the cost of contraceptives for others, even if these individuals have religious or personal objections to birth control. Furthermore, where individuals obtaining free contraceptives through their insurers also get government subsidies to purchase their insurance, taxpayers who object to birth control will be coerced into paying for it anyway. Even if every American were fully in favor of birth control, mandating insurers cover it at no out-of-pocket cost is guaranteed to increase demand for it, in turn increasing its price and forcing premiums and taxpayer subsidies to rise — not to mention probably contributing to an explosion in the number of pregnancies and the prevalence of STDs among teenagers and unwed young women. In short, no good can come from Planned Parenthood’s initiative, which is only to be expected from an organization whose founder was thoroughly dedicated to the eradication of those she deemed unfit to live, including blacks and the disabled.

There are myriad reasons, then, to oppose federally-mandated “free” contraception coverage. Those who do oppose it, regardless of their reasons, need to band together and start lobbying furiously to prevent it. If only one voice — the voice of sexual libertinism at others’ expense — is heard in Washington, then only one voice will be heeded.

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