The next battle in the “culture wars” might be over contraception. The right had some victories in restricting abortion during the health care reform debate, but Dana Goldstein warns of efforts on the right to restrict access to contraception:
Could prescription birth control—whether the pill, an IUD, or a diaphragm—soon be free of cost for most American women?
Polls suggest the majority of Americans would support such a policy. But the Daily Beast has learned that many conservative activists, who spent most of their energies during the health-care reform fight battling to win abortion restrictions and abstinence-education funding, are just waking up to the possibility that the new health care law could require employers and insurance companies to offer contraceptives, along with other commonly prescribed medications, without charging any co-pay. Now the Heritage Foundation and the National Abstinence Education Association say they plan to join the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in resisting implementation of the new provisions…
Reproductive-rights advocates are openly lobbying the Obama administration to enact the birth control changes quickly, citing the United States’ high rates of teenage and unintended pregnancy—the highest in the developed world.
“It would be a disaster for women’s health” to exclude contraception from the new requirements for insurers, said Kelly Blanchard, president of Ibis Reproductive Health, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based research organization.
Matthew Yglesias points out that this is a battle worth engaging in :
Politically speaking, I think this is the fight progressives have been wanting to have for some time now—something that would highlight the deeply reactionary and anti-woman ideology that drives the main institutional players in the anti-abortion movement.
Plus it would highlight the different attitudes on the left and right on government controlling the lives of individuals. After all, many on the right desire not only to ban government funding of abortion and birth control but to actually prohibit abortion and birth control.