By Leora Cohen-Rosenberg
Machon Kaplan Intern with RCRC
The Institute of Medicine has just recommended that birth control be available without a co-pay. This is a great victory in the uphill battle we are fighting for reproductive health. This recommendation could mean that birth control will be considered part of the preventive health care that the Affordable Care Act requires insurance plans to provide without out-of-pocket payment.
As a young woman who will eventually not be covered under her parents’ insurance, it relieves me that it is very possible that I will still be able to stay on birth control. Being raised in the Reform Jewish community, I was taught that all people should be given the health care they need. It all relates to Tikkun Atzmi, repairing yourself, and Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. First we need to make sure that we are safe, that we can afford our birth control. From there we are able to go on and help others with reproductive health.
When I was in high school I had a Catholic friend, Lisa, who became sexually active. She went to church most Sundays and had been confirmed in eighth grade. Lisa felt that she couldn’t rely on condoms alone to protect her from pregnancy and that she needed another form of birth control. Her parents were absolutely against pre-marital sex and Lisa knew she couldn’t go to them for help. Luckily, there was a Planned Parenthood not too far from where we lived that she was able to go to and get her birth control. She had to pay $30 a month, which may not seem like a lot but was a struggle to a high school student without a job. Lisa could have greatly benefitted from having birth control without a co-pay or deductible. Now, so many other women may be helped.
Preventing an unintended pregnancy saves so much money in the long run, but that isn’t all this is about. For the first time, a women’s ability to become pregnant will not be considered a pre-existing condition. In a world dominated by men, women are working towards being truly equal. This includes women making a dollar for every dollar men make instead of 79 cents, but a large part is women’s health care. Access to abortion is quickly becoming near-impossible in many states because of so-called “pro-life” advocates who care more about a fetus than they do the pregnant woman. Now, our country is finally taking a step in the right direction for women’s health.