WASHINGTON, DC — Planned Parenthood Action Fund responded to news that the Supreme Court sent Notre Dame's challenge to the Affordable Care Act's birth control benefit back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Religiously affiliated organizations, including Notre Dame, are already able to get an exemption from the birth control benefit so that they aren’t paying for birth control if it violates their religious mission.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“It’s hard to believe that we’re are still fighting for access to birth control despite its contributions to tremendous progress in helping women lead happy, healthy lives. Access to the full range of birth control services has resulted in a 40-year low in teen pregnancy rates and is directly related to women’s ability to finish school and succeed professionally. Women — and the American public — have been abundantly clear in their support for the birth control benefit and they’re not willing to go back to the days of paying out-of-pocket for access.

“This is a case about paperwork, not religious liberty. Religious groups have been exempt from the birth control benefit all along, and they still are. We are hopeful that the Seventh Circuit will again rule in favor of women's access to birth control, as all federal appeals courts have done. 

“As the nation’s leading women’s health care provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood has led the charge for access to contraception for nearly a century and we’ll continue to fight to make sure women get the care they need, no matter what.”

Background:

  • Nationally, 48.5 million women are eligible for preventive care, including birth control, without a copay, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
  • Women saved $483 million in the first year of the benefit on their prescriptions for birth control pills alone.
  • When the Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby could decide whether their employees get access to no-copay birth control coverage, 250,000 people signed Planned Parenthood’s Join the Dissent digital campaign.
  • You can read 50 supporter stories from across the United States in the “Birth Control: We All Benefit” booklet here.
  • A 2012 University of Michigan study found that fully one-third of the wage gains women have made since the 1960s are the result of access to oral contraceptives. This study also found that the decrease in the gap among 25–49-year-olds between men’s and women’s annual incomes “would have been 10 percent smaller in the 1980s and 30 percent smaller in the 1990s” in the absence of widespread legal birth control access.
  • Additional studies found that access to contraception contributed significantly to more young women obtaining at least some college education and to more college-educated women pursuing advanced professional degrees.
  • Highlighting the fact that birth control is a top economic driver for women, Bloomberg Businessweek recently listed contraception as one of the most transformational developments in the business sector in the last 85 years.