In early February, President Obama announced a compromise to the GOP-contested policy that ensures that all women, regardless of where they work or what they earn, will have access to affordable contraception coverage. Under the new rule, insurers (instead of employers) will be required to provide contraceptive care as part of the basic package of benefits offered to everyone.
This revised rule guarantees coverage for contraception and protects all women who work at religiously affiliated hospitals or universities under this umbrella. "As an ICU nurse for more than 20 years, I witnessed women who had too few choices and faced too many barriers," said Cathy Glasson, RN, a former intensive care nurse and President of Local SEIU 199 in Iowa. "The expansion of birth control no cost-sharing will bring real economic and emotional relief to the millions of women who prior to the law, had nowhere to turn. My colleagues who work in OB/GYN see this."
However, many Republicans - especially those in the Senate - have not been won over by Obama's common-sense solution. They've been going on the air to eschew their rage and in the process, revealed their true ignorance about the state of women's health in this country.
- Mitt Romney has been attacking the Obama administration and HHS for making access to reproductive health more affordable for Americans by providing free contraception to women.
- Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) has introduced a measure that would allow ANY employer OR health insurance company to refuse to cover ANY essential health benefit it deems "objectionable." Blunt's Amendment would go beyond the contraceptives piece of the law to allow employers an exemption from covering other services they oppose based on "religious beliefs or moral convictions."
- Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that birth control is cheap and therefore should not be covered by insurance plans.
- Foster Friess, a major Santorum donor, suggested that "gals" might want to hold aspirin between their knees as a birth control device.
- Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) echoed Santorum's sentiment and took it one step further, denying the very existence of low-income women who wouldn't be able to afford birth control if it isn't covered by their insurance policies. "Bring me one woman who has been left behind," Price demanded. "Bring me one. There's not one."
- Women of reproductive age already spend 68% more on out-of-pocket health care expenses than men.
- One in three women struggle with the cost of birth control, including 55% of young women ages 18 to 34.
- The cost of birth control is also the top reason poor women are three times more likely to face unintended pregnancy. (To hear from a few dozen of the millions of women who have struggled to pay for contraception, visit the GOOD blog here).
The handful of reasons above are just a a few of the many reasons why all women need affordable access to contraception that anti-birth control politicians, including Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, don't want you to be aware of.
The bottom line: Birth control is basic healthcare, and it should NOT be attacked for political gains or pandering. Contraception coverage naysayers should beware, because women voters are sitting up and paying attention.