MEMPHIS,TN - There is plenty of reaction here in the Mid-South to a plan by the Obama Administration to offer free birth-control pills, among other contraceptive services.
On Monday, August 1, 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human services said all health insurance plans must cover birth control pills for women for free.
"It is a great move," says Joan Carr with Planned Parenthood of Memphis. "These are the services women need to stay healthy."
Carr says these new guidelines will especially help women who struggle to make ends meet.
"It is not an issue of an excuse," she tells abc24.com, "when you only have say $50 to last the rest of the month. Are you going to spend that on birth control pills, or food for yourself and your kids? These are the kind of choices women are often forced to make."
According to the website for the Department of Health and Human Services, the new plan requires insurers to offer the following services for free:
- well-woman visits
- screening for gestational diabetes;
- human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing for women 30 years and older;
- sexually-transmitted infection counseling;
- human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening and counseling;
- FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling;
- breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling; and
- domestic violence screening and counseling.
"I just think it is a bad idea," says John Tilmon, of Shelby County Right to Life.
Tilmon says he especially dislikes the fact the morning after pill will also be offered for free.
"My issue would be with the morning after pill, because in my opinion it does cause abortion," says Tilmon.
The government says new health plans must offer these free services starting on August 1, 2012.