Every woman will have access to birth control under the Obama administration’s latest decision regarding health care reform, which was meant to appease Catholic bishops who balked at a previous iteration of the rule. White House officials stated on Friday that insurers must create a policy that doesn’t offer coverage of contraceptives that can be used by religiously-affiliated employers that object. But insurers also have to offer a plan that covers contraceptives without co-pays or deductibles and they are required to reach out and offer it to women. Explicitly religious employers, such as houses of worship, are still exempt from covering contraception in their prescription plans. Keep reading »
Who’s been called in as “experts” on cable news to discuss the current debate over birth control? More men than women, that’s who. Across all the networks, 91 men appeared to talk about the birth control debate, while only 55 women appeared on-air. The greatest disparity was at the Fox stations, but the “liberal”-leaning network of MSNBC didn’t do much better. When the debate primarily affects women’s lives — in this case, their very bodies — more female voices need to be heard. Shame on these networks for allowing guys, whatever their opinion, a greater voice in the debate. [Think Progress]
This is a sad story that underscores how the age requirement on the morning-after pill doesn’t work: a math teacher in Austin, Texas, resigned after she was caught having helped a student acquire the morning-after pill. Two weeks ago, a 16-year-old came to her teacher, Tracy Lee Steinberg, 32, in tears and told her she was afraid that she was pregnant. Steinberg told the student she had a bright future and that she would help the 16-year-old get the morning-after pill, which is only available over-the-counter without a prescription for women ages 17 and up. Steinberg got money for the Plan B from the student and the student’s boyfriend, purchased it at a Planned Parenthood, and the student took it.
But when the student started experiencing normal side effects of Plan B like nausea, the student — surely in fear — told her mother she’d taken the morning-after pill and that Steinberg had gotten it for her. The mother called the school district and the administrators notified Steinberg she’d be put on leave. Instead, Steinberg offered to resign. Keep reading »
Health care plans should cover birth control, STD screening, HPV testing, and other services for women without co-pays, according to an independent panel of doctors from the Institute of Medicine (IOM). President Obama’s new health care reform requires “preventative care” services be covered and the Obama administration asked that the IOM assess which services fell under this category.
According to the IOM report [PDF], their eight recommendations for coverage include: “the full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity”; HPV testing as part of cervical cancer screening for women over 30; counseling on STDs; counseling and screening for HIV; lactation counseling and equipment to promote breast-feeding; screening for gestational diabetes; screening and counseling to detect and prevent domestic violence; and annual preventive care visits. Including these services are integral for women to “better avoid unwanted pregnancies and space their pregnancies to promote optimal birth outcomes” as a key method of preventative care, the IOM report said.
No co-pays for your Nuva Ring and HPV testing? Preventing pregnancy until you and your boo are ready to be parents? Sweet, right!? Alas, not everyone is so thrilled. Keep reading »
For the past three years, I have not taken any birth control pills and instead solely relied on condoms for contraception. These past few years, I have been a full-time freelancer without health insurance and I have prioritized paying for my anti-depressant prescription — anywhere from $100 to $120 bucks a month, depending on the pharmacy — over BC.
But if the Obama administration gets its way after a thorough review from health experts, the costs of contraceptives and other family planning services will be covered by insurers under health care reform. Contraceptives would be considered “preventative services” because they prevent unwanted pregnancies and a host of other health issues that come along with the stork’s surprises. Wouldn’t that be the jam?
Don’t get too excited yet, though: some “family” organizations are already whining that pregnancy is “not a disease” and birth control should not be considered a preventative service. Keep reading »
India has a rather novel idea to curb overpopulation — late-night TV! Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad wants the country to increase efforts to bring electricity to the country’s rural areas in the hopes that watching late-night TV will kill the libidos of this huge population and discourage procreation. “If there is electricity in every village, then people will watch TV till late at night and then fall asleep,” Azad argued. “When there is no electricity there is nothing else to do but produce babies.” India’s population grows about 1.6 percent annually and accounts for about 17 percent of the world population even though the country makes up only 3 percent of the Earth’s land. Azad said 80 percent of India’s population growth can be reduced by TV, which is a great medium to combat the problem. [Impact Lab]
Kudos to India for increasing its effort to bring electricity to rural areas (it’s only 2009, after all), but wouldn’t more conventional approaches like, you know, sex education and contraceptives, prove more effective in fighting overpopulation? Keep reading »
It’s a good thing abstinence-only advocates are tweaking their message, because the old one didn’t seem to be working. According to a study from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Guttmacher Institute, teens’ contraceptive use declined 10 percent from 2003 to 2007, but their level of sexual activity remained the same. The study’s authors believe the findings suggest a link between the decrease in contraceptive use and the rise in abstinence-only education during former President George W. Bush’s administration. Unsurprisingly, the proportion of births to unmarried women also saw an increase. [Medical News Today] Keep reading »
Yesterday, a federal judge ordered the FDA to make the Plan B morning-after birth control pill available without a prescription to women 17 and up. In a very crime show-sounding ruling, the court said, “The FDA repeatedly and unreasonably delayed issuing a decision on Plan B for suspect reasons.” How sordid! Apparently, the FDA only considered a petition about Plan B when Congress threatened to hold up FDA commissioners’ confirmation hearings. And, the FDA ignored it’s own advisory panel and scientists, who found that Plan B could be safely used by 17-year-olds. Keep reading for five things you should know about the morning-after pill, no matter what your age. [NY Times, Reuters] Keep reading »