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February 1, 2012

NARAL Pro-Choice America Takes on Groups, Lawmakers Attacking Contraceptive Coverage

Nearly 30,000 supporters sign letter of support to the White House; Facebook ads, online mobilization will counter attacks in Congress and on the campaign trail

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, reiterated her organization’s strong support for the Obama administration’s decision guaranteeing insurance coverage of contraception for millions of Americans.

“This is one of the biggest victories for women’s health in a generation,” Keenan said. “Nurses, janitorial staff, and professors who work at colleges and universities that do not currently cover birth control will get access to contraception—and they will not have to ask their bosses for permission. Making birth control more affordable also will help prevent unintended pregnancy and thus reduce the need for abortion. This mainstream policy is in line with our country’s values and priorities.”

Keenan also cited a story reported in Sunday’s New York Times about a Georgetown law student who has polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition for which her doctor prescribed birth control pills. The insurance plan the woman had through the university refused to help cover the $100 monthly fee for the contraception, even though she needed the prescription for health reasons and not for pregnancy prevention. She couldn’t afford the pills on her own and, within months, she developed a large ovarian cyst that had to be removed surgically—along with her ovary. If she wants to have children in the future, she will need to consult a fertility specialist.

“The woman in this story needed contraception for non-reproductive reasons,” Keenan said. “Is that something the company she works for or her boss should know? What about her ability to make personal, private medical decisions with her doctor? The Obama administration’s decision will help women in similar situations in the future.”

In addition to sending a letter of support to the White House signed by nearly 30,000 of its members, Keenan also said the organization will continue to mobilize its grassroots supporters against these attacks. The attacks include legislative proposals from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) and rhetoric from a presidential candidate, former Gov. Mitt Romney. Romney even referenced this issue last night in his speech in Florida.

“We’re launching Facebook and Google ads focusing on what this means for women,” Keenan said. “Contraceptive coverage is not controversial, as 99 percent of women—including 98 percent of Catholic women—use birth control.  But, given the attacks on the Obama administration and the women who will benefit under this new rule, we will continue to fight back.”

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