Healthcare Reform and Contraceptives

| Tue Jul. 13, 2010 10:36 AM EDT

Dana Goldstein reports that conservative groups are gearing up for a fight to make sure that healthcare reform regs, which will be drafted over the next couple of years, don't include a requirement that insurance companies cover contraceptive use:

The conservative groups are particularly worried that a birth control coverage mandate could include teenage girls and young women covered under their parents' health insurance plans. "People who are insured don't want to pay for services they don't need or to which they have moral objections," said Chuck Donovan, senior researcher at the Heritage Foundation. "Parents want to have a say over what's covered and what's not for their children."

Yeah, it's all about the kids, isn't it? But then, what choice do guys like Donovan have? Abortion may be a hotly contested issue, but contraceptives aren't. Practically everyone approves of them, so you have to figure out some way to demonize them that doesn't reduce your fundraising appeal among the masses. Matt Yglesias comments:

Politically speaking, I think this is the fight progressives have been wanting to have for some time now — something that would highlight the deeply reactionary and anti-woman ideology that drives the main institutional players in the anti-abortion movement. But will it be possible to get people to pay attention? These non-abortion reproductive health aspects of the Affordable Care Act got very little attention from either side.

But I wonder how much help we'll get from President Obama? His desire to avoid hot button culture war issues is almost obsessive, and it's unlikely that he'll choose this as a hill to fight for. So it'll mostly be up to HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and my guess is that she'll try to keep the whole thing very low key.

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