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Birth Control: Free at Last?!

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momlogic's Vivian:

birth control pills

It's been over a half century since "the Pill" was made available to women, and thanks to healthcare reform, the day may FINALLY come when we can stop shelling out hundreds and hundreds of our hard-earned dollars each year to prevent ourselves from having the children we -- or our fellow taxpayers -- can't afford to support.

According to The Huffington Post, a panel of experts will meet this month to advise our government as to what kinds of preventive care for women should be covered at no cost to the patient.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., who penned the women's health amendment, said that "the clear intent was to include family planning." But whether or not family planning qualifies as preventive medicine has long been fodder for a heated debate among religious and political groups.

Even so, many medical and public health experts see it as a no-brainer. "There is clear and incontrovertible evidence that family planning saves lives and improves health," said OB/GYN Dr. David Grimes, an international family planning expert who teaches medicine at the University of North Carolina. "Contraception rivals immunization in dollars saved for every dollar invested. Spacing out children allows for optimal pregnancies and optimal childrearing. Contraception is a prototype of preventive medicine."

Considering we're the generation who spent more years avoiding unwanted pregnancies than trying actively to conceive, this comes as a great relief -- even if we won't be able to enjoy the benefits for long ourselves.

I think it's important to consider the fact that the Pill isn't just good for birth control. When I was a mere lass, doctors rarely diagnosed girls like me with polycystic ovarian syndrome outright; they just threw you on the Pill. It was a miracle cure, as it eased debilitating cramps, lightened a tragically heavy flow and rendered your cycle pinpoint-predictable.

I've unwittingly taken my life into my hands just to stay on the Pill. Anti-abortion zealots have always targeted helpful organizations like Planned Parenthood, and many innocent people have lost their lives in tragic acts of violence. Back in 1994, during a test stint of RU-486 (an early incarnation of Plan B), a gunman blazed into a Boston Planned Parenthood, killing the receptionist and wounding three bystanders. Had it happened 24 hours prior, I might've borne witness to this horrible tragedy -- or worse.

So here's to how far we've come as American women. And here's to hoping that the chances of our daughters starring in "Teen Mom: The Next Generation" will significantly diminish.

next: 'Race to Nowhere' Vicki Abeles Says Don't Focus on Grades
197 comments so far | Post a comment now
zandhmom November 5, 2010, 5:13 AM

I completely agree that birth control should be available for free, even condoms should be. I also think that after every man and women including teen boys and girls could get birth control for free, we should stop paying welfare for these children. I think it is an awesome idea to make each person responsible for their own choices. Just think of how many unwanted children this can save from being born and think of all the std that could be prevented from spreading. Teach self respect and self help.

michelle November 5, 2010, 9:29 AM

zandhmom, congratulations on being both mean-spirited and uninformed at the same time. So let’s get this straight. You believe that if a child is wanted and planned, that child then does not deserve any help with health insurance, food assistance, etc. if their parents lose a job or get sick. You also seem to believe we still have “welfare” in this country, which we do not. Glad my kids have me for a mother and not you.

zandhmom November 5, 2010, 10:05 AM

Michelle, first off I’m neither mean spirited nor uninformed. I realize that there are times when people need extra help, in fact my mother did when my father passed away leaving her 4 kids and no job. My family recieved food stamps and free lunches at school until my mom was able to get back on her feet. My point is that with free birth control and all the education that our young kids recieve today about sex, there should be no “unplanned” babies. I don’t understand how we women have come so far in the feminist movement and in the sexual revolution that we as mothers still don’t education our children (esp girls)about how with the freedom of sexual expression also comes the responsibility of sexual expression. Again, I know some time we all need extra help but that help should be for a limited amount of time to help someone get back on their feet, it shouldn’t be a source of permament income year after year. And if wanting to teach my kids to be respectful of their bodies and choices makes me a mean person, then so be it.

KSto November 5, 2010, 8:49 PM

I think this is one giant leap in the right direction. Though I do wish they would address the fact that many women chose to not take hormonal birth control pills because they can not tolerate the side effects.

If you can’t stand what it does to you free or not your not going to take it. Not to mention the pill or any other birth control is not 100% effective when used perfectly. There will still be unplanned pregnancies to contend with.

If the drug companies would test every woman then tailor fit the hormones to her hormone levels the side effects would be less and the rate of failure would be less.

Beside the point that if women can tolerate and put up with life changing side effects for the gain of not having an unwanted pregnancy why in the world can’t men?

The argument against male birth control has always been that the side effects would be to harsh. I argue that because the medical community discredits women and expects us to not be sexual beings the intolerable side effects of hormonal birth control were simply dismissed. And now that it’s here developing a male hormonal birth control would simply not be cost effective.

Like I said one step in the right direction but then again we could be doing better.

In the... November 6, 2010, 2:42 PM

…advanced countries of the world, family planning already is free. This is a non-issue for us. We feel sorry for the women of Africa who usually become mothers through rape. As for America, we just sigh and turn our eyes away. In fact, a recent visit to the doctor cost me all of NT100. I’m not going to translate for any of you. Do the research, check the currency, then re-eye all those bills you have that cost you thousands every month. Obama tried to bring you in-line with the rest of the Western world. He tried to give you the healthcare he thought you deserved. As far as the rest of us are concerned, you’re getting the healthcare you DO deserve instead. Congratulations America, the Republicans win. Well done you.

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Robin November 8, 2010, 12:06 PM

I’m glad this may become an option even though it would be of no use to me. KSto is right, sometimes hormone based birth control is not an option. The pill worked wonders for me simply because it killed my entire sex drive. Practically no sex for almost 2 years. It also gave me massive mood swings. God bless my husband for putting up with that!

james November 15, 2010, 1:51 PM

I have so much respect for the Catholic Church in how they provide for the poor and help those that are less fortunate than others. However, this stance on abortion at all costs hinders my opinion of them. Their are so many people suffereing from a lack of health insurance, yet they want the government to legislate morality. I always was taught that people show be compelled to follow Jesus and live a life representing the bible, not forced to do it.

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