Helen Alvaré anticipated the president’s brag about his health-care bill and its conscience violations (not quite how he put it) in a piece yesterday where she wrote:
On Oct. 5, President Obama came to George Mason University in Virginia, where I teach law, to generate support for the health care mandate requiring employers to buy health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization and drugs that cause early abortions.
“Let me tell you something, Virginia,” he said. “I don’t think your boss should control the care you get. I don’t think insurance companies should … I definitely don’t think politicians on Capitol Hill should … I think there’s one person who gets to make decisions about your health care — that’s you.”
The president can obviously say what he wants, but I wish he wouldn’t say that a law means its opposite. When it comes to women’s reproductive health, the new health law shows no regard for women’s ability to make their own decisions.
Polls show that most women don’t want abortion in their health coverage (68 percent, according to a poll taken in fall 2009, as the health care debate began). Most insurance companies still include it, but enrollees can always ask that it be taken out, and may get their way if they band together. The new health care law changes this balance of power by giving insurance companies more power to make such unilateral decisions.
Women who want contraceptives at a lower cost may think that their freedom is growing. What they may not realize is that supporters of the mandate are avowedly trying to change their behavior — to move women from their current methods of contraception to more expensive “long-acting reversible contraceptives” like the IUD and implant, which work for years and can only be removed by a doctor. About 5 percent of women use them today, but in a recent study, researchers offered all methods for “free” but persuaded about 75 percent of a cohort of women to get LARCs inserted. This study, which proves that medical professionals can badger women into long-term sterility, is being hailed as a paradigm for the contraceptive mandate.
This is not about freedom; it is about radical ideology eroding actual freedom.
Do check out the new collection Alvaré has edited here.