For the past 25 years as an adoption attorney, I have witnessed the extraordinary courage and compassion of women - from age 14 to 40 - facing unplanned pregnancy. Not once did I believe that the government should interfere with their personal and private decision. In fact, I believe in less government interference in people’s personal lives, including whom to marry, when and whether to bear a child and how to raise kind and compassionate children.
But now, U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass, R-CD-2 and N.H. House Speaker Bill O’Brien, R-Mount Vernon, want to deny access to family planning and impose their own religious beliefs on our most private and personal family decisions. For over a decade, health insurers in New Hampshire have included family planning in our health care coverage, including prescription birth control pills and the accompanying physician visits. For over a decade, no one has raised any objection to this provision.
The truth is that contraception saves lives, prevents unplanned pregnancies, improves outcomes for children and reduces the number of abortions. As an adoption attorney, I know firsthand how difficult and how private these choices are for New Hampshire women. Now, thanks to health care reform, women across the country with private health insurance have access to family planning, including birth control, without additional expense to their family budget. Women will make their own private decisions about when and whether to raise a child and children will be raised in loving, supportive families. Everyone wins.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “99% of all sexually experienced women have used some method of contraception.” Bass and O’Brien partnering up to repeal the birth control coverage benefit will roll back one of the biggest advancements for women’s health under the guise of respecting religious freedom. No one — not Bass nor O’Brien — should be able to pick and choose the health care women in New Hampshire can access under their private health insurance coverage.
I stand with the majority of Americans who believe that women will make the right choice for their families and everyone will win.