Free Birth Control For All?

by Chris Bodenner

Dana Goldstein looks at the possibility:

Experts expect the Department of Health and Human Services, led by pro-choice Obama appointee Kathleen Sebelius, to spend the next six to 18 months researching women's health before releasing new guidelines for women's "preventive health care." Under the new law, services and medications defined as "preventive" must be offered to customers of new insurance plans free of co-payswhether that insurance is employer-provided or purchased on the individual marketplace, whether inside or outside of the new, subsidized health insurance exchanges.

So does Tracy Clark-Flory:

It's yet to be decided whether birth control will be one of those services -- even though the so-called Mikulski amendment was intended for that very purpose -- and experts say it's unlikely a decision will be reached by late September when the rule goes into effect. (No rush -- I mean, the outcome only potentially impacts the estimated 3 million unplanned pregnancies each year.) ... Not only do planned pregnancies tend to result in healthier children, but fewer unplanned pregnancies mean fewer abortions. That's something everyone can get behind, right?

Of course not.

As you might recall, roughly a year ago, abortion became the focus of the Senate debate over the Mikulski amendment. Despite the fact that the amendment focused specifically on contraception, conversation nonetheless turned to Planned Parenthood and the possibility of required coverage for abortions. Normally, I would flippantly point out the inappropriateness of treating Planned Parenthood as a synonym for abortion, seeing as the vast majority of the care the organization provides is preventive -- but it's exactly that disagreement over the definition of preventive care that is at issue here. It might appear that birth control is obviously preventive -- it prevents pregnancies, end of discussion -- but many anti-abortion activists believe that contraceptives that can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting are actually abortifacients.

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