The supposedly pro-woman Left has erupted into fury this past week, denouncing new legislation proposed by Senator Cory Gardner (R., Colo.) that seeks to encourage over-the-counter status for birth control.
Salon’s Katie McDonough called the senator perpetually “full of s**t.” Planned Parenthood’s president claimed that the bill “is a sham and an insult to women.” NARAL Pro-Choice America’s president called the idea “nothing but political pandering to trick women and families into thinking we are covered while dismantling one of the most critical gains in the Affordable Care Act.” And Slate’s Amanda Marcotte called it “just a feint.”
The Left’s reflexive criticism of Gardner’s plan derives from a deep public-sector and special-interest-backed paternalism that wants to control women’s health choices just as much as any other supposed patriarchy.
Removing the pharmacy-counter barrier between women and their birth control would give them vastly more, not less, power over their own health-care choices, also reducing health-care costs and improving access.
Right now, the federal government requires a prescription for birth control, even though other over-the-counter drugs (acetaminophen, for example) bear higher health risks, the directions are straightforward, and there’s no risk of overdose.
Practically speaking, the prescription requirement keeps women beholden to their gynecologist, forcing them to submit to intrusive and uncomfortable once-a-year doctor’s visits in exchange for a pink slip for the pill.
But while pelvic exams and Pap smears can help physicians detect everything from sexually transmitted diseases to cervical cancer, these procedures tell them basically nothing about whether a woman can safely take birth control. Authorities as prestigious as the World Health Organization and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have confirmed that doctors can safely prescribe the pill without a full examination. Just as with other low-risk drugs, women are perfectly capable of reading the warning label and self-screening for safety.
Nevertheless, in 2010, the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that 29 percent of doctors always required a pelvic exam before penning a prescription, while an additional 45 percent of them “usually” did so. While preventive care is valuable, this requirement is much like linking men’s access to condoms to annual prostate exams.
In 2013, the New York Times estimated that American women undergo more than 63 million pelvic exams a year. That comes at a huge cost to our health-care system, even disregarding the time women are forced to take off work to visit the doctor.
The examination alone costs around $125, and a Pap test adds roughly $40 to the expense, according to reports by the American Board of Internal Medicine’s nonprofit ABIM Foundation. Planned Parenthood alone makes around $1.2 billion each year from contraceptive services.
With that big cash in mind, is it any wonder special-interest groups from gynecological associations to Planned Parenthood to NARAL have come out swinging against Senator Gardner’s proposal?
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/419286/why-liberals-oppose-ov...