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Benefits of Free Birth Control

Why It's Cheaper to Have Free Birth Control

We'll begin seeing the first stages of healthcare reform this Fall when insurers start covering preventative care at no extra cost. Among those benefits women and advocates hope for? Birth control.

There are three million unplanned pregnancies in the United States every year. And, according to Guttmacher Institute, there were 1.21 million legal abortions in 2005. That's a lot of unplanning!

Prohibitive cost is one of the most common reasons women opt out of birth control. Even those who can afford something often pass up more effective methods like IUDs or hormonal implants for cheaper, less reliable options like the pill or condoms.

Yet not everyone sees birth control as "preventative care," even though it prevents the very medical condition of pregnancy. "Preventive care should be about preventing disease," said US Conference of Catholic Bishops spokeswoman Deirdre McQuade. "Fertility is not a disease to be cured, and the government should not treat it as that."

If women and pro-choice groups won't be listened to, then maybe we should take it from business. The National Business Group on Health, which represents large employers, supports covering contraception because, ultimately, it saves money. Prenatal and maternity care costs between $8,000 and $11,000 — far more than even the priciest birth control.

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