The Five Most Critical Womenâ€™s Health Victories in 2012
Women’s health played a critical role in 2012 — and it came with several victories. Voters recognized just how out of touch candidates like Mitt Romney and Todd Akin were on women’s health issues — and it showed on Election Day. With the greatest gender gap in presidential history, women made the difference in this election. But the re-election of President Obama isn’t the only victory we’re celebrating this year. Check out our top five most meaningful women’s health victories in the list below.
- President Obama announces no-cost birth control stays in Affordable Care Act.
After months of fighting over whether birth control should be included as a preventive care benefit (it should and it was) there were several weeks of a discussion about whether all women would benefit, or whether some employers would get to decide for them. On February 10, President Obama stood up for women and announced that no-cost birth control should be available for every woman — no matter who her boss is. With 99 percent of sexually active women having relied on birth control at some point in their lives, this is a huge advancement for women. The rule officially went into effect on August 1 of this year.
- Employers’ right to decide whether women get birth control (the Blunt amendment) is rejected.
In an effort to chip away at the new birth control benefit, Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced an amendment that would allow any employer to deny insurance coverage for birth control (or any benefit) based on a so-called “moral conviction.” In a major victory for women’s health advocates, the Senate voted down the amendment 51-48 reaffirming our belief: all women should have access to contraception, have it without a co-pay, regardless of where they work.
- The Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Affordable Care Act.
A historic victory for all Americans, but particularly women and families, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Affordable Care Act — the greatest advancement for women’s health in a generation. Already, more than 45 million have received preventive care with no co-pays for lifesaving cancer screenings and Pap tests. The ACA protects women from being discriminated against and charged higher premiums, sometimes up to 150 percent more, simply based on their gender. Insurers will no longer be able to deny health care coverage because of "pre-existing conditions.” The Supreme Court’s affirmation will insure that this discrimination ends once and for all.
- President Obama wins re-election.
President Obama has expanded health care access, including birth control with no co-pays; he has stood up for a woman’s right to make her own personal medical decisions; and he has protected Planned Parenthood when it mattered most. We couldn’t be happier that we get to spend another four years calling this women’s health champion our president.
- The Shaheen amendment passes!
â€‹What might be our final legislative victory of the year (not including the passage of a fiscal cliff deal that protects women’s access to health care) is passage of an amendment offered by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). This critical protection will grant servicewomen parity in insurance coverage for abortion when a pregnancy results from rape or incest. It’s a bipartisan bill that brings military health care in line with the rest of the federal government, and insures that servicewomen will be able to make their own personal, private medical choices without the interference of politicians.