Friday, October 22, 2010


Planned Parenthood has a petition out right now to encourage congress to add free birth control to the new healthcare reform.  The text of the position is simply

"I support making prescription birth control available at no cost. The new health care reform law should make prescription birth control available to every woman without co-pays or other out-of-pocket costs to ensure that every woman has access to the birth control that works best for her. This will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and help keep women and children healthy."

Let's be honest, here.  No matter how many signatures this petition gets, I highly doubt that it will succeed.  So why do I think it matters, and why do I think it's important to sign it?  Because even if it does not pass-- the fact that individuals put down their addresses means their representatives will see that people do care about birth control.  And birth control is important.  It keeps women from getting pregnant, it regulates periods, and helps treat serious illnesses like endometriosis.  Even when women can't control their sex lives, if they could afford birth control, they can have a say in controlling their reproduction-- condoms take the cooperation of both partners, but a woman who can obtain birth control can take it without telling her partner.  This can be especially important for young women who still live with their parents, women who have abusive partners, or women who simply do not trust condoms.

As someone who is currently unemployed and who uses birth control, I've got to say I am a big fan of it being affordable.  I've been on it since I was 18, well before I ever had sex, and it does amazing things for my productivity during the week before my period.  I always took it for granted, because when I was in school, the copay was amazingly low-- and now it's gone higher, but it's still something I'm not willing to live without.  It-- and healthcare in general-- are free in many other countries of similar status to the US.  Having free birthcontrol won't turn us into a nation of Godless heathens who sleep with everything in site, but it will reduce the number of abortions and unwanted pregnancies.  And I think most people can agree that those are good things-- both for the women and for society at large.


Lily said...

I always assumed that contraception was free in the US, under your insurance system!?! It's free in England under the NHS, but it's limited, i.e. doesn't include things like Mirena unless it's 'needed'.

I'm kind of divided on this issue. I do think women should have access to affordable contraception. OTOH, I don't think there is enough knowledge of NFP. When I first read Toni Weschler's book, after the initial pleasure at the knowledge had faded, I got angry that so much my friends and I had been through had been unnecessary. And this stuff works. There are the WOOMB trials (I believe in China) and just on a personal basis, I used NFP for contraception for 8 years and then I used it for conception and got pregnant at first try (most likely literally first try not just the first month).

So..very divided.

Quercki said...

I'd sign for it if it included all forms of birth control. This particular idea seems like something the drug companies lobbied for.