Why Should Anyone Have to Pay for Someone Else’s Birth Control?
Mandates stemming from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requiring all employers to offer ‘free’ birth control services for their employees go into effect this month. Most of the media attention about it has centered on protests against the rules which would force religious organizations to violate church teaching against most forms of contraception. But, it’s not just religious rights that are being violated here. It’s the rights of all who are being forced to pay for something someone else wants and can easily get themselves.
Congress passed no law that specifically calls for employers to provide ‘free’ birth control. It did pass the Affordable Care Act which gave the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) wide authority to decide how to interpret the broad concepts in the law, establish the rules and punish violators. And so it was HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius who determined that birth control falls under the category of “preventive health services,” along with inoculations and physical check-ups as if conception was an ailment.
As the proprietor of numerous hospitals, clinics, schools, orphanages and other institutions, the Catholic Church is among all the other employers in the U.S that must adhere to the edict. However, as is well known, the use of birth control is against church teachings. Regardless, no waivers were given to employers for religious reasons. According to the law, any employer who fails to submit will be fined $100 a day for each employee. This adds up to $3.65 million a year for an organization with 100 employees. It’s obey the law or go out business.
People who’ve joined Catholic authorities in condemning the ruling are being accused of denying women their rights and limiting women’s access to birth control. This is nonsense! Birth control is easily accessible. It’s in public bathroom vending machines and on drug store counters. While name brand contraceptive drugs cost $15 – $50 a month, Wallmart and Target sell generics for as little as $9.00…the cost of 2 venti frappuccinos at Starbucks.
Women who cannot afford even this can be readily taken care of through Medicaid and community health organizations. In addition, there are 4,500 Title-X funded clinics throughout the country that provide free or subsidized birth control services. If that weren’t enough, Planned Parenthood, founded on the principle of making birth control accessible to all women, by their own account, helped women prevent 584,000 pregnancies in 2010 alone. The only ones left without access to free or subsidized birth control are the women who can afford to buy it themselves. Why then should employers be forced to provide birth control services to women who can provide for themselves?
Actually, the real question is not whether the religious organizations should provide free birth control services; it’s why any employer should provide free birth control services. The issue is that birth control services are not free and the cost of providing it to large numbers of women adds up and becomes yet another government mandated benefit that drives up the cost of health insurance. And it’s not just the employers; we’re all paying for it in higher premiums and lower salaries. Why should men, older people, or people who want to have children, not to mention people who feel birth control, sterilization, and abortion inducing drugs are wrong, pay for birth control services for young women
If birth control services are considered necessary for some people’s health, so are green vegetables, certain pets, hardwood floors, electric tooth brushes, air purifiers, foam mattresses, pedometers, hepa vacuum cleaners and much more. What stops HHS from forcing us to pay for others to have these as well? Is there a limit to what we’ll be forced to provide as long as it’s good for somebody?
As in other situations where the federal government micro-manages our lives in order to further someone else’s idea of what’s good for us, unintended consequences emerge. You can bet, for one, that the cost of birth control services will go up. There’s no incentive for the people that furnish birth control to bring the cost down if providing birth control services are mandated. In fact, they’re incentivized to increase the price since the actual user has no reason to make choices based on cost.
HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius suggested that the reduced number of pregnancies resulting from this mandate compensates for the cost of contraception. What’s so ironic about her statement is that the U.S. birth rate has now fallen below replacement levels. This means that, despite the large numbers of immigrants, not enough babies are born in this country to make up the numbers of people dying. Fewer people will be paying into Medicare and Social Security funds. With 10,000 baby boomers retiring each day, our true long-term un-funded liabilities now total $222 trillion! Bottom line: fewer babies born in our country leads to irretrievable bankruptcy, not savings.
There’s no reason for the government to force employers or anyone else to pay for someone else’s birth control. Those who want it can easily get it themselves or through one of the many organizations that offer these services free. Meanwhile, the rest of us who must pay, have lost the Constitutional right to our own property. Sadly, this is just the beginning. The Affordable Care Act gives carte blanch to the HHS Secretary to grant new ‘rights’ to some at the expense of others, opening her door to special interest groups with plans to further their causes and violate your rights