July 08, 2014

The Best Things in Life Aren't Necessarily Free:
No, you can't get all of the Hobby Lobby disapproved contraceptions at Planned Parenthood for free

The Hobby Lobby decision very nearly ruined my vacation last week. I'm going to be honest: I was arrogant. I thought there was no way that the Court could see it any other way but what was so clearly obvious to me. Science says these forms of birth control are not abortion, and therefore they are not. What you "believe" about them has no bearing whatsoever on the facts of the case.

As we all know, I was wrong.

I am saddened by that. I am more saddened by things like a certain letter to the editor that appeared in the Express-Times of the Lehigh Valley. This quote in particular bothered me:
Any woman can get these four from Planned Parenthood, probably for free. The editorial falsely implies that this ruling erodes the rights of women. Again, how? The company offers 16 other forms of contraception.
While she is right that you can in fact get these forms of contraception from Planned Parenthood, she is quite wrong about the price and the implication of her statement.

IUDs are a valid form of birth control. They are a low-maintenance, long-term form of controlling fertility. Discounting that impact is disgusting.
First of all, let's go ahead and get the assertion that you could probably get them for free from a Planned Parenthood out of the way. When it comes to IUDs, PP says:

You need to see a health care provider to get an IUD. Your health care provider can help you decide if an IUD is right for you. You can find a health care provider who can help you with getting  an IUD at your local Planned Parenthood health center or at other clinics. 
The IUD is the most inexpensive long-term and reversible form of birth control you can get. Unlike other forms of birth control, the IUD only costs money in the beginning. The cost for the medical exam, the IUD, the insertion of the IUD, and the follow-up visits to your health care provider can range from $500 to $1,000. That cost pays for protection that can last from 5 to 12 years, depending on which IUD you choose. In general, hormonal IUDs cost more than ParaGard. 
Planned Parenthood works to make health care accessible and affordable. Some health centers are able to charge according to income. Most accept health insurance. If you qualify, Medicaid or other state programs may lower your healthcare costs.
 Planned Parenthood isn't comping the $500 to $1,000 cost. They may be able to charge on an income scale, but it will still be far from free.

Let's do the math really quickly. At $7.50 an hour, how many hours will a part-time Hobby Lobby employee have to work to cover their contraception, which is arguably the most reliable? A mere 67 to 134 hours, depending upon what type they choose and what their doctor charges.

That is insane. Having to work more than a week--and remember, that's a straight rate, I can't really factor in taxes or what they are being charged for insurance--or up to almost *four* weeks to pay for birth control is insane. It's astronomically more insane if you are an employee that already pays for health insurance through your employer.

Asking women to accrue this cost for medical care, when they are already paying for health insurance, is insane. Asking men to accrue this cost, on behalf of their wives, when they are already paying for health insurance is insane. It makes my blood boil.

Never mind that this letter writer completely neglects to consider the far-ranging consequences we are already seeing, as SCOTUS ordered lower courts to reconsider decisions in light of the motion, and it fast became apparent that the ruling extends far beyond the supposedly "narrow" scope of the four birth control methods challenged.

No. Just no.

Small government for the win--it's now small enough to fit in my (and your) uterus.

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