West Virginia AG fights to restrict access to women’s health care
Planned Parenthood speaks out for women.
Once again, Attorney General Morrisey is working hard to restrict access to women’s health care. This week, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey signed on to an amicus brief in the Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp Case against the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit, supporting the company’s request to exempt private, for-profit businesses from the birth control benefit.
On March 25, the Supreme Court will hear claims made by these two for-profit corporations that they have a right to deny their employees birth control under their health insurance plans. These are cases that could deny millions of women access to no-copay birth control and set a dangerous precedent allowing businesses to deny their employees a whole host of other medical procedures and treatments to which they are legally entitled, based on the employer’s personal beliefs. You can read a white paper providing background on the birth control benefit and what’s at stake in the Supreme Court case here.
Planned Parenthood Health Systems & VP of Public Affairs, Melissa Reed continue to speak out in support of the birth control benefit provided by the Affordable Care Act. Today Melissa Reed made the following statement:
All women, no matter where they live or who their boss is, should have access to basic preventive health care, including birth control. This is a decision for women, not their bosses, to make. Attorney General Morrisey and the CEOs he is supporting don’t have to take birth control, and they don’t have to pay for it—but they should comply with this common sense law that will make birth control available to any woman who needs it. When women have access to affordable birth control, they benefit, their families benefit, and we all benefit.
Birth control is tremendously important to women for all kinds of reasons, including to control certain medical conditions and to plan families. Under the birth control benefit, women have access to this important preventive care at no cost—which is why so much is at stake in Conestoga Wood Specialties and Hobby Lobby, cases that could create a slippery slope, giving for-profit employers the right to impose their own medical preferences on their employees. The choice about whether to use birth control should be between a woman and her doctor – and no employer should be able to take away that right.
The wide availability of birth control has been an enormous benefit for countless women and their families, enabling them to support themselves financially, complete their education, and plan their families and have children when they’re ready. Consistent use of reliable birth control is the best way to prevent an unintended pregnancy. Nearly half of all pregnancies that occur in the U.S. each year are unintended.
After decades of discriminatory coverage by insurance companies, the birth control benefit requires all insurance policies to cover birth control with no out-of-pocket cost to women because it’s part of preventive care. That preventive care—as decided by the independent Institute of Medicine—includes birth control as well as other treatment such as wellness visits, cancer screenings, and vaccinations.
A study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention tracking trends in birth control use from 1982 to 2010 reinforces that almost all women (99 percent) have used contraception at some point in their lives, regardless of their background or religious affiliation.
The Contraceptive CHOICE Study released in Fall 2012 established that access to no copay birth control—as outlined in the Affordable Care Act—leads to significantly lowered unintended pregnancy and abortion rates.
More than 40 for-profit companies, most of which are owned by men, are suing to deny employees free access to birth control, now provided under the birth control benefit as part of regular preventive medical care. At the heart of this case is Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts store, whose owners want to be able to take the birth control benefit away from their employees.