A History of the Fight About Birth Control
97 years ago, when Margaret Sanger and her sister opened a clinic in Brooklyn to provide family planning information, birth control was illegal. Only 10 days after her clinic — the first Planned Parenthood health center opened — she was arrested and thrown in jail. This was the beginning of the Planned Parenthood movement.
Since 1960, when the FDA approved the pill as a contraceptive, women’s health supporters have spent decades trying to make birth control more accessible and affordable. The last few years alone have been filled with a number of important milestones in the fight for birth control access. Check them out in the timeline below.
March 23, 2010: the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, including coverage for preventive care with no co-pay.
October 12, 2010: the Birth Control Matters campaign launches to remind politicians that birth control matters, and should be available to every women without co-pays.
July 19, 2011: The Institute of Medicine recommends that insurers should cover birth control as preventive care.
August 1, 2011: Health and Human Services announces new guidelines requiring health insurance plans beginning on or after August 1, 2012 to cover a number of women's preventive services, including birth control.
January 20, 2012: The Obama administration announces that as part of the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans must cover birth control for women with no additional co-pay.
February 9, 2012: Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduces an amendment that would allow any employer to deny insurance coverage for birth control (or any benefit) based on a so-called “moral conviction.”
February 16, 2012: Congressman’s Darrell Issa hosts a congressional hearing to oppose insurance coverage for birth control with an all-male panel, leaving many wondering where are the women?
February 16, 2012: Foster Friess, a major Republican donor, goes on MSNBC to speak with Andrea Mitchell and shocks many with his comments: “Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t’ that costly.”
February 23, 2012: After being snubbed by Congressman Issa and denied the opportunity to testify on behalf of the birth control benefit, Sandra Fluke speaks at an unofficial Democrat-sponsored hearing.
February 29, 2012: Rush Limbaugh, commenting on Sandra Fluke's speech in support the birth control benefit, calls her a “slut” and a “prostitute” inspiring companies to pull advertisements from his show.
March 1, 2012: The Senate votes down the Blunt amendment in a vote of 51-48. Over 400,000 actions have been taken by PP supporters in support of the birth control benefit since Nov. 2011.
March 15, 2012: The American Center for Law and Justice files a lawsuit against Health and Human Services, on behalf of a Missouri business owner, challenging the requirement to cover birth control with no co-pay. This is the first challenge from a private business owner.
August 1, 2012:The birth control benefit starts to take effect.
October 5, 2012:The Contraceptive CHOICE Study is released and demonstrates that access to no co-pay birth control — as is outlined in the Affordable Care Act — leads to significantly lowered unintended pregnancy and abortion rates.
February 1, 2013: The Obama administration announces revised regulations on the birth control benefit, and the 60-day comment period starts.