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Redux: Tea Party Republicans Assault Birth Control and Women’s Preventive Care

This House has passed seven anti-women’s health care bills, showing the ideological focus that dominates their work

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Beverly Katz (914) 467-7341


Published: 11.03.11| Updated: 11.03.11

(Hawthorne, NY) In the latest Congressional attack on women’s health care, House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Chair Rep. Joe Pitts held a hearing on taking away new preventive health benefits from millions of women nationwide, including health plan coverage of birth control without copays.  This benefit in new health insurance plans is one of the greatest advancements for women’s health care in decades.

Today’s hearing is in keeping with the House’s pattern of attacks on women’s health.  “Since the beginning of this Congressional session, the House has passed seven anti-women’s health care bills, showing the ideological focus that dominates their work,” said Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic President/CEO Reina Schiffrin.  “Yet, the Republican House leadership has yet to put forth a jobs bill; the dominant focus of the American people.”

Dr. Mark Hathaway, director of ob/gyn outreach services for Women's and Infants' Services at the Washington Hospital Center, testified in support of covering birth control, saying, “I see every day how increasing women’s ability to plan their pregnancies makes a difference in their lives. And by the same token, I also see the negative consequences of unintended and unplanned pregnancy, late prenatal care, uncontrolled medical problems, poor nutrition, and sometimes depression.”

In August 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services accepted the recommendation of the nonpartisan Institute of Medicine that birth control and eight other health care services be considered preventive and, therefore, covered by health plans without co-pays or deductibles.

This most recent effort in a series of assaults on women’s health care again shows that House Republicans are out of touch with mainstream America.  Seventy-one percent of American voters, including 77 percent of Catholic women voters and 72 percent of Republican women, support health plans covering birth control without co-pays.

The new HHS guideline on birth control meets a tremendous need given that more than 98 percent of U.S. women have used contraception at some point in their lives. Yet, according to the Guttmacher Institute, nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. every year are unplanned, making the case for broader access to birth control.

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Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, Inc (PPHP) is the 15th largest affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and operates 12 health centers in Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam Counties.  In 2010, PPHP provided services to over 35,000 patients in nearly 70,000 visits.  We conducted 1,900 education programs reaching over 35,000 youth and adults, and mobilized approximately 10,000 advocates to protect reproductive health care rights.  PPHP has served the community for 78 years, and is dedicated to educating and empowering individuals to make responsible choices regarding their sexuality and sexual health.  Planned Parenthood has done more to reduce the incidence of abortion and unintended pregnancy than any other health care provider or advocacy group.  PPHP is headquartered in Hawthorne NY. For more information about PPHP services and programs, visit www.pphp.org.  Find us on Facebook and MySpace, and follow us on Twitter.

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