Women's Health Care and Your Taxes
When it comes to government decisions about women's health, women in the United States have not had a good year. Funding has been cut at the Federal level and in most states. Planned Parenthood, with its low cost health services, has been under sustained attack since the new congressional freshmen took over. New abortion restrictions have passed in a couple of dozen states. Any way you look at it, women's rights, particularly the rights of poor women, have taken a beating.
So it was a complete and pleasant surprise when the Institute of Medicine announced its proposed guidelines for what women's health services would be covered under the Affordable Care Act with no out of pocket expense to those covered. (As a side note 'no out of pocket expense' is not the same as 'free')
The guidelines proposed that eight services be covered for all US women. These include birth control (including sterilization), screenings for gestational diabetes, cervical cancer and HPV, counseling to help women prevent pregnancies and to help women space pregnancies further apart, counseling and equipment to promote breastfeeding, annual well-woman visits, counseling and screening for HIV and other STDs, and screening and counseling for domestic violence.
Women's groups including Planned Parenthood praised the guidelines, while certain religious groups, including so-called 'pro-life' groups and the Family Research Council, condemned them.
I say 'so-called' pro-life in this context because by any standard, the guidelines would clearly save lives, and improve the lives of women and children. When an organization stands against improved health care for women, it cannot accurately be termed 'pro-life'.
These groups are raising the old argument that they shouldn't have to pay taxes for something they're morally opposed to. Hey, what a great idea! I propose that those of us who are really pro-life stop paying our taxes toward:Continued on the next page