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Hundreds of volunteers from Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) will participate in the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on Saturday, October 30, 2010, encouraging people to support sexual sanity by signing Planned Parenthood’s petition to make prescription birth control available at no cost under the new health care reform law.

“The fact that virtually all sexually active American women have used birth control, but some members of Congress think it is controversial is the very definition of insanity,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “That’s why we are at the Rally to Restore Sanity and highlight our Birth Control Matters campaign for no-cost prescription birth control.” 

Birth Control Matters is Planned Parenthood’s awareness effort to make no-cost prescription birth control available so that all women can use the method that works best for them and to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. 

Volunteers will be dressed in pink Planned Parenthood T-shirts, talking to rallygoers about the need for affordable birth control and asking them to sign the petition to support no-cost prescription birth control. Planned Parenthood’s goal is to have one million people sign the Birth Control Matters pledge. Since its launch just two weeks ago, more than 50,000 individuals have already pledged their support for no-cost birth control. 

In the spirit of the day, Planned Parenthood volunteers will also be handing out PROPER ATTIRE® condoms in an effort to encourage sexual sanity.  PROPER ATTIRE condoms are Planned Parenthood branded condoms. They are FDA-tested and undergo thorough quality testing by the manufacturer and independent laboratories, making them dependable and effective.  

Planned Parenthood will also draw attention to the issue by having volunteers dressed in costumes shaped like Pill packs. 

Reaching beyond the crowd at the National Mall to its 90,000 Facebook fans and millions of online supporters, Planned Parenthood will have an active social media presence at the rally. Volunteers will be live tweeting and Facebook posting from the rally. Planned Parenthood will also encourage online supporters who can’t attend the rally to support sexual sanity by signing the pledge. 

As part of the Affordable Care Act, new health insurance plans are required to cover women’s preventive health care services with no co-pays to their members. It is up to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to define what specific preventive benefits will be covered. HHS is expected to release a decision by August 2011 regarding what additional benefits will be covered.  The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is considering this matter, and it will make a recommendation to HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius. 

Earlier this month, a survey by Hart Research Associates, commissioned by Planned Parenthood Action Fund, found overwhelming and widespread public support for national policies that would provide prescription birth control approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at no cost to all women with health insurance. Nearly three-fourths of American voters (71 percent) believe insurers should be required to fully cover the birth control pill and other forms of prescription contraception as they will be required to do for other preventive health care services under the new health care reform law.

In addition, the survey found that access to affordable birth control is a serious issue. The survey reports that one in three women voters (34 percent) have struggled with the cost of prescription birth control at some point in their lives. For young adult women, who are most likely to experience an unintended pregnancy, more than half (55 percent) experienced a time when they could not afford to use birth control consistently.  

The significant widespread support for covering prescription birth control only underscores that this is mainstream, commonsense policy that will help prevent unintended pregnancies and keep women and families healthy.

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