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March 1, 2012

Senate Scores Win for Women’s Contraceptive Coverage

Close vote underscores need to defeat senators who oppose birth control

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, praised the U.S. Senate for defeating an extreme legislative attack that would have taken away insurance coverage of birth control for women.

“Today’s vote is a win for women,” Keenan said. “The combination of grassroots power and strong leadership in the Senate ensures that women will get health insurance coverage for contraception. The senators who voted against birth control will have to answer to their constituents why they would be okay with giving bosses who oppose contraception the ability to deny this coverage to their employees.”

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) proposed the extreme amendment to none other than a transportation bill. The Obama administration’s policy on contraceptive coverage already exempts churches and other places of worship. The far-reaching Blunt amendment would allow corporations and insurance companies to refuse to cover birth control and other essential health-care services including maternity care, HIV/AIDS treatment, mammograms and cancer screenings. In short, anti-contraception politicians want to give the person who runs a fast-food restaurant or any corporation the authority to block employees from getting insurance plans that cover birth control.

“The Senate vote shows that women’s contraceptive coverage should not depend on their bosses’ views on birth control,” Keenan said. “Even though women have won this important round, we know that these politicians are obsessed with attacking birth control. That’s why we will continue to fight back against this anti-contraception agenda that is so out of touch with our nation’s values and priorities.”

Keenan said her organization spent approximately $250,000 to air radio ads in four states: Colorado, Florida, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The radio effort builds on more than 70,000 email messages the organization’s activists sent to their senators and paid patch-through calls channeling messages to Senate offices. NARAL Pro-Choice America also rolled out a $45,000 online ad and recruitment plan, including ads on Facebook and Google to raise the visibility of the threat to birth control among women ages 18 to 40.

In addition, NARAL Pro-Choice America is a member of the Coalition to Protect Women’s Health Care, an umbrella organization comprised of 50 organizations representing millions of members that support women’s access to birth control, including provider, labor, religious, and reproductive-health groups.

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