Free birth control for women a possibility


POSTED: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - 9:54pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - 10:36pm

At time when some women are finding birth control too expensive for their budgets, a new recommendation could soon make it free.

Dr. Willie Parker, with Planned Parenthood, says that lack of funds can often lead to unplanned pregnancies, and women less likely to get pre-natal care.

"We have people having to make those very hard choices between paying for things that they know that they definitely need, and also not having the funds to cover other things they need access to contraception," stated Parker. “We don't get a chance to detect the complications of pregnancy like premature birth."

So after being asked by the government to weigh in, the Independent Institute of Medicine now recommends contraception be considered a preventive service with no co-pay under the new health care law.

The law already requires free preventive services like blood pressure checks, but the IOM was asked to say what else women need. Among their recommendations: screening for gestational diabetes, HPV and HIV, and counseling on STD's.

But some who take issue with contraception, especially emergency contraception such as Plan B, are against that part of the recommendation.

"There are different groups of people who have either ethic or moral objections to contraception,” said Jeanne Monahan with the Family Research Council. “And so those groups of people shouldn't be mandated to pay through their insurance premiums for contraceptives for other people."

Even though the two sides are unlikely to agree on the issue, the Department of Health and Human Services makes the final decision.

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