Conservatives Moving to Block Implementation of Contraceptive Access Provisions of Affordable Care Act

Anti-abortion forces won the battle over their issue’s treatment by the Affordable Care Act, but all things considered the final legislative product is a triumph for women’s financial interests (by equalizing insurance premiums across genders) and especially for reproductive health. But Dana Goldstein reports that there’s a battle under way by social conservatives to block most of the good stuff:

Could prescription birth control — whether the pill, an IUD, or a diaphragm — soon be free of cost for most American women?

Polls suggest the majority of Americans would support such a policy. But the Daily Beast has learned that many conservative activists, who spent most of their energies during the health-care reform fight battling to win abortion restrictions and abstinence-education funding, are just waking up to the possibility that the new health care law could require employers and insurance companies to offer contraceptives, along with other commonly prescribed medications, without charging any co-pay. Now the Heritage Foundation and the National Abstinence Education Association say they plan to join the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in resisting implementation of the new provisions.

Politically speaking, I think this is the fight progressives have been wanting to have for some time now — something that would highlight the deeply reactionary and anti-woman ideology that drives the main institutional players in the anti-abortion movement. But will it be possible to get people to pay attention? These non-abortion reproductive health aspects of the Affordable Care Act got very little attention from either side.