This month, women’s health has taken a lot of hits - like the House passing a federal 20-week ban and attacks on women’s access to reproductive health care in Texas, South Carolina, Wisconsin and North Carolina. But it’s not all dark and gloomy! There have been some amazing moments in the world of women’s health this month. Take a look at some of the good things that have made us smile over the past few weeks:
1. California Sex-Ed Ruling: Smacks Down Abstinence-Only Programs
We all know abstinence-only programs don’t work; statistics show it, teenagers say it. Well on August 28, Judge Donald Black made it clear that a sex-education program in California must provide “medically accurate” information. Let’s say it one more time, MEDICALLY ACCURATE INFORMATION. The case - a lawsuit from parents against the Clovis Unified School District’s abstinence-focused program - was upheld as Black stated:
"Given the high social cost of teen pregnancy and similar toll on society of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, the rights vindicated by this suit, access to medically, and socially appropriate sexual education, is an important public right."
Let’s raise a glass to Judge Donald Black!
2. Contraception Mandate: Birth Control Is Covered, Despite What Your Insurance Agent Told You
Earlier this month it was revealed that a number of insurance companies were refusing to provide no-copay birth control for specific types of contraception. But fear not! The Obama administration released a statement clarifying that insurance companies must pay for ALL 18 forms of FDA-approved birth control under the Affordable Care Act.
Planned Parenthood’s very own Cecile Richards heralded the mandate stating:
“This is a victory for women and the more than 30,000 Planned Parenthood supporters who spoke out to ensure all women, no matter what insurance they have, can access the full range of birth control methods without a copay or other barriers.”
The mandate outlines a variety of birth control options including IUDs, emergency contraception, and vaginal rings. Isn’t it refreshing to see the rights of women protected rather than taken away?
3. Planned Parenthood Clinics Opening in Queens, NY, and Asheville, NC
Despite dogged attempts by anti-women’s health politicians to restrict abortion access to women across the state of North Carolina, this month, Planned Parenthood opened its Asheville Health Center. Jill Dinwiddie, chair of the board of directors at Planned Parenthood South Atlantic aptly stated:
"We made good on our promise to the women of Western North Carolina. Our doors are open and will remain open because of you."
Planned Parenthood also cut the ribbon on its first health center in Long Island City, Queens! In addition to providing gynecological care, breast cancer screenings, and abortion services, the new health center will also offer on-site health insurance enrollment through Medicaid and the New York State Health Marketplace.
4. Notre Dame’s Attempts to Restrict Student Access to Birth Control Coverage Are Thwarted by the Courts
Although the Hobby Lobby ruling permits owners of some for-profit, private corporations to deny coverage of birth control to their staff because of their personal religious beliefs, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit declined yet again to block the contraception coverage requirement in the Affordable Care Act for the University of Notre Dame.
All three of the Courts of Appeals to have considered the latest version of the birth control benefit have rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments Think Progress). While Notre Dame’s administration sits and pouts, we can celebrate this phenomenal win for students and employees at the university!