For generations, Americans have had an odd aversion to contraceptives. Even as the birth control pill launched the sexual revolution — forever changing sexual mores in the Western world — this country remained reluctantly to overtly embrace the use of readily-available contraceptives.
Only in the last few years have advertisers launched promotions of birth control pills on TV. Ads for drugs like Viagra dominated the airwaves before ads for the pill crept onto the air. That strangely prudish attitude helps explain why out-of-wedlock births in the US are so much higher than in Western Europe, where contraceptives are widely available and publicly embraced.
But the US approach could change with the passage of health insurance reform. From The WaPo:
Fifty years after the pill, another birth control revolution may be on the horizon: free contraception for women in the U.S., thanks to the new health care law.
That could start a shift toward more reliable – and expensive – forms of birth control that are gaining acceptance in other developed countries.
But first, look for a fight over social mores.
A panel of experts advising the government meets in November to begin considering what kind of preventive care for women should be covered at no cost to the patient, as required under President Barack Obama’s overhaul.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., author of the women’s health amendment, says the clear intent was to include family planning.
It will certainly set off another huge fight over so-called family values. Oddly, conservatives have always had an understated antipathy toward birth control, even though its the best way to curb abortions. But this is another fight they are bound to lose.
One of the best things that could happen for health care, family planning and family dysfunction is widely available contraception.