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Bill Introduced by Sens. Feinstein, Murray and Wyden Would Undo Trump Executive Order Attacking Birth Control Access

WASHINGTON, DC - Planned Parenthood Federation of America applauds an effort by women’s health champions in the Senate to block a dangerous Trump administration executive order that would allow employers to deny their employees birth control coverage. Led by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ron Wyden (D-WA), 23 senators introduced a bill that would nullify the executive order.

Statement by Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

It is unbelievable that in 2017, some DC politicians still think women’s access to basic health care is up for debate. Women won’t tolerate these attacks on our fundamental health and rights — that’s why they’re flooding town halls, shutting down Congressional switchboards, and marching in the streets. We are grateful to have champions like Senators Feinstein, Murray and Wyden standing with us in this fight.

Signed by President Donald Trump last week, the sweeping executive order directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Treasury Department, and Labor Department to consider issuing policy that would allow employers, schools, and other entities to refuse to cover women’s preventive health services, including birth control, in their insurance plans on the basis of religious or moral objections. The executive order could result in amending existing regulations to allow entities, including employers and schools, that object to certain required health care services — like no-copay birth control — to take away coverage completely. It effectively allows employers to make important and personal health care decisions for their employees.

More than 55 million women currently have access to certain women’s preventive health services with no copay under the ACA, including birth control, STI tests, and well-woman exams. This executive order follows the appointment of several ardent anti-women’s health officials who have publicly voiced opposition to birth control, and came just as the House of Representatives passed the worst bill for women’s health in a generation — legislation that would block low-income patients from coming to Planned Parenthood for care, jeopardize essential health benefits like maternity care, and make being a woman a pre-existing condition.

Facts about birth control:

  • We are at a 30-year low for unintended pregnancy and an all-time low for pregnancy among teens because of increased use and more effective use of  birth control.

  • The importance of affordable birth control access can’t be overstated: Many of the gains women have made since 1965 — in obtaining education, pursuing careers in increasing numbers, moving closer to pay equity, and in the timing and spacing of children — are the direct result of increased access to birth control. Women have saved an estimated  $1.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs on birth control pills per year since the ACA’s birth control benefit went into effect.

  • One-third of the wage gains women have made since the 1960s are the result of access to oral contraceptives.

  • Young women’s access to the pill contributes to their educational success: Research shows that women who had access to the pill before age 21 are less likely to drop out of college.

  • Bloomberg Businessweek listed contraception as one of the most transformational developments in the business sector in the last 85 years and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named family planning, including access to modern contraception, one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

  • Ninety-nine percent of sexually active women will use contraception at some point in their lifetimes. Birth control should be treated like any other preventive medical care.