Friday, February 17, 2012

Is Birth Control Health Care?

There is a lot of talk going on about birth control and whether people should have religious objections to birth control being covered by health insurance.  Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, calls birth control "basic health care", and President Obama said, "No woman's health should depend on who she is or where she works or how much money she makes."  I think that in order to make a determination of whether or not birth control is actually "basic health care", we have to ask ourselves a few questions.  We need to determine what exactly "basic health care" is, what birth control is, and whether birth control falls into the category of "basic health care".  And we will lay aside the issue of whether or not this compromise really prevents religious institutions who object to birth control from having to fund birth control through insurance premiums.  I think we will see that this is a moot point anyways.

First, let's define what "basic health care" is...I'm leaving this term in quotes because those are the words of Cecile Richards, who is clearly spearheading the effort for this bill to pass.  So when we think of health care what comes to mind?  Probably flu shots, vaccines, or surgery, right?  Miriam-Webster defines health care as the following:

the maintaining and restoration of health by the treatment and prevention of disease especially by trained and licensed professionals (as in medicine, dentistry, clinical psychology, and public health)

So, this would mean that any form of health care should treat or prevent a disease or conditon that causes harm to the individual or prevents their bodies from functioning in a normal fashion.  If you have a torn muscle, you might have surgery or physical therapy and that is health care.  If you have strep throat, you get a shot and some medication and that is health care.  One thing my insurance doesn't cover is hormone therapy for fertilization, which actually allows for normal reproductive functions.  I would think that is health care because it restores one's body to its normal functioning abilities.  I think we all get the general idea care is something that helps to prevent our bodies from a) being harmed or b) not functioning normally and to restore our bodies to normal health.

Now let's take a look what what birth control is.  Most people would think of contraceptives or some type of pill.  Let's look at what Miriam-Webster has to say about this one:
  1. control of the number of children born especially by preventing or lessening the frequency of conception
  2. contraceptive devices or preparations
So, as one would expect, birth control is a way to prevent babies from being conceived in the womb.  This can vary from physical means to prevent fertilization of the egg to chemicals that prevent eggs from attaching after fertlized.  The latter is something that many, including myself, would actually call killing a baby.  Others might call it abortion, while most people probably don't consider that a fertilized egg is actually a person.  One thing we can all agree on, though, is that birth control is a means to prevent babies from being conceived in the womb of a woman.

Now we are left ton consider whether or not birth control falls under the realm of "basic health care".  Let's remember that health care is something that helps to prevent our bodies from a) being harmed or b) not functioning normally and to restore our bodies to normal health.  And let's also remember that birth control is a means to prevent babies from being conceived in the womb of a woman.  Now, I'm not a scientist or doctor (just an engineer), but I think that conception of babies in the womb is actually quite a normal thing and shows that the body's reproductive system is actually fully functional.  Now for quite a small minority of people, becoming pregnant might be life-threatening...and in that case I think that methods that do not include killing babies/fertilized eggs should be used and considered health care.  Outside of that, though, I can only think of the use of birth control as a choice of preference for those who use it.  And seeing as insurance companies can and do deny to cover many elective procedures, I don't see how or why any insurance company should have to cover the cost of birth control.  I'm sorry, Cecile Richards, but it doesn't fit the definition of "basic health care". 

I think this is the argument that people need to put before their elected officials in presenting their case for not having to have birth control covered by mandatory insurance coverage.  I'd still hold to the religious objections as well, but I think this is an even more clear argument.  What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Stinkin' people. They always twist and promote that which is evil. I hope the Lord comes soon and puts an end to all this nonsense.