Few things are as vital to the health of a woman as the ability to control her re productive future. The decision to have children, or not to have children, plays a role in everything from earning power and standard of living to overall satisfaction with life.
That may be why there has been so much concern, and so much controversy, surrounding the issue of female contraceptive and private health care plans You might remember the famous Hobby Lobby case, in which the Supreme Court held that private employers with deeply held religious beliefs could refuse to pay for certain forms of birth control, including the morning after pill. The owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of stores argued that providing the morning after pill to their employees was akin to supporting abortion, and the US. Supreme Court agreed that the owners of the company were entitled to their religious objection.
The Hobby Lobby case is a particularly important one for women who expect their health care plans at work to cover popular methods of female contraception. Under the Affordable Care Act, employers who provide health care coverage for their employees were required to cover female contraception, and from the very start that requirement was a controversial one. The Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case re presented the first major victory by those challenging the contraceptive mandate, and it made getting contraceptives more difficult for employees of the company.
While recent court cases have made it more difficult for many women to receive the contraceptives they need, those decisions have done nothing to lessen the importance of quality contraception for women of childbearing age.
Some people may consider contraception optional or even a luxury, but in reality it is a basic form of preventative health care for women of childbearing age. An unwanted pregnancy can have a host of negative ramifications for women and their partners, from disruption to their careers to the stress of an abortion. No matter what their feelings on abortion and a woman’s right to choose, men and women from all walks of life have always supported access to contraception.
As the Hobby Lobby case demonstrates, there is often a disconnect between support for contraception and the importance of preserving religious freedom. In the end, however, the two subjects do not have to be at odds with one another. Religious freedom is meant to protect the individual’s right to make their own health care decisions in concert with their beliefs and conscience. That religious freedom should not prevent others from receiving the basic health care services they need, including effective contraception methods.
The original intent of the health care law was to extend basic health care services, including contraception, to all women. This includes women who receive their health care from their employers, but also women who had previously been uninsured and unable to afford the contraceptive services they needed. That is why the Affordable Care Act includes support for publicly funded family planning services and access to a strong safety net.
Contraception will always be a controversial subject for many people, but that does not mean men and women should deprived of the basic health care services they need. Despite the Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, female contraception remains a vital issue for women of childbearing age, and most health care professionals consider family planning services a basic human right.