U.S. Insurers Must Fully Cover Birth Control (Upper-Intermediate Lesson Plan)

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Upper-Intermediate Birth Control ESL News Lesson Plan : Warm-up

1)    Is it expensive to get medicine and treatment from a doctor in your country?
2)    What methods are used in your country to prevent pregnancy?
3)    What important factors should a couple consider before having a baby?
4)    Who should be responsible for teaching sexual education to children and teenagers?

U.S. Insurers Must Fully Cover Birth Control

Under a new rule made by the Obama administration, U.S. health insurance companies must fully cover birth control and other preventive health services for women. These services include the morning-after pill, which is taken shortly after intercourse to stop pregnancy, testing for certain types of sexually transmitted diseases, and counseling for HIV.
According to a government spokesperson, the new rules were designed to keep women healthy by relieving them of the costs of contraceptive services. These services will no longer require women to pay co-payment or deductible payments to insurance companies.
Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the law is monumental for women’s health and millions of women across the country. The new law is part of a broader effort focusing on prevention of disease and other health problems. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops opposes the law, stating that “Pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a … condition to be suppressed by any means technically possible.” The group advocates abstinence as the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Conservative groups have opposed the use of taxpayer money to cover birth control costs, especially the morning after pill. A traditional criticism of the use of emergency contraceptives, such as the birth control pill, is that it will promote promiscuity and unprotected sex. This claim, however, is not supported by research done in the United States.
In the United States, birth control is the most common drug prescribed to woman ages 18 to 44. The law will go into effect in August 2012. (261)
[Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/01/us-usa-health-preventive-idUSTRE7703C420110801, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmRz3b0myok]

Birth Control ESL Lesson Plan : Comprehension Questions

  1. What type of services will be covered under the new law?
  2. True or False: Women wishing to receive the morning after pill will still be required to pay a deductible.
  3. Why do the Catholic bishops oppose the law?
  4. True or False: Research in the United States has shown that the availability of emergency contraceptives does not encourage unprotected sex.
1 – The services available will include the provision of the morning-after pill, which is taken shortly after intercourse to stop pregnancy, testing for certain types of sexually transmitted diseases, and counseling for HIV.
2 – False.
3 – They oppose the law because they believe pregnancy is a natural condition that should not be suppressed. They believe abstinence is the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
4 – True

Birth Control ESL Lesson Plan : Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the news lesson.
cover (verb)
relieve (verb)
suppress (verb)
  • cover – include, deal with
  • preventive – protective, precautionary
  • intercourse – sex
  • relieve – release, excuse, exempt
  • deductible – money paid by the insured before the insurer will pay a claim
  • monumental – huge, enormous
  • suppress – hold back, restrain, stop
  • means – method, way
  • abstinence – the practice of not allowing yourself sth, e.g. sex
  • contraceptive – a drug used to prevent pregnancy
  • promiscuity – the state of having many sexual partners

Birth Control ESL Lesson Plan : Connect the below idea(s) to make a sentence.

government / uprising
preventative / medicine
abstinence / intercourse
law / cover / contraceptive
relieve / women / deductible
monumental / decision
suppress / promiscuity
contraceptive / means
deductible / car / crash
Possible Answers:
  • Jim was given preventative medicine to fight malaria while in Indonesia.
  • Abstinence from intercourse can be difficult for young men.
  • The law covers the purchases of contraceptives.
  • The law will relieve women of the costs of emergency birth control.
  • The decision to end slavery was monumental.
  • The church is looking for new ways to suppress promiscuity.
  • Contraceptives, such as the condoms, are a means of preventing pregnancy.
  • I have insurance, but I'd still need to pay a $1000 deductible if I crashed my car.

Birth Control ESL Lesson Plan: Brainstorming

Brainstorm the benefits of emergency contraception (such as the “morning after pill”) and also some of the concerns about them.  

When finished, decide if the use of such contraception should be promoted to the public.

Birth Control ESL Lesson Plan: Debate (Pair Work)

Situation 1: Elementary and middle schools in your town have begun giving out free condoms to students.
Student A:
You are an elementary school principal. The free condom campaign has just been introduced. You support this program, but you know that some parents might not like the idea. Think of reasons for why the program is a good idea. (Soon, you’ll need to give these reasons.) After a minute or so, your phone will ring.
Student B:
Your innocent 11-year old daughter has just come home from elementary school with a handful of condoms. She tells you about the new program. You think it’s crazy. Think of reasons for why the program should be changed or cancelled for a minute or so. When you’re ready, call the school principal on the telephone.
Situation 2:
Student A:
You are a 16-year old girl. You have a new boyfriend, Ricky, who is 22. Ricky didn’t finish high school but he makes good money fixing motorcycles. You love him. Tell your parent (Student B) that you want to marry Ricky and have his baby. 
Student B:
Your daughter is the top student in her classes. You want her to go on to become a dentist like you. Recently, however, she’s been out a lot and you haven’t seen her much. Today she says she wants to talk to you about something.

Birth Control ESL Lesson Plan : Discussion Questions

(Write your answers in the Comments section below if you wish)

1) What do you think of the new law? Would it be possible in your country?
2) Is the “morning after pill” a form of abortion?
3) Do you believe today’s generation of teenagers are more sexually active than the generation of 30 years ago? If so, why?

Lesson plan copyright Matthew Barton of Englishcurrent.com


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