Protecting Birth Control as Preventive Care for Women (VIDEO)
Three months ago, when the Obama administration issued draft rules that required the inclusion of birth control without co-pay for health insurance coverage, Planned Parenthood and other women’s health organizations rejoiced (along with millions of women!)
This was the culmination of years of work to have birth control — used at some point by over 99 percent of sexually active women — recognized as basic preventive care. And in fact, this wasn’t just our opinion. The rule was issued in large measure because the Institute of Medicine made a medical determination that this was critical for women’s health. But now that's at risk.
Rachel Maddow covered it in depth lastnight, including a great interview with women’s health champion and pro-choice caucus chair Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO).
“Religious employers” whose primary mission involves instilling religious values were given the opportunity to opt out. We didn’t agree with that then, and we vehemently object to the attempt now. A vocal minority of religious leaders and Tea Party Republicans want to take that relatively small exemption and blow it up to include religiously affiliated institutions---a move that will surely impact millions of people who work for, or are connected to, places like hospitals and universities, but who do not necessarily share their beliefs.
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards laid out the danger pretty clearly in Huffington Post earlier this week:
In essence, this harmful and illogical measure would undermine the very purposes of the Affordable Care Act -- eliminating discrimination in health care coverage and making sure all Americans have insurance coverage that meets their basic, preventive health needs. In fact, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has declared that the exclusion of insurance coverage for prescription contraceptive drugs and devices in an employer health plan that covers prescription drugs is sex discrimination.
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We’re told that the President could make a decision any day now. Here's hoping he sides with the Institute of Medicine and the millions of women who rely on birth control.