February 14th 2012

Contraception as health care

By MarieAlena Castle

[I sent this to the Minneapolis Star Tribune but it was not published. (A couple of good ones were, however.)]

Anthony Morley asks whether contraception should be covered by health care insurance (Feb. 13), since it only prevents conception and does not treat or cure any illness or disease. Yet childbirth, which also does not treat or cure any illness or disease, is routinely covered. The reason (which should be obvious but apparently is not) is that pregnancy and childbirth are inherently life threatening physical conditions. Without good pre-natal and obstetrical medical care, the death rate for women is 1 in 16. Controlling pregnancy through contraception can be critical to preserving a woman’s health, sometimes her life, and often her ability to function productively in society. It is necessary medical care, not an elective.

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