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The Next Hobby Lobby: Mandating IVF Coverage

Posted on: July 29th, 2014 by kresta in the afternoon

via Crisis Magazine

by John Grondelski

john grondelskiThe most cursory survey of the American mass media in July 2014 would have you believe that millions of women are being denied basic medical care and fundamental rights are under total assault because … they can’t get somebody else to buy their abortifacients. Indeed, the U.S. Senate—whose legislative productivity this year suggests it has been the victim of an Obamacare death panel—managed to rush a bill overturning Hobby Lobby to the floor, without committee hearing or public input … only to fail at the hands of Republicans.

Well, has the New York Times given us a glimpse of Hobby Lobby II?

The July 26 issue carries a story whose gist is that government and private insurance does not adequately cover in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The story opens with the usual human interest story: a 27-year-old nurse complains, after suffering four miscarriages and her husband divorcing her, that “‘I decided I am going to be a mom, whether I am on my own or whether I had a partner by my side.’”

Since “wishin’ don’t make it so”—especially when it comes to parenthood—not having that141274_embryos_MJB_ partner could pose a problem, though nothing a little withdrawal from the sperm bank can’t solve. The bigger problem, though, seemed to be costs: a single round of IVF costs $15,000-$25,000, and “her health insurance, through the California exchange” doesn’t pay for it.

The article then goes on with the usual litany of complaints: only 27 percent of large company-provided insurance plans cover IVF; only 15 states require plans to have an “infertility coverage” component; 4 of the 15 limit mandate to IVF using artificial insemination by husband only; some policies “exclude gay couples and single women” by “defin[ing] infertility as an inability to become pregnant through sexual intercourse”; some states require a documented period of infertility or waiting periods before coverage kicks in; not covering IVF now paves the way for pregnancy complications later; and “the Affordable Care Act did little to expand infertility coverage.”

Let’s consider what’s at issue:

Implicit in this argument is the ongoing divorce of sex from marriage. The wisdom of generations—that a man and woman should fall in love, marry, and have children as a gift from God—is rejected as so much patriarchical enslavement to biology. Bringing children into the world has nothing inherently to do with being married: our 27-year-old nurse is determined to have a baby, “partner or not.” Notice her word choice: she does not even say “husband or not,” but “partner or not.” Parenthood is now to become a unilateral decision; while previous generations might have only dreamed of Amazon-like reproduction, modern technology has now made it possible. Unilateral maternity, of course, was already endorsed in Roe v. Wade and ratified in Planned Parenthood v. Danforth (declaring unconstitutional Missouri’s spousal consent requirement). This “solution” is, of course, essential to cementing the “achievement” of “same-sex marriage,” transgenderism, cohabitation, etc.: to be “human,” man has to transcend his biology.

Advocates of unilateral parenthood have no qualms about ensconcing their view in public policy. The Times article takes it as a given that social policy is just a little behind the curve on this issue, and that eventually—by putting money behind it—IVF will just become standard “treatment.” The article appears in a series “Your Money”—but it’s our money (insurers, exchanges, the public) that will be enlisted to pay for it.

Society has no interest in how society is sustained. The privatization of marriage and parenthood have become so complete in American law that society is seen as having no interest in how members come into it or how society is sustained. This is not just a question of how people are born but of the whole ethos of family life in society. No serious social science research disputes that children need intact families to develop normally; but the current American approach to family policy avoids engaging with that truth.

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