(PRESS RELEASE) Today, the Center for Reproductive Rights applauded a report issued by a panel of scientific experts, recommending that the federal government require health insurance companies to cover a full range of contraceptive methods for women as a preventive service, without co-payments. The government requested that the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a highly respected and non-partisan authority on questions of health and healthcare, review medical and scientific evidence and report back to the Health and Human Services Department regarding whether contraception and other women’s health services, such as cervical cancer screenings and equipment for breast-feeding, should be included as a preventive service under the new healthcare law.
Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, issued this statement in response:
“Today, women across the country are one step closer to tremendously improved access to contraceptive services. It is an historic moment for American women. This rigorous scientific review, conducted by the foremost experts in women’s health, reinforces what reproductive rights experts have argued for years – that affordable access to reproductive health services is critical to women’s health and lives.
“Dismal statistics on contraceptive use nationwide and thus, high unintended pregnancy rates today signal a profound public health failure by the government. The evidence is clear – increased availability to a wide array of family planning services reduces unplanned pregnancy and empowers women to determine when to have children, therefore promoting healthier pregnancy.
“Studies show that, particularly in this difficult economic environment, that cost is a consistent barrier to regular use of contraceptives. These recommendations will mean that millions of American women will be able to access contraception without worrying about cost. We strongly urge the Obama administration to adopt these recommendations in full, and take this crucial step to meet the health needs of millions of women.”