Monday, February 20, 2012

No, Planned Parenthood, Birth Control is NOT "Basic Health Care"

Flashback: Susan G. Komen for the WIN FAIL: What Planned Parenthood doesn't want you to know


Ok, so I've talked about #1 Controlling the Birth Control Debate and #2 Debunking the Myth that 99% of Women Are Using Birth Control, now for Part 3 I am going to discuss this nauseating quote from a Planned Parenthood statement celebrating the Obamacare contraceptive mandate (which they call a "benefit"):
"The birth control benefit underscores the fact that birth control is basic health care, and is fundamental to improving women’s health and the health of their families."
No, Planned Parenthood, birth control is NOT "basic health care."

Unlike abortion, which stops a beating heart and ends a life, I am pro-choice when it comes to contraception.  However, contraceptives are, on the whole, not a health care need, but a lifestyle want.  The vast majority of women don't use contraception because they need to prevent pregnancy for their health but because they don't want children at that particular point in time in their lives, for whatever reason, that's fine to me.  They choose the birth control that they want based on things like convenience or side effects - perhaps using a barrier method to avoid bad ones like weight gain or using hormonal contraceptives to gain good ones like clearing up acne.  Ok, all well and good, but here's the rub: these are not real medical or health reasons and they do not deserve to be force-subsidized by religious objectors who consider it a sin or even just by regular Americans who don't think it's their business to pay for it!  As IMAO_ said: If you want contraceptives to be a personal matter, you probably shouldn't force other people to pay for it.  Not to mention the fact that you're trading in a whole lot of freedom to the government for no co-pay.

No, Planned Parenthood, birth control is NOT "fundamental to improving women’s health." 

In fact there are many cases in which it hurts women's health.  There are many known serious risk factors related to hormonal birth control including several cancers (cancer.gov cites an increased risk for breast, cervical, and liver cancer from oral contraceptives).  The first thing the drug label says for Depo-provera is "Women who use Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection may lose significant bone mineral density." Even Planned Parenthood lists the serious and potentially fatal side effects for contraceptives with estrogen like the pill, the patch and the NuvaRing as heart attack, stroke, having a blood clot in the legs, lungs, heart, or brain, or developing high blood pressure, liver tumors, gallstones, or yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice).  (Interesting aside - Planned Parenthood lists these risks under the section labeled "What are the Disadvantages of xxx" and not under "How safe is xxx."  Seems like it should be the opposite.  Or both.)  Those are rarer but more serious risks, more common risks include weight gain, depression/mood swings, decreased libido, nausea, and headaches.  Not the worst, but not fun and certainly not an improvement.

Of course, as Jim Geraghty notes, there may be some women with real medical reasons who genuinely need help paying for birth control, but we should tailor policies for those specific needs, not issue a blanket ultimatum that all women - regardless of need or ability to pay - should get it for free, which is HUGELY expensive and will raise the premiums for everyone who has insurance (i.e. all of us, under Obamacare.) 

No, Planned Parenthood, birth control is NOT fundamental to improving "the health of [women's] families."

Come on, is that a joke?!  Is there a PP press release generator that randomly spits out combinations of words like "women," "health," and "families" and whatever it comes up with is published?  Not even going to bother ...

Read more on my discussion of the Obamacare contraceptive mandate here:

Part 1: Controlling the Birth Control Debate

Part 2: Debunking the Myth that 99% of Women Are Using Birth Control

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