(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
“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.”