new study published Tuesday in Health Affairs found that the Affordable Care Act, a law which every GOP candidate has called to repeal, has saved women $1.4 billion a year on birth control pills alone — showing the clear economic impact that access to no co-pay birth control has had on women’s lives. The study found that the mean out-of pocket expense for the pill declined by 38 percent between June 2012 and June 2013 and declined 68 percent for IUDs in the same time period.  The study also found that before the birth control benefit went into effect, contraceptive costs accounted for between 30 and 44 percent of women’s total out-of-pocket health care costs.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit, more than 55 million women are now eligible for birth control without a copay.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“This is a sign of how out-of-touch the GOP presidential field has become. At a time when the rest of the country is celebrating the $1.4 billion a year women have saved thanks to the Affordable Care Act, leading Republican presidential contenders continue to call for the law’s repeal.

“Birth control has helped women make tremendous strides forward — enabling them to earn higher wages, complete their education, and pursue their dreams. For women all across the country, the birth control benefit has meant money in their pocket and a freedom from the economic stress of one more bill to pay.

“It should go without saying that rolling back that progress is deeply unpopular — even among Republican voters. Yet unfortunately that seems to be a lesson certain presidential candidates will have to learn the hard way.”

Despite widespread support for the birth control benefit across party lines, and huge cost-savings for women and their families, GOP presidential candidates remain eager to repeal the Affordable Care Act and go back to the days when women were forced to pay up to $600 out-of-pocket on birth control. 

Not only does birth control save women money, as outlined by a substantial body of research in the Action Fund’s new briefing paper, it also allows women to advance their own economic empowerment by giving them the ability to plan if and when to start a family. Today a woman overall earns about three-quarters of each dollar a man earns, but research indicates that contraception has significantly narrowed that gap, accounting for one-third of the narrowing of the wage gap by the 1990s.

Here’s a look back at where the GOP presidential contenders stand on women’s access to no co-pay birth control:

  • Jeb Bush: Jeb Bush has compared the Obama administration's effort to mandate health insurance coverage for contraceptives to “Big Brother,” and has said that the Affordable Care Act is “flawed to its core.” [USA Today, 5/9/15;POLITICO, 10/20/13]
  • John Kasich: “First of all, I don't support Obamacare; I want to repeal it." [CNN, 5/27/15]
  • Marco Rubio: Called for the Affordable Care Act “to be entirely repealed and replaced.” In opposition to the birth control benefit, Rubio said, “We must stop the unconstitutional mandate under Obamacare that requires church-affiliated organizations to offer their workers private-insurance coverage without out-of-pocket charges for birth control….” [Tampa Bay Times, 6/30/14; Sen. Marco Rubio, 3/1/12]
  • Rand Paul: “I won't rest until Obamacare is 100% repealed.” [Facebook, 8/4/14]
  • Scott Walker: Walker has said that if elected, “One of the first acts would be to push through a change that would fully repeal Obamacare.” As governor, Walker has repeatedly tried to get rid of Wisconsin’s contraceptive equity law, which requires insurance companies to cover prescription birth control. [FOX News, 6/25/15, WI Office of the Commissioner of InsuranceAB 216/SB 202, 5/23/13; WEAU.com, 11/7/13]
  • Chris Christie: Christie has called the Affordable Care Act a “disaster,” a “train wreck” and an “awful law” and has said he would repeal the law. Following the Hobby Lobby decision, Chris Christie was asked if he was concerned that some New Jersey women could lose birth control coverage, to which he said “No.” When asked why not, he added, “Because I’m not.” [POLITICO, 11/27/13; Wall Street Journal, 4/14/15; POLITICO, 7/13/14]
  •  Ben Carson: "Obamacare is really, I think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. And it is ... in a way, it is slavery." [CNN.com, 10/11/13]
  • Bobby Jindal: “We must repeal every single word of Obamacare.” [The Times-Picayune, 2/26/15]
  • Donald Trump: As reported by the Daily Caller, in his book Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again, Trump promises he would kill the Affordable Care Act with the stroke of a pen on his first day in office if he were president. [Daily Caller, 1/15/14]
  • George Pataki: Pataki has said he wants to repeal the ACA, calling it the “worst law” of his lifetime[The Hill, 3/25/15]
  • Ted Cruz: “Imagine in 2017 a new president signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare.” [National Review, 3/23/15]
  • Mike Huckabee: When asked about the birth control benefit, Huckabee said, “And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it." [Huffington Post, 1/23/14]
  • Rick Santorum: Santorum has compared the Affordable Care Act to apartheid when he was reflecting on the passing of Nelson Mandela. Santorum said, “He was fighting against some great injustice, and I would make the argument that we have a great injustice going on right now in this country with an ever-increasing size of government that is taking over and controlling people’s lives — and Obamacare is front and center in that.” [POLITICO, 12/6/13]
  • Carly Fiorina: Fiorina supported the Hobby Lobby case and said that women “had plenty of access to birth control both before and after” the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, dismissing the impact that this case had on women who can now be denied birth control by their employers. [ThinkProgress, 2/28/15]
  • Rick Perry: Perry gave his blessing to a state lawsuit against the contraception mandate and has said about the Obama administration’s efforts to ensure that women have access to birth control covered by their insurance plans: “[I]t has to stop.” [Houston Chronicle, 2/24/12]
  • Lindsey Graham: In speaking specifically about the ACA’s birth control benefit, Graham said, “When it comes to Obamacare, this type of overreach continues to leave a bad taste in the mouths of the American people.” [Facebook, 2/9/12]

Headlines on birth control savings:

  • Vox: “Report: Obamacare has saved women $1.4 billion on birth control pills” (link)
  • The New York Times: “After Health Care Act, Sharp Drop in Spending on Birth Control” (link)
  • HealthDay: “Women Spend Far Less on Birth Control Because of 'Obamacare'” (link)
  • CNBC: “Birth control's big 'cost control' gains from Obamacare” (link)
  • NPR/Kaiser Health News: “Under health law, women save hundreds each year on birth control, study finds” (link)
  • Medical Xpress: “Affordable Care Act results in dramatic drop in out-of-pocket prices for prescription contraceptives” (link)
  • The Huffington Post: “Women Are Spending $1.4 Billion Less On Birth Control Due To Obamacare: Report” (link)
  • Newsweek: “Women Now Spend Less on Birth Control, Thanks to Obamacare” (link)
  • HealthCanal: “Affordable Care Act Results in Dramatic Drop in Out-of-Pocket Prices for Prescription Contraceptives, Penn Medicine Study Finds” (link)
  • Think Progress: “Thanks To Obamacare, The Average Woman Is Saving $255 Per Year On Her Birth Control Pills” (link)
  • MSNBC: “Contraception changes lead to big savings” (link)
  • The Hill: “Study: Obamacare saves women $1.4B on birth control” (link)
  • Mother Jones: “Thanks to Obamacare, Women Are Saving Nearly $1.4 Billion on Birth Control Pills” (link)
  • Marie Claire: “Women Are Spending $1.4 Billion Less on Birth Control Because of Obamacare” (link)

Snapshot polling on birth control support:

  • The majority of young Republicans agree that birth control should be affordable. [National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 3/15]
    • 65 percent of young Republicans who use birth control think that the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement should be kept in place.
    • Two-thirds of young Republicans say “every adult woman should have access to affordable, effective birth control because it gives people a chance to build families on their own terms.”
  • 71 percent of persons aged 18-29 support the ACA’s contraceptive coverage requirement. [Kaiser Family Foundation, April 2014]
  • More than eight in ten (86 percent) Millennials of color believe birth control is part of basic health care and should be covered by insurance, and half (53 percent) holds this view strongly. [Belden Russonello Strategists LLC, 2012]
  • African American young adults (91 percent), especially African American women (95 percent), believe that contraception needs to be available and affordable to help young people stay healthy.
  • Eight in ten (81 percent) Millennial voters support expanding access to contraception to women who can't afford it. [Public Religion Research Institute, 3/27/15]
  • 89 percent of Latina voters 18-34 support contraceptive coverage without copayments for all women. [The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH)]

About Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

Planned Parenthood affiliates provide health care to 2.7 million patients every year — including lifesaving cancer screenings, preventive health care, birth control, and abortion services. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading women’s health provider and advocate. Planned Parenthood Action Fund works to ensure that people continue to have access to those health care and education services — by advocating for laws and policies that protect women’s health, and educating voters about how candidates’ positions would affect women’s health.

If you have any questions, please contact the Planned Parenthood Action Fund media line at [email protected].