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Restrictions On Birth Control Hurt Everyone

Restricting women’s access to birth control hurts everyone. It hurts women by limiting their ability to get an education or become self-sufficient, and risks their health when they can’t plan or space their pregnancies. It hurts children born into families not ready or able to care for them. And it hurts families by robbing them of the ability to decide whether and when to have a child.

That is why independent physicians, nurses, and other health professionals agree that providing access to contraception is good medical and economic policy. And yet – surprisingly – birth control is under attack. Anti-women groups, and some members of Congress, are pressuring the Administration to roll back some of provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA guarantees access to important preventive health services without expensive co-pays. This includes contraception for women. But if anti-women forces get their way, thousands of employers will be allowed to refuse to cover contraceptives in their employer-sponsored health plans. These forces are attempting to directly interfere with the individual health needs of millions of women by limiting the type of care they can get.

A woman already knows how important family planning is to her health and well-being. She knows that the decision of whether and when to have a child is extremely personal, and she makes that decision based on many factors, including: her age, the presence of a partner, the size of her family, her physical and mental health, and her personal values.

A woman knows that if she has a chronic disease, pregnancy prevention is critical in reducing poor birth outcomes. She knows, for example, that she risks her health and the health of her fetus if she has diabetes and becomes pregnant before getting her glucose levels under control. She knows that if her blood pressure is uncontrolled during pregnancy, she could develop Pre-Eclampsia, a condition that can require immediate delivery even if the fetus is not full-term. And she knows that if she becomes pregnant while taking any number of commonly prescribed medications contra-indicated for pregnancy, fetal development may be impaired.

That’s why women overwhelmingly support birth control. Indeed, contraceptive use is nearly universal: 99 percent of women 15-44 years of age who have ever had sexual intercourse with a male have used at least one contraceptive method. The overwhelming majority of sexually active women of all religious denominations who do not want to become pregnant are using a contraceptive method.

Refusal clauses fly in the face of women’s needs, scientific evidence, and medical standards of care. Refusal clauses undermine and ignore the personalized decisions that all people make about their health.

The Administration should respect the decisions of women and their families, and hold firm on its commitment to improve the health of all Americans by basing its health care decisions on science and medical practice – not politics.

By: Emily Spitzer, National Health Law Program, The Hill Congress Blog, November 24, 2011

November 27, 2011 - Posted by | Congress, Womens Rights | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] Restrictions on Birth Control Hurt Everyone […]

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