Health group advises free birth control for women.

by Yahoo News:

The Institute of Medicine report, commissioned by the Obama administration, recommended that all U.S.-approved birth control methods — including the “morning after pill,” taken shortly after intercourse to forestall pregnancy — be added to the federal government’s list of preventive health services.

“The evidence supporting contraception is quite straightforward. It works,” said Dr. Alfred Berg, a member of IOM’s Committee on Preventive Services for Women. The IOM noted that women with unplanned pregnancies were more likely to put off or neglect prenatal care and to smoke, drink or experience depression.

The recommendation to add birth control is a big gain for organizations like the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Planned Parenthood, but is likely to stoke opposition from conservative and religious groups.

IOM also recommended free screening for gestational diabetes, testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) in women over 30, counseling for HIV and sexually transmitted infections, lactation counseling, screening for domestic violence and yearly wellness visits. Health and Human Services has the final say over what services will be offered. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called the IOM report “historic.” The IOM is an independent, nonprofit organization that works outside of government to provide health-policy advice. Research suggests the public would be supportive of birth control being added to the list of services.

A Thomson Reuters/NPR survey in May found 76.6 percent of respondents believed private insurance plans, without government assistance, should cover some or all costs associated with birth control pills, such as Yasmin, the popular birth control pill from Bayer.

(Editing by Michele Gershberg, Steve Orlofsky and Tim Dobbyn).

Yahoo News

As one reader importantly noted,

If insurance covers Viagra, it should also cover contraceptives.

If the Health and Human services are on board for a major change in policy (with public support), women can look forward to seeing free birth control in 2012/2013.