Even though Congress is trying to get us down by trying to eliminate the nation's family planning program (Title X), and state legislatures are attempting to ban abortion in states like Wisconsin and Ohio, there were a lot of things to be happy about in June. From huge landmark victories in the Supreme Court to fighting against unconstitutional laws and restrictions, June was a great month in the fight for women’s health and reproductive rights.
1. Oregon Women Gain Best Birth Control Access in the Nation
On June 11, Oregon’s governor signed a first-of-its-kind law that allows women to obtain a year’s worth of their birth control at a time. The law helps all women by making their birth control more accessible. When signing the bill into law, Oregon Governor Kate Brown said:
The bill "has a simple premise I that whole-heartedly believe in: increase access and decrease barriers.”
Way to go, Gov. Kate Brown!
2. Love Is Equal: Supreme Court Finds that Same-Sex Couples Cannot Be Deprived of the Right to Marry
If you haven’t checked the Internet recently, you might not know that the Supreme Court made a historic ruling on June 26 that states cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions — marriage equality in all 50 states. This huge and important decision will impact the lives of millions of Americans. In his majority opinion, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy linked the right to be married to whomever you want to contraception, writing:
“Like choices concerning contraception, family relationships, procreation, and childrearing, all of which are protected by the Constitution, decisions concerning marriage are among the most intimate that an individual can make.”
3. Supreme Court Protects Affordable Health Care for 6 Million People
In another landmark case, the Supreme Court upheld a key provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in King v. Burwell, saying low-income Americans can get subsidiest for affordable coverage through the federal health care exchange. This means that more than 6 million Americans, including 4 million women, will be able to keep their affordable, lifesaving health care.
4. Affordability Is Access: Senators Introduce a Bill that Would Make the Pill Accessible AND Affordable for Everyone
Senator Patty Murray and her allies in the Senate introduced a bill in June that would make all birth control pills available over-the-counter. What makes the Affordability Is Access Act stand out is that it builds on the contraception coverage required in the Affordable Care Act by allowing FDA-approved birth control pills to be made available over-the-counter, and covered by insurance without a copay. According to a study published recently in the journal Contraception, the rate of unintended pregnancies among low-income women could drop by as much as 25 percent if birth control pills were made available over-the-counter while still being covered by insurance with no copay.
5. Fighting Back against Gynoticians: Arizona Law Put on Hold as Lawsuit Plays Out
When Arizona Gynoticians decided to create a law forcing doctors to lie about medication abortions, Planned Parenthood decided to fight back. On June 4, Planned Parenthood, along with ACLU and the Center For Reproductive Rights, filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona because that law, which relies on unsubstantiated junk science, required doctors to tell their patients that a medication-induced abortion is reversible. Our very own Cecile Richards had this to say about the lawsuit:
“This reckless law forces doctors to lie to their patients, and it puts women’s health at risk. This law should never have passed, and we’re asking the court to stop it from going into effect.”
6. One Step Closer to Providing Health Care in New Orleans
Louisiana dropped a targeted requirement for abortion providers on June 19. Planned Parenthood had challenged the state’s rule after their application was denied in January, but the state decided to drop the requirement without giving reason. Now, a Planned Parenthood health center under construction in New Orleans is one step closer to providing safe, legal abortion. The new health care center is set to be open next year and will offer the full range of reproductive health care, including cancer screenings, birth control, and STI testing/treatment.
7. Not So Fast, Gynoticians: Iowa Supreme Court Strikes Down Unconstitutional Ban on Safe, Legal Abortions
In a unanimous decision, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled June 19 that the state’s ban on the use of telemedicine to prescribe medication abortion was deemed unconstitutional due to the undue burden it would cause women, especially those in rural communities, who were trying to access safe, legal abortion. In this huge decision, the Iowa Supreme Court caught on to why Iowa’s Gynoticians had created the rule in the first place, citing a lack of telemedicine bans on any other procedure. Had it gone into effect, the 2013 rule imposed by the Iowa Board of Medicine would have ended access to safe, legal abortion outside of three cities in Iowa – forcing many women to take multiple trips of up to 400 miles round-trip to access safe, legal abortion. More than one-third of Iowans live in rural areas.