Chicago, IL — Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) applauds yesterday’s passage of legislation to make birth control affordable again for millions of women who obtain contraceptives at college and community health centers. 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 Steve Trombley, President and CEO of PPIL. “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 of Illinois commends Illinois Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) 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. Additionally, women living in poverty are 4 times more likely to become unintentionally pregnant. By giving women access to birth control, we are giving them the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty.
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 of Illinois (PPIL) provides affordably priced high-quality reproductive health care services to women and families throughout Illinois. Through health care services, educational programs and advocacy efforts, PPIL works to ensure and protect the reproductive rights of each individual. For more information, visit www.ppil.org.
Planned Parenthood of Illinois
March 12, 2009