Republican politician questions why men should pay for pre-natal care

Rachael Revesz
Mr Shimkus said he took issue with a specific mandate that lumps all risks of care into one package: Getty

A Republican lawmaker prompted controversy when he questioned why men should pay for pre-natal care while debating with his colleagues what the new American Health Care Act would look like.

Representative John Shimkus of Illinois was asked what mandate of Obamacare he did not like specifically.

"What about men having to purchase prenatal care?" he asked.

There was audible shifting in chairs and protesting voices.

"I'm just ... is that not correct?" he continued. "And should they?"

Democratic Representative John Doyle of Pennsylvania responded that it was not possible to have "a la carte insurance" and that Mr Shimkus wanted something that "did not exist".

Women’s rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America, which advocates for abortion, pointed out the exchange and the video quickly spread online.

The anti-women sentiment has been shared before.

In 2013 in the same committee, former Republican representative Renee Ellmers questioned why men should cover maternity coverage.

"To the best of your knowledge, has a man ever delivered a baby?"

Insurance pools risks together, so while everyone covers pre-natal care, it also covers tests for prostate cancer, viagra, and tests for heart attacks and high blood pressure that men are more likely to suffer from than women.

Before Obamacare was signed in 2010, it was impossible in around half of all states to buy maternity coverage on the individual market. If people bought maternity coverage as an add-on to their policy, they would pay an expensive premium, as the provider knew the person buying it was planning to give birth and would price the policy accordingly.


Republican lawmakers have made several gaffes recently surrounding health care.

Jason Chaffetz, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told CNN that people on low incomes would have to choose between buying the new iPhone and purchasing health care.

Roger Marshall, a Kansas representative, argued that the new Act should not be structured to only benefit those on low incomes.

"Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us.’ … There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves," he said.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer appeared to share this view during a press conference this week.

"The issue [with Obamacare] was, in an attempt to solve a problem that affected a very specified, fine group of people [low income], that affected the whole healthcare market."