E.J. Dionne Jr. was on target in pointing out the astonishing inconsistency of “right-to-life” conservatives in opposing insurance coverage for maternity care, required by the Affordable Care Act [“Ire over maternity care,” op-ed, Nov. 11]. To frame this issue, as many conservatives do, as the individual’s right not to pay for care that they will never need misses a fundamental point: Every person was once a fetus inside his or her mother’s womb, and every adult was once a child. Each of us has been a consumer of obstetric and pediatric services at some point in our lives. The basic facts of human reproduction ensure that this will not change.
Health-care systems and insurance plans are designed to promote the public good. They are as critical to the nation’s welfare as military defense, fire and police protection and reliable public utilities. Because maternal and child health-care services are used by everyone, we have an obligation to “pay it forward” for future generations. The survival of our nation depends upon it.