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Washington, DC — Planned Parenthood Federation of America today applauded the passage of legislation to make birth control affordable again for millions of women who obtain contraceptives at community health centers and college clinics.

The provision was included in the 2009 omnibus appropriations bill that passed the U.S. Senate today and the House of Representatives two weeks ago.

In 2005, Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act, which tightened eligibility for nominally priced drugs.  In doing so, Congress inadvertently cut off safety-net providers and every college and university health center from obtaining contraception at a low cost, and passing on those savings to their patients. As a result, women have been paying up to 10 times more each month for basic contraception.

“We applaud Congress for righting a wrong that has restricted access to basic but critical preventive health care services, and left millions of women at risk of unintended pregnancy,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.  “The passing of today’s legislation is a victory for women’s health and especially for women who have struggled to afford the rising costs of basic contraception in these tough economic times.”

Planned Parenthood commends Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Representatives Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and David Obey (D-WI)  for their leadership on behalf of American women and their families.

These difficult economic times have particularly affected women struggling to pay for basic health care. With 14,000 Americans losing health coverage every day, access to basic health care — including affordable birth control — is more important than ever.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, women of childbearing age spend 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men, in part because of reproductive health-related supplies and services.

Planned Parenthood began a nationwide grassroots campaign to restore affordable birth control in 2007.  Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country mobilized young people on college campuses to reach out to members of Congress through letters, phone calls and lobby visits to Capitol Hill in an effort to raise awareness about the need for a commonsense fix.

“As a competitive swimmer, birth control played a vital role in ensuring I could compete to the best of my ability year round — like my male counterparts,” said Nonie Wainwright, a University of Nevada – Reno graduate. “Access to affordable birth control helped me take control of my future and achieve my dreams as an athlete.”

President Barack Obama has been a strong supporter of this commonsense fix; as a senator, he sponsored legislation to restore access to affordable birth control.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Tait Sye or Brannon Jordan, 202-973-4882


May 14, 2014