Why should men have to pay for health coverage that covers pregnancy and childbirth? Because that’s how insurance works–and considering babies are made with a man’s sperm, they really should help “pay” for what they help create.
Yet this was a real question Republican Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois asked during a House Energy and Commerce Committee meeting. As The Washington Post points out, it’s important to remember that former president Obama mandated that “all health plans cover certain essential health benefits, such as doctor visits, hospital care and prescription drugs.” This requirement that preventive care be part of insurance includes treatments and procedures during pregnancy and childbirth–which seems like a basic level of coverage in my opinion, considering there is a tremendous benefit to prenatal care, both financially and health-wise. (Also, everyone was born to someone who needed that kind of care, unless you’re a space alien from Saturn.)
Shimkus, however, doesn’t seem to agree–or understand or care about–this logic, considering he asked the question, verbatim:
“What about men having to purchase prenatal care?”
He then said, to deepen the knife going into your heart (because, no, it’s not a joke):
“I’m just . . . is that not correct? And should they?”
Immediately after, NARAL Pro-Choice America, a group that advocates for abortion rights, posted it about on Twitter–and well, the entire internet basically exploded, which you can see just by taking a lot at all of the responses to their tweet.
— NARAL (@NARAL) March 9, 2017
Let’s think about his question again: “Should they?”
Actually yes, men should–and what differences does gender matter actually make in this case? Do we stop funding causes, like for autism or ALS, because not every person on the planet deals with that issue? Should we refuse to get health insurance that covers certain diseases because we don’t have those diseases? Does every man get a heart attack, or a stroke, or cancer, after all?
Since not every man suffers from the same illnesses, maybe we should just stop funding any and all health care treatment and medication, because no one disease applies to everyone. Maybe we should just stop caring about the welfare of other people and let chaos rule— that seems to be what people like Shimkus want.
Heidi Stevens, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, penned a response to Shimkus that we wish we could quote in its entirety—but here are the highlights of her answer:
Because men and women have an equal stake in  babies being born healthy.
Because all of us, even when we’re not the parents of those babies, have a stake in those babies being born healthy…
Because our economy is built on the notion that we pay collective taxes and fees on things we may not each, personally, use — highways, public schools, paramedics, bridges — because those things benefit the greater good and our cities and towns and very nation would grind to a halt if they weren’t supported.
She’s right. Maybe we should just be decent human beings and support basic health care for people who are reproducing.