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Marking Anniversary of Legalized Contraception, Planned Parenthood Celebrates Expanded Access to Birth Control under New Health Care Law

Walz Says, “We Can’t Let Politicians Take Us Back to the Days before Griswold”

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Alicia Johnson
Advocacy & Communications Coordinator
(617) 515-0531


Published: 06.07.13| Updated: 06.07.13

BOSTON — On June 7, the 48th anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, the historic 1965 Supreme Court decision legalizing the use of contraception by married couples, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) is celebrating the gains made by women since the decision, and is reminding Massachusetts residents of the expanded access to birth control made possible by the Affordable Care Act. Access to birth control has ushered in decades of healthy, empowered women and families. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, birth control is now covered as part of the law’s preventive benefit, without a co-pay. June also marks the 53rd anniversary of the approval of the pill as an oral contraceptive by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“We can’t let politicians take us back to the days before Griswold. Access to birth control shouldn’t be controversial, but unfortunately a small group of vocal politicians are still working to deny women access to this basic, preventive care,” said Marty Walz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts “Forty-eight years after the Griswold v. Connecticut Supreme Court decision, 99 percent of women say they’ve used birth control at some point in their lives, many for a wide range of health reasons in addition to preventing pregnancy. Thanks to this landmark court decision, the number of women in the U.S. labor force has more than tripled, and women’s income now constitutes a growing proportion of family income.

“These positive trends will only continue thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit, which enables millions of women to get access to the full range of FDA-approved birth control options without a co-pay. As the state’s leading women’s health care provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts works every day to break down the barriers that still exist between women and their ability to access contraception. We celebrate the Affordable Care Act and will continue our work to ensure that every woman — no matter where she lives or who her boss is — has access to its benefits,” said Walz.

The court's landmark decision — coming five years to the month after oral contraceptives became available to American women and 49 years after Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the U.S. — provided the first constitutional protection for birth control for women across the country.

Every year, 7 Planned Parenthood health centers in Massachusetts provide nearly 50,000 patient visits, and the Sexual Health Counseling and Referral Hotline answers more than 20,000 calls. Planned Parenthood also offers online tools that can help people start a conversation with providers about health care. My Method can prepare women for a conversation with their providers about the most appropriate and best birth control option for them.

SINCE GRISWOLD AND THE FDA APPROVAL OF THE PILL:

  • Access to birth control has expanded opportunities for women and has helped them move closer to economic equality. Since Griswold, the number of women in the U.S. labor force has more than tripled, the number of women lawyers has increased ten-fold, the number completing four or more years of college has increased more than five-fold, and in 2010 women received more than half of all doctoral degrees.
  • A 2012 report from the Guttmacher Institute confirmed that women use contraception to better achieve their life goals, with the majority of participants reporting that contraception has had a significant impact on their lives, allowing them to take better care of themselves and their families, support themselves financially, complete their education, and keep or get a job.
  • Research finds that availability of the pill is responsible for a third of women’s wage increases relative to men. By the 1980s and ’90s, the women who had early access to the pill were making eight percent more each year than those who did not.
  • According to the Guttmacher Institute, 58 percent of pill users report that they use it for a wide range of health reasons, like treating endometriosis, a common but little-understood disease that affects 5.5 million women and is a leading cause of infertility.
  • You can learn more about the impact of legal birth control and the challenges that remain here: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/PPFA/Griswold_v_Connecticut.pdf.

THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT’S BIRTH CONTROL BENEFIT:

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Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts is the largest freestanding reproductive health care provider and advocate in the state. For over 80 years PPLM has protected and promoted sexual and reproductive health and rights through clinical services, education and advocacy. For more information, visit www.pplm.org.

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