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As For-Profit Corporations Take Out-of-Touch Views on Birth Control Benefit before Nation’s Highest Court, Planned Parenthood Action Fund Speaks Out for Women, Workers

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, as hundreds of supporters of women’s health and rights gathered outside in the snow for a “Not My Boss’s Business” rally, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases by bosses at for-profit corporations seeking to deny their employees coverage for no-copay birth control, based on their own personal beliefs. These bosses have views that are far outside the mainstream, with a poll out yesterday showing that more than two in three (68%) women voters say that corporations should not be able to exempt themselves from the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employer health plans cover prescription birth control.

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

“Today, corporate bosses who want to take away their employees’ access to birth control stepped far beyond the boardroom, taking their extreme views all the way to the nation’s highest court. Their arguments against birth control are way outside the mainstream, and a ruling in their favorcould have far-reaching consequences by letting companies refuse services, discriminate, or deny health care to millions of people.  What we saw today was the importance of having women on the Supreme Court, with the three female justices raising important questions about women’s health and rights.

“Bosses and politicians shouldn’t interfere in women’s personal health care decisions. That’s what this case is about.

Birth control is only a ‘social issue’ if you’ve never had to pay for it. For women, birth control is preventive health care and it is also an economic concern. Today, the Supreme Court heard a strong argument for why it’s in the country’s interests to ensure that more women have access to the type of birth control that works best for them – and a strong case against radically redefining how we balance and protect everyone’s rights in this country.

“Planned Parenthood health care providers across the country see the benefits of affordable birth control every day. Before this benefit went into effect, our doctors and nurses regularly heard from women who were forced to choose between groceries or filling their prescription – between paying the rent or choosing the form of birth control that’s right for them. No matter what the Court decides, Planned Parenthood health centers are going to continue to provide health care to nearly three million patients each year – and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund is going to fight for the right of every woman to make her own decisions about her own health, no matter where she works or how much money she makes.”

The cases before the Supreme Court, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, could jeopardize access to affordable birth control for millions of women. They could also set a dangerous precedent, sparking more Arizona-style discrimination bills and lawsuits by other businesses seeking to deny employees and customers the health benefits and other services they are entitled to under the law, all based on the business owners’ personal beliefs. These corporations wrongly believe emergency contraception is a form of abortion — further illustrating why health care decisions should be between a woman and her doctor, without the involvement of her boss.

  • You can watch a 2-min animated whiteboard video with Cecile Richards breaking down the health and economic benefits of birth control and the high stakes of the cases here: http://bit.ly/1gA6Nos 
  • You can read 50 supporter stories from across the United States in the “Birth Control: We All Benefit” booklet here: http://bit.ly/1elblms
  • You can read a White Paper on the Hobby Lobby case here: http://bit.ly/1aw9sUx  

BACKGROUND

After decades of discriminatory coverage by insurance companies, the birth control benefit requires all insurance policies to cover birth control with no out-of-pocket cost to women — rightly categorizing birth control as part of women’s basic preventive care.  According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 27 million women nationally are already eligible for this benefit. When the law is fully implemented, 47 million women nationally will have access to no-copay birth control thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

Birth control is tremendously important to women for all kinds of reasons, including the need to control certain medical conditions and to plan our families. Under the birth control benefit, women have access to this important preventive care at no cost.

  • The wide availability of birth control has been an enormous benefit for countless women and their families — enabling them to support themselves financially, complete their education, and plan their families and have children when they’re ready.
  • Virtually all (99 percent) American women between the ages of 15-44 who are sexually active have used birth control at some time.
  • For many women, birth control is used for a host of health care reasons. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 58 percent of birth control pill users cite health benefits as a contributing factor for using the birth control pill, including treating endometriosis, menstrual pain, and menstrual regulation.
  • Seven in ten Americans believe that health insurance companies should be required to cover the full cost of birth control, just as they do for other preventive services.

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