February 3, 2014

Charles Krauthammer [“How to debunk the ‘war on women,’ ” op-ed, Jan. 31] urged Republicans to argue against the coverage of contraception without co-payments under the Affordable Care Act by posing this question: “By what moral logic does the state provide one woman with co-pay-free contraceptives while denying the same subvention to another woman when she urgently needs antibiotics for her sick child?”

Many preventive care measures are covered under the Affordable Care Act without a co-payment. That does not mean they are “free,” as women pay their premiums like everyone else. Antibiotics do not fall into the category of “preventive.” Colorectal cancer exams are covered without a co-payment; same for diabetic screening, vaccines, HIV testing, tobacco and alcohol screening and counseling. I have not heard of a GOP member or opinion writer lamenting the lack of a co-payment for these procedures.

Yes, contraception is preventive care. Surely Mr. Krauthammer knows that pregnancy can cause everything from severe exhaustion to more serious problems such as diabetes, hypertension, anemia and preeclampsia. These conditions can result in lost time at work and medical expenses, and all are preventable with contraception.

Thankfully, women have a right to decide whether and when to take on these potentially serious medical conditions. If men faced these kinds of disruptions to their health and careers, contraception without co-payments would not be controversial in the slightest.

Tracy Zorpette, Washington