House GOPer Compares Free Birth Control Day to 9/11

This is not the same as affordable birth control.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixorama/239262070/in/pool-29934416@N00/">Michael Foran</a>/Flickr

According to Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), today is a day akin to 9/11 and the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. No, really. “I want you to remember Aug. 1, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom,” Kelly said at a press conference. “That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those other dates.”

Kelly was ranting for the same reason I’m rejoicing—because today is “Free Birth Control Day” in the United States. Today is the day the new mandate requiring health insurers to provide contraception with no co-pay officially goes into effect. And I use the word “free” loosely, since it’s not actually free—it’s paid for through our premiums, just like other medical services. But once the rule is fully implemented, your out-of-pocket costs for contraception should fall to zero.

Some women won’t start benefitting from the new rule until their new plan year begins, which varies by insurer. For me, it kicked in a few months ago, when my insurer agreed to cover the cost of an intrauterine device (IUD) after previously refusing to cover it.

Before the health care law, if I wanted to get an IUD, I would have had to pay about $1,200 upfront for the device and the insertion. I’ve been through pretty much every other type of contraception out there, and they just weren’t working for a variety of reasons—some I am allergic to, some made me a crazy lady, and others came with a steep monthly price. Then there was the fact that I am just not very good at taking a pill every day at the same time, which is crucial if your birth control is going to actually control birth. And I’m not the only American woman who sucks at taking birth control.

Enter the IUD. Like many women, it was the right choice for me. But although it’s cheaper in the long term because it’s good for up to five years, I didn’t really have $1,200 laying around to cover it upfront. This is true for a lot of women, according to Dr. Nancy Stanwood, an obstetrician/gynecologist with the Yale School of Medicine and a board member of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health. “I have seen so many women want to choose a method of contraception but have it out of reach financially,” Stanwood says. “Instead of women looking at their medical needs and the needs of their family, they had to instead look in their pocketbook.”

Here’s an infographic from the National Women’s Law Center illustrating how I, and many women felt before the birth control mandate:

National Women's Law CenterNational Women’s Law Center

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.