Published: | Updated: 03.16.09
Senate Bill 225, commonly known as the Birth Control Protection Act, passed through the House Health and Human Services Committee by a vote of six to four. This measure comes on the heals of Amendment 48, which voters resoundingly defeated during the November 2008 election by a three to one margin. Amendment 48, also known as the Personhood Amendment, could have made certain forms of contraceptives illegal by giving Constitutional legal status to fertilized eggs. The BCPA simply aims to define contraceptives (or contraception) as any medically acceptable drug, device, or procedure used to prevent pregnancy. The intent is to combat future assaults on birth control and put to rest the debate about birth control as a form of abortion.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Betty Boyd of
In 2005, Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act, which tightened eligibility for nominally priced drugs. In doing so, Congress inadvertently cut off safety-net providers and every college and university health center from obtaining contraception at a low cost, and passing on those savings to their patients. As a result, women have been paying up to 10 times more each month for basic contraception.
“Today’s victory on the state level reaffirms that birth control is basic, preventive health care; we applaud the House Health and Human Services for acknowledging this fact at a time the federal government also stepped forward to restore affordable birth control,” said Vicki Cowart, PPRM president and CEO. “Women have struggled for years to afford the rising costs of basic contraception. With 14,000 Americans losing health coverage every day, access to basic health care — including affordable birth control — is now more important than ever.”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, women of childbearing age spend 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men, in part because of reproductive health-related supplies and services.
In 2007, Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country mobilized young people on college campuses to reach out to members of Congress through letters, phone calls and lobby visits to Capitol Hill in an effort to raise awareness about the need for a commonsense fix. PPRM led a local grassroots campaign, mobilizing its college campus groups across
Once the Omnibus bill is signed by President Obama, the affordable birth control provision will immediately go into effect, allowing Planned Parenthood health centers to obtain nominally priced prescription drugs, namely oral contraceptives, and pass those savings on to its clients.
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