As a man, I do not feel qualified to comment on the relative merits of society paying for contraception as opposed to Viagra (although that does not stop some people). Unfortunately, the requirement for insurances to include contraception coverage in the Affordable Care Act has sparked a discussion regarding contraception that seems to be fueled more by emotion than science. I was struck by this quote from the floor of the House of Representatives (as quoted by NPR) regarding the use of contraception to prevent unwanted death and disability:

“Well, if you apply that preventative medicine universally, what you end up with is you’ve prevented a generation. Preventing babies from being born is not medicine.”

I realize that science trumping deeply held beliefs has fallen out of favor as a means of setting policy. I realize that by limiting education on human reproduction we are not stopping boys and girls from having sex as by their 19th birthday— seven in 10 teens of both sexes have had intercourse (data found here) — but we are creating a group of people who are  ill-informed regarding their own health risks. From a journal article published in 2011:

Of the 248 women who provided information for analysis, over one quarter of women could not correctly name any health risk associated with pregnancy. When shown a list of potential health risks, only 13.3% correctly identified all the health problems that increased in pregnancy. Only 49% knew that risks of venous thromboembolism (VTE), diabetes and hypertension increase in pregnancy; 30.6% did not know that VTE risk increases. Over 75% of respondents rated birth control pills as more hazardous to a woman’s health than pregnancy. The greater the women’s education, the more likely she was to believe that oral contraceptives are riskier than pregnancy.

To help folks out, below is an insert that comes with EVERY PACK of oral contraceptive pills sold in this country: