The birth control pill was invented 50 years ago this month. CBS Nightly News anchor Katie Couric was all set to "break out the cake and streamers." But first, she wanted to inform her viewers of a pressing national need: federal subsidies for the pill. Seriously.
Couric was distraught during her "Notebook" segment last night that, in her mind, not enough women have access to birth control. Her solution? Classify it as "preventive medicine" so that federal funds can be allocated to distributing it under the new health care law. Calling birth control "preventive medicine" seems to assume that pregnancy is a medical disorder of some sort, but I digress.
The segment runs like an infomercial for the liberal position on birth control. It lauds Planned Parenthood, the "need" for publicly funded birth control, and even throws in a dash of anti-insurance company populism. Couric caps the segment off by saying, "We've come a long way, baby, but not far enough." (Video and transcript below the fold - h/t Story Balloon)
This month marks the 50th anniversary of the birth control pill, a tiny tablet that revolutionized women's health.
But before we break out the cake and streamers, we should remember the pill is still off limits to millions of American women.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, roughly 17.4 million low-income women need publicly-funded contraception but only 9.4 million are receiving it. As many as 8 million lack adequate care.
Planned Parenthood and other groups are trying to address this gap by encouraging the government to define contraception as preventive medicine, so it's covered under health care reform at little or no cost to the patient.
Insurance companies might balk at that idea, but with half of all pregnancies still unplanned, it deserves careful consideration.
After 50 years of safe, effective birth control, it's too easy to overlook those who can't afford it. We've come a long way, baby... but not far enough.
That's a page from my notebook.
Is anyone still claiming that network news is objective?