Health Care

No Free Birth Control—Yet

As conservative activists voice opposition to government-mandated free access to birth control, the Obama administration has left contraceptives off its initial list of preventive health services that must be offered co-pay-free to consumers of new health plans under the health-care reform law. Other women’s and sexual health services—including STD testing, prenatal care, genetic screenings for breast cancer, mammograms, interventions to support breast feeding, and cervical cancer screenings—were included in this first round of guidelines, which go into effect Sept. 24. The White House may be approaching the issue of contraception with political caution, but that doesn’t mean birth-control coverage will never be free. Reproductive rights advocates are pushing for birth control to be included in regulations on women’s health that will be released sometime in the next six to 18 months.