The Economics of Birth Control

Birth Control

Despite the roiling debate over the new health care law, which would offer greater insurance coverage for women’s birth control, one vital point is largely being ignored.

We’re referring to the outcry over the Affordable Care Act, in case you’ve been distracted, watching Downton Abbey.

Getting easier access to affordable birth control is a boon for many women—and not simply because contraception can be expensive.

Having the ability to decide how and when to have children can, in many cases, have an impact on women’s long-term economic potential.

Consider how women’s lives have changed since the first birth control pill was released in 1960. In the last half-century, women have become a dynamic force in the workplace, in corporate and political leadership—in their own financial lives.

Is that due solely to rise of mass-market contraception? Of course not. Women also benefited from (if not kickstarted) powerful social and political movements that played into this coming-of-age.

But some studies do show that when women had greater access to birth control, it allowed them to make key decisions—like staying in college, or sticking with a career–that played into their economic empowerment.

Surely there is a way to resolve the current debate that would respect women’s need for religious freedom—and their entitlement to economic stability.

Weigh In. What do you think of the debate over which organizations should be required to comply with the new law, and which should be exempt?

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