#Fight4BirthControl campaign will engage employers and everyday people ahead of the January 2018 deadline when many companies could drop birth control coverage.
Planned Parenthood’s Dawn Laguens: “Since day one, this administration has been attacking women’s health and rights, and now they’re putting decades of progress for women in their crosshairs. The only way to prevent women from going backwards in this country is for everyone who believes in women’s equality — from business leaders to artists to activists — to stand in the gap and join this fight. There’s no scenario where our country progresses while leaving half the population behind.”
Washington, D.C. - In January 2018, companies across the country will be renewing their health insurance plans, and as a result of a new rule from the Trump administration, they will decide whether or not to deny their employees birth control coverage. Following this, a stream of other attacks on access to birth control, and a leaked White House memo that forecasts more attacks on the horizon, Planned Parenthood today launched its #Fight4BirthControl campaign. The effort will engage people across the country, including business leaders, artists, and influencers, to prevent the erosion of birth control access in this country.
Reproductive health is basic health care and central to a woman’s ability to control her life and future. Undermining access to contraception is just one aspect of this administration’s broader attack against equal rights and women’s ability to fully participate in the workforce and pursue their dreams. The #Fight4BirthControl campaign is part of a larger effort to demand an end to the attacks we’ve seen on women’s health and rights, including access to safe, legal abortion.
Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President for Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Since day one, this administration has been attacking women’s health and rights, and now they’re putting decades of progress for women in their crosshairs. This administration poses the biggest threat to birth control since it became legal more than 50 years ago. Today we are calling on business leaders, schools, and private citizens to join the fight and stand up for women.
“Birth control is basic health care and should not be up for debate. Today, more women graduate, lead, and innovate than at any other point in our history, and that’s true in large part for one very important reason: access to birth control. But now our basic health care — and all that progress — is threatened by an administration bent on taking us backwards.
“Since Trump and those in charge of the Republican party won’t lead, we’re counting on American businesses to do what’s right and stand up for their values. The only way to prevent women from going backwards in this country is for everyone who believes in women’s equality — from business leaders to artists to activists — to stand in the gap and join this fight. There’s no scenario where our country progresses while leaving half the population behind.
The #Fight4BirthControl campaign, housed at FightforBirthControl.org, is kicking off with a series of tools and resources to help people from all walks of life — from the boardroom to the breakroom — join the fight to protect access to birth control.
The campaign will work with companies to help them publicly commit to continuing to cover birth control for their employees in response to the Trump administration’s new rule. It will also give everyday people, including Planned Parenthood’s 10 million supporters, the tools and resources to start conversations in the workplace to ensure that birth control continues to be covered.
In addition, activists can send a message to the Trump administration, share their own stories about what birth control has meant for their lives using #Fight4BirthControl and #BusinessforBC, and submit comments to the Department of Health and Human Services in opposition to the Trump administration’s reckless rule endangering access to birth control.
Student groups will also begin to organize on their campuses to ensure that university health plans also continue to cover birth control, and Planned Parenthood Generation Action student chapters across the country will work to earn public commitments from their university and college presidents.
And over the next few months, the campaign will build to match the continued attacks on women’s health and rights from the Trump administration. Indeed, according to a leaked White House memo, the Title X family planning program is next up on the administration’s list. The memo outlined a shocking proposal to halve the program’s funding and push women and teenagers to use fertility awareness methods over other forms of birth control. It also called for the end of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. Meanwhile, the long list of anti-contraception political appointees at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has been well-documented.
Earlier this month, the Trump administration took direct aim at birth control coverage for more than 62 million American women, eliminating the Affordable Care Act’s guarantee their birth control would be covered regardless of where they work. This new rule does this by allowing virtually any employer to deny coverage on religious or “moral” grounds. The ACA already allowed religiously affiliated employers to refuse to pay for coverage, but it ensured women would still get birth control coverage directly from health plans — a protection the Trump administration also eliminated.
It’s become clear that the administration is likely to continue restricting access to birth control, whether by getting rid of programs that help low-income women access birth control, further eliminating insurance coverage for birth control, or even by prohibiting health care providers from giving women information about birth control and abortion.
There’s no question that access to birth control — and all the economic and social progress it has helped deliver for women — is imperiled. Planned Parenthood will continue to fight for all those who don’t have birth control coverage or health insurance to ensure they have access this basic health care
Three Things Employers Can Do:
Make a public commitment to protect birth control coverage for your employees. Earlier this month, Kodak announced that they will continue to cover birth control for their employees, no matter what. Other companies can do the same – just go to fightforbirthcontrol.org for more ways to get involved.
Consider whether your workplace makes it easier or harder for women to succeed. Do you offer paid family leave, and pay women equally? Do you cover a full range of reproductive health care? Do you take sexual harassment and sexual assault seriously? If the answer to any of those questions is no, it’s time to get in gear. Don’t wait for another woman to raise her hand and say “me too.”
Make the fight for reproductive rights in America your fight. Women cannot fully participate in the economy or workforce without access to basic reproductive health care, or the ability to decide if and when she becomes pregnant. True commitment to empowering women in the workforce must go beyond mentorship programs and professional development. It must include fighting harmful policies across the country that would hold women back.
Background on Birth Control
Birth control is not controversial: It’s basic health care the vast majority of women will use in the course of their lifetime.
Nearly nine in 10 women of reproductive age will use contraception at some point in their lives, whether for family planning or other medical reasons like treating endometriosis. Birth control should be treated like any other preventive medical care.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, after the Affordable Care Act’s birth control provision took effect, fewer than four percent of American women had to pay out of pocket for oral birth control. That number was more than 20 percent before the law passed.
A new study released from the Small Business Majority found that women small business owners overwhelmingly support coverage of birth control for employees, and they cite birth control access as an important factor in their own ability to advance their career and become small business owners.
A 2010 Hart Research poll, conducted before the Affordable Care Act’s birth control provision went into effect, found that one in three women voters had struggled to afford prescription birth control, including 57 percent of young women aged 18 to 34.
62.4 million women across the country benefit from copay-free contraception. (NWLC)
One in three women say they could not afford birth control today if it cost more than $10/month. (PerryUndem)
The cost of birth control could increase by as much as $1,100 per person if this rule goes into effect. (University of Pennsylvania)
Without cost-share protection, birth control would cost American women $1.4 billion annually. (Health Affairs)
86 percent of Americans (including 91 percent of Democrats and 83 percent of Republicans) support policies that make it easier to get the full range of birth control methods.
Access to birth control can help reduce maternal and event infant mortality. In 1965, at the time of the Griswold v. Connecticut decision, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that provided the first constitutional protection for birth control, 32 women were dying for every 100,000 live births in America. Today, the rate is less than half that. Infant mortality has fallen even faster – from 25 deaths to six deaths per 1,000 live births.
Women use birth control for a variety of reasons — in fact, 58 percent of all women who use the pill rely on it, at least in part, for something other than pregnancy prevention, including endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (which is prevalent among women of color), fibroids, and menstrual regulation.
In 2014, Bloomberg Businessweek also ranked the invention of the pill is one of the top 10 most transformative moments in the business sector over the last 85 years. Access to birth control has not just opened up educational and career opportunities for women, but it has catapulted women into more management roles. In fact, a study showed that the pill is responsible for one-third of women’s wage gains relative to men since the 1960s.
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 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood affiliates 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.