What do you think of rules that make free birth control a mandatory part of health care coverage?

The past several weeks have seen a political uproar over birth control. President Obama announced and then modified rules that would have required religious employers to include birth control in their health plans. Today’s Question: What do you think of rules that make free birth control a mandatory part of health care coverage?

  • Duane

    FREE? FREE? FREE? Anyone that accepts the thought that this will be free is nothing more than a Lemming being led off a cliff. There is a cost to the health care, this cost will will be passed on the provider and than the cost will be passed on to the employer or employer. Anyone that believes the religious organizations are not being made to provide. birth control is out to lunch.

  • Kurt

    Just another sign of the utter contempt Obama and the left have for the “bitter clingers”-that is, for anyone who’s views differ from their own.

  • Allie

    If Strategy A fails or looks to falter,

    go to Strategy B (wedge issues).

    With the economy “improving”, Strategy A may need to be replaced – along with the person using a faltering economy as their main selling point in the primary.

    Maybe it will increase the lackluster turnout for primaries/caucuses.

  • Emery

    Universal health care is only a joke until you need it.

  • This is the right move. Insurance agencies themselves agree that freely (included at no additional cost to your insurance, for those of you who worry overmuch about terminology) available birth control will reduce the cost of premiums; also, reproductive health is simply something that many cannot afford without these measures — and the cost of not having access to birth control in that case is simply too high. So, yes, Obama made the right decision, and he’s now placed the far right in the position of trying to come up with another lie, or come clean and say they’re simply against female reproductive rights.

  • Mary

    I agree. This is an instance of religion being intransigent to the forces of modernity. Emancipating women from the abject cycle of reproduction is a fundamental step in reaching equality and reducing poverty. Those who preach otherwise are perpetuating the needless suffering of countless women and children.

  • reggie

    If we’re serious about getting control of the costs of health care, it starts with a focus on preventive care of all kinds, including contraception.

    Economic arguments aside, if religious organizations accept government funding (and as a society, we need them to — religious organizations are the bedrock of much of our social safety net), they cannot pick and choose which rules they will follow.

    Finally, a bunch of allegedly celibate men (Catholic bishops) have absolutely no right to tell women what they can or can’t do in terms of contraception. If a woman chooses to be Catholic (and I can’t think of a good reason why one would), she can live with the constraints. But those constraints should not be imposed on others.

  • Payton

    One could further argue by not subsidizing contraception, you are in fact arguing for a reduction in freedom for Americans who actually desire contraception.

  • Rachael

    If it is “utter contempt” to make the religious pay for something they oppose, can I get a refund for the portion of my taxes (by percentage) that paid for the Iraq war?

  • AJ

    I find it curious that anything related to birth control, especially when “free” excludes men. Yes, it is the woman who gets pregnant. However, here is a perfect example: sterilization. It costs a heck of a lot less money for the male in “covered relationship” to have a vasectomy than the female.

    Further, given average costs, if a couple wanted to choose vasectomy, the higher upfront cost would have paid for itself within two years of conventional ongoing birth control for the woman.

    But sterilization will not be covered, and if it is, it will only cover sterilization of the woman. Further ignoring the obvious idiocy and sexist policies of our healthcare system in general.

  • Dawn

    Personally, I think this is yet another instance of losing sight of the forest.

    If my employer offers me prescription drug coverage as part of my compensation package (which I may be making payments toward or may include deductibles or co-payments on my part) does that somehow give them the right to dictate which prescriptions my doctor and I choose are best to support my personal health and well being?

    I would hope the obvious answer would be no.

  • Gary F

    Free? for whom? Nothing is free in this world, someone has to pay for it. It costs someone money. It is a cost of doing business for the insurance company, which they must account for overhead and profit, so it raises the price of everyone that purchases their insurance.

  • Stacey Burns

    It is misleading to continue referring to the coverage as “free.” There is no co-pay, but it is no more “free” than the other benefits offered an employee who works in exchange for those benefits. Why aren’t we hearing about a FREE INSULIN MANDATE or a FREE ANTIHYPERTENSIVE MANDATE? It is common sense that people need to be able to control their reproductive futures to participate fully in society.

  • Steve the Cynic

    There’s a twist in this issue that is not being mentioned: birth control is cheaper for insurance companies to cover than pregnancy is, so “free” birth control is actually a cost-saving measure for them. Catholic institutions’ refusal to offer coverage that includes birth control will result in higher rates for everyone. In effect, they’re not refusing to pay for birth control so much as insisting on everyone else paying for unwanted pregnancies.

  • Larry M

    It is good health care policy. It costs less than the alternative and 98% of sexually active catholic women have used birth control banned by the church. Another example of how the church is run by a bunch of out of touch sexist men stuck on dogma. The church can not see the forest through the trees.

  • Sue de Nim

    The pharisaism that Jesus criticized so harshly is alive and well in the Catholic Church.

  • Kari

    While I’m curious to see how “free” this will actually be- if it is so, I am beyond excited and thankful. I currently pay a lot for health care just so it covers birth control under the prescription drug plan. I’m trying to be a responsible adult and not get pregnant until I’m ready (financially, emotionally, etc). Finally someone, Obama, is recognizing that there are many of us trying to be responsible with family planning and is throwing us a bone. It’s about time.

  • Naomi

    I am as liberal as it comes on issues of choice, but as a pragmatist, I hate to see the way this issue is playing out in the public dialog. It has created a beautiful opportunity for the anti-choice people to howl about religious freedom. As the daughter of fundamentalist Christian Evangelical extremists, I was able to get an exam and birth control on a college kid’s waitress income – without involving insurance – so I didn’t have to let my family know. Since there is no RIGHT to health care coverage in this country- with our 51 Million or so uninsured – if an employer provides insurance AT ALL, they should be kissed and thanked. If a particular piece of coverage is excluded by an employer because the employer feels it is immoral, a couple good options are better than forcing the employer to pay (and don’t be disingenuous and say the insurance company will pay – they don’t “pay” for anything – premiums pay for everything). Pay for it out of your pocket – just like you do for aspirin. Insurers could come up with supplemental policies to be purchased independently. Or go work for a different employer. But get ‘forcing the Catholic Church to pay for birth control” off the airwaves stirring up the rabid anti-choice religious zealots!

  • James

    Lemme get this straight. There are 7 billion people in the world. Half of them are starving. The rest of us are heating the atmosphere and otherwise destroying the planet. And birth control is some sort of sin. But I digress.

    I love this issue. Obama feuds with a hundreds of out-to-lunch Bishops while hundreds of thousands of impacted women quietly side with him, and help him get re-elected.

    I don’t think this is a wedge issue. I think it’s a Trojan Horse.

  • Mary

    Love it! It is ridiculous that Viagra is covered for men but I can’t get coverage for contraceptives.

  • Bear

    All this fuss over a religious law that is centuries out of date and which was baseless to begin with. Why haven’t religions, and this applies to all religions, acquired the ability to learn and evolve over time? The world changes and new knowledge is gained, change with the times. The Catholic Church’s ban on birth control is simply a strategy to increase the number of Catholics in the world. Today we live in a world approaching over population, nearly 7 billion people, and increasing exponentially. We are rapidly approaching a population level that our planet cannot support. So, why does a world leader cling steadfast to a strategy that promotes over population? This is an unsustainable tactic and globally irresponsible. Someone needs to act responsibly or we will live out the tragedy of the commons on our home planet. The global community should be holding the Catholic Church in contempt of the Planet Earth.

  • Rich in Duluth

    I think this requirement is appropriate for many of the reasons listed previously.

    The Affordable Care Act is trying to provide comprehensive healthcare. The Catholic Church is trying to impose its belief system on anyone working for it. These are, obviously, two different goals, so there’s no reasonable compromise.

    A single payer plan, such as Medicare for everyone, would solve this problem by taking employers out of the healthcare issue.

  • kennedy

    So, the argument is that religious affiliation allows a business organization to choose the level of medical coverage it provides. I see an opportunity for businesses to affiliate with the Christian Scientists who believe that medical care is unnecessary. Providing no health care coverage would save money, in addition to following doctrine.

  • Jim G

    If the power to make the rules about birth-control in the church were the ones who actually gave birth, free birth-control would be a tenet of the church not a sin. Females are still controlled by male dominated societies, fraternities, corporations, clubs, governments, tribes and churches. May this be the century of Women’s Emancipation.

  • david

    The hypocrisy of a bunch of voodoo following, celibate, out of touch with reality men (of which way too many are know child molesters, I only bring this up because it points to their credibility as a group), and the people who follow their will blindly is insane in this day and age. Many of these same people call themselves conservatives. I wish conserving our natural resources, or supplying preventative care to avoid higher long term costs to business, the individual, and society was considered conservative by them. They cry freedom of religion, but shouldn’t the rest of us have the freedom to not have their ridiculous, outdated superstitions imposed on us?

  • Catrina

    It’s tragic women have been brainwashed to believe that to be equal and have a fulfilling sex life we must “control” our fertility with pills, devices, or surgery. NATURAL Family Planning was included in the statistic that 98% of women have used contraception. Its hard to believe that in our “going green” “natural” and “organic” culture women so readily accept that we have to rely on anything other than our natural cycle to have great sex without having a dozen children. The Churches teaching on contraception is proving to be more prophetic and wise than ever.

    The Catholic church educates more people, visits more prisoners, provides more health care, and feeds more people than any other institution on earth. The Church’s teaching, love thy neighbor as thy self, had transcended time for more than two thousand years and will continue to.

  • Gary F

    Denying older folks medical attention and letting them die is cheaper for insurance companies too. So why don’t we do that?

  • Surley the Cynic

    “The Catholic church educates more people, visits more prisoners, provides more health care, and feeds more people than any other institution on earth. The Church’s teaching, love thy neighbor as thy self, had transcended time for more than two thousand years and will continue to.”


  • Steve the Cynic

    “Denying older folks medical attention and letting them die is cheaper for insurance companies too. So why don’t we do that?”

    Who says we don’t? Or… wouldn’t if insurance weren’t appropriately regulated.

  • fran

    The headline here is misleading– the requirement is not for FREE birth control, but birth control coverage subject to deductibles, copays, etc, just like any other medication. Several key points; the church is exempt for its own employees — this applies to things like hospitals, where those working for the church run organization need not be adherents — thus it allows each person to follow their own moral/religious dictates. Second, birth control pills are taken by many NOT for contraceptives, but for painful or irregular menstrual cycles. Without access to these pills, those using them for dysmenorreah suffer each cycle.

    Personally, I find a bunch of men dictating that women must bear unwanted pregnancies so hypocritical that I become irrational when trying to deal with it, so I’ll leave that part to the rest of you.

  • P. Nielsen

    Of course, it is appropriate. Why should a church or religious organization try to force its will on all, which is exactly what the Roman Catholic Church and other conservative, evangelical Protestant churches are trying to do, and not only on birth control for women. It’s interesting that we have one (or more) political parties constantly telling voters they want to get government out of their lives, but at the same time, get that same government have entry and control into their bedrooms and private lives. It’s nothing but a power and control issue with certain men and women has nothing to do with the betterment of society or the health and safety of women and children. It’s also high time for men to use birth control, and that should also be free in any health insurance program. Tit for tat…..

  • GregX

    The grand experiment with looser banking regs and trickle-down economics , the past 6 years of economic decline and societal disruption have driven home one very clear point – only about 20% of the American population can afford to live teh American dream. For the remainder … its varying degrees of a cold, hard , brutish life on the verge of bankruptcy and fiscal crises. A life where any calamity ( job-loss, health problems, divorce… ) anc and will be the catalyst to a un-ending downward spiral.

    In a society whose marketing geniuses promote the religion of consumerism, the faux-secruity of debt and the unending needy-ness for more… birth control is one of those regulators that the average folks in our society need to time the delivery child-obligation for the moment in life when they can “afford” to have one.

    Children are, it is said, our future. Lets make sure we give them the best chance at success by letting potential-parents decide when they are ready to raise them. We’re “conservatively” eviscertaing the government support tools – don’t take this one away.

    and a church spending millions on a campaign to defeat a political movement, when millions are suffering, starving, and dying in their collective country … is the height of hypocrisy. Cut the Vatican’s budget!! House, Feed and clothe the people here.

  • Nick

    This entire fight is one of the myriad of reasons that the current employer-centric health care paradigm is a joke to the rest of the world. The notion that we can’t impose minimum standards for care that include basic family planning is a joke.

  • Chuck

    Get real! Free – not a chance! Still, I believe that every woman who chooses to use birth control should have access to low cost methods. As a catholic, I hardily disagree with the catholic position on this question – always have.

  • david

    Denying older folks medical attention and letting them die is cheaper for insurance companies too. So why don’t we do that?

    WOW what a weak argument to back up an even weaker argument. Birth control isn’t free, but it’s way WAY cheaper then prenatal care, delivery, and 18+ years of medical care, schooling, the carbon foot print, and the time wasted while I spend my whole lunch break in a drive thru behind a house wife and 5 kids jumping around in suv with a with a jesus fish on the bumper. Not to mention less kids means less old people to care for down the road.

    As for natural “planning” statistically it’s not any more effective then using nothing, because that’s all it is.

  • GregX

    “The Catholic church educates more people, visits more prisoners, provides more health care, and feeds more people than any other institution on earth.” =============================================

    Patentlay false. That work is split among the many religious groups – Lutherans, Episcopols, Islamic, Buddhists, Jainists, Hindu.

    But far and away … the instution of government dwarfs the work of the combined churches by magnitudes of order.

  • The way you MPR folks framed this question reveals your new management bias to the right. This is not FREE anything. None of the Affordable Health reforms are free. Contraception is more ACCESSIBLE when covered by insurance. Shame on you. I’m sick of the new spin your editors are enforcing. Believe me – – I’m not the only one noticing out here. . .

  • Jim Shapiro

    In what surreal dimension is the official catholic church given any credibility on matters of sexuality?!?

  • Sarah

    Birth control is part of primary preventative care and should be free. Most Catholic women use birth control, though the patriarchal church system chooses to ignore this fact, and non-Catholic employees of Catholic institutions have a right to receive the safe health insurance services as employees of the average company.

    For anyone who thinks money is more important than citizens’ health, it’s much cheaper to insure a woman on the Pill than it is to insure a pregnant woman.

  • GregX

    earlier comment : ” Its hard to believe that in our “going green” “natural” and “organic” culture women so readily accept that we have to rely on anything other than our natural cycle to have great sex without having a dozen children. ”

    hey – if your “personal choice” works for you … and your god … well then I guess we make everyone else do it to.

    ATTENTION: you WILL be assigned a god to worship and follow. Notices are being sent now. Check you mail!

  • Mark in Freeborn

    I believe that contraception is as important a part of preventative health-care as a mammogram, a colonoscopy, or even a general physical examination, and by that reckoning, absolutely reasonable. Such things are exactly what the Affordable Care Act is intended to provide. Anything less violates, at least, the spirit of the law. Whether or not women (or men) choose to avail themselves to such care is a decision each individual should have the right to make, based upon personal conviction or preference. Voluntary preventative care is among the least expensive forms of long-term health care, particularly on a national basis.

  • Catrina

    Hey GregX

    That’s the point exactly. I don’t want to be forced to pay for your choice to use birth control or kill unborn babies. If your choice works for you great but dont expect me to pay for it.

  • david

    Hey Catrina:

    Many of us do not want to be forced to pay for your selfish behavior should you choose to breed like a rabbit and spew your offspring across the already over populated earth. For some reason the more you spawn, the greater your tax breaks, even though you cost society as a whole much much more. I really do not want my property taxes going up every year to pay for schools for your kids when I practice self control and breed more modestly or not at all. You preach hypocrisy plane and simple.

  • Catrina

    You attack my character calling me a selfish hypocrite and claiming I burden society by breeding like a rabbit and putting my kids in public schools. All of which are untrue. Self discipline is a the root of the way I life my life. Are you claiming that women must have birth control because they don’t have self control? Children are the future not a burden to educate.

  • John P II

    Perfect example of why single payer health care is needed; a person’s employer should have zero impact on their health care coverage. Also a good example of why religious organizations should not be tax exempt in our country. I don’t care if people want to follow a priest, worship an idol, or look at crystals – just don’t ask for special treatment.

  • david

    Well Catrina, I said “should you choose”. Regardless your kids DO cost me and everyone around you. Every kid you have makes EVERYONE’S insurance premiums go up, just like if you drive recklessly and cause accidents everyone’s auto insurance goes up, not just yours. I work in a very small office, and there are a couple employees who have way more then the statistical average number of children. Every year they have another all of our premiums jump dramatically. You see how this pooled insurance thing works? You must it’s your whole argument, you don’t want to pay for someone else’s birth control. That’s why I call you out for being a hypocrite. You’re behavior based on superstition is cost me and everyone else around you.

  • david

    As for self control, many don’t, but it’s not in my best interest to deny them basic preventive care. So many on here rally against any form of welfare, but much of that welfare could be avoided by supplying a much cheaper pill/patch/implant/etc. Your only argument against such thing is based in superstition, not reality. And denying such services to people who do not believe in your superstitions is a crime against everyone else. Sorry to be blunt, but this is why we allegedly have a separation of church and state, to keep these ridiculous arguments from occurring in the first place. The price of being allowed your religious freedom is to not impose your religious views on others.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Funny how religion seems to be the only thing on this site more controversial than politics.

  • GregX

    Earlier post: That’s the point exactly. I don’t want to be forced to pay for your choice to use birth control or kill unborn babies. If your choice works for you great but dont expect me to pay for it. ====================================

    Pity we don’t apply that to corporations and churches in general. Churches in the United States own pleny of land that is un-taxed – and therefore forces the rest of us to pay higher taxes to cover the costs of society that the churches also benefit from …… careful bout what you wish for … for you may surely get it … like full taxation of churches as they expand their “participation” in the political process. I think we call it “PAY for PLAY”

  • GregX

    Can a society that wants to massivley cut back on public schools, public health, unions, general wage laws all of the other protections for the real working class ever afford to not allow abortions or to have free birth control.

    With the birth of a child … comes a minimum of 18 years of mandatory costs for food, health , shelter and education. If badly done – that child can become a 50-80 year burder on society. A burden that can cost between $35,000 – $115,000 per year to incarcerate and manage.

    In a nation that incarcerates the highest percentage of its adult population … that is some serious food for thought.

    The very act of choosing to avoid pregnancy may in some cases be the most heroic thing an individual can do for the long term health of the country and for themselves.

  • John

    I’m a Ron Paul supporter, and believe that government should stay out of the personal lives of people.

    But I also believe we should stop subsidizing oil companies.

    Aren’t birth control pills in a generic formula now. I can get most generic drugs for $4 from many pharmacies. Why do we need government involved in everything? It will only cost us more? Some new damn agency for condom testing or something.

  • GregX

    StCynic: ” Funny how religion seems to be the only thing on this site more controversial than politics. “=======================================

    it will stop being funny when, as some conservatives are hoping, the church and the state merge into one entity.

    Pity us all then.

  • Mary

    Yeah a Condom Czar!

  • david

    Funny how religion seems to be the only thing on this site more controversial than politics.

    The problem is when religion and politics merge. The fact that religion is allowing themselves to be used in a political game only makes me lose that much more respect for them. Like GregX, they need to pay to play. Until I see a churches tax return, they can just shut up unless I’m on their property on Sunday morning.

    All of this is only because of the grand obstructionist party’s objection to healthcare reform. And if they could come up with a practical alternative then to ignore it, or even explain exactly what’s so bad about the latest attempt they would have a stronger argument. All I know is the cost for health are is out of hand, every other civilized country has done something about it, making the access to healthcare a right, not a luxury for the rich.

  • John

    Once healthcare becomes a “right” as is social security, and medicare, it will be taken away by the people (the rich) who run the country, as will social security and medicare.



  • ray Gorski

    I reject the notion that President Obama is hostile

    to religion and religious values. I reject the notion

    that religion does not have a say in this matter. I

    believe that birth control should be available to

    all who want or need it. I do not believe that it

    should be dependent on who your employer is.

    If religious organizations want to be out of the

    business of providing direct health care they can

    set up a Medical Savings account for their workers and let their employees go out on the open market and select the policy that best suits

    their needs and beliefs. As to cost savings only

    time will tell. Having stated that I do believe that

    there would be savings since carrying a pregenancy to term is not inexpensive. While pregnancy is not a disease it does create medical

    risks to both the mother and the child. Also women use birth control for other medical reasons; such as regulating menstration, easing

    cramping and the such. So based on those few reasons I do think that birth control and specific

    women’s health issues shold be covered by all

    health plans. I am a older male who is a lifelong

    Catholic who believes that the church has a

    responsibility to comment on societal issues. I

    also believe they are but one voice, not THE

    voice. The church is part of the larger society and

    needs to take their proper role in furthering society for the benefit of all.

  • david



    If we are so broke, and can not afford to provide basic healthcare for our people, how can we afford to spend more on our military then then next 24 largest country’s military spending combined?

    But once again, being penny wise, dollar foolish is not helping. Birth control is cheaper then 18 years of shots, checkups, injuries and antibiotics.


  • Bill

    Yes we can! or something like that. Except I agree with John, no more money, we can’t do something with nothing.

    They can create it out of thin air, like they have been doing lately but that’s just digging the hole deeper and deeper.

  • Bill

    Oh yeah, I forgot, END THE FED!

  • Douglas Burt

    The policy places responsibility for ethical decision-making on the individual. An action is possible; you are not compelled to choose that action.

  • Patrick

    Birth control should be covered like every other prescription drug in the new plans. Why would we not want to cover a woman’s birth control medication?

  • Dannie

    Free and safe birth control is a good thing. Ending the Prohibition of Cannabis/Hemp is even better.

  • Scott Slocum

    Some of the most tragic and expensive problems we have in the world happen when people can’t effectively support their children. Birth control helps people to plan when they’ll have children–when they can effectively support them. When we help people to plan, we avoid some of these most tragic and expensive problems, we make our world better, and we live more economically. We can afford to live more economically.

  • frank wright

    The organizations that are protesting say that their religious beliefs oppose it. Sorry they are corporations, and while most republican leaders and the judges they apoint believe that corporations are people, if not super people, they are not. There seems to be a movement in the business and republican community to move corporations into being people and will probably expand into voting rights and right to hold office. (Imagine President Blackwater) Though you can be sure that they will continue to be exempt from prison and other just punishment for their crimes.

  • Lisa

    Contraception is not a right! It is not medically necessary in probably 99% of cases! If a person wants to have birth control for family planning go to the store and buy some condoms! They aren’t expensive, they are readily available and they protect against STD’s. It’s that simple! End of arguement!!

  • Tali

    Hes just dancing all over the constitution…FREEDOM OF RELIGION…and thats for every American too, not just some