Why Should Men Pay For Maternity Care? Senator Jeanne Shaheen Has The Ultimate Explanation.

"I think your mom probably did."

For the second time in two weeks, we've heard an awesome response to the line of thinking that suggests men shouldn't have to pay for maternity care simply because they don't use it.

Today's retort comes to us courtesy of Senator Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire. In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Senator Shaheen, who has long been an advocate of women and girls across the globe, was asked what she makes of the idea that men (or even older women) shouldn't have to pay for maternity coverage they won't need.


The Democratic politician revealed she's perfected a response thanks to a borrowed line from Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, which she now thinks of whenever she's questioned about who should and shouldn't pay for maternity care. When Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona said in 2009, "I don't need maternity care, and so requiring that to be in my insurance policy is something that I don't need and will make the policy more expensive," Sen. Stabenow shot back with: "I think your mom probably did."


"The premise of insurance is to spread the risk. It's the premise of homeowner's insurance, of car insurance, and of health insurance," Sen. Shaheen explains to Cosmo. "It's one reason why it's important to have insurance when you're healthy, so that when you get sick, you won't go sign up just when you get sick, because that increases the cost for everyone. This is a similar issue."

In other words, we all pay for healthcare in an effort to lessen the burden for any individual person. Men should continue to pay for maternity care just as women currently pay for services related to prostate cancer and vasectomies as part of their insurance plans.

Senators Stabenow and Shaheen's point is similar to one made by a retired Iowa teacher named Barbara Rank last week. During a town hall Rank listened as Representative Rod Blum said he wanted to "get rid of some of these crazy regulations that Obamacare puts in… such as a 62-year-old male having to have pregnancy insurance," and later shot back with a thoughtful letter that was printed in her local paper. 

"I ask, why should I pay for a bridge I don't cross, a sidewalk I don't walk on, a library book I don't read?" Rank wrote. "It's called democracy, a civil society, the greater good. That's what we pay for."

Senator Jeanne Shaheen in Manchester, New Hampshire in 2014. Instagram

As one of only 21 female Senators currently serving in Congress, Sen. Shaheen is committed to empowering women around the world however she can, and that means going beyond the maternity care debate. In addition to her recently introduced Keeping Girls in School Act, which allocates $35 million to find innovative ways to help girls around the world get an education, the sole woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says she sees firsthand that there's a great need for women in politics.

"I've spent a lot of time in my political life talking about why it matters to have women in the decision making, whether it's at the family table, whether it's in a board room, whether it's in the halls of Congress, whether it's in your community meeting. And it has to do with the fact that women's lives are different," Shaheen explains to Cosmo. "They're not better or worse than men's, but they are different, and we bring that different perspective to whatever we do. It's important to have that perspective at the table." 

Amen to that!

Cover image via  turtix / Shutterstock.


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