Contraception, Women’s Rights, and Single-Payer Health Care

by David Lemberg MS DC on November 11, 2012

[Published February 20, 2012 on BIOETHICS TODAY] Contraception, women’s rights, and religious freedom have dominated the headlines in recent weeks. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Obama Administration’s useful beginning on the road to meaningful health care reform, was signed into law in March 2010. In August 2011 the administration announced it had accepted recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (released on July 20th) and expanded the definition of women’s preventive care. The new guidelines require new health insurance plans to fully cover women’s preventive health services, including the provision of birth control pills without co-payments. The administration estimates that by 2013, 34 million American women aged 18 to 64 will receive the benefits specified in the new ruling.

Naturally (also, sadly), considering that this is the United States, a firestorm of ill-will began gathering in response. Lately the anti-contraception forces have been in full cry. The wedge issue focuses on inclusion or exclusion of religious-affiliated organizations in the requirement. The House majority party and affiliated presidential hopefuls have announced their fierce opposition. Recently the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops rebuffed a White House compromise, stating that the requirement still infringed on religious liberty.


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