Until such time as I drive around to different local schools in a condom-shaped car just cold handin’ out contraceptives to one and all, it’s always going to be a struggle to have birth control treated the same as any other perfectly useful and necessary preventive medicines, on account of the hidebound malicious puritanical streak still blighting American public life, and so forth.
A component of the healthcare reform package which was recently signed into law (holla!) requires that new plans provide certain preventive care services free of charge. “Many people,” the Washington Post reports, “including women’s health advocates and some employer groups, think contraception should be one of the required free services,” given the obvious benefits to social health implicit in preventing unplanned pregnancies, and proper family planning’s role in securing the health of parents and children. The Health Resources and Services Administration will decide whether contraception—which is spottily covered in many extant health plans, and out of the price range for many who might need it most—ought to be among the preventive medicines covered. Of course it should! Unless of course you are the spokeswoman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who tells the Post, “Preventive care should be about preventing disease. Fertility is not a disease to be cured, and the government should not treat it as that.” Yes, yes, that is exactly the point, here.