So we read once again that women of childbearing age are not getting the care and coverage they need to remain healthy and to avoid pregnancy (“Insurers Flout Rule Covering Birth Control, Studies Find,” NYTimes. National section, this morning). Seems the federal requirement that insurance companies cover all approved methods of birth control for women–without co-payments or any other charges–is largely being disregarded. So is the free education to all women–many of whom truly need it because they are so young.
Young? Very. Whether politicians approve–whether WE approve–young girls have entered a never-before world of casual sex. Sex without marriage, without commitment, without promises, without exclusivity, without intimacy, without love, without strings: sex just for fun. You know, the sex young boys have had forever, and without censure. Unthinkable? The most recent Kinsey report says that ten percent of 13-year-old girls are having sex. Twenty-five percent of boys and twenty-six percent of girls have sex by the time they’re 15. By 17, that number doubles.
This isn’t about what we want or what we believe or what our particular church advocates. These are the real numbers from real, legitimate, national studies, and so this is about caring for our girls, among other things. Not lecturing, punishing or shunning them–caring for them. So when we form the various committees to figure out why this piece of Obamacare is falling through the cracks (a “disappointed” Senator Patty Murray of Washington has asked Sylvia Mathews Burwell, secretary of health and human services to investigate….so you can well imagine how long this will take, and how many people will be “looking into it”–and how Obamacare will take the blame for the problem.
Besides the truth of what girls and women are experiencing, there is another truth: We as a culture seem unable face the fact that all women need good medical, gynecological preventive care. All women need protection against having unwanted babies. It’s at this point that I wonder why there isn’t a bill that requires men to raise and take care of all babies born by the women they impregnate, if those women don’t want those babies. I’ve never seen anything that remotely approaches such a radical bill. Or such a radical thought. Because on some level we believe two things, deep in our cultural bone marrow: That young girls and women who have sex should have babies, and that women who don’t want babies shouldn’t have sex.
If we believed otherwise, insurers would be honoring the law. But they know, on some level, we kinda approve of their disregard for it.