Supreme Court ruling leaves birth control benefit in place for millions of women, but gives some employers the new right to deny coverage.
Pasadena, CA — This morning, in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States sided with Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties. These private corporations sought religious exemptions in the Affordable Care Act requirement that they cover birth control for employees. However, the Supreme Court indicated that the government may provide its own alternatives for those who need to access coverage.
Planned Parenthood condemns today’s ruling that some for-profit private corporations can deny birth control coverage to their employees, for no reason other than the personal religious beliefs of the corporation’s owners.
“Make no mistake, today’s ruling does not strike down the birth control mandate overall,” stated Sheri Bonner, CEO of Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley. “Thanks to the birth control benefit, women have already saved $483 million in the last year alone.”
While this is a federal decision, California’s Women’s Contraceptive Equity Act, signed into law by Gray Davis in 1999, ensures access to birth control through employer health plans. However in accordance with today’s ruling, some Californians may be subject to a plan-specific co-pay.
Women in states without contraceptive equity laws are forced to pay as much as $800 a year out of pocket for birth control. That’s why the mandate is vital to women’s health and economic justice.
Studies also show that women who receive birth control with no co-pay or at a reduced cost are able to avoid more than two million unplanned pregnancies each year. It’s not surprising that the public overwhelmingly supports the birth control benefit by a nearly two-to-one margin.
“It’s unbelievable that in 2014 we are still fighting for access to birth control,” observed Bonner. “Today’s decision, coupled with last week’s Massachusetts buffer zone decision, shows an alarming trend, a lack of education, and a lack of understanding of the experiences of women today. Regardless of today’s decision, Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley and affiliates across the nation are dedicated to serving all women — no matter where they work.”
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June 30, 2014