We've seen misinformation about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby swirling around on the Internet. That ruling -- and several orders from the Court -- allows some employers to deny insurance coverage for birth control for their employees. To clear up any confusion, here are some handy-dandy facts!
MYTH #1: This is a narrow ruling that only affects a couple of types of birth control.
- FACT: The Supreme Court let stand several rulings allowing for-profit companies to deny coverage of any type of contraception — not just the types that Hobby Lobby was opposed to. And since the decision, the Court has opened the door for many other employers who object to birth control to refuse to cover it. This puts coverage for all types of birth control in jeopardy, and could result in many more women losing access to birth control coverage.
MYTH #2: This ruling is limited to "closely held" corporations, which affects only a small number of employees.
- FACT: The Supreme Court ruling could apply to companies that employ more than half of the U.S. workforce — that's tens of millions of American women. Many massive companies, like candy giant Mars Inc. and multinational corporation Koch Industries, could be eligible to change their policies under the ruling.
MYTH #3: Any woman whose company takes away coverage can just get contraception through another government program.
- FACT: No, she can't. For example, Medicaid is available only for low-income women and has strict eligibility guidelines. In some states, an annual salary of $15,856 or less for a single woman is required. In other states, it's even less. Title X, the nation's family planning program, also is intended to serve low-income women. But it is so underfunded that it is not equipped to absorb a patient influx.
MYTH #4: Even if birth control isn't covered, it is cheap and easy for women to get it out-of-pocket at a place like Target.
- FACT: You can't just buy prescription birth control at a convenience store like you would condoms. You usually need a doctor's visit first. Prescription birth control methods can cost upwards of $600 a year — that's equivalent to nine tanks of gas, an expense that many women can't afford. If women cannot afford it, they are more likely to use it inconsistently, incorrectly, or not at all. In fact, 55 percent of young adult women have experienced a time when they could not afford to use birth control consistently.
MYTH #5: Women don't need prescription birth control. They should just use condoms.
- FACT: Women have different birth control needs. The Affordable Care Act's birth control coverage ensures that women can access the method that works best for them. Besides preventing unintended pregnancy, women use birth control for a host of health conditions, like endometriosis and controlling their periods.