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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 10, 2012

New Coalition Launches to Fight for Women’s Access to Birth Control

Washington, D.C. – A new women’s health coalition launched today, united in support of protecting all women’s access to the full range of preventive health services, including birth control. The Coalition to Protect Women’s Health Care is comprised of 28 organizations and representing millions of members that support women’s access to birth control, including provider, labor, religious and reproductive health groups.

The Coalition is anchored by a web site, www.coalitiontoprotectwomenshealth.org, where advocates can pledge their support for women’s preventive health care through a grassroots action tool and view key facts on birth control – including the overwhelming support for coverage among Americans. With opponents actively working to take away access to preventive health care, including birth control, the Coalition will activate Americans across the country to take a stand and protect their basic health care through grassroots, events, paid media and social-media efforts. The Coalition is convening a conversation on Twitter (@TheCPWH) and Facebook, using the hashtag: #supportwomen.

“Birth control coverage matters to women and families – it affects millions of women’s health and finances,” said Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “This coalition of advocates for women’s health and economic security will be relentlessly vigilant in protecting health care coverage. The same pressure groups who campaigned against breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood health centers are now trying to take away birth control coverage and attacking President Obama for standing up for women’s health and equity. We stand strong, together, against these attacks.”

Earlier today, the Administration modified its policy on the new birth control benefit as it relates to religiously affiliated entities, ensuring that women will continue to have affordable access to birth control – with no costly co-pays and no additional hurdles, no matter where they work. However, opponents of women’s access to birth control continue calling for an even more far-reaching religious exemption that would enable any employer to deny contraception coverage in their employee health plans.

“President Obama is committed to making sure that women who work as nurses, administrative staff, janitors, and college instructors will get insurance coverage for contraception—and the American people support him,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “Our unified efforts will draw the contrast between the administration’s positive policy for women and the efforts by some groups and their political allies to take away contraceptive coverage. Through our education and mobilization efforts, more and more Americans will join us in stopping an agenda attacking birth control that is out of touch with our nation’s values and priorities.”

“SEIU nurses on the frontlines of our healthcare system have cared for too many women whose lives and health were jeopardized by a lack of affordable, reliable contraceptive coverage,” said Cathy Glasson, RN of the Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare. “The healthcare law's expansion of birth control coverage, no matter where you work, will bring real economic and emotional relief to millions of women who prior to today, had nowhere to turn."

Virtually all American women have used birth control at some point in their lifetime (99% according to the Guttmacher Institute). And support for coverage is widespread across all demographic, religious, and political groups, including the Tea Party. A June 2011 survey from Public Religion Research Institute found that 82 percent of Americans favor expanding access to birth control for women who cannot afford it, compared to only 16 percent who oppose it.

The Coalition toProtect Women’s Health Care membership consists of: Abortion Care Network, America Votes, American Medical Student Association, Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, Catholics For Choice, Center for American Progress Action Fund, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Emily's List, EQUAL Health Network/Center for Policy Analysis, Feminist Majority Foundation/Feminist Majority, Health Care for America Now, MergerWatch Project, Move On, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Women's Law Center, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Population Connection, Progressive Majority, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, SEIU, SisterSong NYC, Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign, USAction, and Women's Campaign Fund.

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Contact:
Samantha Gordon, 202.973.3032


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