It’s been a headline making year for reproductive freedom and not in a good way. Power shifts in Congress and in state legislatures across the country made for a perfect storm of the most aggressive legislative attacks on women’s health and rights in recent memory.
But as the year slowly winds to a close, there have certainly been some high points including a resounding defeat of the Mississippi personhood ballot initiative last week proving that there is such a thing as too extreme even in the most conservative state in the country.
And then there was the good news of the summer (when, let’s face it, there was a dearth of reasons to celebrate in the reproductive health realm) when the Department of Health and Human Services announced its recommendation in August that all private insurance plans be required to cover birth control as a preventative service with no cost sharing (aka co-pays) for patients.
The DHHS decision was based on recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in July. Unfortunately, as we noted at the time, this recommendation attracted controversy. “As reported by NPR the Conference of Catholic Bishops (widely noted as medical experts on women’s health…) stated that ‘to prevent pregnancy is not to prevent a disease.’”
While this claim was flatly rejected by the IOM, unfortunately they don’t get the final say. That responsibility falls to the Obama Administration. The President is now under intense pressure from anti-choice and anti-birth control groups (including the Catholic Bishops) and members of Congress to undermine the birth control without co-pays recommendation of the IOM and DHHS by expanding the refusal clause.
Doing so would take this important benefit away from millions of people (and their dependents) who work at religiously affiliated institutions including hospitals and schools, including more than two million students who attend religiously affiliated universities. As reported by RH Reality Check, all this in spite of the fact that 99 percent of women will use birth control in her lifetime… as will 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women. For more, Catholics for Choice President, Jon O’Brian, as an in-depth discussion of the issue here.
The Obama Administration must hear from us NOW that he must protect women’s health and refuse to cave into these demands! Fortunately Planned Parenthood makes it easy. Just follow these steps:
1. Call 202-456-1414, or text BCREFUSAL to 69866. (You’ll receive a call back on your phone to connect you to the White House.)
2. When you’re connected to the White House Switchboard, tell them you support access for all women to birth control without copays. (See the sample script below.)
“Hello, my name is [full name] calling from [city, state]. I support access for all women to birth control without co-pays, and hope that the President will resist any pressures to restrict access.”
It would be great if you could add one or two sentences to explain why this issue is important to you!
If the line is busy please try again! This is a good sign that means we’re flooding the White House with our calls. The President is under mounting pressure he must hear from us that birth control is absolutely primary health care for women!