Birth Control Decisions Should Be Made By Women—Not Their Employers
November 26, 2013
Today, I issued the following statement
I issued the following press release regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to hear challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) birth control coverage benefit:
Today, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear two challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s birth control coverage benefit.
After decades of discriminatory coverage by insurance companies, the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit requires all insurance policies to cover birth control with no out-of-pocket cost to women – because the medical and scientific communities agree that access to birth control is basic preventive care for women. Already, 22.5 million women have benefited from this essential care.
The Court granted cert in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, a case brought by a for-profit arts and crafts store that is opposed to the birth control benefit. Based on personal religious beliefs, the store’s owners do not believe they should be required to provide birth control insurance coverage to their employees. The Court will also hear a similar challenge in Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius. Conestoga Wood Specialties is a manufacturer of wooden products.
“Birth control decisions should be made by a woman in consultation with her health care provider, not in consultation with her employer. Allowing bosses and corporations to interfere with this basic right would be a major step backwards for women’s health,” said Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF).
“Contraception is a basic preventive health measure; it helps avert unintended pregnancy, and protects women’s health in a myriad of other ways,” said Amy J. Levi, CNM, WHNP-BC, PhD, FACNM, FAAN, Advisory Committee Member of Clinicians For Choice.
These cases will decide whether a boss’ religious beliefs can interfere with a woman’s basic health care coverage. Allowing businesses to use religious beliefs to deny their employees coverage for basic health care could lead to denials of access to other health care services or the protections of civil rights laws.
“Employers have no place in the exam room. This could set a dangerous precedent for employers to pick and choose which basic health care services they will cover,” said Dr. Matt Reeves MD, MPH, Medical Director of the National Abortion Federation (NAF).