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January 20, 2012

Obama Administration Ensures Access to Contraceptive Coverage for Millions of Women

Opponents would have denied millions of Americans access to birth control because their bosses oppose contraception; creates stark contrast with presidential challengers

Washington, D.C. - Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said the Obama administration’s announcement today regarding the requirement to cover family-planning services without a copay will benefit millions of women.

The Obama administration resisted a pressure campaign from anti-contraception groups to broaden the refusal rule in a way that would have allowed many employers, including universities and hospitals, to refuse to cover birth control.

“All women should have access to contraceptive coverage, regardless of where they work,” Keenan said. “The administration stood firm against intensive lobbying efforts from anti-birth-control organizations trying to expand the refusal option even further to allow organizations and corporations to deny their employees contraceptive coverage. As a result, millions will get access to contraception—and they will not have to ask their bosses for permission.”

In early August, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) adopted the recommendation by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to include family-planning services as preventive-health care for women that must be covered by newly issued health plans without copays or deductibles.  HHS proposed to exempt certain religious employers from the new contraceptive requirement. Today, the administration rejected calls to grant a broad range of employers permission to opt out of this coverage requirement.

“Birth control is basic health care for women, and 98 percent of women use birth control at some point in their lives,” Keenan continued. “Today’s decision stands in stark contrast with the anti-choice presidential candidates’ positions on birth control. We will make sure voters understand the difference.”

NARAL Pro-Choice America activists sent 135,543 messages to the Obama administration calling on the White House to stand strong in support of no-cost coverage of contraception. This latest activism adds to the list of actions it has taken to make no-cost birth control a reality for all American women.

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