Health Reform Side Effect: Free Birth Control?

Does contraception count as preventative care?
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2010 12:21 PM CDT
Health Reform Side Effect: Free Birth Control
A birth control pill container designed to look like a woman's makeup compact for Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc., of Raritan, NJ, on the manufacturer's assembly line.   (Mike Derer)

(Newser) – Here's the next big dogfight over health care reform: Whether the federal government is obligated to provide free birth control to American women. A panel will next month decide what falls under preventative care, and if contraception is determined to fit the bill, under Obamacare the feds must foot the bill, the AP reports. The outcome could result in a national shift toward more reliable, pricier contraceptives, but first, cue the moral brouhaha.

The senator who wrote the women's health amendment, Barbara Mikulski, tells the AP that its clear intent was to include contraception; and one expert cites "clear and incontrovertible evidence that family planning saves lives and improves health." The US Catholic bishops retort that pregnancy is not an illness, while a conservative think-tank head adds, "We don't consider it to be health care, but a lifestyle choice. We think there are other ways to avoid having children than by ingesting chemicals paid for by health insurance." (Read more birth control stories.)

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