“This accommodation shouldn’t be necessary in the first place…. The Supreme Court was wrong to allow companies to discriminate against their employees this way, and Congress needs to pass legislation to fix it.”


WASHINGTON, DC  New guidance issued today by the federal government ensures that women have access to birth control even if their bosses oppose it, Planned Parenthood Action Fund said today. A final rule released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gives women a path to get coverage even if they work at companies that oppose birth control, like Hobby Lobby, the arts and crafts chain that fought all the way to the Supreme Court to deny its employees access to birth control. The rule creates an accommodation, which permits companies to opt out of providing coverage but the insurance carrier still must provide it – which ensures that women will have access to no-cost birth control, no matter where they work.

Despite clear health and economic benefits thanks to expanded access to birth control, including a 40-year low in teen pregnancy rates, there are still politicians including GOP presidential hopefuls that want to turn back the clock and deny all women access to the birth control benefit, which saved women 1.4 billion in the first year on birth control pills alone and is already available to more than 55 million women nationwide. Every GOP contender for president in 2016 has said that corporations should be allowed to deny birth control coverage for their female employees and that the Affordable Care Act, which transforms access to birth control with no copay, should be repealed.

In October, Planned Parenthood and groups delivered more than 88,000 comments from across the country to HHS in support of the administration’s efforts to ensure employees at "closely held" corporations are guaranteed birth control coverage without a copay.

Following is a statement issued by Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“What this means for women is that you will be able to get birth control without a copay, no matter where you work. Your boss shouldn’t decide whether or not your birth control is covered by insurance, and this guidance from the federal government will ensure women get birth control at no cost.

“While we are pleased that the Obama Administration is ensuring that women will get to keep birth control coverage regardless of their employers’ personal beliefs, this accommodation shouldn’t be necessary in the first place. A private company shouldn’t be able to pick and choose what health care services they provide to their employees because they are women, LGBT, or any other class of people. The Supreme Court was wrong to allow companies to discriminate against their employees this way, and Congress needs to pass legislation to fix it.

“We’re already seeing enormous benefits from expanding access to birth control without a copay. We need to keep moving forward, not go backward. We’ll continue working to ensure that women have access to birth control at no cost – which is critical for expanding economic and educational opportunity for women.

“As the leading advocate for the one-in-five women that has relied on Planned Parenthood at some point in her lifetime, we know how important it is to ensure all women can access birth control without cost barriers, as the law intended. And yet there are still politicians including GOP presidential candidates that want to turn back the clock and take this important benefit away from women.”  
 

Recently laws in Indiana and Arkansas that allow businesses to discriminate based on religion captured the nation’s attention and launched an unprecedented backlash from the public and corporate America. However, these new laws build on an existing framework of “religious refusal” policies and the recent decision by the US Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby that allow individuals, businesses, and other organizations to refuse to provide service. While some of the recently enacted laws were targeted at LGBT people, they all have the potential to harm many types of individuals, including women who are denied health care services.

Planned Parenthood has joined dozens of reproductive rights and LGBTQ groups in a statement against congressional efforts to allow employer discrimination based on reproductive health care decisions here.  

Polling finds overwhelming support for women’s access to birth control:

  • Sixty-eight percent of women voters say that politicians who support the Hobby Lobby decision, like many of the GOP hopefuls, are out of touch with them and their everyday lives.
  • According to a report from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, two-thirds of young Republicans say that “every adult woman should have access to affordable, effective birth control because it gives people a chance to build families on their own terms.” Sixty-five percent of young Republicans who use birth control support the requirement that insurance companies cover contraception without additional out-of-pocket costs for consumers; 62 percent support providing more educational programs and campaigns for young adults about all methods of birth control.
  • recent survey from the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute found that a full 71 percent of Millennials find it morally acceptable to use contraception; while 9 percent said it was morally wrong. About 78 percent want to make all forms of legal contraception available on college campuses, and 81 percent want to make sure women who can’t afford contraception have access to it.