Washington, DC -- Planned Parenthood praised the president’s announcement that this May, the administration will hold The White House Summit on the “United State of Women” to celebrate progress and address challenges for women and girls in the United States and around the world. The president also announced additional executive actions to advance equal pay policy.
President Barack Obama has been a stalwart advocate for expanding women's access to health care throughout his two terms in the White House. The president has championed equal pay, signed historic health care reform, and protected access to reproductive health. He has refused to jeopardize patient access to basic health care services at Planned Parenthood in the face of political attacks.
Statement from Dana Singiser, Vice President of Public Policy for Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“The White House Summit on the United State of Women and the move to collection of pay data to combat the endemic wage gap between men and women are part of President Obama's deep commitment to improving the lives of women and girls. As a health care provider to millions of people and an advocate for gender and racial equality, we are thrilled, on the anniversary of of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, that the administration has announced proactive action focused specifically on issues central to women and girls. This is a critical moment for women and girls across the country and around the globe as we face pressing public health challenges.
“The Obama administration has already ushered in historic progress for women and girls, although there is still work to be done. Planned Parenthood looks forward to the opportunity to spend a day with him and leaders from across the country talking about our collective vision and goals for a better world where access to health care, resources, information, and education are a reality for all.”
Among the president’s proposals are the creation of a commission committed to transparency and tasked with collecting pay data by gender, race, and ethnicity from businesses with 100 or more employees. The president also reiterated his call on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Obama Administration Achievements
Over the past seven years, the Obama Administration has ushered in historic advancements for women’s health care.
Women’s Preventive Benefit
Thanks to the ACA’s preventative health benefit, over 55 million women now have fully covered preventive care through their insurance, including birth control, routine well-woman exams, breast and cervical cancer screenings, STI and HIV testing, and mammograms for women 40 and up — without copays or other out-of-pocket expenses.
- The Obama administration has made clear this means health insurance must cover all 18 FDA-approved contraceptive methods for women, including birth control pills, the ring, the patch, the shot, IUDs, and emergency contraception — without out-of-pocket costs
- Women are estimated to save$1.4 billion per year in out-of-pocket costs on birth control pills thanks to the ACA’s birth control benefit.
Since passage of the ACA, we have seen the largest reduction in the uninsured in four decades. Withabout 11.3 million people already enrolled in health insurance through the Marketplaces — including nearly 6.1 million women — affordable health coverage is now within reach for millions of women and families.
- The ACA helped increase health equity in coverage and care for communities of color, including Latinos and African American communities.
- Since October 2013, the uninsured rate dropped 10.3 percentage points among African Americans, resulting in2.6 million adults gaining coverage, and dropped 11.5 percentage points for Latinos, resulting in 4 million Latino adults gaining coverage.
Currently, 31 states (including D.C.) have expanded their Medicaid programs as intended under the Affordable Care Act. Recently, the newly elected Governor of Louisiana also took steps to expand Louisiana’s Medicaid program. More women have been able to access Medicaid coverage since passage of the ACA. In 2014, Medicaid covered 16% of women ages 19-64 (roughly 15.6 million), up from10% in 2008.
More than half of Planned Parenthood patients rely on Medicaid coverage to access critical health care services, including birth control, life-saving cancer screenings, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
- Medicaid also covers pregnancy-related care, enabling women to receive timely prenatal care and deliver healthy babies.
- For every dollar spent on publicly-funded contraceptives, American taxpayerssavemore than $7 in other costs.
Defending Planned Parenthood
In the face of unprecedented political attacks, The Obama administration has demonstrated steadfast commitment to improving women’s access to the health care services they need and the providers they trust, including Planned Parenthood. President Obama has issued eight Statements of Administrative Policy, each of which strongly disapproves of bills that would impact access to reproductive health care, including abortion. The president just last week vetoed a bill that would have restricted low income patients ability access to Planned Parenthood through the Medicaid Program.
Standing up for Planned Parenthood in the States
The administration has made it clear to states that it is against federal law to restrict low-income individuals’ ability to access Planned Parenthood and other similar providers from Medicaid solely because they provide abortion services.
- The Obama administration informed state officials in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas that their recent actions to terminate Planned Parenthood from their Medicaid program violate federal law.
- When anti-women’s health politicians in some states similarly decided to exclude Planned Parenthood (and similar providers) from Title X family planning funds, the Obama administration provided the funding directly to the providers to ensure women in those states had access to critical birth control services from quality, trusted providers.
Supporting Women and Girls Globally
Since the beginning of his administration, President Obama has stood with women and girls around the world and worked to advance their reproductive rights. During his first week in office President Obama:
- Repealed the global gag rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy. This harmful policy prevents any foreign organization receiving U.S. international family planning funds from providing information, referrals, or services for legal abortion or advocating for access to abortion services in their country — even with their own money.
- Restored a U.S. contribution to UNFPA. U.S. funding for UNFPA expands the reach of U.S. investments in reproductive health, putting a priority on responding to reproductive health needs in humanitarian crises and conflict areas, including Syria, providing vital and lifesaving services.
The president has consistently proposed increased funding for international family planning and reproductive health. Last year the U.S. invested $610 million (including $35 million for UNFPA) for family planning overseas, which supports access to birth control for 28 million women and couples, averts 6 million unintended pregnancies and 12,000 maternal deaths.
The Obama Administration launched the PEPFAR DREAMS partnership with the goal of reducing HIV by 40 percent among adolescent girls and young women within the highest burdened areas of 10 sub-Saharan African countries by 2017.
On International Women’s Day last year President Obama announced Let Girls Learn, a government wide effort to reduce barriers that prevent adolescent girls from completing their education.
The U.S. was also a leader in ensuring the Sustainable Development goals adopted by 193 countries at the UN earlier this year advanced access to health care and gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, and included specific commitments to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights by 2030.
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 over 650 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
January 29, 2016