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The War on Women’s Health, Part 6: Religious Beliefs

The War on Women’s Health

Part 6: Religious Beliefs

Where the rubber hits the road

By Truthmonk
November 12, 2012

The Stoning Death of Du’a_Khalil_Aswad, a Kurdish teenager

Du’a Khalil Aswad, a 17-years-old teenager, was stoned to death on April 7, 2007 allegedly by members of her Yazidi family during an honor killing. Her crime? She hung out with a boy from the wrong ethic group. She was dragged half naked into the street in front of an excited crowd that had congregated to watch the stoning. A number of people filmed her death on their mobile phones.

Virtually all women have used contraceptives, even Catholic women

Among never-married young adult Catholic women 89% have had sex.1 Interestingly, among nonspecific never-married young adult women only 79% have had sex, 10% less than young adult Catholic women. Seems Catholic women are more promiscuous than most.

Sexual Experience

Among sexually experienced never-married Catholic women 98% have used a contraceptive method. This is similar to the 99% of sexually experienced never-married non-Catholic young adult women who have used a contraceptive method. A statistical dead-heat. Methods used includes: condom, IUD, female or male sterilization, and hormonal methods such as the pill.

Contraceptive Usage

Virtually all of the approximately 62 million reproductive age women in the United States will use a contraceptive method at some time during their lives. If the research tells us anything, it tells us the notion that strongly held religious beliefs and contraceptive use are incompatible is just plain wrong. Contraceptive use by Catholics and Evangelicals with strongly held religious beliefs is the widespread norm, not the exception.

Honestly how deep can a belief be when 98% of the Catholic women have used a contraception method?

How firm are Catholics beliefs

While a majority of Americans (55%) believe “employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception and birth control at no cost,” an even larger number of Catholics (58%) do.2

For employers that are “religiously affiliated colleges and hospitals” the number drop to slightly under half for Americans (49%) and 52 percent for Catholics.

It is interesting that for both regular employers and religiously affiliated colleges and hospitals employers, a larger percent of Catholics believe they should be required to provide contraception and birth control at no cost than generic Americans.

Catholic Belief

Who are the Catholics bishops representing battling against women’s contraception use? It can’t be the 98% who have used or will use contraception. It can’t be the majority of Catholics who believe that employers, even the “religiously affiliated colleges and hospitals” ones should provide contraception coverage in their health plans.

To a celibate man these may be “most deeply held religious convictions.” But they aren’t the ones who must live by them. So perhaps the bishops aren’t representing Catholics at all. Their flock has moved on. The bishops have been left standing guard over crumbling relics of a bygone time.

Carving out religious exceptions

If Catholics are granted an exception for not covering contraception, what about exceptions for other religions?

Religions Taboos

Jehovah Witnesses3 would want an exception for not covering blood transfusions, Islam4 would need one for pig derived insulin, Scientology5 wouldn’t want to cover psychiatric drugs, and Christian Scientists6 would want a big exception for not covering medical treatments and vaccinations. And the list goes on ad nauseam.

The Talmud has commanded Jewish women for over 1500 years to use a mokh for birth control.7 The mokh is a soft cotton pessary that presents a physical barrier to the sperm. Women would soak the mokh in lemon juice to give it anti-spermicidal properties before insertion into the vagina against the cervix.

Cotton and Lemons
Composite inage by Truthmonk
Component images: Cotton – redOrbit.com, Lemon tree – Allen Timothy Chang, Cut Lemons – André Karwath

The Judaism’s Talmud (500 CE) is the passage named “the Bariata of the Three Women.” In this textual argument, rabbis deliberate when women must or may use a birth control device to avoid unintended pregnancies.


“R. Bebai recited before R. Nahman: Three (categories of) women use a mokh in marital intercourse: a minor, a pregnant women, and a nursing mother. The minor, because she might become pregnant and die. A pregnant woman, because she might cause her fetus to become a sandal (flattened or crushed by a second pregnancy). A nursing woman because she might have to wean her child prematurely and the child would die.”


The text’s intent is concerned about the additional risks caused by coitus for a pregnant women.

“The reasons to prevent pregnancy are both to protect the woman and, importantly, to protect her child from danger. In the first, the rabbinic understanding that married minors (girls under the age of 12 years and a day) are at higher risk should they become pregnant is straightforward . In the second case, the rabbis, who at this point debate whether superfetation (second pregnancy) is biologically possible, are concerned primarily that the fetus might be compromised by a[n] intercourse.”

The third and final case is the nursing mother where a pregnancy might impair the quantity or nutritional quality of her milk. During the 2 – 3 year nursing period pregnancy was forbidden. This point is made crystal clear by several tractates of the Talmud.

Zoloth writes, “The idea of avoiding a second pregnancy until the child was fully weaned was so strongly held by some, including R. Y’hudah Ayyes in early 18th century Italy, that R. Ayyes writes a responsa allowing an abortion for a nursing mother, to protect her nursing child.”

Settled constitutional law

They also have the legal problem that it’s settled constitutional law.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops assert it would violate their religious beliefs to provide women with full health coverage8. They want to be excused from complying with the law, but religious beliefs do not relieve them of the obligation to obey the law.

Panel of Five
Photograph from ThinkProgress.
From left, Roman Catholic Bishop Reverend William E. Lori, Lutheran Reverend Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, Baptist C. Ben Mitchell, Orthodox Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, and Baptist Craig Mitchell.

The Panel of Five testified before Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing Feb. 16, 2012.

The free-exercise clause of the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…,” pertains to the right to freely exercise one’s religion beliefs.9 However, the Supreme Court has placed limits on the expression of religious practices.

In the case of Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), the United States Supreme Court held that neutral laws of general applicability do not violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

In Smith, far-right conservative Justice Antonin Scalia writing the majority opinion said, “We have never held that an individual’s religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate. On the contrary, the record of more than a century of our free exercise jurisprudence contradicts that proposition.”

Antonin Scalia

SCOTUS/Steve Petteway
Antonin Gregory Scalia (R – Senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States) was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. He is considered by conservative as the intellectual anchor of the Court.
Justice Scalia continued by quoting Justice Frankfurter from Gobitis10, “Conscientious scruples have not, in the course of the long struggle for religious toleration, relieved the individual from obedience to a general law not aimed at the promotion or restriction of religious beliefs. The mere possession of religious convictions which contradict the relevant concerns of a political society does not relieve the citizen from the discharge of political responsibilities.”

Later in the opinion Justice Scalia wrote, “Subsequent decisions have consistently held that the right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes).”

Justice Scalia argues the government’s ability to make and enforce public policy cannot depend on the spiritual development of a religious objector to a law. To do otherwise permits the objector, by virtue of his beliefs, “to become a law unto himself.”11 at 167

This “contradicts both constitutional tradition and common sense.”


Next: The War on Women’s Health, Part 7: American Individualism

Previous: The War on Women’s Health, Part 5: Women’s Economics

In many of the world’s religions there is a restrictive and pro-natalist view on family planning, and this is one legitimate reading of those religious traditions. Arguing for the existence of equally valid traditions that allow contraception and abortion, the authors, all scholar-practitioners of the religions about which they write, seek to escape the confines of oversimplified either/or, pro-choice/pro-life arguments. Instead, they point the way toward a more open discussion of family planning. Dispelling the notion that the world’s religions are uniformly conservative on issues of family planning, the authors show that the parameters of orthodoxy are wider and gentler than that, and that the great religious traditions are wiser and more variegated than a simple repetition of the most conservative views would suggest.


1 Jones, Rachel K.; Dreweke, Joerg | Countering Conventional Wisdom: New Evidence on Religion and Contraceptive Use | Guttmacher Institute, New York, NY, USA | April 2011.
2 Ø | Survey: Majority of Catholics Think Employers Should Be Required to Provide Health Care Plans that Cover Birth Control at No Cost (Webpage) | February PRRI Religion and Politics Tracking Poll | Public Religion Research Institute | February 7, 2012 | Accessed February 29, 2012 @ http://publicreligion.org/research/2012/02/january-tracking-poll-2012.
3 Ø | Our View of Medical Care: Blood Transfusions | Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Media Web Site | 2009 | Available @ http://www.jw-media.org/aboutjw/article01.htm.
4 Al-Munajjid, Muhammad Saleh | Fatwas, Can Muslims use animal organs/products for medicine, such as insulin made from pig tissue/medicine containing liver from cows or other organs from cows? () | ∞ halalmontreal.com | Available @ http://halalmontreal.tripod.com/id39.html.
5 Ø | Is it okay to take any sort of drugs when you are in scientology? « Scientology and Dianetics Auditing (Website) | Church of Scientology International | ∞ | Available @ http://www.scientology.org/faq/scientology-and-dianetics-auditing/is-it-okay-to-take-any-sort-of-drugs-when-you-are-in-scientology.html.
6 Ø | What is Christian Science? | The Christian Science Board of Directors | ∞ | Available @ http://christianscience.com/what-is-christian-science.
7 Zoloth, Laurie | “The bariata of the Three Women” (Pages 33 – 36) « Chapter 1: “Each One an Entire World”: A Jewish Perspective on Family Planning (Pages 21 – 54) « Sacred Rights: The Case for Contraception and Abortion in World Religions (Maguire, Daniel C. (Editor)) | Oxford University Press (New York, NY, USA) | 2003.
8 Lori, William E. | Testimony of Most Reverend William E. Lori Bishop of Bridgeport | Before the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives, Subcommittee on the Constitution | October 26, 2011.
9 Mullally, Claire | Free-exercise clause overview (Online) | First Amendment Center | 20110916 | Accessed 20120501 @ http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/free-exercise-clause.
10 Minersville School Dist. Bd. of Educ. v. Gobitis, 310 U.S. 586, 594-595 (1940).
11 Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1878), was a Supreme Court of the United States case that held that religious duty was not a suitable defense to a criminal indictment.


The War on Women’s Health, Part 5: Women’s Economics

The War on Women’s Health

Part 5: Women’s Economics

Power that can’t be ignored

By Truthmonk
November 4, 2012

“Until things slowly changed during the last century, women’s participation in the labor force was limited by traditional cultural, educational, and legal practices. Women’s work outside of home and marriage was restricted to a handful of occupations such as domestic service, factory work, farm work, and teaching. Over the past several decades, the women’s labor force in the United States and throughout the world has experienced many changes. Women’s labor force participation rates are significantly higher today than they were in the 1970s. Throughout that period, women have increasingly attained higher levels of education and experienced an increase in their earnings as a proportion of men’s earnings.”1

Winning the War

One rivet at a time

We Can Do It! (Rosie the Riveter), circa 1942 – 1943
We Can Do It! (Rosie the Riveter), circa 1942 – 1943
Office for Emergency Management, War Production Board
The U.S. National Archives
Women’s economic power has grown over time. Women began entry into traditionally male jobs during World War II as rampant male war enlistment caused immense needs in the industrial labor force.2

Between 1940 and 1945, American women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers increasing women workers from 27 percent to nearly 37 percent. By the end of the War, nearly one quarter of married women worked outside the home. Perhaps the most iconic image of working women during this time was the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company’s poster of a woman riveter, “Rosie the Riveter.”

When the war ended, the many industries that had once encouraged and celebrated the working War women, forced them to leave their high paying skilled jobs to returning veterans.

The American Working Women

Pillars of strengths

Today the percentage of American working women has increased to 47%3,4 of employed workers and 59% of the entire labor force5. Even 65% of mothers work6. The wages of the 66 million working women4 make up 23% of the National Gross Domestic Product.7,8,9

American women workers

Employment by Industry

Building over the old

“In 1964, about 19 million of the nation’s nonfarm employees were women; the three industries that employed the most women—manufacturing; trade, transportation, and utilities; and local government—accounted for 54 percent of these women.”1

Of the 66 million women who worked in wage and salary jobs in 2010, 70 percent worked in just four industries: 16 million were employed in education and health services; 12 million were employed in government; 10 million were employed in trade, transportation, and utilities; and 8 million were employed in professional and business services.

“During this period, the growth of the education and health industry, and the number of women employed in it, has been notable.”

“In the 1960s, more women were employed in manufacturing than in any other industry. During the 1970s, and 80s, more women were employed in trade, transportation, and utilities than any other industry. Until 1975, there were more women employed in local government than in education and health services. In 1976, employment of women in education and health exceeded that in local government. From 1993 to 2010, education and health services has ranked first in employment of women, followed by trade, transportation and utilities, and local government.”

During the 1964 – 2010 period, women went from 34 percent of the workforce to about 47 percent.3,4

Employment of women, by industry, 1964–2010

Women in the Workforce

Cogs in the machines

The number of women employed, and the wages they earn, vary by occupation. Women who worked full time in wage and salary jobs had median weekly earnings of $669 in 201010. This represented 81 percent of men’s median weekly earnings ($824).

In 2010, the 363,000 women employed as counselors earned, at the median, $818 per week, nearly 2 million women employed as elementary and middle school teachers earned, at the median, $931 per week, and the 88,000 women employed as pharmacists earned, at the median, $1605 per week.11 An additional 200,000 women employed as computer software engineers earned, at the median, $1445 per week, over 2 million women employed as secretaries and administrative assistants earned, at the median, $657 per week, another almost 2 million women employed as registered nurses earned, at the median, $1039 per week, and the 88,000 women employed as pharmacists earned, at the median, $1605 per week.

Women in the workforce 2010


Example of Women Occupations (2010)

Women CEOs

Running Empires: These women run companies could be members of the UN

The first woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company was Katherine Graham whom took over the Washington Post Co. in 1972.12 Now women hold 19 CEO positions at Fortune 500 rank companies13 for 4 percent.

Table-5-2.Women fortune 500 CEOs

Some women run public traded companies whose revenues exceed the Gross Domestic Product of entire countries.

Meg Whitman, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, heads up a corporation that if it were a country would be rank the 65th largest country. This is larger than Cuba’s GDP.

The corporations’ revenue rankings was done by Fortune CNNMoney14 and the countries’ GDP rankings come from the CIA’s 2011 World Fact Book.15

Meg Whitman of Hewlett Packard
IBM's Virginia Rometty
Patricia Woertz of ADM
PepsiCo's Indra K. Nooyi
Ursula Burns of Xerox
Yahoo's Marissa Mayer

Women Owned Businesses

Vēnērunt, vīdērunt, vīcērunt

There are an estimated 8 million U.S. businesses (2008) that are majority women-owned, i.e. privately-held firms where women own at lease 51 percent16. The businesses account for 28.2 percent of all businesses in the United States. The economic impact of these firms is nearly $3 trillion annually.

They have created almost 24 million jobs or 16 percent of all U.S. Jobs.

Table 5.3 Projected Economic Impact of Majority Women Owned Businesses (2008)


Percent of Women Owned Firms by Industries (2008)

The various service sectors had the greatest number of firms created. Women owned 21% of the firms in the professional, scientific, and technical services sector.

In 2008 the GDP was $14.2646 trillion.17 The $2.8 trillion impact of these firms gives them 19.6% of the National GDP.

If U.S.-based women-owned businesses were their own country, they would have trailed 5th rank Germany in GDP but ahead of countries like United Kingdom, Russia, France. Only the much larger countries United States, China, Japan, and India would have a larger GDP.15 ((repeat))

The Pill

Estrogen powered

What has allowed women to continue making progress after the appearance of Rosie the Riveter in the gut of the American industrial sphere?

It was contraception — more specifically the birth control pill. By 2010, 66 million women worked in wage and salary jobs earning about $3,347 billion18 because of pill. The pill also allowed women to establish 8 million businesses by 2008.

Now there are 19 women CEO of Fortune 500 companies. Is it only coincidence that the very first woman CEO, Katherine Graham took control of the Washington Post Co. in 1972 well after distribution of the pill started in the sixties?

Goldin and Katz18 conclude:

“But a virtually foolproof, easy-to-use, and female-controlled contraceptive having low health risks, little pain, and few annoyances does appear to have been important in promoting real change in the economic status of women (Birdsall and Chester 1987). Moreover, women in the United States were well positioned to take advantage of the pill’s side benefit. By the time the pill was available to unmarried women, about 28 percent were graduating from four-year institutions of higher education.

“The most persuasive evidence for a role of the pill is that its initial diffusion among single women coincided with, and is analytically related to, the increase in the age at first marriage and the increase in women in professional degree programs. Other factors were involved in these changes, to be sure. No great social movement is caused by a single factor.”

Power of the Pill
  Year of entry of first-year female professional students as a fraction of first-year students overlaid contraceptive pill usage and total fertility rate.  


Next: The War on Women’s Health, Part 6 – Religious Beliefs

Previous: The War on Women’s Health, Part 4: Contraceptive Coverage Economics

Perhaps the most widely read philosopher of the 20th century, Ayn Rand has delighted and infuriated people of all ideologies and, like it or not, has helped to create the political realities we deal with every day. With Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life you can follow her life story, from her childhood in the turbulent years of revolution in her native Russia to her great success as a popular writer and political philosopher in the United States.
At age nine, Ayn Rand (1905-1982) decided she would be a writer and published her first novel, We the Living, at the age of 28. This biography is a quick, general primer with short, manageable chapters that cover an average of 10 years each. Born in Russia in 1905, she immigrated to America as a young woman and worked in Hollywood film studios and theaters while trying to get her writing published. Like many authors, Rand experienced her share of initial rejection, but she soon became well known for controversial novels (i.e., The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged) that advanced her intensely individualistic philosophy. It features an impressive array of photos, many of which are published here for the first time, as well as reproductions of book jackets, letters, notes and artwork, which add richness to the narrative.
The view of Ayn Rand is that the foundations of capitalism are being battered by a flood of altruism, which is the cause of the modern world’s collapse. She defends her philosophic views in this series of essays — she presents her stand on the persecution of big business, the causes of war, the default of conservatism, and the evils of altruism.


1 Ø | Women at Work: Spotlight on Statistics | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics | March 2011 | Accessed 20120922 @ http://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2011/women/.
2 Ø | Rosie the Riveter (Webpage) | History.com | ∞ | Accessed: 20121013 @ http://www.history.com/topics/rosie-the-riveter.
3 Ø | Series ID: LNU02000000 (Employment Level – All) from Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey: Demographics: Women: Retrieve historical data series (Database) | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics << U.S. Department of Labor | Last Modified Date: August 28, 2012 | Data extracted on: September 22, 2012 @ http://www.bls.gov/cps/demographics.htm#women.
4 Ø | Series ID: LNU02000002 (Employment Level – Women) from Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey: Demographics: Women: Retrieve historical data series (Database) | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics << U.S. Department of Labor | Last Modified Date: August 28, 2012 | Data extracted on: September 22, 2012 @ http://www.bls.gov/cps/demographics.htm#women.
5 Ø | Series ID: LNU01300002 (Labor Force Participation Rate – Women) from Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey: Demographics: Women: Retrieve historical data series (Database) | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics << U.S. Department of Labor | Last Modified Date: August 28, 2012 | Data extracted on: September 22, 2012 @ http://www.bls.gov/cps/demographics.htm#women.
6 Ø | Table 6. Employment status of women by presence and age of youngest child, marital status, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, March 2010 << Women in the Labor Force: A Databook | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics << U.S. Department of Labor | Report 1034BLS | December 2011.
7 Ø | Women in the Labor Force in 2010 | Women’s Bureau << U.S. Department of Labor | No date | Accessed: August 29, 2012 @ http://www.dol.gov/wb/factsheets/Qf-laborforce-10.htm.
8 Mataloni, Lisa and Key, Greg | Table 9. Relation of Gross Domestic Product, Gross National Product, and National Income << News Release: Gross Domestic Product: Second Quarter 2012 (Secend Estimate)/Corporate Profits: Second Quarter 2012 (Preliminary) | Bureau of Economic Analysis | BEA 12-35 | August 29, 2012 | Available @ http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/2012/pdf/gdp2q12_2nd.pdf.
9 Ø | Table 11. Employed persons by detailed occupation and sex, 2010 annual averages (Corrected on February 9, 2012), Pages 28 – 38 << Women in the Labor Force: A Databook (2011 Edition) | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics << U.S. Department of Labor | Report 1034 | December 2011 | Website: http://www.bls.gov/cps/wlf-databook2011.htm, Available @ http://www.bls.gov/cps/wlf-databook-2011.pdf.
10 Ø | Quick Stats on Women Workers, 2010 | U.S. Department of Labor | ∞ | Accessed 20121015 @ http://www.dol.gov/wb/factsheets/QS-womenwork2010.htm#.UHyv7d0eiAl.
11 Ø | Table 2. Median usual weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers, by detailed occupation and sex, 2010 annual averages « Highlights of Women’s Earnings in 2010 | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics « U.S. Department of Labor | Report 1031 | July 2011 | Accessed: 20120923 @ http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpswom2010.pdf.
12 Ø | Quick Takes: Firsts for U.S. Women | Catalyst Inc. | Updated: June 7, 2012 | http://www.catalyst.org/publication/211/firsts-for-us-women.
13 Ø | Pyramids: Women CEOs of the Fortune 1000 | Catalyst Inc. | August 2012 | Accessed 201210 http://www.catalyst.org/publication/271/women-ceos-of-the-fortune-1000.
14 Ø | FORTUNE 500: Our annual ranking of America’s largest corporations, 2010 | CNNMoney | May 3, 2010 | Accessed: 20121008 @ http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2010/full_list/index.html.
15 Ø | Country Comparison :: GDP (purchasing power parity); The World Factbook, 2011 Edition | Central Intelligence Agency | 2011.
16 Pordeli, Hassan and Wynkoop, Peter | The Economic Impact of Women-Owned Businesses In the United States | The Center for Women’s Business Research | October 2009 | Available @ http://www.nwbc.gov/sites/default/files/economicimpactstu.pdf.
17 Mataloni, Lisa and Hodge, Andrew | Table 3. Gross Domestic Product and Related Measures: Level and Change From Preceding Period << News Release: Gross Domestic Product: Forth Quarter 2008 (Final)/Corporate Profits: Forth Quarter 2008 (Final) | Bureau of Economic Analysis | BEA 09-11 | March 26, 2009 | Available @ http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/2009/pdf/gdp408f.pdf.
18 Goldin, Claudia and Katz, Lawrence F. | The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women’s Career and Marriage Decisions | Journal of Political Economy | Volume 110, Number 4, Pages 730–770 | August 2002 | Accessed: September 25, 2012 @ http://scholar.harvard.edu/cgoldin/files/the_power_of_the_pill_oral

The War on Women’s Health , Part 4: Contraceptive Coverage Economics

The War on Women’s Health

Part 4: Contraceptive Coverage Economics

Penny wise and pound foolish

By Truthmonk
November 2, 2012

The Economics of Premature Babies

Born too soon

The costs for a premature baby are very much greater than are the costs for a full term healthy newborn. A healthy full term newborn’s cost is $3,325 while a late term is $13,621 (32-36 weeks) and an extreme preterm $190,467 (<28 weeks).[1, page 411]

Average Annual Total Medical Care Costs
Average Annual Total Medical Care Costs by Gestational Age and Year of Life, United States, 2005

Medical care costs are $16.9 billion (or about $33,000 per baby) and maternal delivery costs are another $1.9 billion (or about $3,800 per baby). Continuing costs include early intervention services costs at an estimated $611 million (or about $1,200 per baby), special education services costs at $1.1 billion (or roughly $2,200 per baby), and lost productivity costs of $5.7 billion (or about $11,000 per baby).[1, page 400]

Table 4-2. Estimated Cost of Preterm Birth, United States
Table 4-2. Estimated Cost of Preterm Birth, United States, Aggregate and Cost per Case

The medical, special education services, lost productivity costs are from only four developmental disabilities (DDs) — cerebral palsy, mental retardation, vision impairment, and hearing loss.

“The annual societal economic burden associated with preterm birth in the United States was at least $26.2 billion in 2005, or $51,600 per infant born preterm.”[1, page 398]

The estimate doesn’t includes costs for lost productivity, medical, or special educational services outside of the four DDs. Nor does it include any caretaker costs. Further only maternal medical costs associated with delivery are included. Therefore the costs should be considered a floor, or minimum.

Contraceptive Coverage Economics

Win Win — Save money and prevent unplanned pregnancy

“Debates over improving insurance coverage of contraceptives invariably touch on the issue of cost. Research and experience now suggest that contraceptive coverage does not raise insurance premiums and that employers providing such coverage can, in fact, save money by avoiding costs associated with unintended pregnancy.”2

Multiple studies from 1987 to 2010 have found contraceptive coverage does not cost more but saves money both for public Medicaid and private insurers.

Cost Savings of Contraception Graph
Cost Savings of Contraception

Results varied from a National Business Group on Health study that had results of $0.16 for the private insurers to a Business and Health study finding of $28.57 also for private insurers. Public Medicaid savings were about $3 to $4.2.

Business and Health in a 1993 special report for employers, found the average costs associated with the birth of a healthy baby was $10,000 (prenatal care, delivery and newborn care for one year following birth). It also reported that the cost for oral contraceptives was $300–350 per year. Avoiding the cost for unintended pregnancies was a major factor in the savings for an insurer.

The cost looked at in the studies are only the easily determined direct cost “associated with normal live births (vaginal and cesarean), abortions, miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies.”2 There is also the saving of indirect costs which “include wages and benefits associated with employee absences, maternity leave, and pregnancy-related sick leave, as well as costs associated with reduced productivity during an employee’s pregnancy and with replacing employees who do not return to work after a pregnancy.”

Business employers not covering contraceptives in their employee health plans pay at least an additional 15 – 17% more than if they had coverage.

Providing contraceptive coverage does not increase the bill an employer is required to pay. And may in fact reduce the bill.

High Costs of Birth Control

This isn’t any place for sticker shock

Center for American Progress stated in a February 15, 2012 briefing3 that:


“Many people seem to think birth control is affordable, but high costs are one of the primary barriers to contraceptive access. It is for this reason that the Obama administration recently followed the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine to ensure that birth control will be covered as a preventive service with no cost-sharing beginning August 1, 2012.

“Although three-quarters of American women of childbearing age have private insurance, they still have had to pay a significant portion of contraceptive costs on their own.

“High costs have forced many women to stop or delay using their preferred method, while others have chosen to depend on less effective methods that are the most affordable.

“Women are struggling to pay for birth control at a time when they need it most.”



Table 4-3. The High Cost of Birth Control
Table 4-3. The High Cost of Birth Control

While many people seem to think birth control is affordable, high costs have forced many women to stop or delay using their preferred method.

Ø | The High Costs of Birth Control, It’s Not As Affordable As You Think | Center for American Progress | February 15, 2012 | http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2012/02/pdf/BC_costs.pdf

The missing health insurance industry outrage

Really. It’s no biggie

Robert Zirkelbach
Press Secretary Robert Zirkelbach

Press Secretary Robert Zirkelbach for America’s Health Insurance Plans, the trade association for health insurers, while expressing apprehension about the precedent the contraceptive coverage rule may set, acknowledged “Health plans have long offered contraceptive coverage to employers as part of comprehensive, preventive benefits that aim to improve patient health and reduce health care cost growth (emphasis added).”4

Child rearing costs

Penny wise and dollar foolish

The USDA stated in their annual report on Expenditures on Children by Families found that a middle-income family with a child born in 2011 will spend about $295,560 for food, shelter, and other necessities to raise that child.5

Expenditures on children
Expenditures on children

The conservative Republicans in their fantasy realm believe low income families will miraculously be able to have the money for these children.

How can conservative Republicans make any type of argument for bringing in more children into the world when there are already over 16 million children in poverty (21.9 percent)6 and 7.6 million (9.7 percent) without health insurance.7

They aren’t willing to take care of existing children. They certainly would not take care of any additional children. Only delusional, incoherent, drivel will come out of their mouths on this issue.

In addition this doesn’t even count the costs associated with the use of the natural and societal resources, use of governmental services, overtaxing the existing public and private infrastructure, stressing the social cohesion, and increasing intangible demands on society such as traffic congestion and additional pollution.

Preventing abortions by funding contraceptive services

Win Win — Save money and prevent abortions

The IOM report8 on page 105 asserts “as the rate of contraceptive use by unmarried women increased in the United States between 1982 and 2002, rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion for unmarried women also declined.”

The report notes that “increased rates of contraceptive use by adolescents from the early 1990s to the early 2000s was associated with a decline in teen pregnancies” in several studies and any “periodic increases in the teen pregnancy rate are associated with lower rates of contraceptive use” as published by Santelli and Melnikas in 2010.

National publicly funded family planning services are responsible for preventing almost two million unintended pregnancies in 2006.9 Nearly a million abortions, including natural and induced, are prevented each year by giving women the contraceptive services that they need.

Two-thirds of U.S. women who practice contraception consistently and correctly account for only 5% of unintended pregnancies.9

A positive side effect is the almost $7.5 billion is saved each year with family planning and contraceptive services by not needing to fund the $10,0002 average cost associated with the birth of a healthy baby.

Unintended Pregnancies
Unintended Pregnancies

ObamaCare would prevent 320,000 abortions from taking place. Many liberals believe that preventing 800,000 unintended pregnancies is good but not those on the right.10

The IOM said in their report,8 “In a study of the cost-effectiveness of specific contraceptive methods, all contraceptive methods were found to be more cost-effective than no method, and the most cost-effective methods were long-acting contraceptives that do not rely on user compliance. … Cost barriers to use of the most effective contraceptive methods are important because long-acting, reversible contraceptive methods and sterilization have high up-front costs.”

They concluded, “that contraception is highly cost-effective” in preventing pregnancies.”


Next: The War on Women’s Health, Part 5 – Women’s Economics

Previous: The War on Women’s Health, Part 3: Maternal Fetal Medicine

Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, 5th Edition: Birth to Age 5 (American Academy Of Pediatrics)

From the most respected organization on child health comes this essential resource for all parents who want to provide the very best care for their children. Here is the one guide pediatricians routinely recommend and parents can safely trust, covering everything from preparing for childbirth to toilet training to nurturing your child’s self-esteem. Whether it’s resolving common childhood health problems or detailed instructions for coping with emergency medical situations, Caring for Your Baby and Young Child has everything you need.



1 Behrman, Richard E. and Butler, Adrienne Stith (Editors) | Chapter 12: Societal Costs of Preterm Birth ⊂ Preterm Birth Causes, Consequences, and Prevention | The National Academies Press (Washington, DC, USA) | 2007.
2 Dailard, Cynthia | Special Analysis: The Cost of Contraceptive Insurance Coverage | The Guttmacher Report on Public Policy | Guttmacher Institute, New York, NY, USA | Volume 6, Number 1 | March 2003.
3 Ø | The High Costs of Birth Control, It’s Not As Affordable As You Think | Center for American Progress | February 15, 2012 | http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2012/02/pdf/BC_costs.pdf
4 Zirkelbach, Robert | Statement on contraceptive coverage | America’s Health Insurance Plans | February 10, 2012 | eptember 18, 2012@
5 USDA Office of Communications | A Child Born in 2011 Will Cost $234,900 to Raise According to USDA Report, Release No. 0197.12 | U.S. Department of Agriculture | June 14, 2012 | Accessed September 18, 2012@ http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/CRC/2011CRCPressRelease.pdf.
6 Ø | Poverty: Income, Poverty and Health Insurance in the United States: 2011 – Highlights | Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division ⊂ U.S. Census Bureau | Last Revised: September 12, 2012 |
Accessed September 18, 2012@ http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/incpovhlth/2011/highlights.html.
7 Ø | Newsroom: Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2011 | Public Information Office ⊂ U.S. Census Bureau | Last Revised: September 13, 2012 | Accessed September 18, 2012@ http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/income_wealth/cb12-172.html.
8 Committee on Preventive Services for Women | Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps | IOM (Institute of Medicine), The National Academies Press; Washington, DC | 2011.
9 Ø | In Brief: Facts on Unintended Pregnancy in the United States | Guttmacher Institute, New York, NY USA | January 2012 | Available @ http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/FB-Unintended-Pregnancy-US.pdf.
10 Gold, Rachel Benson; Sonfield, Adam; Richards, Cory L.; Frost, Jennifer J. | Next Steps for America’s Family Planning Program: Leveraging the Potential of Medicaid and Title X in an Evolving Health Care System | Guttmacher Institute, New York, NY, USA | 2009.