Life, Liberty, and Obama’s Pursuit of Free Birth Control

CascadeNewLogoThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released the long-awaited “accommodation” on the so-called “contraceptive services mandate.” The mandate requires nearly all employers to provide birth control, “morning-after” and “week-after” pills, and sterilization without copayments in their employee health care plans. According to the Obama Administration, the revised HHS rule requires employees of objecting religious organizations to be offered “no-cost contraceptive coverage through separate individual health insurance policies” issued through insurance companies or a third-party administrator.

Jim Towey, president of Ave Maria University, which has brought a lawsuit against the mandate, called the rule a “bizarre, new bureaucracy to obscure who exactly is paying for the abortion-inducing drugs and other services covered by the mandate.”

This is an important point for civil libertarians. Pharmaceutical companies will not provide a lifetime supply of free contraceptives to every American woman over the age of twelve out of the goodness of their hearts. The costs will be borne by individual policyholders, for-profit businesses, nonreligious nonprofits, and taxpayers―any of whom may object, and none of whom qualify for exemption.

President Obama pays lip service to the First Amendment and champions freedom of choice, but if he truly respected either, he would stop trying to create a universal entitlement to free birth control. The American way is a thriving marketplace where people can choose health care providers and coverage consistent with their beliefs. It looks as if we’ll get court battles instead.

Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization, and a graduate of the University of Portland.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Health & Human Services | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • marvinmcconoughey

    The offered compromise seems a best-effort way to deal with the strident opposition to mandatory contraception coverage. A national health care system strikes me as inherently dubious, but given that it is a reality, it should also cover contraception.

  • 3H

    OK, so I assume that Ms. Hickok would be in favor of putting previously untaxed religious property back on the tax rolls? As an agnostic, is it truly fair that I pay for public services to institutions with whom I philosophically disagree?

  • Larry Sparks

    This is just another example of Obama’s promise to fundalmentally transform america from a republic to a socialist country. Where all your needs are given to you by the government and anything resembling accountabilty and self reliant is considered unfair.

    • 3H

      LOL.. right. Obama is a socialist. I wish.

  • Oregon Engineer

    More bureaucracy of exception to exceptions within exceptions. Everybody gets everything for free and everybody pays except for those who don’t pay.

    3H you will be paying regardless of how you believe, agnostic, atheist, believer, and regardless of religion or church and regardless of tax status of religion.

    • 3H

      I think you missed my point.

    • valley person

      Its not free. Its covered by the money one pays for the insurance. Since insurance is an individual benefit, not unlike actual money, why should a religious institution, which is not even in control of these organizations, get to tell the employee what they can or can’t use their money or benefit for?

  • Mary

    If I have to pay for birth control I simply won’t use it. Ever. Then I will have babies and you will pay for them. So it is cheaper to just pay my bills for the stuff I need now.

  • JacklordGod

    Covering birth control under insurance is a way of allowing those who simply want others to pay for their stuff to cloak it in a feigned misunderstanding of what insurance is. Their abdication of any personal responsibility is evident in their mantra that if you don’t pay for it then society should pay for their babies.

    The hilarity that if everyone else won’t pay for their necessary precautions, it is foolish to think they will be responsible enough to do so is self evident. The complete childishness of claiming “well, if you wouldn’t cover the cost of my party, you should cover the cost of its clean up” is largely an attempt to recapture lost youth of being a teen girl rather than presented as cogent argument.

    One can only imagine how often these people are left stranded in the middle of nowhere when they found auto insurance didn’t cover the cost of gasoline.

    Or the hapless boob who went sky diving only to discover half way through free fall that society hadn’t covered the necessary precaution of a parachute.

    For these people, who think if everyone else doesn’t pay for it, then surely they should not be bothered with getting a free condom that is handed out virtually everywhere, I would suggest vastly more remedy is in order than fixing their birth control worries. A rubber room perhaps?

  • valley person

    Do conservatives really want to keep beating this horse and alienating young voters? Marginally religious affiliated institutions employ people who have nothing to do with their religion. Those people get a paycheck and benefits, including health insurance. What does the religious institution care whether people pay for birth control out of the paycheck that institution hands them, or if they pay for it in the form of an insurance benefit?

    This whole issue makes zero sense. Get over it.

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