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Ensure effective, equitable access to birth control

Posted by Mark Ryan, MD September 18, 2012 at 10:13 PM

On August 1st, millions of American women obtained access to approved contraceptive methods without the requirement of a co-pay.  For millions of women, this access will come as their health insurance plans are updated and renewed.

Despite the proven health benefits of contraceptive medications (beyond preventing unwanted pregnancies–for example, see here regarding oral contraceptives) many opponents of birth control wish to restrict women’s access to birth control.  Whatever the reasons given for opposing the mandate, it is necessary to remember what will be lost if the mandate were removed and the ACA were not fully enacted:

  • 47 million women would lose contraceptive coverage with no co-pay if House efforts to overturn the new healthcare law were to succeed.
  • 40.2 million women could have their decision about birth control taken out of their hands, if opponents in Congress succeeded in allowing bosses to deny coverage of contraception for their employees were to succeed.
  • 7 million women would lose access to birth control through Medicaid if states do not take the Medicaid expansion.
  • 4.7 million women would lose their access to contraception from the Title X family planning program if the House succeeded in ending the funding for this program.
  • 2.2 million women would not be able to continue to get birth control if opponents in Congress succeeded in de-funding Planned Parenthood.

(source: National Women’s Law Center)

The decision to use contraceptives to delay or prevent pregnancy or to address other health concerns is too important to take away from women.  We must continue to protect the protections embodied in the ACA and ensure that women do not lose this essential health benefit.

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