Sex! Good, I’ve got your attention. I’m not going to say college is a time where everyone has sex but I’m also not going to pretend that everyone in Geneseo is abstinent.
People have sex and most of the time they don’t want to have little versions of themselves running around everywhere. Enter birth control, that magical medicinal regimen that regulates hormones and prevents conception. Recently, President Barack Obama issued a mandate that all insurers and organizations that receive federal funding must provide women with free coverage for contraceptives.
Herald the coming age of women’s health, complete with a decrease in abortions, adoptions and – according to the Donohue-Levitt hypothesis – less crime. With so many great effects, why is there so much opposition from conservatives and Christian organizations?
The first voice in this battle for better health care came from American Roman Catholic bishops. According to the Wall Street Journal, the day after Obama announced this new policy, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops declared that they would not support the health mandate, citing that contraceptives are immoral and forcing religious institutions to provide coverage for them would “infringe on [their] religious freedoms.”
In response, the White House pulled a move you’d expect from a genetic hybrid of John F. Kennedy and Henry Clay, in which the insurance companies that insure employees of religious institutions would cover the cost instead. Upon hearing this, the people rejoiced. Even the notoriously biased, conservative television network Fox News ran a poll showing that over 61 percent of Americans approved of the plan. Score one for team health!
It soon became apparent, however, that those opposing such legislation were not doing so for any logical reason. In the days after the compromise’s announcement, conservatives from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) complained, “Nothing in health insurance is free,” and that the cost of insurance still gets levied to employers.
While yes, this little fact is correct, there is one key fact they are missing: math. For example, you are a nurse at a hospital with a religious affiliation and you want to be on birth control. Under the new health care mandate, this would then cost your insurer about $360 a year per person. Let’s say, however, that you are unable to get your contraceptives because there isn’t any insurance coverage. If you become pregnant, the insurance would have to pay up to $950 for an abortion and even up to $10,000 for pregnancy. In the grand scheme of things, the insurer would much rather pay for birth control.
Math and logic aside, there is still one part of the issue that bothers me. Isn’t the matter of contraceptive use a personal issue? A woman should be able to decide for herself whether or not to take on the risk of having a child without employment or income making that decision for her. Anyone who says otherwise is simply anti-contraceptive and therefore irrational to begin with. We’re humans. We have sex. It’s part of our genetic behavior to want to procreate. It’s our business and no one can tell us otherwise.