Urge Congress to Protect Contraceptive Coverage
These days, we’re inundated with news. In an age of twitter and Google readers and blogs and RSS feeds, we are exposed to hundreds if not thousands of new stories and articles every day. This can make it hard to pay attention, especially to issues from days or even months(!) ago. But pay attention we must. This past summer, you made your voice heard by submitting comments to the Department of Health and Human Services in support of the contraception compromise. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, eight preventative clinical services for women were required to be offered without co-pay, including contraception. In August 2011, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released regulations that included birth control without co-pay.
As part of the regulations, Secretary Sebelius included an exemption for religious institutions. This proved to be relatively controversial – some religious leaders thought the exemption was too narrow (for example, it included houses of worship but not religiously affiliated universities or hospitals), while many women’s health groups thought it was too broad and would deny women access to birth control without co-pay. As a compromise, the Obama Administration announced it would work to revise the regulations, likely by having insurers pay for the contraception rather than the religious entities. Unobstructed and affordable access to birth control is crucial for women. The Reform Movement has strongly supported the right of women to have the access and ability to make their own reproductive health decisions. Every woman, including women working for entities covered by the exemption, is entitled to access contraception as a matter of basic rights and fundamental dignity. That’s why the Reform Movement has supported the Administration’s compromise, and continues to fight for contraceptive access for women everywhere. Don’t let this crucial issue be forgotten in the inundation of news stories and commotion that have transpired since the summer. Let Congress know that this issue matters to you.