My first contraceptive was an IUD. But if I worked for a religious organization/company that provided my health insurance there’s a good chance I’d have to pay the $500 to $1,000 an IUD costs myself because my employer-provided health insurance–for which I pay a premium–wouldn’t cover it.
That’s what a federal judge ruled last week when he granted a preliminary injunction filed by Christian publisher Tyndale House to exempt IUDs and emergency contraception (Plan B) for its employees (read: women). Why? Because, the company claims, they are forms of abortion (note: this blog is not a treatise on whether abortion is right or wrong).
So if I read the ruling right, it means that if I work for Tyndale, and I either can’t use or choose not to use hormone-based contraception, I have to fork up a substantial chunk of change for an IUD. And, for the record, an IUD is also prescribed for women with heavy menstrual bleeding–even those who don’t need contraception. Will the company also withhold coverage for this indication?
In addition, if I’m raped, or the condom broke, or I forgot a couple of pills, or my partner didn’t use a condom, or there was a pinprick in the diaphragm–well, I might be having a baby unless I can afford the $50 for Plan B. Oh, and by the way, the ParaGard IUD is also considered a form of emergency contraception (remember that $500 to $1,000 cost).
Keep in mind that the women at Tyndale pay the same premium as the men; yet I don’t see the company refusing to cover Viagra because it promotes sexual activity for reasons other than pregnancy. I also don’t understand why the women themselves can’t make their own decision about the type of contraception they want to use.
Now, onto the abortion claim.
Scientifically, abortion is defined as the termination of a pregnancy. And the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology says that: “Implantation of the pre-embryo in the uterine lining begins about five days after fertilization. Implantation can be completed as early as eight days or as late as 18 days after fertilization, but usually takes about 14 days. Between one-third and one-half of all fertilized eggs never fully implant. A pregnancy is considered to be established only after implantation is complete.” In other words, if there is no pregnancy, there can be no abortion.
Neither plan B nor an IUD have any affect after a fertilized egg has implanted. Instead, they work by preventing that fertilized egg from implanting. Ergo, they prevent a pregnancy; they don’t end a pregnancy.
Now, this is not a blog about abortion. How you feel about abortion is up to you and I respect your opinion. Instead, this is a blog about our ability to ignore science when it interferes with our personal beliefs. And it is a blog about the ability of a company to single out half of its employees for a punitive policy.
How the final ruling in the Tyndale case will come out is still up in the air.
The question of fairness, however, seems pretty clear to me.