Pro-abortion and anti-abortion protestors rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., Jan. 22, 2014.
Susan Walsh/AP

Ohio GOP pushing bill to ban abortion and birth control coverage

Ohio lawmakers are considering a bill that could ban insurance companies from providing coverage for abortion and certain types of birth control. 

Republican state Rep. John Becker introduced the legislation, which allows health insurance companies to provide coverage exclusively for abortions designed to end ectopic pregnancy, but makes it illegal for coverage for the termination all other types of pregnancy, including those resulting from incest and rape. 

The bill had its first hearing in the House this week, where Becker acknowledged the wording of the bill could potentially also ban coverage of birth control pills, saying that was not his intention and that an amendment could be introduced to address that, according to the Columbus Times-Dispatch.

But Becker also told the Dispatch another type of birth control should be included in the ban, arguing IUDs should not be covered by health insurance because they can prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg, which he considers to be an abortion.

“This is just a personal view. I’m not a medical doctor,” Becker reportedly said.

The IUD, which stands for intrauterine device, is not one of the most popular types of birth control in the United States, used by only about 2% of American women who use contraceptives, according to the Guttmacher Institute, but they are one of the most effective. According to the Centers for Disease Control, IUDs have a typical use failure rate between 0.2% and 0.8%, while birth control pills have a failure rate of about 9% and condoms a rate of 18%. 

Planned Parenthood of Ohio voiced its opposition to the bill, calling the legislation “bad politics and bad policy.” 

“It is illogical for politicians who oppose abortion care to also restrict access to highly-effective forms of birth control that prevent unintended pregnancy,” the group’s president Stephanie Kight said in a statement. “Yet, Ohio politicians continue to put women’s health at risk by chipping away at access to health care, including birth control and safe, legal abortion care. These attacks on women and families must stop.” 

Michigan lawmakers passed legislation late last year banning private health insurance plans from covering abortion services unless a patient bought a separate extra piece of coverage specifically to cover the procedure. Democrats blasted the legislation, arguing it amounted to “rape insurance” because it required a woman to purchase the special separate coverage in advance if she wanted to have a possible future abortion covered in the instance of rape. The law took effect in March. 

In other words, there’s an expectation that you planned ahead for your unplanned pregnancy.