WASHINGTON -- The new set of guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services this week that will require health insurers to cover birth control with no co-pays have been controversial for a number of reasons, ranging from cost issues to moral objections.
Some conservative groups, such as Americans United for Life, have condemned the guidelines because they might force insurers to cover the morning after pill, which many anti-abortion advocates equate with abortion. The Catholics for Choice organization opposes the fact that the guidelines exempt certain religious organizations from having to cover birth control. And some businesses worry that the expanded coverage will raise insurance premiums for everyone.
But Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) expressed a fairly extreme concern on the House Floor Monday night about the expanded preventative health coverage: offering free birth control to women could eventually kill off the entire human species.
KING: We have people that are single, we have people that are past reproductive age, we have priests that are celibate. All of them, paying insurance premiums that cover contraceptives so that somebody else doesn't have to pay the full fare of that? And they've called it preventative medicine. Preventative medicine. Well if you applied that preventative medicine universally what you end up with is you've prevented a generation. Preventing babies from being born is not medicine. That's not— that's not constructive to our culture and our civilization. If we let our birth rate get down below replacement rate we're a dying civilization.
The new guidelines under the Affordable Care Act were nearly unanimously recommended by a panel of experts at the non-partisan Institute of Medicine, and they ensure that health insurance companies will fully cover a range of preventative health services for women, including contraceptives, cervical cancer screening, breast-feeding supplies and HIV testing and counseling.
An estimated 98 percent of sexually active women in America have used some form of birth control at some point in their lives. According to a recent Thomson Reuters/NPR poll, 77 percent of American voters believe that insurers should cover the cost of birth control with no co-pays.
The socially-conservative King called the new guidelines "bizarre" and "Orwellian."
"Now none of us would have health to worry about if they prevented us," he said, "would we, Mr. Speaker?"