Healthcare Reform May Mean Free Birth Control


It's been over a half century since "the Pill" was made available to women, and thanks to healthcare reform, the day may FINALLY come when we can stop shelling out hundreds and hundreds of our hard-earned dollars each year to prevent ourselves from having the children we -- or our fellow taxpayers -- can't afford to support.

According to The Huffington Post, a panel of experts will meet this month to advise our government as to what kinds of preventive care for women should be covered at no cost to the patient.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., who penned the women's health amendment, said that "the clear intent was to include family planning." But whether or not family planning qualifies as preventive medicine has long been fodder for a heated debate among religious and political groups.

Even so, many medical and public health experts see it as a no-brainer. "There is clear and incontrovertible evidence that family planning saves lives and improves health," said OB/GYN Dr. David Grimes, an international family planning expert who teaches medicine at the University of North Carolina. "Contraception rivals immunization in dollars saved for every dollar invested. Spacing out children allows for optimal pregnancies and optimal childrearing. Contraception is a prototype of preventive medicine."

Considering we're the generation who spent more years avoiding unwanted pregnancies than trying actively to conceive, this comes as a great relief -- even if we won't be able to enjoy the benefits for long ourselves.

I think it's important to consider the fact that the Pill isn't just good for birth control. When I was a mere lass, doctors rarely diagnosed girls like me with polycystic ovarian syndrome outright; they just threw you on the Pill. It was a miracle cure, as it eased debilitating cramps, lightened a tragically heavy flow and rendered your cycle pinpoint-predictable.

I've unwittingly taken my life into my hands just to stay on the Pill. Anti-abortion zealots have always targeted helpful organizations like Planned Parenthood, and many innocent people have lost their lives in tragic acts of violence. Back in 1994, during a test stint of RU-486 (an early incarnation of Plan B), a gunman blazed into a Boston Planned Parenthood, killing the receptionist and wounding three bystanders. Had it happened 24 hours prior, I might've borne witness to this horrible tragedy -- or worse.

So here's to how far we've come as American women. And here's to hoping that the chances of our daughters starring in "Teen Mom: The Next Generation" will significantly diminish.


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