One bit of news that has fallen off the radar this year is the 50th anniversary of one of modern medicine’s most controversial pills. The birth control pill came out 50 years ago, forever changing the lives of American women and families. Thanks to the new health care bill, there has now been another shift in the availability of this medication.
President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul could include providing women with free contraceptives and family planning services. This could be very controversial because of the moral dilemma and debate that birth control and other forms of contraception face in the United States, especially because taxpayers’ money would help pay for this plan.
Today, many health care providers cover birth control, including Medicaid. So would it not make sense for the health care bill to do the same thing?
About 93 million prescriptions for birth control were written in 2009, according to IMS Health. Generic versions are even available at places such as Walmart or Planned Parenthood for prices as little as $9, according to the report.
One argument against potential free birth control under the bill is that many unplanned pregnancies happen while a woman is on birth control.
This often has to do with whether or not the woman was taking the birth control properly 8212; incorrect use could include forgetting to take or skipping a pill. With free birth control, women would not only have to have the ability to plan when they have children but also, through family planning, they would be able to gain knowledge about how to use the pill more effectively.
According to an Associated Press article, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood said, “We can look at other countries where birth control is available for no cost, and what we see are lower pregnancy rates, lower abortion rates and lower teen pregnancy.”
With teen pregnancies being glamorized on reality shows on MTV and pundits on Fox and CNN arguing about how the country’s youth is corrupt due an increase in teen pregnancies, it seems logical for us to have available options to prevent pregnancies. Birth control pills allow for family planning 8212; a woman can stop taking them when she is personally ready to have a child.
But until then, having easy access to birth control through the health care bill seems like it may help decrease abortion rates, which most despise about the idea of contraception. With easy access to contraceptives combined with proper guidance, those not wanting to get pregnant will not have to turn to such a drastic solution. For all the good that easy access to birth control will cause, it is more than worth ruffling some feathers.
KC Aransen is a sophomore psychology major from Arlington.