Eggs Widening Class Gap in Health Care Insurance

egg storage for IVF

Egg Storage for IVF

Houston      Here’s the very good news for women. Apple and Google, the mega-billion dollar worldwide tech conglomerates have announced that they are now going to pay up to $20,000 to allow their female employees to freeze and store a couple of their eggs so that they can postpone having children until it works better for them, and potentially for their lean-in hard employers, while keeping their eggs young and vital. We already know that both of these companies in many hiring classifications, like engineering, disproportionately hire only men, so this may help them hire more women. From a feminist perspective this employer driven opportunity allows women more choice, and that’s a great thing.

At least it’s a great thing for some women. Meanwhile other women working for other employers, like Hobby Lobby, are hardly allowed any assistance when it comes to contraception and choices. And, likewise lower income women are scuffling to have a choice about having health insurance at all on any kind for even the most basic things. Take for example Walmart’s recent dropping of 30000 part-time workers from their health insurance, once again disproportionately women. Let’s not even count all of the other women-based industries like nursing home, home health, fast food, and the service industry in general and the low pay, poor benefits and limited to non-existent choices found there.

In the world of the Affordable Care Act, the frozen eggs announcement says a little about women and a lot about class, as the 1% starts to define what some favored few will be able to access while the vast majority are lucky to have any coverage in general much less access to even the minimum standards around control of their own decisions about when and whether to have children. The Supreme Court’s stay of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that would have closed many of the clinics performing abortions in Texas, especially in the lower income and Hispanic areas of south Texas from San Antonio to the border with Mexico now presents us with the paradox where a Google or Apple woman in Texas might be able to freeze their eggs but might have to travel to New Mexico or more than 300 miles to have an abortion.

Once we combine the war on women with growing income inequality, the world we live in becomes increasingly divided around class in the United States. The country we’re building and the children, too early or very late, that will live in it will be looking at a brave new world in America that won’t be very pretty at the rate we’re going.