June 7, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, the landmark Supreme Court decision that provided the first constitutional protection for birth control. Planned Parenthood in Connecticut Executive Director Estelle Griswold is the “Griswold” in the case, which paved the way for the nearly unanimous acceptance of contraception that now exists in the United States. By establishing that women and families had a fundamental right to privacy that reaches their decisions about how to form their families, Griswold laid the foundation for the right to an abortion as well as LGBT civil rights, making it one of the most influential cases Planned Parenthood has brought. But it’s not the only way Planned Parenthood has helped transform birth control access in the United States.
#1: Birth Control Benefit
As a leading national women's health care provider, Planned Parenthood helped expand all women's access to health care through the Affordable Care Act. As the new health care law was being hammered out, Planned Parenthood's National Medical Committee played a key role in demonstrating that the Institute of Medicine should recommend that insurance plans make birth control available at no cost to insured women, as well as other essential preventive care, including breast and cervical cancer screenings and well-woman exams.
As a result of the women’s preventive health benefit, more than 55 million women are eligible for no-copay birth control today. In fact, full implementation of the birth control benefit in the ACA could prevent 41-71 percent of abortions performed annually in the United States, according to researchers at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.
#2: Oregon’s Full-Year Birth Control Guarantee
Oregon is poised to become the first state in the country to let women have a full year’s supply of birth control — all covered by insurance — at one time. The bill, which has been passed in both the House and Senate, would allow women to avoid repeat visits to their doctors and pharmacies throughout the year.
Insurance plan restrictions prevent 73 percent of women from receiving more than a single month’s supply of contraception at a time, yet data shows that provision of a year’s supply of contraceptives is cost-effective and reduces unintended pregnancy. In fact, access to a full year’s supply of oral contraceptives is associated with a 30 percent reduction in the likelihood of unintended pregnancy and a 46 percent reduction in the rate of abortion (compared to dispensing just one- or three-month supplies of pills at a time), according to a study from University of California at San Francisco .
#3: Online Health Services
Planned Parenthood is pioneering birth control delivery via online health services, allowing patients to connect with a clinician via video visit on a computer or mobile device and then receive the pill, the patch or the ring in the mail (STD testing and treatment is also available).
#4: Liletta (low-cost IUD)
Each year, Planned Parenthood participates in approximately 70 clinical research projects, including studies of new birth control technologies, strategies to improve access, and other areas of reproductive health care delivery. Many Planned Parenthood health centers participated in the clinical studies that led to the FDA approval in February 2015 of Liletta, a new, low-cost IUD that is safe and effective for up to three years; other IUDs can cost up to $1,000 out-of-pocket.
#5: ella (Emergency Contraception)
Planned Parenthood Federation of America also played an integral role in the clinical studies leading to the FDA approval of ella in 2010. ella is a form of emergency contraception proven to maintain safety and effectiveness for five days after unprotected intercourse.