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Statement by Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, on Health and Human Services Announcement on Birth Control Coverage Benefit

“As women’s health opponents continue their unprecedented assault on access to basic health care, today, the Obama administration reaffirmed its commitment women’s health.  

“The proposal released today make clears that the Obama administration is fulfilling its promise that women will have access to birth control coverage, with no costly co-pays and no additional hurdles, no matter where they work.

“In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a policy confirming that the birth control coverage benefit also applies to college student health plans.

“Women who buy health insurance from their college or university will have access to affordable birth control, just like women who receive health insurance from their employer. 

“For many women, especially college students, birth control is not only a health care issue, it is a financial issue. Covering birth control with no co-pays means college students will not have to choose between paying for tuition and books, or paying for basic health care like birth control.

“As a trusted health care provider to one in five women, Planned Parenthood’s priority is increasing access to preventive health care. Because of the birth control coverage benefit, millions more women will have access to affordable birth control.

“Planned Parenthood continues to believe women should have access to birth control, no matter where they work.”


*According to the American College Health Association, nearly 40 percent of female college students use prescription oral contraceptives. (Inside Higher Ed, 11/9/12)  

*There is widespread support for the birth control benefit, even among Catholics, and strong opposition to discriminating against women by taking away their health care coverage.

*Forty-three percent of students enrolled in a Catholic university are NOT Catholic. (Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities)

*Several recent public polls show majority support for the birth control coverage benefit:

NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll (3/5/12)

*Americans, by a 53 – 33 percent margin, favor the federal government requiring employers to offer free birth control coverage as part of their health insurance benefit plans.

Kaiser Family Foundation(3/1/12)

*Sixty-three percent of Americans favor President Barack Obama's policy requiring birth control coverage for female employees, including clear majorities of Roman Catholic, Protestant evangelical and independent voters.

*Sixty percent of Catholics and 57 percent of Evangelicals favor Obama's policy.

In addition, recent polling shows that the issue of contraceptive coverage is a women’s health issue, not a religious liberty issue:

Public Religion Research Institute Poll (3/15/12)

*Fifty-six percent of Americans do not believe that the right of religious liberty is being threatened in America today.

*Nearly 6-in-10 Catholics do not believe that religious liberty is being threatened.

Bloomberg Poll (3/14/12)

*Sixty-eight percent of women and 57 percent of men say the issue of contraception coverage is an issue of women’s health and access to birth control, compared to 28 percent of women and 38 percent of men who see it as a matter of religious liberty.

*The birth control coverage benefit also underscores the fact that birth control use is nearly universal in the United States, even among Catholic women.  According to Guttmacher, 99 percent of all sexually experienced women and 98 percent of sexually experienced Catholic women will have used birth control at some point in their lives.

*The birth control coverage benefit already includes an expansive refusal provision. Churches and church associations are already exempt from this, including approximately 335,000 houses of worship nationwide.

*Twenty-eight states already have laws requiring contraception be covered by health insurance, and there is not any controversy about that.





Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433


March 16, 2012


April 18, 2016