(PRESS RELEASE) Today’s decision by the Department of Health and Human Services to require health insurance companies to cover a full range of contraceptive methods without co-payments is a tremendous victory for women and represents a huge stride towards reducing unintended pregnancies in the U.S. and promoting healthier, planned childbirth, says the Center for Reproductive Rights.
The HHS announcement comes after medical and scientific experts from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a highly respected, scientific authority on questions of health and healthcare, reviewed medical evidence and recommended that contraception be included as a preventive service under the healthcare reform bill passed into law last year.
“Today, scientific fact triumphed over ideology,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “This decision recognizes that affordable access to contraception is critical to women’s health and lives. For too long, the U.S. has foundered in tackling the country’s extremely high unintended pregnancy rate—despite abundant research showing that women across the country consistently struggle to afford birth control.
“We are troubled and disappointed that the government is, atthe same time, offering an escape clause for certain religious employers. As we well know, religious adherents use birth control at the same rate as the general population. Individuals, not institutions, should make the personal decision about their use of health care and their own conscience.
“Nonetheless, today’s important decision means that millions of women will be better equipped to prevent unplanned pregnancy, and determine whether and when to become parents—which ultimately promote healthier pregnancy. We commend the Obama administration for taking this critical step to protect women’s health and reproductive freedom.”