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Copyright 2000 The Buffalo News  
The Buffalo News

October 4, 2000, Wednesday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 340 words



I was disturbed to read Beverly Sottile-Malona's recent "My View" column, in which she called for health insurance companies to pay for infertility teatments but not oral contraceptives. Her arguments seemed to stem from the need to promote her personal beliefs about sexual morality, rather than a real desire to help women facing fertility problems. She said, "people should receive full disclosure of information," yet she omited facts about oral contraceptives in order to support her arguments. She wrote, "If Viagra is used solely as a treatment for a legitimate medical necessity, it should be covered. On the other hand, contraceptives are not a medical necessity." This is untrue. As a registered nurse, she should know that the pill is used by many women for medical reasons other than just contraception. In fact, the hormonal therapy provided by the pill is used to treat certain gynecological conditions which, if left untreated, can cause infertility.

I am one of 5 million American women who suffer from endometriosis, a chronic condition that is a leading cause of infertility. At age 32, I have already had a portion of my intestines removed and nearly lost an ovary because of this disease. Although there is no known cause or cure, the best treatment available is the hormonal therapy of oral contraceptives, which can slow the progress of the disease.

Oral contraceptives are also used to treat other conditions, such as fibroid tumors of the uterus, polycystic ovarian syndrome, abnormal uterine bleeding and irregular menstruation. Unfortunately, many women are covered by health insurance plans that will pay for them to have a hysterectomy, but not for the hormonal treatment that might help prevent one.

Values regarding sexual morality are unique to each individual and should be the basis for our personal behavior, not our health insurance policies. Everyone should be able to choose the treatment options they and their doctor determine are necessary for their health. KIMBERLY BROWN Buffalo

LOAD-DATE: October 6, 2000

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