WASHINGTON, DC – Representatives from Planned Parenthood Federation of America, UltraViolet, National Women’s Law Center, Advocates for Youth, National Council of Jewish Women and groups have delivered more than 88,000 comments from across the country to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in support of the administration’s efforts to ensure employees at "closely held" corporations are guaranteed birth control coverage without a copay. HHS’s proposed rule was necessitated by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, in which the arts and crafts chain asserted that as a corporation, it has religious beliefs that preclude providing health insurance that covers certain forms of birth control.
The draft HHS rule, which was proposed by the Obama administration in the wake of the deeply unpopular Supreme Court ruling in favor of bosses at corporations like the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby, would restore insurance coverage of birth control to thousands of women across the country.
The comments gathered emphasize how virtually all (99 percent) of sexually active women ages 15-44 have used birth control at some point in their lives. For many of these women, birth control is used for a host of health care reasons. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 58 percent of birth control pill users also cite health benefits as a contributing factor for using the birth control pill, including treating endometriosis, menstrual pain, and menstrual regulation. Other comments submitted point to how more than 1 in 3 women voters have struggled to afford birth control at some point in their lives. This is especially impactful for young people, with more than eight in ten Millennials of color reporting that they believe birth control is part of basic health care and should be covered by insurance, and half (53 percent) reporting that they hold this view strongly. Nationally, American women have saved $483 million over the past year alone thanks to the birth control benefit, normalizing access regardless of income level or ability to pay.
A SAMPLE OF SUBMITTED COMMENTS BELOW:
“I used birth control for decades, in order to plan my family so I could be the best parent possible and support my children. I have friends who used it to control medical conditions. I have a friend who was in poverty and chose to pay for food and rent instead of birth control, then made the even harder choice to have an abortion. This is a complex issue that goes far beyond the ‘rights’ of a corporation to avoid dealing with it,” added Joanne M. of Parker, CO
“As a person of faith, I respect the right of an employer to hold his or her own beliefs – but employers should not be able to impose those beliefs on others by denying basic health care. We have a moral obligation to ensure that every woman can obtain affordable birth control through her insurance and that each woman can make her own decision about her health, in keeping with her own religious or moral views, without being forced to follow her boss’ beliefs,” wrote Michelle E. of New Orleans, LA.
“I took birth control for over 10 years for endometriosis. Without the pill, I could spend between 1-3 days in fetal position and an additional 4-6 days at reduced capacity. Women need birth control for many different reasons and need this benefit more than some male legislators can ever understand. Losing a week per month to pain is not a reasonable request to make of women like me with jobs and families,” wrote Christy M. of Glendale, CA.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
October 21, 2014