Birth Control

A Truce in the Battle Over Birth Control

But the war isn't over.

|

TanyaJoy/iStock

Two new rules concerning employer-sponsored health insurance and contraception coverage, set to take effect in January, will finally allow conscientious objectors to opt out of the now-notorious Obamacare contraception mandate. But the feds shouldn't consider the matter settled until women can buy birth control over the counter.

Under the first new rule—issued jointly by the departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Treasury, and Labor—churches, religious orders and auxiliaries, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, nonpublic institutions of higher education, and "other non-governmental employers with religious objections" are allowed to opt out of offering insurance plans that pay for birth control "on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs."

Insurance issuers can also opt out if all of the companies they provide plans to are exempted. And individuals can opt out of being insured by a plan that includes contraception coverage to the extent that their employer and insurance issuer are willing to provide another option.

Under a second new rule, all of the above organizations save publicly traded businesses can get an exception based on "non-religious moral convictions opposing services covered by the contraceptive mandate."

Freedom of conscience is good news. The bad news is that HHS et al. estimate the changes will leave anywhere between 6,400 and 127,000 women without coverage for some or all forms of contraception. That's an undesirable result, even if you don't think the solution is forcing others to subsidize the service—which is why it's time for the Food and Drug Administration to allow hormonal birth control pills to be sold over the counter.

Such a change would drive down costs and increase ease of access for women regardless of whether they're insured. In conjunction with the repeal of other unnecessary regulations about how birth control can be prescribed and obtained, new low-cost services for women's health could flourish. (Emergency contraception, one of the most controversial forms of birth control among those with religious objections, is already available without a prescription in the United States.)

Freeing birth control pills from prescription-drug status is an idea with broad support from Democrats and Republicans as well as from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. With the contraception mandate settled, it's time we set our sights and energies on the root of the problem: Birth control is harder for women to get and to use than it should be. Making it available without a prescription would solve problems a mandate never could.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

72 responses to “A Truce in the Battle Over Birth Control

  1. I now have a stronger held belief that Republican men and women should be denied healthcare coverage. Is this how it works? Republicans are scum. You know my belief is sincere and strongly held. Would a result where Republicans are targeted, their needs carved out and denied, be permissible under freedom of conscience?

    1. Poor troll. His programming has “less ObamaCare law”=”denying health coverage” because ENB and his coder say so.

      1. What planet do you live on? You’re into politics and in all this time you’ve managed to not know who Tucker Carlson is. That is quite the indictment of your curiosity and depth of understanding.

        1. I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you .

          http://www.Mesalary.com

        2. What country is Tucker Carlson the president of?

        3. He’s a fucking pundit. Who cares?

    2. I have a stronger held belief that you’re an idiot.

    3. I would GLADLY opt-out of ALL government services … IFFF I could simultaneously opt out of paying for them, and if I could replace them with free-market alternatives without government interference, assistance, subsidies, or regulation.

    4. Ordinary Person|1.7.19 @ 8:55AM|#
      “I now have a stronger held belief that Republican men and women should be denied healthcare coverage.”

      I now have a strongly held belief you’re a fucking ignoramus who should be known as such and ignored.

    5. I actually do support your right to do so. The fact that people are denied this basic aspect of freedom of association is an example of governmental overreach. So, who is to blame for forcing this relationship with insurers and insurees?

    6. No. The exemptions have to be based on what you do with yourself and your property, not how you treat others. For example, New Jersey protects anyone with a strongly held belief from violating it when a reasonable accommodation is possible. That’s why you could get sued if you force a vegetarian stripper to eat bacon on the stage of the strip club you own.

      1. But watching it would be hot.

  2. The bad news is that HHS et al. estimate the changes will leave anywhere between 6,400 and 127,000 women without coverage for some or all forms of contraception

    The real bad news is that women will have to seek out a doctor and get a prescription and pay for contraception themselves.

    1. I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you .

      http://www.Mesalary.com

    2. Right. From a libertarian standpoint, “X will no longer be subsidized” is never bad news.

    3. It’s why she’s advocating for over the counter purchase. Get the middleman out. Which in this case Doctors absolutely are.

      1. The medical mafia makes their money by government enabled rent seeking.

        Reason thinks that bad. For *one* medication. Because vagina.

        “muh principles”

      2. OB/GYN doctors everywhere go on strike.

    4. I agree that birth control pills should be available over the counter. I think our society has gone full circle regarding birth control. The pill revolutionized birth control, because the prescription was permission from a government certified doctor for a woman to have recreational sex. Condoms were an option, and they still are, but my parents generation was afraid to have sex for the fun of it without a doctor’s note. “Lie back and think of England” was the advice brides received a century ago.

  3. I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you…..

    http://www.geosalary.com

  4. If I’m not banging them, why should I have to pay for their birth control? It’s like paying for their breast implants or botox. Elective pharmaceutical costs should be born by the patient.

    1. Exactly! And also feminists shouldn’t be whining about tampons when women in the 3rd world are being systematically raped, brutalized, enslaved and such. The “oppression” of the American woman pales in comparison….

      1. That’s a bs argument. That’s like saying that because Venezuela has a worse government than ours I should in no way complain about my government and it’s policies. Yes the American woman/feminist is far from being oppressed, but to say that because someone has it worse than you, you are not allowed to have an opinion or right to get upset about something is pretty effing idiotic. I’d check out your blog but I’m guessing it’s more random idiotic stream of conscious bs.

        1. I’d check out your blog but I’m guessing it’s more random idiotic stream of conscious bs

          I’ve read a few posts. There’s a fair bit of stream of consciousness, sure, but it’s borne out of her frustration with the activist wing of the liberal left. Which I totally get, by the way. Who isn’t frustrated with activists on either side of the aisle? Nothing new or original there. It’s a viewpoint blog (even has a guest post) from an average right-leaning woman who worries about far left policies damaging her world. That isn’t a criticism. It’s a product of identity politics and how it divides us.

      2. Hear, Hear! Frankly, Modern ‘feminism’ has taken a hard left turn, just as the neo-cons have taken their own hard right. As a libertarian leaning woman, I oppose coercion by the government, especially in matters of conscience. If one wants assistance with something, one should look to the private sector for it. To deal with some specifics: neither crisis pregnancy centers nor abortion clinics should be federally funded, nor should we be funding any side in any war when we are not attacked, and we surely should not be funding both sides. If government busy-bodies would stop funding things a plurality of the population agrees should not be , and eliminate the regulation of our lives except to protect lives, liberty and property rights, we would all be better off, fiscally at minimum.

  5. When it’s done to “protect women” even Libertarians put on their gynocentric downtrodden women need protection rose colored glasses? What about a man’s right to reproductive choices? http://nymensactionnetwork.org…..ve-choice/

    1. “What about a man’s right to reproductive choices?”

      My body, my choice, a man’s responsibility.

  6. “The bad news is that HHS et al. estimate the changes will leave anywhere between 6,400 and 127,000 women without coverage for some or all forms of contraception.”

    They could pay for it themselves.

    1. That’s just crazy talk, Sevo.

  7. “the feds shouldn’t consider the matter settled until women can buy birth control over the counter”

    Isn’t that a state issue? Everything’s interstate commerce or penaltaxes nowadays, so maybe I’m way out of date.

    1. Feds own you and, yes, everything is interstate commerce, even intrastate commerce because most politicians couldn’t explain the difference if their life depended on it. Deal with it!

  8. which is why it’s time for the Food and Drug Administration to allow hormonal birth control pills to be sold over the counter.

    You might want to bold this statement, I think some people are missing it.

    1. Look, the important thing here is women are bad.

      1. The good ones are anyway…

        1. “When I’m good I’m very, very good, and when I’m bad I’m better.” /Mae West (attributed)

  9. ‘Merica! I’m nearly choking on all the freedom.

    That’s sarcasm for those that don’t speak it. Usually the 20% on either end of the political spectrum…

  10. The sad thing is that birth control pills are available almost everywhere in the world except the US.

    Could it be that some nefarious trade organization, like the AMA, it preventing this from happening to keep a steady stream of business for visits to approve prescriptions?

    1. Unfortunately, Brown’s article doesn’t mention who opposes OTC status for birth-control pills, or why they oppose it. According to a Vox article, attempts to change the status have been opposed by Planned Parenthood and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, among others, because insurance companies generally don’t pay for non-prescription drugs. Lowering the cost is less important than making big corporations pay it…

      1. Sorry, forgot the link to the Vox piece (remove the extra space):
        https://www.vox.com/ 2016/9/15/12930976/trump-birth-control

        1. I don’t read Vox. Ever.

      2. No the AMA, the even more important American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology ACOG, then the American Association of Family Physicians, these are highly respected academic medical organizations.

        They all wrote and advocated OTC status for oral contraceptives. The FDC canned it.

        If you want to go cynical, what does a doc get for an OC prescription. An office visit and phone calls for refill. You have more of that then you can handle anyway. You might get the patient to come for a checkup now and then. If there is financial benefit you could put in an IUD or sterlization. You can bill for procedure then.

      3. Directly from ACOG statement you can find.

        “Because of this, ACOG supports making oral contraceptives available over-the-counter (OTC). OTC availability of oral contraceptives will help more women get the contraceptives they need, which have long been proven safe enough to use without a prescription ? especially emergency contraception.”

        Do not get information from Vox.

  11. I do wonder, separately, how many other prescription-only pharmaceuticals should be sold over-the-counter?

    1. Every psychiatric medication that has gone generic. If a psychiatric medication has been on the market long enough to have generic versions, it’s time for the FDA to either outlaw it based on the extra years of data on its safety and efficacy or make it over the counter so that consumers can decide for themselves if they like the way a pill makes them feel.

      1. OK. But only generic psychiatrics? What about other drugs and antibiotics, e.g. pills, creams or medicated devices intended to treat STDs, asthma, impotence, etc.? If I understand correctly, pharma companies often get many extra years of extensions on their patents to prevent generics from entering a market. So you could be waiting 25 to 30 years before a drug becomes generic, and then how long does it need to be a generic before it can go OTC?

  12. Making birth control available over the counter seems like a simple, common-sense solution that should satisfy everyone. Which means it has absolutely no chance of happening.

  13. America needs socialized medicine.
    Just look at Pol Pot’s Cambodia and all the wonders and miracles his health plan produced.

  14. Truce? Do you mean that the 750,000 US women have agreed not to murder their baby in abortion this year.

    Or by birth control are you referring to the only contraceptive that is 100% guaranteed not to fail, demonstrating the personal responsibility to not participate in the ONLY activity that results in the creation of a new human life, until you are ready for the consequences.

    1. So married people shouldn’t have sex unless they want a baby. OK we know where you stand.

      1. So you advocate action without considering the consequences. Ok we know where you stand.

        1. And you rely on getting away with murder. That’s where you stand.

    2. Or by birth control are you referring to the only contraceptive that is 100% guaranteed not to fail, demonstrating the personal responsibility to not participate in the ONLY activity that results in the creation of a new human life, until you are ready for the consequences.

      That’s the ‘superstitious wingnut who has never heard of rape’ perspective.

      These old-timey yahoos can’t die off fast enough, but they’ll be replaced by younger and better Americans in our electorate soon enough.

      1. Dipshit thinks rapists wear condoms.

  15. Look. Birth control pills are a very common medication used for many reasons besides birth control per se (PCOS, medically dangerous bleeding during periods, etc). It’s as if some religions nuts who owned businesses decided that insulin use was against their religion and therefore none of their insurance plans should cover it.

    I agree with making birth control available over the counter. However, unless you are a strictly religious organization (e.g. a Catholic church, not Chick-Fila or Hobby-Lobby) you should not be singling out a medication to exclude in your employee benefits.

    If you don’t believe that your insurance payments should cover medical care for anyone else besides yourself, then you don’t believe in the concept of insurance period.

    1. You do realize that those drugs are likely covered if used for reasons other than birth control?

    2. “However, unless you are a strictly religious organization (e.g. a Catholic church, not Chick-Fila or Hobby-Lobby) you should not be singling out a medication to exclude in your employee benefits.”

      Um, why?

      Why should the freedom to make moral judgements on the benefits you provide be only available to explicitly religious organizations?

      1. Why should employers get to make any moral judgements on what their employees can and can’t do? Should we also let these companies pay their employees in some sort of scrip that can’t be used to buy anything the owner finds objectionable?

        1. Employers aren’t making judgments about what their employees can and can’t do. They are making judgments about what kind of insurance to offer.

        2. They are making a judgement in what they offer in their own name, not on what the employees choose to buy with their own money.

          Why should government have any say over what the employer offers or what the employee has to buy? In other words, why does the government have the authority to make that moral decision?

          1. Unless the employee is spending their own money on their portion of the insurance premium, right? Then the employer still gets a say?

            They shouldn’t, but for the moment that ship has sailed

            1. “Unless the employee is spending their own money on their portion of the insurance premium, right? Then the employer still gets a say?”

              It is a product the employer is offering. Just as a store or a restaurant can judge the morality of the products they offer and choose what they do offer.

              The only reason why this is an issue is the government attempting to make that moral decision for everyone.

            2. “Then the employer still gets a say?”

              Of course they get a say. The employer is the one offering the benefit. If that’s unacceptable to the employee, they’re free to supply for themselves whatever is more in line with their morals.

        3. Health insurance is a scrip paid by employers to help employees avoid paying more income taxes. That’s why I cannot buy wine for Shabbat with my health insurance. Health insurance does not pay for condoms, or lubrication, or dildos or many other forms of birth control like this one:

          Imagine the potential of a robotic masseur that rubs away the day’s anxieties while asking how work went and cooing empathetic responses. Just as the invention of the vacuum eliminated hours of domestic drudgery from the weekly chore list, a robotic masseur would free people up for more important pursuits, like STEM research. A newly liberated technophile could spend his evenings tinkering with the next great invention. Of course, for this lifestyle to be sustainable over many generations, said inventor might best focus his efforts on developing human cloning.

    3. There are some conditions that may or may not be a disease depending on one’s perspective. “Health insurance” is insurance to pay for treatments that make a person healthy. Fertility is the default setting in humans and we generally decide that infertility needs treating. At one time in history, homosexuality was considered a neurologically caused form of infertility that was forcibly treated in psychiatric wards. Now, voluntary conversion therapy is illegal in New Jersey. Speed used to be an illegal street drug that students secretly took to help them do well on tests, then in the 1990’s teachers decided that bored boys have ADHD and need Ritalin. If a psychiatrist decides that someone with a penis and testicles has the brain of a woman, health insurance will pay for a surgeon to replace those parts with a vagina and implant silicon breasts, but if a psychiatrist decides that someone born with a vagina has the brain of a voluptuous woman and an A-cup bosom, health insurance will not necessarily pay for the breast implants. Further more, when Larry Summers suggested that there might be fundamental differences between a woman’s brain and a man’s brains one of the female professors had to leave the room due to nausea and he got thrown out of Harvard. There will always be debate about whether or not a few diseases or medical conditions qualify for coverage.

  16. If birth control pills are sold OTC all that will happen is that more cheap sluts will have sex with anyone, anywhere, anytime.

    So, in conclusion, yes please!!!

    1. is that you Bill Maher, you misogynistic hack, you!

  17. “The bad news is that HHS et al. estimate the changes will leave anywhere between 6,400 and 127,000 women without coverage for some or all forms of contraception.”

    The difference between the high and low end estimates are two orders of magnitude. It is basically an admission that they have no idea how many people lose insurance coverage for these drugs. Also, caring about this statistic is results oriented that disparages free market workings. There was no good reason for this kind of coverage to be mandated in the first place

  18. Free birth control for all women is about the government entitlement program I could get behind

  19. After looking over the FDA statement it seems the only way to get an OTC oral contraceptive is to make one. Drug companies would need to come up with a specific product for OTC use and go through that whole long expensive process to get it approved.

    This is despite the recommendations of major medical groups.

  20. “But the feds shouldn’t consider the matter settled until women can buy birth control over the counter.”

    A libertarian magazine wouldn’t stop at the freedom to buy only one medication over the counter.

    One down, thousands to go.

    1. Libertarians want to eliminate the entire system of prescription. Some anyway.

      I still question that. Perhaps we should not entirely.

      For example the drugs to treat cancer. Adriamycin, taxol, biological targeted drugs, these require years of training and experience to administer to any benefit and medical oncology has made enormous gains. An ordinary person without all that could not possibly just walk up to the counter and self administer these highly toxic and dangerous agents.

      Like an airline pilot. I need to trust that individual to be certified and trained. Like medicine most of that should be internal to the industry. You still need a legal authority to oversee that.

      The FDA is a stickler for things when they should not be. I agree with that.

      1. There’s always Google, Wikipedia, or Alexa to make decisions on how to administer pharmaceuticals. If it’s on the Internet, it has to be true. Right? Jokes aside, it’s not really a stretch to imagine insurers and health providers creating some kind of AI to monitor patients in the future. They’re already doing it to a limited degree, providing discounts on insurance to those who agree to be monitored and presumably live a proscribed lifestyle. Seems plausible that such a program could be extended to the administering of pharmaceuticals.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.