Yesterday, President Obama made an announcement that took the responsibility from certain religiously-affiliated employers and gave it to insurance companies for covering contraception with no co-pays or deductibles. This accommodation will protect women’s access to birth control and without extra cost, regardless of where they work. We will closely monitor the implementation of this new rule and work to make sure that all women have access to this essential health benefit.
However, opponents of birth control in Congress are still focused on taking away access to contraception introducing extreme legislation that threatens health across the board. The pieces of legislation range from allowing any employer, regardless of whether it is a religious entity, to deny coverage of contraception to giving employers the right to refuse coverage of any health care service they find religiously or morally objectionable.
They are playing politics with women’s health — and it would hurt everyone. Tell your Senators to reject all extreme legislation that would take away women’s access to birth control without a co-pay, and other needed health care.
What would happen if some of these bills became law?
- Any employer could offer a plan that does not cover maternity care for unmarried women in its plan, claiming that such coverage violates its belief that sex and procreation are permissible only within the marital relationship. (Amendment No. 1520 sponsored by Senator Blunt, R-MO, also known as the “Blunt Amendment”/H.R. 1179)
- Any corporation whose CEO opposes contraception based on his “moral convictions” could deny all coverage of contraception or any other service to the company’s employees. Even more disturbing, a CEO’s view of “morality” could potentially include concern for the cost of a particular benefit. (S. 2092, also known as “The Manchin-Rubio Bill” and the “Blunt Amendment”/H.R. 1179)
- Any employer who objects to coverage of vaccines for children could deny this coverage to all employees. (The “Blunt Amendment”/H.R. 1179)
Help us stop the politics being played with women’s health. Tell your Senators to reject the politics to undermine women’s health and support critical preventive care for women, and for all Americans.
Providing women access to birth control should not be a political issue. Contraception has proven health benefits. The ability to determine the timing of a pregnancy can prevent a range of pregnancy complications that can endanger a woman’s health, including gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and placental problems, among others. Moreover, women who wait for some time after delivery before conceiving their next child lower the risk of adverse perinatal outcomes, including low birth weight, preterm birth, and small-for-size gestational age. Contraception means healthier mothers and families.
Ninety-eight percent of sexually active women in the U.S., regardless of their religious beliefs, use contraception at some point in their lives. And since many women must skip such preventive health care due to cost, it’s vital to make the care more affordable. It’s therefore critical that women get access to birth control without a co-pay or deductible, regardless of where they work.
We know that the fight will continue and it’s only by raising our voices together that we can we protect women’s health.
Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights
National Women’s Law Center