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The Contraceptive Mandate’s Shaky Justification
There is no crisis in “reproductive health.”


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Andrew C. McCarthy

The first thing to understand about the Department of Health and Human Services’ birth-control mandate, and the last, is that it is an assault on both faithful Christians and the Constitution by leftists who consider themselves at “war” — their word — with bourgeois America. It has nothing to do with guaranteeing access to contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients.

Don’t think so? Are you buying the Obama party line that the administration is merely protecting people who work for religious organizations — such as Catholic schools, hospitals, and charitable organizations? Ensuring they are not denied these “reproductive services” that are covered under health-insurance plans ordinary businesses arrange for their employees? These claims do not pass the laugh test. Nobody in America is denied access to abortion, let alone birth-control pills

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Owing to its totemic status in the Kulturkampf, abortion is among the most heavily subsidized of medical procedures. In the first trimester, it generally costs less than $400. If the unborn child is in the second trimester, the price of ending his or her life is a bit steeper. Still, like life, death is cheap, generally under $600.

Abortion is alone on the top shelf at the Bang for the Buck Bar. The rest of the menu is cheap, cheap, cheap. The New York City Department of Health, for example, has a website dedicated to, er, disseminating “Free NYC Condoms” (“Get Some, Get Yours — Grab a Handful and Go!”). It even has the toll-free 3-1-1 number you can call if, while away from your computer, the cupboard is bare in your time of need. And if you’re really interested in the subject, Big Apple taxpayers helpfully provide “A Brief History of Condoms in New York City.” Besides learning that “distribution of the NYC Condom topped 40 million” in 2009, you’ll revisit such milestones as Valentine’s Day 2007, when the health department “set a national precedent” with its “Lifestyles condom in a chic, branded Gotham wrapper.” Go New York, go New York, go!

Planned Parenthood reports that birth-control pills run as low as $15 per month — and at the click of a mouse, PP will help you find a health center from which to get a prescription. Like the pill, diaphragms and the “Nuva Ring” start as low as $15 per month, and PP will work to get you set up with Medicaid or other state programs that defray costs — just as it will if you prefer the cervical cap route, which will set you back about $70 (with the spermicide “kit”) but, like a diaphragm, lasts about two years. Starting at $400, Implanon, a thin implant inserted in the arm, sounds costly at first blush, but it lasts for three years. Injections of Depo-Provera, the “birth control shot,” go for about 40 smackers, and they last three months. If for some reason you’re not near one of Nanny Bloomberg’s Gotham wrapper stands but you’d still rather go over-the-counter, PP itself will supply you with a package of three sponges for about ten bucks.

More good news: You’re not like BP — if there’s an accidental spill, you’ve got very affordable options. The “Morning After” pill — which is actually a treatment course of four to eight tablets — costs about $20 at the local drugstore, although, as PP points out, “we all like to be prepared. That is why it’s a great idea to keep some emergency contraception in your medicine cabinet or bedside table” just in case. If you wait too long, there’s always the “abortion pill,” RU-486. It starts at about $300, and PP assures you that “Planned Parenthood centers that do not provide it can refer you to someone who does.”



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