A couple of days ago the Institute of Medicine came out with a formal recommendation that birth control, breast-feeding assistance (including breast-pump rentals), counseling for domestic violence, and annual wellness exams and HIV tests be covered with no cost to patients under the health-care reform bill. You can read news stories about the report here and here, among I'm sure many other news sources.
In a year where we've seen law makers attempt to defund agencies that provide vital women's health care services like Planned Parenthood, as well as cut funding for agencies that provide basic nutritional support for low income women and children like WIC, I'm happy and relieved with the recommendations. At last, science and logic over anti-woman extremism!
Of course, there's no guarantee that the recommendations will be followed. There is still a very vocal contingent that feels the need to continually attack the physical autonomy of half the U.S. population under the excuse of "but funding birth control is like funding abortion!!!!"
Umm, no. Actually, it's not.
I can appreciate that a lot of people are opposed to abortion. I am unapologetically pro-choice myself, but I get that there are people out there that have genuine moral issues with the idea.
News flash. If you want to decrease the number of abortions, you need to cut down on the number of unintended pregnancies. Period. Full stop. End of story.
Another news flash. Women have sex. Period. Full stop. End of story.
Given these two indisputable facts, it follows that making birth control available to all women who don't want to get pregnant is a good idea.
So says she who has lost multiple wanted pregnancies.
If you agree with this premise and want to do something to help implement these recommendations, click here to sign a petition to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in support of them.