DENVER— Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains filed an amicus brief today in the case brought by for-profit company Hobby Lobby seeking to deny its employees access to birth control. The brief highlights the important benefits of no-cost birth control for women, their families, and the nation as a whole. Hobby Lobby employs 21,000 people and is one of several for-profit companies that have filed lawsuits to avoid complying with the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurance policies to cover birth control without co-pays as part of their preventive care coverage.
The amicus brief was jointly filed by PPRM, along with the National Women’s Law Center and other national, state, and regional organizations, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit – which decides appeals of federal cases originating in Oklahoma (where Hobby Lobby is based), Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.
You can view it here: http://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/files/5113/6398/6709/3-22-2013_Hobby_Lobby_Sebelius-NWLC_Amicus_Brief.pdf
“All women, no matter where they live or who their boss is, should have access to basic preventive health care, including birth control. This is a decision for women, not their bosses, to make. Corporate CEOs don’t have to take birth control, and they don’t have to pay for it — but they can’t decide whether women who work for them are able to access birth control like any other prescription,” said PPRM President & CEO Vicki Cowart.
“What the bosses don’t understand – or choose to ignore – is that the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit will have a measurable economic benefit for their employees and their families. More than a third of female voters report that they have struggled to afford birth control at some point in their lives, and as a result, used it inconsistently. Ninety-nine percent of sexually active women have used contraception at some point in their lives. Co-pays typically range between $15 and $50 per month – up to $600 per year. That’s the equivalent of five weeks of groceries for a family of four, nine tanks of gas in a minivan, or one semester of college textbooks,” said Cowart.
Approximately 478,000 women in Colorado stand to benefit from the Affordable Care Act’s no co-pay birth control. Every year, more than 750 Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide see nearly three million patients — two million specifically for birth control information and services.
Earlier this year, Planned Parenthood Federation of America launched the “Birth Control: We All Benefit” campaign to remind Americans and their elected representatives that we all benefit when women have access to affordable birth control. Here are some of the reasons why.
• Women use birth control for a wide range of health related reasons. A report on the overlooked benefits of oral contraceptives from the Guttmacher Institute found that while the most common reason women use the pill is to prevent pregnancy, 58 percent of pill users also cite non-contraceptive health benefits as a contributing factor.
• Birth control expands opportunities for women. 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 or their families (63 percent), support themselves financially (56 percent), complete their education (51 percent), or to keep or get a job (50 percent). Other reasons for using contraception, reported by a majority of respondents, include not being ready to have children (63 percent), feeling that using birth control gives them better control over their lives (60 percent), and the desire to wait until their lives are more stable to have a baby (60 percent).
• Public polling finds overwhelming support for women’s access to birth control. Seven in ten Americans (70 percent) believe that health insurance companies should be required to cover the full cost of birth control, just as they do for other preventive services, according to an October 2012 poll by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
BIRTH CONTROL BENEFIT STORIES
“As a single woman who teaches part time, I have to pay for my own insurance. I have advanced degrees, I am a law-abiding citizen and a proven educator. Birth control coverage is necessary for me because I am trying to plan for the future with my boyfriend and cannot afford any surprises right now. I also support birth control coverage without co-pays because I see my students struggling as single parents. No one should risk their financial future (or the future of their children) because of lack of affordable prevention.” – Patricia, 35, Denver, Colorado
“As someone who must take it [birth control] for medical reasons, it's a relief to not have that extra expense every month.” – Jennifer, 32, Littleton, Colorado
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains empowers individuals and families in the communities we serve to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health by providing high quality health services, comprehensive sex education, and strategic advocacy. More than 123,000 women, men, and young adults annually visit our 33 health centers throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Southern Nevada, and Wyoming. Since 1916, we have been the region’s most trusted provider of reproductive health care. For more information about Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, call 1.800.230.PLAN or visit pprm.org for the health center nearest you.