Insurance companies should cover birth control pills
Posted: Friday, March 9, 2012 8:00 pm
By: By DONNA RYDER, Associate Editor
For the many years we’ve been writing our Just A Thought columns, I have tried to stay away from the topics of politics and religion. It’s something I picked up from my mother, who taught me that it’s best not to discuss politics and religion when in large groups, meeting new people or even at the dinner table.
Mother’s advice has served me well so far in life. I figure everyone is going to have their own opinions. They’re not likely to change my mind and I’m not likely to change theirs.
That being said, this is one column inwhich I’m going to stray from the tried and true and I’m going to touch on the recent ugliness of the birth control topic. You may agree with me and you may not. That is your right.
When I first started hearing about this latest uproar, it was in bits and pieces, snippets here and there.
I understood President Obama wanted to make religious institutions pay for birth control for their employees and then compromised to have their insurance companies pay for the birth control. I agreed with the latter and have always believed insurance companies ought to pay for birth control under the same co-pay stipulations it has for other medications. Why not? Viagra and other such drugs are on most insurance companies’ lists of covered drugs.
If it wasn’t enough that Obama had to do this during an election year and the topic was picked up in Republican debates, Rush Limbaugh had to say his two cents worth. All would have been fine if he had simply stated his thoughts on the birth control topic, but he set about defaming Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown college student who testified before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on the importance of contraceptive coverage for students and employees at religious-affiliated institutions.
If a person listens only to videos of Limbaugh’s rants as seen on national television news shows and available on YouTube, one would think that Ms. Fluke sat before the committee and told them stories of women, including herself, having wild sex with a revolving door of men. He called her a slut and a prostitute and effectively, in my opinion, called all women who have ever taken birth control sluts and prostitutes. And to make it worse, he said that since, as a taxpayer, he would be paying for her birth control and therefore paying for her to have sex, he wanted her to post her sex acts online so he could watch them. What a sick, sick man. He later “apologized,” but only after he started losing his advertisers. He also said he was only joking, but seriously, watch the videos. I don’t think he was joking.
Upon review of the transcripts of Ms. Fluke’s actual testimony, one will find she was advocating for women who medically need birth control hormones, as well as women who decide to take control over their reproductive years.
She spoke of one woman who had polycystic ovarian syndrome. She medically needed birth control, but the insurance company refused to pay for it and as a college student, she could not afford to pay for the medication herself. The poor woman ended up with a cyst the size of a tennis ball and had to have surgery, which resulted in the removal of her ovary. In early menopause at the age of 32, she must face the reality that she’ll never be able to have children of her own. It is something that might possibly have been avoided if she had been able to get the medication.
Ms. Fluke also told of a married couple who could not afford birth control pills and said “women employed in low-wage jobs without contraceptive coverage face the same choice.”
The subject of the availability of birth control to low-income women and to women who pay for their own health insurance is a personal one. While in high school, I suffered pain from what the doctor said was the release of clumps of eggs which were tearing my fallopian tubes. It wasn’t until after I went to college and a doctor there prescribed a low-dose hormone that I got some relief. This doctor was in disbelief that I had been left to suffer for years because the doctor never prescribed the medication. Maybe it was because I was in high school or maybe it was because my family couldn‘t afford it. I don’t know.
When I got married, birth control allowed my husband and me the ability to decide when we had our children. It’s called family planning. We decided when the right time was for us to bring a baby into the world. And, you can believe me or not, but both my pregnancies were planned to the month.
Over the years, I have also suffered from stage 4 endometriosis, leading to my uterus being removed, and most recently I had a cyst the size of a grapefruit on one ovary and multiple smaller cysts on the other. Now I, just like the young lady Ms. Fluke mentioned in her testimony, have surgically induced menopause. I’m only 40. At least I’m lucky enough to be at a stage in my life to afford health insurance and the insurance company will pay a portion of my menopause hormones.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 3.9.12
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