Protect Women’s Access to Affordable Birth ControlNovember 22, 2011
*UPDATE*: News reports indicate that President Obama could decide as soon as this week whether to deny women affordable access to contraceptives. TAKE ACTION to tell the administration that all women deserve access to birth control.
A few months ago, the Department of Health and Human Services recommended that new insurance plans cover women’s preventive health care, including contraceptive services, without requiring cost sharing or co-pays. AAUW applauded this decision but was disappointed that the Obama administration allowed certain employers to deny contraceptive coverage to their employees. Now, some opponents of contraception are pressuring President Obama to extend this exemption even further, which would deny contraceptive coverage to more than 1 million women.
We need you to send a message to the White House: Don’t exempt employers from covering women’s preventive care. All women should receive coverage for contraception without co-pays or cost sharing. Access to services such as contraception helps women control, track, and better manage their lifelong health.
Women face a unique set of health care challenges because they use more health services yet earn less on average than men. Requiring insurance providers to fully cover — without patient deductibles or co-pays — preventive services such as contraception, screenings, education, and counseling will go a long way toward expanding women’s access to health care services. These services are so critical to women’s health and well-being that they should be available to all women without exception.
The proposed coverage exemption would allow certain religious employers, such as religious charities, nonprofits and schools, to restrict employees’ access to health care and denies women who work for these employers coverage for necessary preventive care. This exemption is an obvious intrusion on the patient-doctor relationship and discriminates against women on the basis of sex.
This exemption also would put many women at risk for health problems that are easily avoided with proper preventative care. Employees who work for churches, synagogues, and other religious institutions — including administrative employees and faculty in religious schools — are just a few of those affected by the exemption. For example, the restriction would extend far beyond the direct effects on employees to their spouses and dependents as well.
Take action and tell the White House that you oppose this exemption that puts women’s health at risk!