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Having "Faith" in Birth Control as Preventive Medicine

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 By Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO, Contact
August 29, 2011

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - The Obama administration's decision to have insurance companies offer birth control at no cost has some religious groups claiming the government has a pro-abortion agenda. The new health reform law requires insurance companies to provide preventive care, including contraception, with no out-of-pocket costs.

While birth control has been controversial, research conducted by the New York-based Guttmacher Institute has found that at least 95 percent of American women have used birth control.

The Rev. Rebecca Turner, executive director of Faith Aloud, says providing birth control at no cost helps women and families not only prevent unintended pregnancies, but also overcome financial barriers to family planning.

"If women can have access to contraception without worrying about the cost of it, they're going to have better economic control in their lives, and there will be far fewer people on the welfare system."

Under the health care law mandate, all forms of contraception will be covered, as well as well-woman visits, breast pumps and treatment for gestational diabetes. The provision takes effect next summer.

Preventive care for all forms of contraception includes emergency contraception, something opponents of the provision say promotes abortion. However, Turner says pills like 'Plan B' and 'ella' are not abortion pills.

"The FDA has researched it very thoroughly, and "Plan B" cannot cause an abortion. It can only prevent pregnancy if taken within the first five days after unprotected sex."

The U.S. Catholic Health Association has indicated that it is alright for Catholic hospitals to administer emergency contraception, arguing that it does not disrupt an existing pregnancy.

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