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Planned Parenthood: Federal Birth Control Policy Will Have “Transformative Impact” On Women’s Health, Education and Economic Opportunities

Planned Parenthood Releases Report Outlining the Impact of Access to Birth Control and the Ongoing Attacks Against It

WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services today announced its final guidelines on the birth control benefit of the Affordable Care Act — making clear that everyone must have access to birth control at no cost, no matter where they work.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America praised the final policy, which will ensure that women have access to birth control like any other preventive care. Planned Parenthood, which provides birth control to two million women a year, released a new white paper today that describes the transformative effects of birth control on society, the ways in which the Affordable Care Act will exponentially expand that effect, and the urgent battle to move forward — not turn back the clock — on ensuring women’s access to basic preventive health care. 

You can read the “Taking Control” white paper here.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“This means that women will have access to birth control at no cost, no matter where they work. This is a historic moment for women’s health and economic security. Birth control is basic health care for women, and this policy treats it like any other kind of preventive care. Throughout history, birth control has had a transformative impact on women’s health, education, and economic opportunities, and this policy expands access to birth control like never before. 

“It’s appalling that we still have to fight for access to birth control in 2013. Planned Parenthood began as a tiny storefront birth control clinic 97 years ago, and today we dispense birth control to two million women every year. We know firsthand that when women have access to the full range of birth control options without cost being an issue, we all benefit.”

Earlier this year, Planned Parenthood and other organizations submitted 350,000 comments from the public, urging the Obama administration to maintain the birth control benefit. The comments were from people in all 50 states, explaining how access to birth control has helped them and their families.

You can read more stories from supporters of the benefit here.

Below is the Executive Summary of “Taking Control: The Ongoing Battle to Preserve the Birth Control Benefit in the Affordable Care Act,” the white paper released today by Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Click here for the full text.

Executive Summary

Birth control has had such a dramatic impact on women and families in this country that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) named it one of the top 10 public health achievements of the past century. Now, with implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), America is poised to experience the single biggest advancement in women’s health in a generation, one that is already making a huge difference in the lives of women across the country. The new law provides insurance coverage to more women including birth control and well-woman visits with no co-pay for the first time, increases access to reproductive health care, and eases the disproportionate health care burdens on women, who still earn less than men and often face higher health care costs.

But there are still some in this country — a small but vocal minority of extremists in Congress and in many states — who are doing everything they can to reduce the availability of birth control. Planned Parenthood and its allies, including key members of Congress, have fought long and hard over the past three years to keep the women’s health benefit on track — but there is still a very real danger of its being derailed through a multitude of legal attacks, as well as through ongoing efforts by lawmakers to limit the scope of the ACA as it affects women and their families.

To date, nearly 60 lawsuits have been filed by businesses and not-for-profit groups challenging the requirement to provide birth control without a co-pay for millions of women, and it is expected that one or more of these challenges will reach the Supreme Court as early as 2014. In addition, the House of representatives has voted at least 37 times to repeal the ACA.

Among the key facts these extremist politicians continue to ignore or deny:

  • The decision to include contraception as part of the women’s preventive health benefit is grounded in science and based on the recommendations of the nonpartisan Institute of Medicine (IOM).
  • Ninety-nine percent of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 who are sexually active have used birth control at some point, and a majority of Americans (70 percent) believe insurance companies should cover the full cost of birth control, just as they do for other preventive services.
  • Women have experienced profound and beneficial social changes since birth control became legal and widely available: maternal and infant health have improved dramatically, the infant death rate has plummeted, and women have been able to fulfill increasingly diverse educational, political, professional, and social aspirations.
  • Economic concerns top women’s reasons for seeking out birth control: in one recent study, the single most frequently cited reason for using contraception was that women could not afford to take care of a baby at that time (65 percent).
  • Providing no-cost birth control and promoting the use of highly effective contraceptive methods can significantly reduce unintended pregnancy, which in turn can lead to a reduction in the abortion rate. Women will also be more likely to seek prenatal care, thus improving their health and that of their children.
  • The ACA will bring huge cost savings for women and their families. Currently, co-pays for birth control pills typically range from $15 to $50 a month (up to $600 per year), and co-pays and other out-of-pocket expenses for long-term contraception, such as the IUD, have significantly higher up-front costs.

Taken together, these recent findings on how birth control has affected women’s health, well-being, and economic security for the better can be seen as a harbinger of the further benefits to come as it becomes more widely available through the ACA. But, in the words of Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards, “Certain politicians would rather take away women’s health care benefits than accept that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land.”

This report recounts the high and low points in the battle for the birth control benefit in the ACA and provides both current research and historical context for understanding why, for women, there can be no going back.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


December 31, 1969


March 14, 2016

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