Open Forum: Free birth control?
Posted: October 10, 2012
An article in The Star on Oct. 5 cites a program where women received free birth control. They subsequently experienced fewer unintended pregnancies and fewer abortions than the national rate. The argument is then put forth — supporting President Obama’s contraception mandate — that if you are against abortion you must certainly be 100 percent in favor of free contraception.
The article also considers unintended pregnancy to be a public health issue since an estimated 43 percent of them end in abortion, and low-income women cannot afford the more expensive (but more effective) forms of birth control.
As I see it, there are two components to this article. The first is that the contraception mandate is not a public health issue and not even a women’s issue as most of the media have tried to portray it.
It is a religious liberty issue. Let’s be clear on this. No one is taking away or even suggesting that we take away a woman’s access to contraception. It was available before the mandate became law, and it continues to be available.
So what is all the uproar about? It is the fact that the mandate forcesinstitutions and businesses to provide free (no co-pay, but guess who ends up paying for it?) contraception for their employees through their health insurance.
Compliance with this mandate will force some of these institutions and business owners to violate their religious beliefs and consciences regarding the morality of artificial birth control. (Some of the methods actually cause an abortion.) Regardless, though, of how you feel about birth control, the fact that the government is forcing this upon us in an issue unto itself, especially grave because it deals with conscience rights and the liberty to practice one’s religious beliefs in freedom.
The second component is the speciousness of some of the thoughts put forth in the article. For instance, free birth control may reduce abortions, but you can substitute any number of other ideas in the same fashion. Free mammograms would probably reduce breast cancer. Free pap smears would probably reduce cervical cancer. Free abortions would probably reduce the number of unwanted children and the number of women on food stamps.
You get my point? What do these people want, everything to be free? Of course, that is an oxymoron because nothing is free — you and I will pay for it.
The head of the team that conducted the study, Dr. Jeffrey Peipert of Washington University in St. Louis, bemoaned the fact that “. . . women with money can get family planning and the women without cannot.”
That is just simply not true. They may not be able to get the more expensive forms, but it is available at little or no cost. (Anyone heard of Planned Parenthood which, by the way, is already subsidized by you and me?) The fact some people can afford some things and others cannot is simply a fact of life; the government’s role is not to make everything equal and keep everybody happy, especially in regard to birth control.
Joanne Seale is a resident of Frederick County.