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Universal BC

July 14, 2010

Dana Goldstein had a piece yesterday at The Daily Beast suggesting that there’s a spat brewing over whether or not insurance companies will be required to cover contraceptives:

Could prescription birth control—whether the pill, an IUD, or a diaphragm—soon be free of cost for most American women?

Polls suggest the majority of Americans would support such a policy. But the Daily Beast has learned that many conservative activists, who spent most of their energies during the health-care reform fight battling to win abortion restrictions and abstinence-education funding, are just waking up to the possibility that the new health care law could require employers and insurance companies to offer contraceptives, along with other commonly prescribed medications, without charging any co-pay. Now the Heritage Foundation and the National Abstinence Education Association say they plan to join the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in resisting implementation of the new provisions.

Yglesias comments, predictably:

Politically speaking, I think this is the fight progressives have been wanting to have for some time now—something that would highlight the deeply reactionary and anti-woman ideology that drives the main institutional players in the anti-abortion movement. But will it be possible to get people to pay attention? These non-abortion reproductive health aspects of the Affordable Care Act got very little attention from either side.

I wonder how inclusive Yglesias thinks the “anti-abortion movement” is.  Am I part of this “movement” because I think lowering deductibles — via forcing insurers to provide coverage for contraceptives — on insurance policies that are already going to get more expensive and raise overall health-care costs is a bad idea?  Am I as “deeply reactionary” and “anti-woman” as the rest of these people because I think spending taxpayer dollars on expensive contraceptives when there are other options for contraception that aren’t expensive is a misuse of public money?  An even better question: is it weird to think that insurers should be forced to provide dental coverage for people who don’t brush their teeth?

If that qualifies me for inclusion, then I don’t think the “anti-abortion” movement is as crazy and “anti-woman” as Yglesias suggests.  If it doesn’t, then can’t we at least acknowledge that there are rational and sane arguments against providing “free” contraceptives?  Or is that issue still too hot-button?

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