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Protecting women's access to birth control

7/22/2014, 11:06 a.m.
The Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act comes on the heels of the Supreme Court ruling in favor of ...

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia (PPAV) are overwhelming grateful Senators Kaine and Warner and their allies in the U.S. Senate for voting to protect women’s access to no-copay birth control no matter where they work.

The Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act comes on the heels of the devastating and unpopular Supreme Court ruling in favor of arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby — giving bosses a legal right to deny their employees access to insurance coverage of birth control without a copay, as required by the Affordable Care Act.

“We praise Senators Kaine and Warner for voting in support of women’s health. Like the majority of Virginians, Senator Kaine and Senator Warner understand that decisions about birth control belong between a woman and her doctor — not a woman and her boss,” said Courtney Jones, Director of Media Relations.

After decades of discriminatory coverage by insurance companies, the birth control benefit requires all insurance policies to cover birth control with no out-of-pocket cost to women — rightly categorizing birth control as part of women’s basic preventive care. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 30 million women nationally are already eligible for this benefit. When the law is fully implemented, 47 million women nationally will have access to no-copay birth control thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

The Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act will restore the original legal guarantee that women have access to contraceptive coverage through their employment-based insurance plans and will protect coverage of other health services from employer interference as well. One of the dangers of the Supreme Court’s decision is that it may embolden employers to try to refuse to cover other critical health services such as vaccines, blood transfusions and HIV treatment. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated in her dissent “[t]he Court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.”

"As a leading advocate for women’s reproductive health care in Virginia, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia is committed to making sure women can get the no-copay birth control benefit that we and others fought so hard to pass and protect,” said Jones.

Thanks to the birth control benefit, women already have saved $483 million in the last year alone. Studies also show that women who receive birth control with no copay or at a reduced cost are able to avoid more than two million unplanned pregnancies each year, which also reduces the need for abortion. It’s not surprising that the public overwhelmingly supports the birth control benefit by a nearly two-to-one margin.