Controversy over birth control roils on
Birth control has taken center stage as one of the hot-button social and political issues of 2012. Who should pay for it? MSN Money readers sound off.
By MSN Money
It seems that everyone has an opinion in the heated nationwide debate over who should pay for birth control, and MSN Money readers are no exception. This hot-button topic has people picking sides based on politics, religion and personal beliefs, and Money asked our Facebook fans to weigh in. But first, a quick rehash of the controversy:
After the Obama administration announced in January that all employers would be required to cover free birth control for employees, some church-affiliated institutions said such a requirement was an affront to religious freedom. Some states -- including Idaho, Missouri and Arizona -- responded with bills that would allow exemptions to secular insurers or businesses that object to covering contraception, abortion and sterilization. Obama later offered a change that would require insurance companies, not employers, to provide birth control; some critics endorsed that compromise, but not all.
The conversation got a lot nastier after a congressional hearing in mid-February. Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke was blocked from testifying, but she later told an informal gathering of Democratic House members that she believes contraception should be free because so many students would otherwise go without, and told of a friend with polycystic ovary syndrome who was denied access to contraceptives -- even though her doctor had prescribed them to treat a medical condition.
After Fluke's testimony, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh threw himself into the middle of the debate after saying Fluke was ultimately asking to be paid to have sex -- and even saying that she should give something in return by posting her sex videos online.
Limbaugh later apologized for calling Fluke names, but he stands by his stance that people should pay for their own birth control. Some people agree with Limbaugh, including Money reader Lucille B., who says, "Two consenting adults should share the cost of birth control if it is used as a contraceptive." But others, like Kayla H., have a different view. She says, "I would rather pay out of taxes for birth control to be free rather than a bunch of kids on welfare."
Here's what other MSN Money Facebook fans said when asked whether birth control should be free:
Rebecca K.: Most contraceptives are too expensive. Maybe people would use them more if they were free or cheaper...
Maheel F.: I think it should be more affordable, for employed workers with insurance and free for the unemployed.
Geraldine G.: I don't know what the price of birth control is. It should not be free, unless EVERYTHING is free.
Stephen P.: $9 a month at walmart and target is too much? I don't think so...
Post continues after video.
Terah J.: It'd be nice if it were free for all, but at the very least it should be free for people who obviously have no/low income and free for all girls under the age of 18 or 21!!
Terrica H.: heck yes it should be free- the government is so willing to give people money for having children, they would save money by providing free birth control! Hey, let's talk sterilization too: THAT shoud be free AND mandatory for some.
Kendall F.: Why should I pay for someone else to have sex? It should only be made available to teens free to stop kids from having kids but over 18, buy your own, abstain, or handle it yourself. Stay the hell out of my pocket and I will stay out of your bedroom!
George B.: The ACA mandated that contraception be offered on all insurance plans. That does not make it free. but like all meds now it I too expensive unless there is some underwriting of the cost. The bottom line: bc is part of any comprehensive public health program, but until we have single payer universal health care we will lag the rest of the world that does.
Laura J.: Why should those be free vs diabetes drugs or any other disease w expensive meds. You want it, buy it
Danny L.: Still cheaper than diapers, formula, baby wipes, and etc.
Deborah C.: It is all about taking personal responsibility for your body and your life. Birth control is what you do to have control over it. It would benefit many woman if it were made available to them for free.
Lori E.: Reliable birth control is too expensive. If not free, then it should be easily affordable and attainable so that more people (women AND men) would use it to a greater extent. Wouldn't that be less expensive than unwanted pregnancy? Because no matter what your beliefs - people are going to have sex. Always have, always will. Let's at least be smart about it now, rather than complain about the results later.
Emily G.: I was paying $10 for birth control per month. No way in hell is that expensive. Keep your legs closed and pay for your own medication! You pay for antibiotics, etc so what is the difference? Simple...your body can't help that you got sick but you somehow feel entitled to free birth control just because you can't accept that its YOUR responsibility?!
Tara K.: It should be covered!!! I use bc for medical reasons and it's a lot every 10 weeks with insurance! Almost all insurances cover Viagra !!!! Birth control should be under preventative care and completely covered !!!
Angela T.: Yes, I do think birth control should be free. Unplanned pregnancy is an epidemic in this country. People are having sex. They need to be educated on methods of birth control, and free or very cheap methods need to be available. People who can't afford birth control can't afford to have children (or abortions), either, and it's much cheaper to provide someone with free birth control than to support their child.
Lisette A.: Since the economic downturn, we are only on my husbands income, we pay $180/month for my insurance- that doesn't cover birth control. We have 2 small children and he makes $17/hour! We can't afford an additional $70/month for birth control!! It's ridiculous that I still have to pay for it when I already have insurance...
Hans I.: Nothing is free. Someome ends up paying for it. Price of contraceptives is up to a competitive market. Dont like the price? Then develop a more cost effective contraceptive yourself, & put the others out of business. Thats how a free market society works. If you want something to be free, it should be free love. Let me know when that happens!
Dawn D.: BC pills are about $300 a year at Planned Parenthood (CA) - but those without health insurance may be able to get that reduced. Small price to pay to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Condoms may be free, you'd need to ask about that. If young people need help paying for bc, so be it - money well spent.
Rachel R.: The "cost" of free/reduced contraception is exponentially lower than the welfare benefits OUR tax dollars pay to support OTHER people's children that they CANNOT afford to care for. I would love nothing more than to have children but am low income and without insurance at this time. So, should I just get pregnant anyway bc I want a family that I can't afford to support thus forcing the GOVT to support me and MY "new additions" or should I be provided free/low cost birth control as a "reward" for making a smart choice for our country's welfare? HMMM... I wonder what costs less, 18 years of free $ from the GOVT to pay for my kid or 18 years of free contraception?
Kiki P.: You're forgetting that hormonal birth control is not only for preventing pregnancy. Painful debilitating periods, heavy bleeding, and severe mood swings can cause women to lose time at work, and decrease productivity. Also, if you think BC is too expensive to cover, then how about we don't cover Maternity leave or even provide that option? HOw about we stop covering prenatal visits and delivery? I mean why should we pay for someone's lifestyle choice right? /sarcasm.
Belangie P.: Contraceptives are pretty much free or readily available, but people still don't use them responsibly or take advantage of them. Medicaid pays for contraceptives and family planning, yet a lot of its subscribers have an average have 3 children and probably from at least 2 different partners. Free contraceptives are not going to stop the foolish from having children.
Diana D.: I say we all throw birth control into the wind, start popping out 19 kids each, and hope TLC will offer us a television show, so we can afford to raise them.
Phyllis R.: Maybe not free but at an affordable. My daughter is on birth control because of a medical problem. Her insurance is crappy and she pays almost $80 a month for it. She's not on pills and what she is on is what she has to have so nice cheap pills are out of the question. Shouldn't be so expensive!
Margaret S.: I believe this is a red herring....and there is no way anyone is denied access to birth control. What is at stake is religious freedom and what is happening is religious persecution. I know. I have seen it in many forms throughout my long life. Don't kid yourselves. This is the crisis/not a debate for accessibility.
George S.: Simple solution: Sell it over the counter. It makes no sense to require a prescription for a drug that is safer than aspirin. Then no one has to worry about paying for someone else's contraception. Of course the Catholic Church will have its obligatory conniption, but who really cares about that?
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
First, let me ask a simple question:
1) Why should I or anybody have to pay for somebody elses birth control? Where is the money for this coming from?
In life you have to make choices, so if the pill is too expensive, use condoms. If you can't afford $1 an encounter, don't have sex. Besides, condoms protect against STD's and the pill doesn't.
But I bet all these people wanting to leech of off everybody else and take no responsibility for their own life choices, have a smart/cell phone, brand name shoes, etc.
I accepted personal responsibility and paid or help pay for 30+ years of birth control. So why don't all you leeches accept some personal responsiblity and pay for your own birth control?
Insurance is designed to pay for those items which are too expensive to pay for yourself. Operations, hospital stays, long term care. If you add every nickel and dime item, the costs will keep going, up and up, and up.
No one seems to get it... Think that your premium needs to cover the cost of care and any catastrophic bills?
prenatal care and child birth has to be about $10,000 then from zero to eighteen you got , immunization, and maybe tubes in the ears , doctor visits at least three times a years, tonsils removal , some broken bones along the line and many more expenses that the health insurance will incur. I say paid for birth control and you might just save about $500,000
If medicaid covers it my insurance that my employer pays almost $1000 per month cover it. What a screwed up world. Do you realize how much these irresponsible parents get in tax credits. I work full time and got $200 back in taxes. My neighbor that doesn't work and has 2 kids got $10,000. Where is the justice in this.
There is already too many unwanted and neglected children - Pay for the birth control to minimize this disaster.
it will more than likely grow up to be just a worthless leach too.... tired of the 'what about the children' crap..... get you ef'n hands out of my wallet.
you can't feed 'em then don't breed 'em!
The idea that insurance companies will provide free birth control is a fallacy. That being said, birth control has little to do with the real reason for this controversy which began with the healthcare mandate. Rather than being concerned about birth control people should be focused on the real reason of the controversy which is whether the state can force a church to go against its principles and morals. That is it. Birth control and women's health are the topics that have been added to this controversy through twisting and spinning the debate to take the focus away from the unconstitutional mandate placed on employers/insurance providers affected by this aspect of the healthcare bill. Religious freedom is one of the founding principles of this country. It is one of the major reasons that our forefathers left their homes and came to this land. If you want a valid reason for the separation of church and state, this is it. The government has no right to tell a church what that they must betray their values in this or any other lawful principle. For those of you who think that it is acceptable for the state to force this upon the Catholic church, where does the forcing stop and how long do you think it will be until you are being forced to betray your values?
A lot of the Planned Parenthoods in my area have been shut down, so I doubt anyone is getting anything from there. Though it is true, there ARE places that do give them out, and I do realize that. I'm arguing the point with individuals who don't think that sort of aid should exist.
And to a below comment, YES there are diseases and illnesses that are treated with contraceptive pills that have nothing to do with STDs. There are women such as myself that have polycystic ovaries, in which birth control pills assist the body in removing potentially harmful and cancerous cysts, there are women who suffer from extreme bleeding and pain with their periods and need to take birth control pills to assist in giving them a more tolerable menstruation that won't interfere with their day to day activities. There are women who suffer from hormone problems and use birth control pills to help their body produce a normal and healthy amount of estrogen.
Not to mention that plenty of married women, or women that have never been in more than one or two long term physical relationships in their life, have a right to take birth control pills, have their insurance cover their fair share of that cost, and not be labeled as harlots. Especially when their only desire is to not become pregnant. Maybe they just don't want children, that's their right, maybe they just want to wait until they are in a better financial situation to have children. I wish more people did, to be honest.
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