12:07 PM Eastern - Friday, August 3, 2012

A Catholic nurse's response to access to affordable birth control #the-healthcare-law

free_birth_control copy.jpgPresident Obama's Affordable Care Act laid out a vision for a better future for the health of all Americans. As a healthcare professional, I have been looking forward to August 1 since the passage of the healthcare law because it is the day when a provision of the law finally goes into effect requiring health plans to cover all FDA-approved forms of contraception with no co-pay.

Too often, working class women were unable to afford the family planning help they need, but as of August 1, women now have access to affordable birth control. As a nurse I know that the ability to determine the timing of a pregnancy can help prevent a range of pregnancy complications and lead to better health outcomes for women and their children. I see this as a matter of public health and simple fairness to women and their families.

There has been some controversy over this provision of the healthcare law, but I am a healthcare professional who was raised Catholic, went to a Catholic School, and sent my child to a Catholic School.

This policy does not have any religious underpinning; it is simply sound health policy because birth control use is nearly universal among women of child-bearing age and 98 percent of Catholic women use birth control as some point in their lives. Affordable birth control helps women prevent unintended pregnancies, plan the timing and size of their families, and protect their health.

The law's intent is to improve women's health and the health of their families by expanding preventive coverage; it does not interfere with personal religious beliefs.

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