Fight for Seamless Birth Control Access Continues in Wake of Hobby Lobby, Zubik v. Burwell rulings   

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, Planned Parenthood Federation of America submitted over 37,000 comments from people across the country in support of seamless access to birth control to the Obama Administration. In response to the Supreme Court's ruling on Zubik v. Burwell, the Obama administration announced a request for information seeking input on “alternative ways” for organizations that object to providing coverage for contraceptive services to obtain an accommodation, while still ensuring seamless access to birth control. The comments are in response to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ request for information about coverage for contraceptive services under the Affordable Care Act.

 

The comments come as nearly 40 Members of the Senate and nearly 120 Members of the House also weighed in to support seamless access to birth control in letters sent to HHS yesterday.

 

Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“Where you work should not determine whether you have access to affordable birth control. It is hard to believe that we have to fight for this more than 50 years after birth control was legalized, but unfortunately there are still politicians and bosses intent on restricting women’s access to this basic health care. The 37,000 comments submitted today send a clear message that Americans support women’s seamless access to birth control. A woman shouldn’t have to jump through hoops or get a permission slip from her boss to get the birth control that works best for her.

 

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, women have access to birth control at no cost, and as a result, have saved an estimated $1.4 billion a year on birth control pills alone.

 

“The employers behind these lawsuits have been provided a sensible workaround from the birth control provision of the ACA. But this case isn’t about religious freedom of certain employers; it’s about ensuring women have access to birth control. Planned Parenthood will continue to fight for a woman’s right to contraception, no matter who their boss is.”

 

The Affordable Care Act requires health insurance plans to provide coverage without copay for birth control and other preventive health care services. More than 55 million women nationwide have access to no-copay birth control, and in the first year of the birth control benefit it saved women an estimated $1.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs for birth control pills.

 

Under the law, certain employers with religious objections to birth control, such as the ones who have brought these cases before the Supreme Court, are already provided a workaround so they do not have to include birth control coverage in their employer-sponsored health insurance. Under this “accommodation,” these employers simply need to fill out a one-page form stating their objection to having to provide birth control coverage, and insurance companies directly provide employees with birth control at no cost.