On February 1, the Obama administration announced it would hold the line and ensure that all women, no matter where they work, can get affordable access to birth control with no co-pay. In the 60-day public comment period since that announcement, nearly 350,000 people submitted letters to the Department of Health and Human Services in support of the benefit.
It doesn’t matter where you live—men and women in all 50 states know how access to affordable birth control can make a critical difference in their lives. Whether it’s helping a woman manage a medical condition or allowing her to plan for her future and her family, access to birth control improves the health of women and their families.
We asked people to share their reasons why this benefit mattered to them. In story after story, women spoke of how it helped them plan their families, how they could not have gone to school or started their careers, or supported their spouse’s education without the ability to control and plan for their own families.
Here are just a few:
In Alaska, Kime spoke about what birth control means to her:
As a woman in my mid-twenties, having access to birth control means that I can focus on getting my Masters and starting my career, so that I can give back to my community and support my family--when I'm ready to have one.
And in Iowa, Jane shared her story about why she uses birth control:
As a self-employed business owner, I don't want to have to worry about an unplanned pregnancy. Every little bit helps with expenses!! I never understood why insurance companies would cover things like Viagra for men, but yet do nothing in helping prevent unwanted or unplanned pregnancies.
Birth control has had such a dramatic impact on women and families in this country that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) named it one of the 10 great public health achievements in the 20th century. And on top of that, seven in ten Americans (70 percent) believe that health insurance companies should be required to cover the full cost of birth control, just as they do for other preventive services. And yet…we’re still fighting to have this included as the non-controversial thing that it is.
The cost of birth control can be up to $600 per year—that’s the equivalent of five weeks of groceries, nine tanks of gas in a minivan, and even one semester of college textbooks. When insurance companies cover women’s preventive care, including birth control, we all benefit.