CRR Speaks Before Panel on Contraception as Preventive Care Under Health Reform Law

(PRESS RELEASE) This week, the Center for Reproductive Rights delivered a statement urging an expert panel to include birth control, among the preventive services that it recommends be included to patients at no cost under the new health reform law.

Yesterday, the Committee on Preventive Services for Women convened by the Institute of Medicine, held its first meeting and invited women's groups to offer their input. Aram Schvey, policy counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, spoke before the committee, calling for contraception to be made available to women at no cost in insurance plans that will be part of the new healthcare system.

The Center uses constitutional and human rights law to promote women's equality by establishing and protecting their access to reproductive healthcare and their control over reproductive health decisions as fundamental rights that all governments around the world must respect, protect and fulfill.

Schvey cited the United States' high unintended pregnancy rate, the inconsistent rate of contraceptive use among American women, and alarming racial disparities in women's access to reproductive health services as violations of the United States' human rights obligations to eliminate discrimination against women, and women of color in particular, and to provide the full range of quality and affordable healthcare, including sexual and reproductive services.

"Contraception and family planning services, including emergency contraception, should be included among the preventive services offered by insurance plans for two human rights-based reasons: first human rights law requires that contraception and family planning services be widely available, including through insurance; and second, human rights law specifically requires that vulnerable minorities have access to contraception and family planning services... The government's failure to ensure that all women have access to contraception—and America's corresponding 50% unintended pregnancy rate—represent not only profound public health failures, but also a significant human rights concern, implicating the rights to nondiscrimination and to health. These rights are recognized by the international community and are set forth in the major international human rights treaties to which the U.S. is a party or signatory."

Read the complete remarks here >